Sunday, June 22, 2014

Summertime - June 19, 2014

As published in the White River Current - Thursday June 19, 2014
“In the good old summertime, In the good old summertime, Strolling down the shady lane, etc.”  My goodness!  What happened to spring?  Only two more days until the longest day of the year, then it’s downhill from there to the cold days of December.  I like summertime.  I’ve been cleaning out and defrosting the freezer, getting ready for the sweet corn then the fresh peaches.  When we lived in the house where we raised our two children, we had a large garden with several rows of sweet corn.  My cousin and neighbor, William Reed, gardened with me and raised the squash, eggplant, tomatoes and other veggies.  Oh, we ate good.  There’s nothing better than fresh vegetables straight from the garden.  We don’t garden anymore.  When we first moved back from Missouri, we set out a few tomato plants but we’ve given that up.  My planting and tilling days are over.  However, I might be able to help in the harvest if any of you need some extra assistance.  Just give me a call.  Now, we aren’t starving and won’t be as long as we can scrape up a few bucks to purchase some fresh produce.  Plus, I have discovered some ways to get a free meal now and then.  The pickers and grinners that meet at the community room every other Friday night is a good choice.  Take along a dish to share potluck with those friendly folks and stay for some good music and singing.  Our church has a men’s breakfast the first Saturday and a potluck dinner after church every third Sunday.  Come on by, you’re invited.  Or join the hospital auxiliary, 20/20 group, chamber of commerce or any of the other service organizations.  They usually have some tasty refreshments after their meetings.  I really like the potluck meals.  That’s when the ladies prepare their best dishes and we all eat too much and suffer the rest of the day.  Now there are certain churches that I won’t mention that prefer to call these meals “carry-in dishes.”  They are the same group that let their preachers sleep in the parsonage instead of the manse like the rest of us.  Maybe that sounds a little more sophisticated or something.  Now, simmer down, I’m only joking.  By the way, I’m working on a new plan.  I have noticed that almost every Sunday, there is a gathering of folks at the park pavilion, probably a family reunion.  Now if you drive by real slow on your way home from church, you can tell if they are eating.  If they are, stop and saunter over and strike up a conversation with some of the folks.  I figure if you play your cards right, someone will invite you to stay and enjoy the meal with them.  After your second or third time you will have gotten the hang of this and developed your own technique and it’s good eating from there on.  Don’t feel bad about doing this because there are always a lot of leftovers will be tossed into the trash cans where stray dogs or raccoons will get into and cause a big mess and then you will really feel bad because you could have help prevent it.  Also it helps to keep a mental image of all the hungry people in Africa and other parts of the world and that will lessen any feeling of guilt that you might have.  Now that’s the plan I am considering.  What do you think of it?  Will it work?  I’ll keep you posted.  Years ago several church couples met at the Wingard’s forest home on Friday nights during the summer.  We would share potluck and the kids would swim in their pool.  These were great times.  Jim and Lorene were both real characters.  I hope to write more about them in a later column.  We also were members with five or six other couples that formed a sort of supper club that took turns hosting the group in their individual homes, meeting on a regular basis, maybe Saturday nights (I forget exactly).  In the latter of these groups, the hosts would cook and furnish the main dish with the others bringing along a dessert or such.  We don’t do those things anymore, too tied up with TV sports or Fox News, probably, so we just eat a bowl of Post Toasties, kick back in the lounge chair and nod off until time to get up and go to bed.  That’s a typical evening at the Perryman house.  I hope you have a great summer and maybe I’ll see you at the park next Sunday after church and we can enjoy some good eating.    

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The month of May, page 2 - June 5, 2014

As published in the White River Current - Thursday June 5, 2014

June is busting out all over and I ran out of space before I finished my May comments in the last issue.  To continue, quickly, when I was a little boy I always looked, with great eagerness, for the warm weather that came with the month of May.  Then I could put away my brogan shoes and go barefoot (except to church) and I could also retire my long handle underwear until the cold weather in the Fall.  I really enjoyed going barefoot in the summer.  It only took a short time to toughen up the soles of my feet.  Of course, I would occasionally stub a toe or step on a bee but it would be worth it for the fun and for the feeling of freedom.  I don’t see any barefoot boys very often now.  Too bad!  They don’t know what they are missing.  The second thing that I left out of the last issue was graduation, which always occurs during the month of May.  Now don’t tell me that I should have discussed this topic a few weeks ago to make it more calendar correct.  I write this stuff as it comes to mind whatever the season.  Anyway, I remember my senior year in high school very well.  At that time, back in the forties, classes, from the first grade through the twelfth, were held in the old two story building that once was a Calico Rock landmark.  The exceptions were the vocational classes which were held in the home economics building and the agriculture building.  The HE building still stands and is in the National Record of Historic Places but the agri building is long gone.  When I was a senior, I belonged to the journalism club.  We published what may be the first yearbook ever done for our school.  It was named “The Pirate.”  We also published a monthly newspaper with the title “The Pirate’s Prattle.”  Pretty cute, wouldn’t you say?  My job was to type the stencils and operate the mimeograph machine.  I do not believe I learned any journalism skills there that have carried over to my writing a column for this newspaper, but “who knows?”  By the way, our class advisor was Miss Opal Toothaker.  Graduation week began with the Baccalaureate service at the Methodist church on Sunday morning at 11:00 AM with all churches dismissing their regular services in order to attend.  A former Methodist pastor, Rev. Clarence Wilcox, delivered the message.  The Commencement Exercises were held in the school gymnasium the following Friday night.  Miss Toothaker was the pianist at both these activities.  Bethel Hendrix was the valedictorian and I, in my usual finish in second place position, was the salutatorian.  The title of my short address was “The Future Still Our Own.”  I still have a copy of this speech which, although dated, could be used in graduation services today.  To round out the commencement program, my uncle Roy Perryman gave the class address; the school board president, U. E. Hudson, presented the diplomas and the school superintendent, Euel Story, presented the diplomas (Mr. Story was also our basketball coach).  There were 29 of us in the class of 1947, perhaps the best class to ever graduate from Calico Rock High School.  There are still 16 of us scattered across the country with a few still in the Calico Rock area.  Conventional wisdom most of the time dictates that bigger is better.  I think that you can see that is not necessarily correct by comparing graduates from a small school in a rural area like Calico Rock to those from urban areas and larger schools.  Calico Rock graduates can compete and hold their own with just about anyone.  Consider one of my classmates, George Kemp.  George was the baby of our class (he is five days younger that I am, also graduating at age 16).  He grew up in the Pleasant Valley community just north of town.  I hesitate to call the residents of that community “poor,” which I think is more of a generic term, but many of them were certainly financially disadvantaged, but very good, friendly people, nevertheless.  George (nicknamed “goat”) was quite a character. He joined the Navy after high school.  After a four year enlistment, he enrolled in the University of Arkansas and earned a degree in electrical engineering.  Later he received his Master’s degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.  Several other class members excelled in their profession.  Oh, and me, I graduated from pharmacy school, second in my class, of course.