Friday, June 21, 2013

Spring - June 20, 2013

As published in the White River Current - Thursday June 20, 2013 Goodbye to spring, 2013. I hate to see you go. You have been great, the best in a long time. We will remember you. The award winning songwriter of contemporary Christian music, Kurt Kaiser, is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. One of his most popular songs is “It Only Takes a Spark”, also known by the more well-known title “Pass It On.” This song is found in many different hymnals and is particularly a favorite with church youth groups. Written in 1969, the second verse begins “What a wondrous time is spring when all the trees are budding, The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming…” It certainly was a wondrous time this year. This was the year of the rose. I do not remember when there were so many and the reds were so vivid. The wildflowers were also in abundance, especially the yellow beauty, the wild Cosmos (I hope I spelled that correctly). And there were many others that made the countryside spectacular. The trees have budded and are now all leafed out providing shade for those that are fortunate to have them in their yard (we don’t). But we have had the birds. It has really been a joy watching the many different species that have visited the feeder that is located just outside our sliding glass door. Some of these have gone north for the summer but several are still around. My favorite is the State bird, the Mockingbird. We have one that seems to have a favorite spot on top of the power pole in front of our house. He will sit up there and serenade us for several minutes at a time, never repeating the same song. The other evening while I was sitting on the front porch, he flew up to his spot to begin an aria and was soon joined by four of his friends. They all began to do their thing and it was a real cacophony of discordant sounds that ended after a minute or so when the friends abruptly left. Maybe it was a territorial thing. I like the variety of the mockingbird’s song. Not like the whippoorwill that will sing “Chip butter in the white oak” over and over. My neighbor, Tom*, and I were relaxing on the deck at the bluff house the other evening when we heard the familiar “chip butter…” song in the distance. Now you may not have known this but Tom* is a self-proclaimed ornithologist. He quickly informed me that the sound was not coming from a whippoorwill but was a ??? (I forgot, so maybe he will inform us in his column next week. Anyway, summer slipped in the back door last week and will officially appear tomorrow so thank you again spring of 2013. The word, spring, of course, has other meanings as do many English words. Spring can also mean to leap forward suddenly. It can also be an elastic strip of coiled wire. But I like the definition that means water rising to the surface of the earth. The largest spring in the world (I think) is located about fifty miles north of here and is the source of a river. Blanchard spring is another popular tourist location that only a few miles south. Two springs in particular have a great meaning to me. One is the Trimble Campground spring. My grandparents, James and Rosa, used to load their children in the wagon and meet other families at the clearing by the spring for revival type meetings in the summer. Later James was instrumental in the building of a church building at the site. The building has been changed over the years but still stands. James and Rosa and several of their brothers, sisters and other relatives are buried in the cemetery located nearby. The other spring that I was referring to is located somewhere by the side of the road between Pineville and Wild Cherry. I have stopped there for a cool drink on many occasions when I was going out to the “old home place” with my dad. People used to build stone structures over the springs and kept their milk, butter and other perishables there. Some of these structures still exist, at least two in the city limits of Calico Rock (at Jackson spring and McNeill spring). Many in rural locations use springs as their primary water source. Mixing a little history along with a good dose of sentimentality here in my corner of the Queen city of the Ozarks. I’ll be back in two weeks. Bye for now.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Politics - June 13, 2013

As published in the Whiter River Current - Thursday June 13, 2013 Thanks to all of you concerned readers for the e-mails, twitters, telegrams, phone calls and personal visits inquiring about my health since I missed my regular bi-weekly visit with you last week. No, I haven’t been sick. Actually it was a swap with Tom* who you may remember fills this space on alternate weeks. Tom* politely asked, well he actually begged (groveled), to swap for this time only and of course I graciously agreed without the least bit of hesitation. So, next week I will be here again on the regular schedule and maybe this will lessen the disappointment for having to go an extra week without the ramblings. Again, my thanks and sincere apologies for the inconvenience. Now, to the business at hand. Try to visualize a scene where there is a large group of college students, each one holding up both hands with the middle and index fingers of each hand pointing straight up and each student yelling (We’re Number Two!!!). I think you can add this to Reed’s list of things you probably will never see. Everyone likes to win, be number one. A very famous football coach is credited with saying “Winning is everything.” That’s not all the quotation and I’m not sure I agree with his philosophy, but it seems to be the prevailing idea of many people. Have you ever noticed the three finalists after an event in the Olympic Games? Standing on the podium, the gold medalist is all smiles as the flag of his/her country is raised and the national anthem played. The silver medalist looks so sad and dejected, whereas the bronze medalist seems really happy. Last week, I had the distinct honor of serving as the Grand Marshall in the Lions Rodeo parade. Not to diminish the honor of my selection, but I was not the first choice for this event. The comedian, Seinfeld, once remarked, “being number two means you are at the top of all the losers.” Story of my life. I’m a loser. I was Vice-President of my senior high school class and was Salutatorian at graduation. I also finished number two among pharmacists at my college graduation. Loser!! To continue the saga, how about my political career. I was elected with no opposition to one term as alderman representing my ward on the city council. I was appointed to serve out the unexpired term of the mayor (who resigned) and was elected with no opposition for one term. I ran for school board director four times, losing two times when I had an opponent and winning twice when I didn’t. After these episodes, I was firmly assured that politics was no longer in my future. But, speaking of politics, which I try to refrain from and which I rarely do, I want to take the opportunity of thanking Tommy and Missy for providing us with a legislative update and review each week in this publication. I am a faithful reader of these reports, since I believe it is my civic duty but also because I find them quite interesting and informative. For example, in a recent issue Tommy reported that the recent legislative session that adjourned a few weeks ago was one of the longest sessions on record. He also stated that the work this General Assembly tackled in 100 days was “truly remarkable.” I agree. You are aware that we sometimes rate the effectiveness of our elected Assembly members on the number of bills that they are able to get approved. I would suggest that they all should receive high marks because they passed 1,520 of the 2,492 bills that were introduced. Let me repeat that. That’s fifteen hundred and twenty new laws that will affect us all in some way or another. I thought that when almost 800 new laws were enacted in the previous session was “remarkable” I will have to, again, agree that this is “truly remarkable.” Hopefully we all will be healthier, wealthier and maybe even a little better looking. Thanks, again, Tommy and Missy for your hard work. I think I will just crawl back to my corner here in the Queen City and try to sort everything out. Remember, I’ll see you again next week when we will again take a look at “words.” Bye for now.