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.