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Hippo hero

Gazette staff November 30th, 2011

Thank God that more people than Rep. Sally Kern have put Oklahoma on the map.

Ponca City native Gayla Peevey Henderson, the childhood star who changed Christmas carols forever with “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” re-visited Oklahoma City for the first time since recording her novelty hit at the age of 10, according to

The one-hit wonder visited the Oklahoma City Zoo last week to lead a sing-along and sign autographs.

After Henderson’s song became famous in 1953, the singer’s wish came true: The zoo raised the money to get Peevey a 700-pound baby hippo. The child greeted her river horse at the airport on Christmas Eve and then donated the hippo, Mathilda, to the zoo.

The zoo then opened on Christmas Day, and more than 10,000 people flocked to see its newest addition.

It seems the only way to actually get what you want for Christmas is to dream up a hit song. Santa may be magical and all, but even he can’t carry a hippopotamus without his back giving out.

Hmmm ... you think “I Want a Winning Oklahoma Hot Lotto with Sizzler Ticket for Christmas” is catchy enough to make it big on the music charts? Not even on iTunes?

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