Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Month of May - May 22, 2014

As published in the White River Current - Thursday May 22, 2014

There is a very famous Scottish poem that was penned many years ago by that well-known poet, Anonymous.  The name of the poem is Barbara Allen and it begins like this: “In Scarlet town, where I was born, there was a fair maid dwellin’, Made every youth cry Well-a-way!  Her name was Barbara Allen.  All in the merry month of May, when green buds they were swellin’ (and the poem goes on for several more verses).”  I’ve known girls like that.  I married one, all in the merry month of May.  Now I don’t remember crying “Well-a-way” when I first met her but I know I was thinking “wow” or maybe even “shazam” and my heart flip-flopped as I gasped for air.  Other poets have written about this month including Thomas Dekker whose poem “The Merry Month of May” was first performed in public in the year 1599.  Many have followed since, even Stephen C. Foster who wrote “The Merry, Merry Month of May” in 1862.”  Well, besides being a merry month, May is a very busy month.  When I was a boy, on the first day of May (called MayDay), the elementary classes would gather on the school playground to wind the maypole, taking strips of colored cloth that were attached to the top of the pole.  Have you ever done this?  Kinda hard to explain exactly how it was done, but it was a lot of fun for a bunch of little kids.  Tom* wrote extensively about maypole episodes that occurred in Munich.  Perhaps Fredericka will continue to share some of his best stories in future issues of this newspaper.  Anyway, on the first Saturday of May each year (May 3rd in 2014) the city of Melbourne hosts an annual festival they call Pioneer Day.  Actually a Calico Rock woman, Margaret Ghelfi, was the driving force behind this event.  She, along with the other members of the local Home Demonstration Club, was convinced that it should be a county festival and held at the county seat.  Slow to get started, it has become an important event in the county for several decades.  The Home Demonstration Club was associated in some way with the County Extension Service.  I don’t know if the club is still active or not.  Other Calico Rock clubs in the past include The Mother’s Club, The Fidelis Club and The Garden Club.  Anita was a member of the last two but none are active at the present time.  Margaret, listed above, along with her husband, John, and her sister, Hildred Meade, would classify as characters.  John was a carpenter and Hildred was a dentist.  Her dental office was on the second floor of the Riverview Hotel.  I should have done more research on this family but I believe they came to this area from back East.  However, I have a slight recollection of the girls living in a house on Boswell Road not far from the second overpass.  This reminds me, there was another couple that lived in that area who had four or five good looking daughters.  I mean those Coburn girls were knock-outs.  I only know of one, Jeannie, who still lives in the area.  My memory of the Ghelfis lands them at the Pop Warner place about four miles north where they lived for several years.  They later moved into town to a new home that John built on Ferrill Street.  As mentioned above, May is a busy month.  On the second weekend, the Calico Rock Museum had one of its historical celebrations that ended with a delightful performance by the Peppersauce Players.  The next day was the second Sunday in May which is designated Mothers Day to honor those wonderful ladies.  Horseshoe Bend and Norfork also had festivals in May.  The Lions Club pancake breakfast, a fund raiser for this civic organization, was in May and was well attended.  Memorial Day will be celebrated on May 26th this year which is a Monday but for me it will always be the traditional day of May 30th.  Friends Don and Dr. Max have birthdays in May, on the 15th and 20th, respectively.  Steve and Sandye celebrated their 33rd anniversary on the 16th, the day our youngest grandson, Sam, graduated from college.  And on and on, but Wait!  I just thought of another song.  It goes like this:  “While strolling through the park one day, In the merry, merry month of May, I was taken by surprise By a pair of roguish eyes….”  Well it didn’t happen exactly like that, but I was indeed taken.  We were married on May 28th, sixty one years ago.  Happy Anniversary, Anita.  I love you.      

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Characters No. 2 - May 8, 2014

As published in the White River Current - Thursday May 8, 2014

A new couple moved to town a few weeks ago, hailing from Texas, purchasing a home in West Calico Rock.  David showed up at the church bible study one Wednesday night carrying his Greek New Testament and joined into the discussion with real gusto.  He has been a regular ever since and has also joined our Sunday school class and become a frequent visitor to the worship service.  He is a very interesting person and I have really enjoyed our conversations.  In one of our verbal visits he mentioned his wife and said her name was Linda Withay.  I thought, what an unusual middle name, probably passed down from another generation.  I have tried for several years to get the parents of a soon-to-be-born baby to name their new daughter “Reeda Macksine” (kinda rolls off your tongue, doesn’t it?)  It hasn’t happened yet but I still have hopes.  Anita’s niece and husband, Lynn and Larry, named their two daughters “Lynna and Lara” so, you see, it has happened before and is sure to happen again (soon I hope).  Another example is George’s daughter, “Georgia.”  Before I go too far with this, I guess I had better confess that David’s wife is actually Lynda (you know, “with-a-Y”).  I had the good fortune to actually meet Lynda the other day and found her to be a very friendly, outgoing young lady.  Welcome this delightful couple to our community when you have the opportunity.  This is not the first time I have written about my fascination with names.  It was called to my attention at church recently when someone asked for prayer for “Jackie.”  Our pastor inquired if that was a boy or girl.  The point is, some names are used interchangeably with either sex.  Anita’s boyfriend in high school was “Shirley” a name that he shortened to “Shirl” as an adult.  Don threatened to call off the marriage to Maxine if her brother, Francis, didn’t change his name to Frank (he did and the marriage has lasted for over 62 years.)  In the song “Frankie and Johnnie,” which one is the male?  I have known both boys and girls with those names.  Other examples are Billy (Billie), Bobby (Bobbie), Terry (Teri) and many others too numerous to mention and I think you get the point.  You are probably wondering where I am going with this so I will simply segue into the characters series that I started in the last issue.  His son’s name was Beverly who was married to Zela (Wyatt); they were the parents of Janet, a pretty girl who was in my school class in the Calico Rock school.  His wife’s name was Ruth.  I wrote about her in an episode several months ago.  She was a Quaker, a member of the Friends Church, but was a regular attender of our church and was well known by us boys for her lengthy prayers.  The first initial of his first name was a “B” and might also have been “Beverly” but we always called him “Doctor.”  He was a veterinarian.  A few months after the episode described in the last issue concerning our milk cow and her boyfriend, she presented us with a cute little male calf (we had hoped for a female), but there was trouble ahead.  She had a retained placenta, or in cattleman’s talk “she didn’t shed her afterbirth.”  A call was made to the vet and when he arrived, I was designated for the job as veterinarian assistant, a very important position for an eight year old boy.  My granddad put the rope around our cow’s neck and stood at her head to contain her.  My duties were two-fold; I was to stand to the left of her backside, hold her tail in my left hand and a hold a pan that contained a strong smelling soapy disinfectant solution in my right hand.  The doctor rolled up his right sleeve to his shoulder, soaped up his arm and, after reminding me not to turn loose of the tail, took up his position at the rear of our cow and went to work.  After removing the objectionable tissue from the uterine wall and replacing it with a few large tablets of some type of medicine to prevent infection, the job was completed.  A very eye-opening experience for a young boy but a part of my growing up that I will always remember.  I don’t have any memory of other experiences with the doctor, but I did hear rumors of some of his other activities.  Some of the wags even designated a small community a few miles north of here as “Jacksonville” because of his frequent visits.  As I said, those were only rumors and I was too young to understand anyway.