The Pryor Times

January 21, 2014

Book chronicles life of Mayes Co. lawman

Staff Writer
Susan Wagoner

PRYOR, OK — “Slim Unscripted”

Stories told by Rodger Weaver, son of Legendary Sheriff “Slim” Weaver

Written by Barbara Ann

The man stood nearly seven feet tall and weighed over 270 pounds. His size alone intimidated the young boy, but the giant also carried a gun; the always present cigar was never far from his lips.

These are the memories of Rodger Weaver. True tidbits told to author Barbara Ann and then shared with the reader of this memoir.

“It’s no place for kids,” the massive man said in a voice that left no doubt he meant business. The heavy clanging of the jail cell door shutting and latching was deafening to the youngster.

The boy was both terrified and intrigued of the man, who also carried a badge, and happened to be his father.

“Slim Unscripted,” while full of facinating stories of legendary Mayes County Sheriff Pete “Slim” Weaver, is ultimately the reflections of son Rodger, who visits his own past while facing mortality.

Slim Weaver was the Sheriff of Mayes County from 1953 to 1965. He then served as the Chief of Police of Pryor from 1965 to 1973.

The story is told in a way that makes the reader feel the entire thing was the result of an afternoon conversation with Rodger.

The biography is an interesting and informative history lesson of Pryor’s past, as well as that of Mayes County.

The reader is taken back and forth between present and past, learning about the current realilty of a dying Weaver as well as his memories of the past; growing up in the massive shadow of his infamous law enforcement dad.

Rodger’s memories of his youth are incredibly detailed and vivid. He describes living in a building that housed not only his family but also the jail. He talks of a man that was a sheriff first, before husband or father.

He describes a man with a passion for public service, to the detriment of those closest to him.

His full immersion into his role as a law enforcement leader not only alienated Slim from his children, but eventually cost him his marriage.

Though it is clear he cared deeply for his family, it is also clear he had complete dedication to the citizens of Mayes County.

“Slim Unscripted” is especially enjoyable for those from the area, as many people and things mentioned in the book will be familiar to the reader.

Rodger shares his memories of his father’s determination and focus in dealing with county crime in the 1950s and early 60s.

He remembers a staunch cop with a black and white view on crime and effortlessly blends it with the man who drove his black and white like a bat out of hell.

With reckless abandon, Weaver would often drive as if in a high-speed chase, using both lanes on the two-lane road, his mind seemingly already at his destination.

Rodger also relays the many stories his legendary father / sheriff shared with him and others of his life behind the badge.

Slim was particularly dedicated to “shutting down the illegal liquor trade in his community.” He would hide deeply in the woods for days at a time, sleeping on the ground, on the lookout for “moonshine camps.”

One arrest was the result of a dogged investigation in search of an operation dubbed “Big Hidden Still.”

It dominated the county.

“The illegal shine made in this still was smuggled to local bars, restaurants and other establishments farther away,” Rodger tells the reader. “He found the ‘Big Hidden Still.’”

Weaver, a deputy and four federal agents lay in wait and watched the activity.

“One suspect stumbled out from the shadows and welcomed the officials with a slow, tipsy drawl: ‘Hey ya there. Hello there.’”

Slim shined a jumbo flashlight in the man’s face and his dark skin glistened in the light. Then the whites of his eyes rolled back when he saw Slim’s badge. Surprised, he warned his companions by yelling over his shoulder, “Y’all don’t know’d it, but we’s caught.”

As Rodger deals with his own health crisis and the inevitable end he knows will come, he comes to terms with his iconic father. He seems to accept his growing up with a somewhat distant and absent father who died in 1983. He celebrates him instead as a larger-than-life lawman with a compass for right, wrong and in between.

“Slim Unscripted” is a well-written glimpse into the life of a legendary sheriff and the impact he made on not only his community, but his son.

“Slim Unscripted” is available at The Book Exchange in Pryor.