Monday, August 27, 2012

Music - August 23, 2012

My cousin, William Reed, served his country by enlisting in the Army Air Corps during
the second world war and was stationed in England.  He was a tail-gunner on a B-17
bomber. During one of the raids over Germany, his plane was shot down by anti-aircraft
artillery but he was able to parachute to safety.   He was captured and spent the next year
and a half in a German concentration camp.  After the war, he was repatriated and spent
the rest of his life in Calico Rock.  William Reed talked very little about his experiences
in the prison camp but I remember one incident he recalled and that brings us to the main
subject of this week’s rambling column which is (drum roll) MUSIC.  As the war in
Europe began to wind down in 1945, my cousin said the prison guards started to get a
little more friendly.  Some of the guards could speak English and on one occasion William
heard one of them singing.  He was told that it was a popular song in America and that
it was number one on the Hit Parade.  The song was “Mairzy Dotes.”  The lyrics go like
this:  “Mairzy dotes and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey, A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t
you?”  Look, I’m not making this up.  Google “Mairzy Dotes” if you want to check out
the rest of the lyrics.  Buy me a cup of coffee and I might even sing it for you.  Another
novelty song that became a hit back in the 40’s went like this:  “Hut-Sut Rawlson on the
rillerah and a brawla, brawla sooit.”  This song was featured in the very popular film
“From Here to Eternity.”  You can hear a version of it on You-tube or I might sing it for
you by special request.  I have a large collection of sheet music including some very old
pieces that I inherited from my aunt.  One of my favorites from the 20’s was “You’ve
got to see your momma every night or you won’t see momma at all.”  One of the most
popular entertainers in the 20’s and 30’s was Al Jolson.  His most famous hit was a
number called “Mammy.”  He did this song in blackface which would be unheard of
in today’s culture.  The song ended with Jolson down on his knees pleading “I’d walk a
million miles for one of your smiles, my Mammy.”  Another popular singer was Eddie
Cantor.  Both Jolson and Cantor are featured in biographical movies that are available
on DVD.  I haven’t checked it out but I’ll bet you can find both entertainers on You-tube.
A lot has changed in the music world in my lifetime but I still like the old stuff.  I try,
but I just can’t get into the contemporary sounds of today.  I’ll take the old standards
like “Stardust” and “Night and Day.”  As a matter of fact, I have started writing a
popular song.  I have given this a lot of thought and I believe the best approach, since I
am only going to write one song, will be to write a Christmas song.  It will have to
have catchy lyrics and a beautiful melody that will be recorded by several dozen pop
singers and, perhaps, be picked up by the country singers.  Played by radio stations all
over the globe every December, the royalty checks will start rolling in.  Here’s a short
preview to get you excited:  “Pea-nuts toasting by an open fire; Jack Frost licking on
your toes.  Festive songs being hummed in a bar, While folks outside are getting froze.”
I know, I know, but “ frozen” doesn’t rhyme with toes.  I’ll refine this a bit as I go along
but don’t you just love the lilting way this tune goes.  Keep your ear close to the radio.
This is going to be big, I can just feel it.  I’ll work on my poetry a bit and I know it will
all come together.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of this a long time ago.  Oh, well, as
they say, “better late if ever” or something like that.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted when and
where to order the CD after I complete the recording session.  Already getting in the holiday
spirit here in the Queen City of the Ozarks, beautiful Calico Rock.  So long til next time.

Baseball - August 9, 2012

BREAKING NEWS!!  Calico Joe, the movie, will soon be a reality.  A major production
company in Hollywood has purchased the motion picture rights.  Of course, it will take a
couple of years or longer to write the screenplay and assemble the cast.  I am hoping that
part of the filming will be made in Calico Rock which is Joe’s home town (in the book).
I am making myself available to portray Joe in the film version of this exciting story.  I
have all the credentials.  I’m a native of Calico Rock.  I was a baseball star in my youth.
And, I know how to use a riding lawn mower.  What more could you ask for?  Perhaps
 my son, Steve, might fill in for the close-ups of the younger Joe.  I’m already excited.
Maybe now would be a good time to make good my promise to tell about my athletic
accomplishments when I was just a teenager here in the Queen City.  Somewhere in this
issue is a photo of the Calico Rock Polecats baseball team.  This was a team of local kids
that was put together by Sherman and Vivene who were former residents that had moved
back home from Albuquerque.  I don’t know how to better put it than to say the Polecats
really stunk, pun intended.  They were in desperate need for a power hitter.  Sherman
came to me on bended knee, begging me to help turn this ragtag group into a baseball
team.  I agreed to help out and in no time we were ready to play.  I don’t remember the
exact number of home runs I hit that summer but I’m pretty sure it was less than 25.
I do know that I didn’t reach my goal of batting .400, but it was a good summer and
I had fun playing with those youngsters.  The high point of the season was when we beat
the tar out of the men’s team.  Sherman and Vivene took us all out to a local cafĂ© for a
celebration.  But that’s not the high point of my baseball career.  That came with another
team altogether.  Harold Louis was the coach of this team which was comprised of high
school boys that just liked to play the sport.  Our transportation was a flatbed truck that
belonged to Harold Louis’ dad.  We would just pile onto the back of the truck and off
we would go (remember this phrase).  The most memorable game we played was against
Mountain View.  I was discussing this with Harold Ray the other night.  He was our
catcher and the pitcher was a fireballer, Henderson, Jr.  I played first base, the position
I played most of the time.  I don’t recall all the team members, but I remember Thednal
played either shortstop or third base.  Don was the centerfielder and he almost always
misjudged a fly ball, recovering just in time to make a spectacular catch reaching high
above his head.  The stage was set and since we were on their home field, we batted
first.  Their pitcher was their ace lefthander, one of the Wallace boys.  He was a little
wild and walked the first two batters he faced.  I was batting third and I immediately
hit a screaming liner to right center for a double, scoring the runner from second base
with what proved to be the winning run.  The other runner went to third.  We ended the
inning making five runs before Wallace settled down and that was the last runs we made.
Now it was their turn.  Their first batter was their star, Billy Joe.  He hit a long fly to deep
center, but Don caught it in his usual fashion.  Billy Joe sent another long one to Don in
the fourth inning.  In the seventh, Billy Joe tried a new tactic.  He tried to punch one into
right field but I leaped high and caught it in the web of my glove to save the game which we
won 5-0, a perfect game, three up and three down for nine innings.  Two weeks later on a
trip to play Mt. Pleasant, Harold Lewis got too close to a culvert which caught the right dual
wheel and pitched Don, Jimmy and myself  off with career-ending injuries.  Remembering
the fun times and expecting a phone call from Hollywood any time, this is Reed.  Bye!!


Girl Friends (Old Age) - July 26, 2012

When I was a young man courting the girls I played me a waiting game; If a maid refused
me with tossing curls I let the old earth take a couple of whirls While I plied her with tears
in lieu of pearls And as time came around she came my way, As time came around she came.

So goes the verse of a very popular song from the 30’s called “September Song.”  It had a
hauntingly beautiful melody and was written for a Musical Play and was later featured in
a movie.  The song was sung in these venues by an “elderly” gentleman who was looking
back on his past experiences, sort of reminiscing.  Kind of what I do in these bi-weekly
visits. Now I don’t remember plying any of my girlfriends with tears but I do remember
some of my girlfriends.  The first one was Johnnie Faye.  We were both three years old.
She lived across the street and we played together a lot.  Her mom played games with
us and taught us our ABC’s and some simple math.  When I entered the first grade, I
could read, add, subtract and multiply.  In the meantime, my parents moved us to a
house in another part of town.  I don’t know what ever became of Johnnie Faye and
her family. Fast forward about ten years.  Shelby and I were downtown watching the
old Tom Mix western at the medicine show when we noticed these two girls.  It was the
sisters Ann and Mary.  We went over and introduced ourselves.  Ann and I spent a lot
of time together after that.  Then school was over and she moved to another town.

Oh, it’s a long, long while From May to December, But the days grow short When you
reach September. 

Perry used to say “getting old is not for sissies.”   He was a member
of the OFC (Old F**ts  Club) along with seven others.  We still meet at Dean’s about
three or four times a year for a time of telling stories and having a bunch of laughs then
go somewhere for lunch.  Occasionally we will bring along the wives for the lunch
time, usually in March when most of us celebrate our birthdays.  We’re down to six
members now.  Perry and Billy Charles are no longer with us.  We sure miss them.

When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame, One has-n’t got time for the waiting

I was at the doctor for my “wellness” checkup.  This is political correctness for
annual physical.  Dr. Robert asked me how I was feeling.  “Fine” I said.  Fine?  FINE?
I’m not fine.  Every bone in my body aches.  I have trouble getting in and out of my
car.  I have glaucoma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and several minor ailments.
I used to say that medicine was made to sell, not made to take.  Now I take about fifteen
pills every day plus throw in a few Tylenol tablets along the way.  I usually fall asleep
in my chair while reading the paper after supper, wake up during the 10 o’clock news
and soon after amble off to bed.  I guess this is common for us octogenarians.  Fine???
Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few-------September,-------November!----
I was back for my senior year in college and was having a coke at the student union
with  some friends when she and several freshman girls walked in.  My heart did a flip-
flop.  Who was this beauty?  Where did she come from?  I asked Charlotte to find out
and let me know as soon as possible.  A couple of days later, Charlotte called.  She gave
me Anita’s name and strongly suggested that I should call her.  I did and we went to the
movie on our first date which didn’t turn out too well (my fault).  However, she agreed on
a second date and things improved from there.  We were married in 1953 and five days
later I left for my two year tour of duty in the army.  Many times told that she was a “saint”
for putting up with me these many years, I still consider myself a very fortunate man.

And these few precious days I’ll spend with you, These precious days I’ll spend with you.

Enjoying the old songs but getting sentimental here in Calico Rock, this is Reed.  Bye!!

Finis - July 12, 2012

Well, I knew it was going to happen.  The warning signs were there.  My trusty, old HP laptop
crashed and burned.  It has served me well.  I made a quick run to Staples and was able to secure
a small desktop that I think will serve my needs.  And, lucky me, it was on sale.  I’ve been using
Windows-XP for several years and now I’m trying hard to learn Windows-7.  I’m also having to
switch from Microsoft Works to Microsoft Word and it is a lot different.  So, I don’t know how
this will affect things but Cindy will let me know if there are any big problems to correct.

In the last issue, I mentioned seeing Patsy.  She and her husband reside in Lawrence, Kansas, and
they were in Calico Rock for Patsy’s high school class reunion.  Patsy is a tall girl and was a star
on the Pirate basketball team when she was in high school.  Her brother, Robert, and I were
drafted into the US Army way back in 1953 and we departed from Melbourne on the same bus  
when we left to begin our tours of duty.  Have I told you about my army career?  Maybe later.   
Anyway, seeing Patsy brought back memories of  my high school athletic accomplishments.  I  
think I had better postpone that until later, also, but I promise I will discuss it in a few weeks.
Now, I know this will be a shock to many of you so you will just have to use your imagination.
When I was a boy in the fifth grade at Calico Rock Elementary school, I could have been the
poster child for the Charles Atlas enterprises.  You know, the one who gets a face full of sand
that is kicked by the handsome big bully.  Forget the muscular, athlete that I became.  I was
a little, skinny kid.  I had skipped the second grade so most everyone else in my class was a
year older than me.  Also in my class was a boy that I believe had been held back so he was
probably two years older and a foot taller than I was.  His name was Finis.  Now Finis liked
to pick on me and I was afraid of him.  About this time, I began to have stomach cramps.  They
would start early in the morning and become very severe about the time to leave for school.  I
would beg my mother to let me stay home from school and when she gave her OK, the cramps
eased up.  This went on for quite some time with me missing several days of school.  My mother
finally decided to take me to the doctor.  After Dr. Noel gave me a cursory examination and
asked me a few questions, he made his diagnosis.  I was wormy.  The prescribed treatment was
a big dose of Castor Oil at night and a dose of Epsom Salt the next morning plus a couple of
Calomel tablets somewhere in between.  After several trips to the outhouse, I was convinced
that no worm could have survived so I must be cured.  I agreed to go back to school and the
first day at noon recess, here came Finis.  He started shoving me around a little but he didn’t
notice my big sister walk up.  She grabbed him by the front of his shirt, stuck her finger in his
face and said “you leave my brother alone or I’ll pound you into the dirt.”  After she left,
Finis said “now you’re really in for it” but it never happened.  Finis and his parents moved to
Chicago.  My stomach cramps also went away.  But that isn’t the end of the story. 

I always wondered what became of Finis.  Then one day I was reading the local newspaper
when there was Finis’ obituary.  It listed his home as Calico Rock.  I asked Nancy over at
the hospital if she knew about it and she said yes, that he had been here about two years and
had attended the Methodist church on occasion.  I wonder if he was ever in the store.  I don’t
think he was afraid I might do him some bodily harm.  After all, Nancy said he was a big man.
Seriously, I wish I could have been given the opportunity to forgive him for making my life
miserable a long time ago.  Who knows?  We might have become friends.  So, to paraphrase
a great Neil Sedaka song, “Growing up is hard to do”.  And that’s all there is for this time
so reporting from the worm-free capitol of Arkansas, this if Reed.  Bye for now!!!

Writing - June 28, 2012

BREAKING NEWS:  Sara was right.  It’s going to be a boy, due sometime the
first of November.  That means there will be no Reeda Macksine in our family
this year.  Sara has picked the name Marshall for the new youngster.  Well, that’s
a family name, sorta.  Of course, it is subject to change.  We’ll just wait and see.

You probably have discovered that my column of two weeks ago appeared under
the Tom*s Tenoring header.  I did not for one instant think that Tom* had anything
to do with this abomination.  I have noticed, of course, that he had been a little,
could I say, jealous of all the attention and notoriety that my column has been
receiving.  I did not suspect that he even had a jealous bone in his body.  I first met
Tom* in, of all places, Trier, Germany.  He was from up North and had met this
Southern Belle whose parents lived in Calico Rock.  They married and he took off
to Germany to work in the Opera business.  That was 35 years ago and now they are
retired and moved into the family home they inherited from Fredericka’s parents.
While Tom* was not working he was trying his hand at writing and sent out an
e-mail daily to some of us while testing out his skill, writing about things like the
May Pole and Farmer Brown’s cows.  Occasionally he would enclose a recipe of
some dish he had prepared.  Being from up North, of course, his writing had a Northern
flavor.  You know what I mean; big words you can’t pronounce with an occasional
German word, such as “busomfloppen.”  Since moving to Calico Rock, I have detected
a slight change in his writing, like he was trying to write Southern style.  Some have
suggested to me that he slipped my column under his header trying to make his readers
thing he had succeeded but I knew you were too smart to be taken in by such an act.
To tell the truth, I am a little flattered to even think that Tom* would try such a thing,
even though I don’t think he would stoop that low.  Actually it was Tom* that inspired
me to try my hand at this op-ed thing.  I went back and read the last column and was
astonished at what I discovered.  I had changed my rambling style and was really trying
to write.  I don’t want that to happen so I am reverting back to my rambling style in this
episode.  Much more comfortable.  I thought the column that was stol…OOPS, I mean
“borrowed” two weeks was about the weakest I had done.  However, if it was to win
the Bulletsir Prize for op-ed columns appearing in small town newspapers, I might want
to reconsider.

Anyway, two of my readers were in town recently.  Patsy and her husband from Lawrence, Kansas, were here for her high school reunion.  Also in town,  Keith
and Joyce from the state of Georgia were here for the funeral of her brother-in-law,
Dwight.  I’m sure you will notice, Tom*, how my reputation is spreading to several
other states.  You folks may be wondering what that little dot Tom* places after his name.
My Uncle Elbert would call that a dingbattis.  I’ve been considering, maybe, Reed+ or Reed^^ or maybe Reed<>.  What do you think?  If you like any of these or have any
other suggestions, let me know.  I’m about out of my allotted space but have you noticed
the Crape Myrtles that are in full bloom?  One of my dreams is to see these beautiful
shrubs planted all the way down highway 56 from the Banks to main street.  We could
be the Crape Myrtle capital of the Ozarks, beautiful Calico Rock, Arkansas.  Think about it.  More about Patsy in two weeks.  Until then, this is Reed+^^<>“”.  Bye, Bye!!! 

Words 2 - June 14, 2012

Anita and I went out to the Trimble Campground Cumberland Presbyterian Church
a few nights ago during their annual revival.  The speaker grew up in the Dolph area
but has resided in the Ouachita River bottoms of South Arkansas for several years.
I’ve known Garland for a long time.  His dad and I served together on the school
board for a period of time.  After we shook hands and exchanged a few pleasantries,
out of the blue Garland commented about how much he enjoyed my comments that
have been appearing every two weeks in the Current.  He said he looked forward to
receiving the newspaper and that my ramblings were “like a breath of fresh air.”
WOW!!  My hat size zoomed to XXL.  Really, though, I appreciate the positive
responses that many of you directed to me.  If my count is correct, this is the sixth
column I have attempted to write.  Which means that is about five more that I
figured I would try.  Remember, this is only my opinions that I am airing and I’m
sure they differ with many of yours.  For instance, remember my column on “Dogs
I have known.”  Ruffled few dog lovers.  I like some dogs OK.  I just don’t want
a dog.  A friend told me that I should never keep eye contact with a pit bull.  Makes
them aggressive.  I guess I escaped that time.  By the way, to balance out things, I
don’t want a cat either.  Steve and Sandye have a worthless cat named “Cat.” Boy,
that took a lot of thinking, didn’t it?  When I was a boy, we had several cats that
stayed at the barn.  They earned their bed and board as they should.  They were all
good “mousers.”  My granddad left them a bowl of milk when he did the morning
and evening milking.  Well, I might as well go all the way.  I don’t want a horse,
either.  Let me give you some advice.  Never buy a horse from a horse trader.  I
tried that once.  My left shoulder is still sore from the last time that big black
animal bucked me off.  He went to the sale barn in a hurry. 
One more thing and I’ll get back to work.  In a recent sermon, my pastor commented
on the writings of the Apostle Paul and that we should look for the word “therefore”
and pay attention to the thoughts that follow.  I am also “wordy” and get off my subject
a lot of the time but look the word “anyway” which will get you back on track.  Anyway,
I ran out of space before I got through with my remarks on “Words” the last time.  I
recently received an e-mail entitled “English is a crazy language.”  The writer commented
that a “slim chance” and a “fat chance” can be the same but a “wise man” and a “wise guy” are opposites.  Also people “recite” at a play and “play” at a recital.  Did you know
that you can make amends but can’t make one amend?  Why are boxing rings “square?”
There were several other examples but I think you get the idea.  I had heard before that
the English language was the most difficult to learn.  There are too many words that
are spelled the same or sound the same, such as:  It is FAIR to say that you may go to
the FAIR if you have a FAIR complexion and can pay the FARE.  If you don’t FUDGE
you can have a piece of FUDGE.  Let me give you a riddle:  What word takes up almost
a half page of the dictionary and can be used as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, both as a prefix or a suffix or slang?  This word, amazingly, has only two
letters and when spelled it describes the activity you do at the end of the day before
retiring.  Give up?  Look it UP.  (Was that groans I just heard?)  Watch for Tom* in
the next issue of the Current.  I’ll be back in two weeks.  Until then, this is Reed, rambling along in the Queen City of the Ozarks, beautiful Calico Rock, AR.  Bye!

Words - May 31, 2012

WORDS.  The dictionary is full of them.  I mentioned earlier that my mother kept a
scrapbook.  She would find unusual names in the newspaper, cut them out and paste
them in her scrapbook.  She also had a fascination with words.  She could decipher the
cryptogram, no matter how hard.  I don’t think she ever missed.  I do pretty well, also,
especially if one of the letters is supplied.  Mother also liked to work the crossword
puzzles including the NY Times puzzle in the Sunday newspaper.  Now that Times
puzzle is pretty difficult especially for novices like me.  Seem like I finished one once
but that might have been wishful thinking.  I can do the daily puzzles most of the time
but my mother could zip through these in a few minutes, never missing.  There’s an
art to doing crosswords.  You have to work at it over a period of time, building up
a repertoire of words.  Crossword builders will use certain words that reoccur in later
puzzles.  It takes work to get good at it.  My mother was good.  I think I also inherited
my sense of humor from her.  One of her favorite jokes came from one of her puzzle
books.  Hope this doesn’t offend anyone but here it is:  (First Man) “How are you doing
with your crossword puzzle?”  (Second Man) “I’m almost finished but I’m hung up on
48-down ‘Substance on the bottom of a bird cage’” (First Man) “Oh!  That’s an easy
one:  Grit”  (Second Man)  “Of course.  Say, do you have a pencil with an eraser?”

My mother also loved to read.  She liked mystery stories best and so do I.  I guess you could say I inherited the love of reading from her.  My favorite as a boy was the Perry
Mason stories by Erle Stanley Gardner.  I still have several paperbacks that I intend
to read again when I have time.  Or as my dad would say “some of these days.”  I
recently visited the local library and checked out the thriller trilogy written by an author
from Sweden.  They all began “The girl with (or who)………..”  They were on the
NY Times best seller list for several months so I decided to give them a try and they
were pretty good except for the overage of four-letter words that didn’t add to the
story line at all.  The pendulum has swung a long way to the left since Clark Gable
spoke the famous line in the 1939 movie “Gone With the Wind.”  He said, “Frankly,
Scarlett, I don’t give a d…”  Startled everyone.  What a difference a few years makes.
The new book, Calico Joe, has been out a few weeks.  I have read most of the books
that the author has written.  Shows you that you can be a successful writer without
relying on objectionable words to attract a reader.  Not necessarily true with the movie
adaptations of his writings.  The first movie of one of his works was about a law firm
in Memphis, Tennessee.  This was the book that made him famous and was a great
story.  I could hardly wait to see the movie.  One of the characters was the chief of
security of this law firm, a dark sinister individual and was portrayed on the screen
by the grandfatherly guy who pushed Quaker Oatmeal and diabetic supplies on TV.
In one of the movie scenes, Winfred dropped the F-bomb.  You could have knocked
me out of my cushioned seat with a feather.  I almost spilled all of my large tub of
double-buttered popcorn.  Worst case of casting for a movie that I ever saw.

I guess I’m old fashioned but I don’t believe movie makers have to use such bad
words in order to sell more tickets to their shows.  I may have more to say on this
subject, but I’m about out of space so I will save it until later.  Until then, this is
Rambling Reed, opinionating from the Queen City of the Ozarks, Calico Rock, AR

Names - May 17, 2012

Our granddaughter, Sara, is pregnant with their second child.  It’s too early to
know for sure, but she is convinced that it is a boy.  In fact, she has selected a
boy’s name for the new youngster when he makes his first appearance next November.
I say, SHE selected, because none of the rest of us were invited to make a recommendation.  Non-negotiable, she says.  The same as when their first child, a
girl, was born two years ago.  I had the perfect girl’s name, Reeda Macksene. 
Beautiful, don’t you think?  They (she) chose Molly Abigail.  OK, I guess, and I
tried to act not too disappointed.  A boy this time will be great, but, and don’t
tell, I’m secretly hoping for another chance to select that “perfect” name.

I’ve noticed that many of you have been calling me Reed Mack.  I know, that’s
my name, but for several years most people have used my first name only.  When
I was a boy, everyone used both my first and middle names. The same was true
for most other kids.  The boys were Harold Ray, Elmer Dean, Billy Charles,
Howard Lee, William Dean, Claude Dwayne, Billy Ray, Billy Gene and Billy
Joe to name a few.  The girls were Rosa Mae, Anna Faye, Goldie Mae, Anna
Kay, Marion Sue, Carol Lee, Mary Hale, Ruby Nell and many others.  Most of
these have used only their first name, or occasionally only their middle name for
many years.  To complicate matters, some use only their initials such as J.B., J.R.
J.L., J.C., J.D., J.O.,  E.C., B.T., A.C. and L.A.  Some call Rayvon “Ray”, thinking
that is his first name when actually it is one-half of his middle name.  His first name
is Claude.  Is this getting boring?  Hang on for just a little longer.  I have been a
little amused at times at those whose signature is the initial of their first name and
then their middle and last name such as J. Don or J. Harvey.  I was impressed by this
once and tried R. Mack but it just didn’t work.  Wait a minute, I haven’t even said
anything yet about “nicknames.” 

My sister had a nickname which was “windy.”  I never knew why; probably because
she was such a talker.  I never had a real nickname, although George always called
me “slick.”  I would have preferred “curly” but that didn’t work, either.  I had a
customer who always yelled when he came in the front door of the store “Hello,
Baldy.”  That got old after a while and I cured him once and for all when he came in
one morning and gave his usual welcome.  I answered, “Hello, Ugly.”  Sometime we
can get a little ugly with the names we attach to others such as “fatty.”  I never did
like the name we gave “Slim” Harris; we called him “Greasy Slim.”  I regret doing
that.  Some more common nicknames are “Bill” for William, “Jim” for James, “Dick”
for Richard, etc.  A popular local physician was sometimes called “Buck” by one of
his patients.  I wonder if everyone knows “Hoot” is really Alton.

My mother kept a scrapbook that contained a lot of interesting items, one of which was
unusual names that she had seen and cut out of the newspaper.  I won’t list any of these
names for fear of embarrassing someone, but take it from me, some were unusual.  I’ll
tell more about my mother and her love for words in the next offering which should be
in a couple of weeks.  Watch for Tom* next week.  So for now, I’ll settle back in my
corner here in the Queen City of the Ozarks, beautiful Calico Rock, Arkansas.  Bye.

Revivals - May 3, 2012

I lift up my eyes to the hills -- where does my help come from?  My help comes
from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  So says the writer of the first
two verses of Psalm 121, The Holy Bible (NIV).  I memorized this Psalm at
church camp when I was a boy and it has always been one of my favorites.  I
guess you could call me a “hillbilly” because I have always liked the Ozarks.  To
borrow a line from one of Loretta’s songs, “When you look at me, you’re looking
at country.”  I suppose it’s because of my mountain heritage that I developed a
need for spiritual involvement early in life.

Again this year, we celebrated Holy Week with good instrumental music, singing,
preaching and fellowship hosted by the Ministerial Alliance.  All the churches in
the Calico Rock area participated in the event which was again held at the First
Methodist Church.  I have been told that Calico Rock is unique in the cooperative
efforts of the ministers in our community.  Let me stop here and paraphrase the
first verse of Psalm 133:  “How good and how pleasant it is when people dwell
together in unity.”  Bless the Alliance and all the work they do to assist those in
their various needs.  I’m proud to be a part of a community that cares.  By the
way, I would like to note that when I was growing up, the Baccalaureate service
at the end of the school year was always held at the Methodist Church because
of their seating capacity.  Thanks, Methodists, for your hospitality.

Next fall, the Alliance will be sponsoring the annual community revival, another
cooperative activity involving all the churches.  When I was a boy, every year the
Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian churches banded together to hold a revival.  At
first these were held in a large, circus-type tent.  Funeral home fans were very popular.
Usually an outside evangelist was secured.  In the revival of July, 1939, in a large
tent located in East Calico Rock in the area near the cotton gin, I walked the sawdust
path to the front and gave my life to Jesus.  It was on Sunday morning, the last day of
the revival which had begun the previous Sunday.  I don’t know the full name of the
evangelist but we all called him “Uncle Pearl.”  I was one of the last of several that
went forward that day and maybe the youngest.  The three churches continued a joint
revival effort for a few more years, abandoning the tent and rotating between the
three sanctuaries until everyone agreed to start separate services.  A few years ago,
an effort was begun to try to recapture the spirit of the past, a tent was rented and the
community revival again became a yearly event.  The tent idea lasted a couple of
years or so until that torrential rainstorm.  For several years the event was held in the
pavilion, then when the Elementary auditorium became available things were moved
to that location.  I’m looking forward the good singing and preaching that our
Ministerial Alliance will be bringing to us this Fall.  Aren’t you glad you have the
privilege to live in the hills?  If you are, what can YOU do to make Calico Rock a
better place for everyone; a place where we can all dwell together in unity.  At least,
that’s the way I look at it from my corner in the Queen of the Ozarks, beautiful Calico
Rock, Arkansas.  Thanks for all the kind remarks on my offerings.  Next time, I will
be discussing NAMES.  So that’s it for now.  See you in two weeks.  Look for my
friend, Tom* on alternate weeks.