Friday, September 21, 2012

Poetry - September 20, 2012

As published in the White River Current - Thursday September 20, 2012

Thanks to all of you who have asked about the release date of my Christmas song.  I have some bad news.  I am delaying the release until maybe the latter part of next year,  Hopefully it will be completed by then and the recording studio work done.  I didn’t realize there was so much involved in getting a song published and recorded.  Of course, it isn’t finished yet.  To be honest, it’s the poetry thing.  I didn’t know rhyming was so difficult.  I have some favorite poems that I learned many years ago but can still recite from memory.  Isn’t it funny how you remember things that happened a long time ago but forget what occurred yesterday?  Or is that an old-age thing?  I can play several piano pieces that I memorized in high school but, for the life of me, I
can’t memorize a simple tune now.  Anyway, there was another student that I was in college with who could recite poetry.  He was a veteran of WW2.  The story he told was that someone had given him this book of poetry and he began to read it and memorizing the contents during the time he was confined to a foxhole somewhere in Europe.  Frank was a likable guy but a little rough and I didn’t spend much time around him.  But he could recite poetry.  Such as “The Face on the Barroom Floor” and even “The Touch of the Master’s Hand.”  The latter is very inspirational and has provided many preachers with some good sermon material.  You can find both these poems on U-Tube.  Some of Frank’s poems would  not be suitable for this family newspaper so I won’t mention them.  I continued to see Frank occasionally at conventions and at one time, when he was a representative of a pharmaceutical company, he called on the local physicians and often stopped by the store.  Frank is no longer with us but I may include him in
a column entitled “characters I have known.”  I don’t know when I will get around to writing this because I am so busy with my song writing.  As a matter of trivia, two of my fellow songwriters died recently.  Hal wrote “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” and some other good toe-tappers. Marvin, who was also a conductor, penned “The Way We Were”  and many other hits for both the movies and Broadway.  Interestingly enough, Marvin married a young lady whose parents were Izard County people.  I knew her dad, Bill, and her aunt, Jean, who are natives of Melbourne.  I wish I could have met Marvin.  You know, maybe a little “shop talk.”  Too late.
Anyway, I almost forgot the good news.  I have decided to write a book, probably a historical novel.  I figure I could knock it out in my spare time after working on my poetry.  No doubt in my mind, it would make the best seller lists and then, of course, the movie producers would start lining up to start biding for the screen rights.  I hope to get all this completed by next Spring.  I have the outline ready and I know you will all get excited when I tell you about it.  The story goes sorta like this:  A large group of pioneers have been wandering around, camping at times but mainly living off the land.  This has been going on for some time and mostly takes place in an area in North Arkansas known as the Leatherwoods.  The chosen leader of the group is a tall,  handsome figure by the name of Moses Jones. (I expect that I will be tapped to play this character in the movie).  The real action starts when a group of armed outlaws attack the pioneers and start driving them out of the woods.  Following their leader, it looks like the group is going to escape when all at once then come to a large river that is at flood stage.  Not to be outdone, the leader holds up a boat paddle and the water miraculously parts and the pioneers walk across on dry land.  I failed to mention that there was a small settlement on the other side and that there were tall, multi-colored bluffs both up and down river.  Anyway, the group is welcomed by the small settlement population.  Their leader is elected mayor and later becomes the Governor of the state, then, you know, etc. etc. etc.  Man, what an exciting tale.  I can hardly restrain myself
I’m on such a high.  By the way, the tentative title is “Calico Mo.”  Look for it next Spring at your favorite book store.  Hot at work at the word processor here in my corner in the Queen City of the Ozarks, beautiful Calico Rock, Arkansas.  This is Reed saying Bye til next time.    

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dad - September 5, 2012

As posted in the White River Current

I’ve mentioned my mother in previous columns but I don’t think I ever said anything about my dad.  My ancestors were primarily English who moved to America in the late 1700’s.  There is
a town located north of Baltimore by the name Perryman, Maryland.  There are no Perrymans
listed in their phone book but there are many in their three cemeteries.  My genealogical info lists
my family in North Carolina in the early 1800’s as the population started moving west.  Later
some moved into middle Tennessee.  I was fortunate to find my great-grandparents’ marriage
license application in the courthouse in Murfreesboro (September, 1832).  Stephen and Elizabeth         
had several children including my grandfather, James (Jim), who was born in 1855.  Sometime
after James was born the family moved to the Lebanon, Missouri, area, probably looking for
work.  Stephen is listed in the 1860 Missouri census as a carpenter.  As the Civil War began to
heat up, Stephen again moved his family, this time to Izard County, Arkansas.  He died of  smallpox in 1865 and was buried near Melbourne by two of his sons.  His wife, Elizabeth, died
in 1888 andwas buried in the Trimble Campground cemetery near Dolph.  James bought a farm
near the Fulton County line and started a business in Wild Cherry, Arkansas, a thriving community that received its name from the popular fruit tree that was abundant in the area.
James and his wife, Rosa, were the parents of twelve children.  Two children died at an early
age but ten, seven boys and three girls, reached adulthood.  Dad attended the Wild Cherry school through the eighth grade and then took over the family farm operation.  Sometime later he
took the job delivering the mail on horseback from Wild Cherry to Calico Rock.  On one
occasion, he had left the State Bank on upper Main Street and was walking past the wholesale
grocery office when he spied the young secretary at the desk near the front window.  As the
story was related to me, he said, to himself or whoever was listening, “that’s the girl I am
going to marry.”  After a proper time of courting, they were married in December 1923.  They
moved back to the farm after my grandfather died in 1925.  After my grandmother died  in 1930
the family returned to reside in Calico Rock.  Dad took the job as consignee for the
Magnolia Petroleum Company which some years later became the Mobil Oil Company.  The
yellow house that is located across the street from the library/city hall became my parent’s home
for a few months and was also the place where I was born.  By the time I was five years old,
we were living in the rock house on the corner of Red Lane and Highway 56.  This was the
fifth house we had moved into but we remained there for seven years.  Two more moves and
we were living in the white house on the south side of Red Lane and Highway 56.  This was
our last move and was my parent’s residence until both had moved to their heavenly home.
Dad worked long hours at his job, often leaving before daylight and getting home after I was asleep.  He always said that my mother “raised” me.  After several years, the oil company was
sold  and Dad sold real estate with the United Farm Agency for a period of time before starting
his own business, Perryman Equipment Company.  As an International Harvester dealer, he sold
pickups and larger trucks, Farmall tractors, combines, hay bailers and other farm equipment to
customers all over the north Arkansas region.  Mom & Dad had great plans for their retirement
years, but she contracted some type of debilitating illness that lasted for nine years.  Dad sold
his business and took care of mom during these difficult years until she passed away.  She was
only 68 years old.  Dad died five years later.  I hope these personal references have not been
too boring but I felt led to share this part of my life to lay the groundwork for other topics that
I might want to tell you.  Maybe they will be more interesting.  Thanks again for all the good
comments.  They keep me going.  By the way, I have both good news and bad news but I am
out of space this week.  Be sure to check back in two weeks. This is Reed saying Bye for now.