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The Ozarks Christmas Dinner 1966 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Grandma DeLong and Uncle Richard’s House

The Ozarks

Christmas Dinner

1966

GRANDMA DELONGS BUTTER MOLD

 

Grandma DeLong’s Butter Mold

Grandma Martha Lou Marcum DeLong taught me “How To Milk A Cow,”when I was five years old. No fancy milking machine. I used my thumb and finger on the cow’s udder. Most of the stream of the milk went on me and not in the bucket. I knew I would never be a dairy farmer. Grandma used the milk to churn butter. Once the butter was churned, she used this butter mold to imprint a design into the cake of butter. She used “Clabber Girl” baking powder to make her biscuits from scratch. Once you added the butter to the fresh biscuits out of the old wood cook stove, “It was good eatin’ ! Every breakfast was like a Christmas Day Breakfast !” Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

christmas-tree-logo-photo-two-thumbnail_thumb[1]Home is where I kick my shoes off and feel, “This is where I belong.”

 

In childhood, I felt at home in the big, white clapboard house in Houston. It had an extremely narrow driveway that ended at the garage in the backyard. The property was surrounded by a cyclone fence.

 

In Missouri, home was always Grandma and Uncle Richard’s house. You turned off the state highway and rose up a wide gravel driveway to the top of the knoll. To the left was the traditional worn wood country barn with the hay loft. The driveway ended near the power pole.

 

Home To Grandma’s House

 

To the right of the power pole sat a small house with a built on porch. The yard hadTHUMBNAIL 2 THE OZARKS OLD HOUSE_PHOTO BY SAMUEL E WARREN JR three Tonka trees and a huge snowball bush. The yard tapered down into a ditch beside the highway.

 

Brief traces of white paint were visible on the porch, which sagged under the weight of age. A huge flat rock served as a step on to the porch. In autumn, ricks of wood occupied the porch. In spring and summer,

Grandma DeLong would sit on the porch and look up the road toward Abesville.  If she wasn’t peeling potatoes on the porch, then, she would be sitting outside with her fly swatter ready to swat flies.

There was always a string of hot red peppers that hung on the porch like a string of forgotten Christmas lights. Through the year, people would sit on the porch and “visit” with grandma or Uncle Richard. 

Grandma had quite a few chickens that she shut up in the hen house at night.  I would go with her to “gather up the eggs.”  She would put some of the eggs in cartons in the ice box and sell some of the eggs to people who wanted “farm fresh” eggs.

In the 1960s, grandma also raised rabbits.  Every two or three weeks, “The Old Rabbit Man” would stop by to buy some of the rabbits that she had raised.

 

The Kitchen

 

As dusk began to settle, you would stroll across the creaking wooden porch into the kitchen. To your left was a long wooden table that held two white enamel buckets of water.

 

The bucket nearest the door usually had the dipper in it, in case you wanted a drink of water.

 

There was an old battered gray dishpan that sat on the table and it’s function was that of a sink. You dipped water into the pan and washed your hands. Then, you tossed the dirty dish water out the door into the yard.

 

The white cupboard beside the door held the dishes. The huge white refrigerator sat next to the cupboard.

 

By the wood table was the wood box that held the wood for the cook stove. A white enamel dishpan hung on a nail by the cook stove. Grandma usually sat on her tall, wooden swivel stool by the cook stove. Her stool was at the end of the loud, gaudy, yellow art deco formica topped table, which was the kitchen table,

 

Living Room

 

When you got up from the table you stepped into the living room, which was also Grandma’s bedroom. Her cast iron headboard and footboard were set up against the wall.

 

In the center of the room, in the autumn and winter was the pot bellied cast iron heating stove. A doorway beside the heating stove lead into Uncle Richard’s bedroom.

 

The entire house had three rooms and in the early 1970s a laundry room was built on the back of the house. There was no indoor plumbing, The natural call of nature were answered by a trip down to the hillside.

 

Uncle Joe had built an outhouse behind the house. The house had a gable roof. Siding was a brown brick pattern of tar paper over black tar paper.

 

THUMBNAIL 1 THE OZARKS OLD HOUSE_PHOTO BY SAMUEL E WARREN JRMomma once told me the entire house once sat in the head of a holler, across the road, where Uncle Richard later built a goat house and corral for his wool goats.

In the 1940s,daddy, Uncle Richard and Uncle Hobert moved the house from the holler to the location across the road.

 

The Charley Herman and Martha Lou Marcum DeLong Family had lived on this land since the early 1930s.

 

Rock Porch

 

The back of the house faced the state highway. The two screen doors, near the center, opened out on to a strange rock porch. The concrete foundation of the porch rose up about four feet and the top of the porch was a crude rock garden floor of rocks.

The rocks were, probably, used because they had been picked up out of the yard.  There was nothing special about these rocks.  They were just big,old,sharp, flint rocks of different sizes. Grandma had about six four o’clock plants planted around the porch.

 

Old Tree

 

One of the most amazing feature of the front yard was the ancient tree that set a few yards to the left of the house. It was wide and easy to crawl up into. Cousin Donna, I and our cousins, Bert and Ronnie could easily climb into the tree and sit or play on the branches.

 

Grandma’s house was the center of family social functions. Birthdays, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations everyone made the journey to grandma’s house.

 

The house was small and the kitchen had limitations to timely food preparation. Momma was a good cook, but it took Thanksgiving and Christmas for her to reveal her cooking skills.

 

My childhood house I called the “Hen House” because of the backward slanted shed roof. It was like a badly designed house trailer. However, the house did have indoor plumbing and a working gas stove.

 

The Chores

 

Uncle Richard had his farm chores that involved checking on his 25 head of Black Angus cattle and feeding three sows. He had two Clydesdale work horses, Bob and Fred that he used to plow the corn field.

In the 1960s, Uncle Richard had between 50 and 100 head of wool goats.  In the spring, they would pin up the goats and shear off the wool to put into sacks to take to Crane to sell to a wool buyer.  It usually took two to five days to shear the goats because instead of electric clippers, the scissors were sharp metal.

I always felt sorry for the goats because they looked so funny afterwards.  They had beautiful sets of regal looking horns, but without their wool they looked like they were wearing the type of pink thermal underwear that had the trap door in the back.

 

By the 1970s, Bob and Fred were gone and Kate the old white mule and Hazel the young brown mule inherited the plowing duties.

 

The John Deere Model A tractor had a side starter that was a nuisance to try to start, so it usually sat in the field, near the road, like a forgotten road sign.

 

Whenever some wood had to be sawed there was a long rubber belt that could be put around the starter to operate a saw device, which was another use for the neglected tractor that witnessed Kate and Hazel doing the serious plowing.

 

Momma had her farm chores to do everyday, which involved checking on her 50 head of Black Angus cattle and her growing herd of hogs.

 

Holiday Menu

 

Around the holidays, once her chores were done, then, Momma would start a day before the holiday to cook dinner.

 

Mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, green beans, honey glazed ham with the Dole pineapple rings were the food items on the Thanksgiving and Christmas menus. Black eyed peas were considered “Good Luck” in Texas, so Momma always added the black-eyed peas to the Missouri menu.

 

The DeLong Family all loved the orange sweet potatoes. Momma would always load up a long wide Pyrex dish with the candied yams. The yams are one of the foods that always seemed to disappear quickly.

 

Momma like fried okra, cooked cabbage,spinach and fried green tomatoes She usually found the time to add these dishes to the table.

 

Uncle Richard and I loved pinto beans, so Momma would always cook a big pot, Uncle Richard liked the soup and I liked the beans. Momma always cooked the beans until they just melted in your mouth.

 

Grandma DeLong always used Clabber Girl baking power to make her biscuits from scratch. Momma would begin cooking dishes on our gas stove and in the gas oven at home. Then, she would take the cooked food and more food to cook on the cook stove up to grandmas.

 

Aunt Mary DeLong would usually show up early in the morning of a holiday to help with the cooking.

 

The Cook Stove

 

Grandma DeLong used a cast iron “cook stove”, which was a huge oblong piece of metal that look like an unfinished robot. It had an oblong head supported by a slender throat of metal over a flat cooking surface. In the stomach of the metal beast was a door to an oven. The whole contrapcion sit on four cast iron legs.

 

There were four circular lids that contained an indentation for a metal handle that would be inserted to raise any one of the lids. Once the lid was raised then a stick of wood about six to eight inches was inserted into the iron beast.

 

Kindling, the smaller pieces of wood, and paper were added and lit with a match or a cigarette lighter to get the fire started. One the flames were leaping up between the sticks of wood, then, you put the cover back over the opening.

 

A cast iron skillet was added to the flat surface. And,the metal coffee pot usually rested on the stove. Cooking wasn’t fast on the old “cook stove.” Preparing Thanksgiving Dinner or Christmas Dinner was an all day affair.

 

Frying bacon in the cast iron skillet on the flat surface was done to come up with bacon grease. In the 1960s, before cooking oil and vegetable oil became popular farm housewives used what they had, which was bacon grease to cook with.

 

The hot grease could be poured into a container to cool and it solidified, When you needed it, you would spoon out some into a hot skillet and the grease once again became liquid and like cooking oil.

The Stories

Grandma DeLong was the family storyteller,  Whenever Cousin Donna or I got the chance to spend the day at grandma’s we took the opportunity.  She would sit at the end of the kitchen table on her swivel wooden stool and tell us stories about the early days of Stone County,  She would relate her experiences in The Great Depression.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were usually the days that she got to sit in the kitchen and have people tell her stories about their lives.  Grandma was a “good listener.”  And, Grandma DeLong was a curious person. 

She would ask a question that would sometimes catch someone totally off guard.  They would see the small woman with her silver hair in a French bun and think of her as a “sweet, little old lady.”  But. this sweet, little old lady was always curious and had a sense of humor and would ask her question.

The person being questioned might blush, but Grandma DeLong didn’t get embarrassed.

Thanksgiving and Christmas Days were usually the days that grandma didn’t have to cook. She sat at the end of the bright yellow art deco formica topped kitchen table“supervised” and “visited” with friends who stopped by and family members who sat down at the table.

One of the most comfortable features of being at Grandma’s house was how people would get them a cup of coffee and sit down at the kitchen to talk,  Everyone always seemed to feel at home.  People were always at ease,

Friends, family and neighbors would sit down at the kitchen table and just casually speak about their day and the events that were going on in their lives.

The beauty of childhood is when you observe some actions, you are willing to allow your imagination to supply the rationale.I had a suspicion that the loud, gaudy, yellow kitchen table was actually a scientific, sophisticated gizmo that simply encouraged people to freely express their thoughts and views.

In 1960, Papa Warren, Mama Warren, Aunt Bill and Uncle Audrey came to Missouri to visit for a couple of weeks. When daddy would sit down at the table, grandma would have all kinds of questions to ask about the family in Texas and the job.

 

1958 CHEVROLET _Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr. 0215_resized

American Classic

1958 Chevrolet

This 1958 Chevrolet circles the square, during Stone County, Missouri’s 160th Anniversary Celebration. My Uncle Audrey and Aunt Bill Warren Irwin owned a beautiful emerald green 1958 Chevrolet. Uncle Audrey was meticulous about the automobile. In 1960, Uncle Audrey, Aunt Bill, Papa Warren and Mama Warren came up to The Ozarks from Simpsonville, Texas for a couple of weeks in Uncle Audrey’s ’58 Chevy. As a child one of the factors that I always appreciated about the 1950s General Motors Corporation automobiles were how the designers used the grilles to create a facial expression for the vehicle.   Every time I see a ‘58 Chevy, I smile because it always reminds me of Aunt Bill and Uncle Audrey, Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Home For The Holidays

 

Every two or three years, Aunt Reva DeLong and her husband, Uncle Dennis would arrive to celebrate Christmas.

 

Uncle Dennis served in the United States Marine Corps. They would bring their two sons, Bert and Ronnie. Bert grew up to serve in the United States Air Force. Ronnie grew up to serve in the United States Navy.

 

Of course, when family returned for the holiday, friends and neighbors would stop by to visit. While the adults would sit down to visit over a cup of coffee, we kids would go outside and go into the woods to play.

On Thanksgiving and Christmas Days we didn’t stray that far from the kitchen, so we would go out and play on the old tree.

 

Every Christmas, daddy would bring Uncle Richard a fifth of Seagram’s Seven. Uncle Richard would smile and then go hide it under his bed.

Uncle Richard knew Uncle Joe was suppose to be coming home for the holidays, then, Uncle Richard would take his fifth of Seagram’s out to the barn to hide it.

 

Sometimes Uncle Joe would get time off from the Burlington Northern railroad and come home to celebrate Christmas.

 

Momma, Opal M. DeLong Warren, would of pulled out all the stops and been in her Christmas mode. Once Momma and Aunt Mary was done with the cooking the food would be sat on the table. Everyone would get them a plate and help themselves.

 

Once the dishes were cleared away into the dish pan on the corner of the cook stove, then, the adults would sit with there coffee at the kitchen table and talk.

 

Grandma Delong “went to bed with the chickens”, which meant by 6 pm or 8 pm she would go to bed and the rest of the adults would sit in the kitchen and talk usually until midnight.

 

The family coming home for the holidays. The vast amount of food on the table. The conversations throughout the day until the evening. All of these observations on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days were what I understood to be the meaning of the family getting together for the holidays.

 

Throughout the year, Momma would remind me that, “Family is everything.” Christmas Dinner at Grandma DeLong’s always seem to bring family together from around the United States.  There was always the feeling that everyone who walked through the door looked forward to the opportunity to come back “home for the holidays.”

 

Merry Christmas !

 

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 24, 2012 at 1:43 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Ecology, Family, Food, Money, Nature, Observances, Opinion, Stone County History, The Ozarks, Tourism

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Christmas Cash,Costs,Challenges of The Ozarks 1960s

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Christmas Cash,Costs, Challenges

of

The

Ozarks’

1960s

THE OZARKS OLD HOUSE_Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The Old House

Of The Ozarks

This small house beside Missouri State Highway 176 in Stone County, Missouri in The Ozarks can go unnoticed by passing motorists. This Old House served as The DeLong Family Home in the 1960s. Birthday parties, Fourth of July, Halloween Trick or Treat events,Thanksgiving Supper and Christmas Day Dinner celebrations were held in the three – room house, which had a Laundry Room built on in the 1970s. There was no inside plumbing. Uncle Joe built an Outhouse down on the hillside. While the house did not have the social comforts of some 20th Century homes in The Ozarks; it always felt like “Home” to DeLong family members, who returned to Stone County and the Missouri Ozarks anytime of the year. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

christmas-tree-logo-photo-two-thumbnail_thumb[1]Home in my childhood was “The Ozarks.”

 

The Ozarks is one of the places in the world, where myth and reality live side by side.

 

You live your life in The Real World and sometimes it seems like you look up and see a wild,white-haired Mark Twain smiling down at you with his pen in hand.

 

The heavy snows of winter fall. The scene looks like a Currier and Ives lithograph on a china plate and then you feel the “bone chilling cold” enter your body. You see your breath. You trudge out of the knee-high snow into the warmth of your home.

 

You “warm” by the large, rectangular, dark brown “Warm Morning” gas stove and realize winter in The Ozarks means Christmas is usually just days away.

 

You get a hot cup of coffee and wonder why people think The Ozarks is “permanently stuck in an 1800s Time Warp.”

 

MV5BMTUzNzE1MjY0MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDE3MjU1MQ@@._V1._SX359_SY500_If you ever watched an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies” you may believe the fictional characters represent “Life In The Ozarks.”

 

You would be wrong.

 

I grew up in the Ozarks and I never ate possum.

 

I have ate squirrel.

 

Uncle Hobert DeLong was a “dead on shot” with a rifle. Every time he went into the woods, he came back with a “mess of squirrels” and sometimes “a mess of rabbits.”

 

Of course, no one remembers Jed, granny and the rest of the Clampett were supposed to have been from Bugtussel, Tennessee and the characters get associated with The Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks.

 

Cartoonist Al Capp made a large fortune drawing the comic strip of Lil’ Abner for 43th years that reached 60 million readers in more than 900 American newspapers.

 

Capp’s newspaper comic strip was one of my mother’s favorites. Capp put the characters in Dogpatch, Kentucky, but as a kid everyone though if you were from The Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks, then, you must be like Lil’ Abner.

 

I never went to a Sadie Hawkin’s Day dance.

 

Dancing wasn’t allowed at Galena High School in the 1960s. It was an issue that came up with every senior class wanting a “Prom.” The Baptist and Pentecostal churches of the 1960s in Stone County were vocal in their objections and they kept the prom dance out of school.

 

I graduated in 1973 in a “Graduation Exercises” ceremony, but there was “No Prom” because the churches still didn’t allow dancing in school.

 

 

 

The Ozarks Hillbilly Stereotype

 

No matter how incorrect the “hillbilly” stereotype is about The Ozarks. Americans and foreigners seem to cling to the dumb hayseed and lazy cartoon and television stereotypes of “The Ozarks Hillbilly.”

 

The irony is that the Ozarks is pretty close to the center of the United States and it has always seemed like an “undiscovered country” to foreigners and other Americans.

 

My geographical calculations of “The Ozarks” begins from the southern city limits sign of Jefferson City to the southern city limits sign of Little Rock, Arkansas, which is what I always considered to be, “The Ozarks.”

 

Stone County, Missouri is in the southwest section of the state and borders Arkansas, which means, “reckon I grew up one of them thar’ Ozarks’ country boys.”

 

Missourians in the Ozarks joke, “If you don’t like the weather just wait 15 minutes and it will change.” There is truth to that joke. The weather doesn’t always change every 15 minutes, but in a 24-hour day, the weather can change several times in a day.

 

Pen To Paper

 

To put pen to paper and write a story about Christmas in The Ozarks, I will have to set the stage.

 

There are many famous Missourians from United States Army Generals of the Armies John Joseph “Blackjack” Pershing to “The Most Trusted Man In America” Walter Cronkite, but, usually the celebrities are known as Missourians and not necessarily, “Ozarkers.”

 

Neosho, Missouri’s Thomas Hart Benton put his brush strokes on canvas to paint pictures; I will try to paint a word picture of life in The Ozarks in the 1960s.

 

Tom Sawyer Childhood

 

Life in “The Ozarks” in Stone County, Missouri in the 1960s was like “Tom Sawyer on a tractor and in a pickup truck.” Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Midwest buckboards and stagecoaches were replaced by 18-wheelers, Greyhound and Continental Trailways buses.

 

Rose O’Neill’s Kewpie dolls could be still found in toy stores in the Ozarks. Overall, Life in southern Missouri had not changed all that much since the days of Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose O’Neill.

 

The Tomato Factories” of Reeds Spring, Abesville, and Galena in the 1930s had been replaced with “The Garment Factory” in Reeds Spring and Crane and Crane had a “Casket Factory.”

 

Fasco in Springfield, Missouri employed several people from Stone County. In 1960, Silver Dollar City was just beginning operations. Branson, Missouri in 1960 was “no threat” to country music in Nashville, but, Nashville musicians would begin to head for Branson, during the 1960s. In the area of economics, “times were tough”, in Stone County and southwest Missouri in 1960.

 

Blood Out Of A Turnip

 

Every nation has an economy. Money flows around in the metropolitan and urban areas, but in rural areas the ocean of money flows into a narrow stream that sometimes becomes a dry creek bed. In Stone County, it seemed even the rocks in the creek bed were usually “bone dry.”

 

After The Great Depression and World War II, the United States economy was strengthening. In the rural areas of the Ozarks, being “poor” is still a way of life.

 

In the early 1960s, the local power companies were working hard to provide, stable and reliable electricity.

 

Stone County, Missouri had a reputation of being one of the poorest counties in The Show Me State.

 

Traditionally in Missouri, statistics reveal “Mining” is the major source of manual labor income for the state. Farming comes in second. There were caves in Stone County, but no working mines.

 

Farming is hard work. Even with good weather and the money to buy seeds, livestock and equipment, farming is a full-time job to make a living.

 

Gardening maybe a hobby; Farming is a job.

 

Grandma DeLong like to sum up an economic situation as, “I couldn’t afford to make a down payment on an old settin’ hen with all her eggs rotten.” The purpose of this country statement was to point out that someone was “financially broke.” It was a common financial phrase that you heard in The Ozarks in the 1960s.

 

By 1960s, some farmers in Stone County had had it with “life on the farm.” Some people sold their farms and moved to other states. Some people stayed on their farms, but tried to get a “public job” at Silver Dollar City.

 

When it came to money in Stone County, Missouri and The Ozarks in the 1960s “people minded their Ps and Qs” and sometimes the lack of money was described as “Trying to get blood out of a turnip.”

 

Ozarks Hills And Hollers

 

Corn and tomatoes were the big income producing crops in Stone County, Missouri in my childhood in the 1960s. There were always stories of some of the corn being used to produce “moonshine” and “white lightning.”

 

In the early 1980s, I was “home on leave” from the military and a family friend unscrewed the lid on a Mason jar and asked me if I wanted some of the clear liquid.

 

I thanked him, but decided not to drink the “white lightning.”

 

The geography of Stone County had some cliffs and bluffs in the landscape of the hills and hollers. When the soil was too rough, rocky or poor to raise any other crop, usually the farmer would sew cane and other pasture grasses.

 

Fertilize was not all that expensive, but, the amount needed to nourish the soil and get crops to grow was sometimes too big a chunk of money out of a farmer’s budget.

 

Uncle Richard had one field beside State Highway 176, that the family called, “The Cane Field” because it was too rocky and the soil too poor for any other crop. The cane was used to feed to the cattle in the winter time,

 

Spring and summer usually the crops grew well and there was plenty of pasture to feed the livestock. Farmers didn’t get rich, but they made “the ends meet.”

 

Deep Freeze

 

Winter in southwest Missouri in the 1960s was always Armageddon. Fields were buried under blankets of deep snow. The important contribution of the deep snow and cold temperatures is the weather would kill off chiggers, ticks and snakes as long as farmers burned the brush in their fields and hollers in the early falls.

 

Burning the tree leaves in the hollers that fell kept deep leave beds from filling up the hollers. In the winter time, chigger, ticks and snakes would burrow into the deep leaves to try and wait out the winter until spring.

 

Southwest Missouri’s picture postcard “snows” were efficient in freezing farm ponds, which stayed frozen unless you broke the ice with an ax for the cattle to get a drink.

 

The weight of a Black Angus, Polled Hereford, Jersey or Holstein cow would sometimes shatter the ice and a cow could drown trying to get a drink of water in the winter.

 

Later in the 1960s, someone invented a device to stick in farm ponds in the winter to keep the water from freezing.

 

The deep freeze of the Ozarks in winter would freeze trees. The weight of ice on the limbs would cause the limbs to fall and take down electric lines. If you were lucky, you would be without electricity for a day.

 

On average people usually went without electricity for two to three days usually two to three times,during winter from October through April. The worst case scenario meant you would go without electricity for one to two weeks during the winter.

 

A Country Mile

 

The strength of my childhood came from my family in the Ozarks. Momma, Grandma DeLong, Uncle Richard, Uncle Hobert, Aunt Mary, and Cousin Donna were my family in the Ozarks.

 

In Houston, Texas, I could step out in my front yard. Donna and Debbie Brinkley from the house next door only had to walk out their gate and a few feet to walk into my yard for us to play.

 

In the Ozarks, neighbors always seemed to live a country mile from your front door.

 

Thelma Thomas was my closet neighbor in 1960 and she lived about a tenth of a mile from my front door on top of a hill. Her kids were grown with families of their own.

 

The Galena School District usually included Jenkins and Wheelerville, Missouri, which was only a few miles from Crane, Missouri. And, Crane, Missouri was 10 miles from Galena.The district would extend south to almost Reeds Spring, which was about 15 miles from Galena.

 

Many of my classmates would have to do chores before catching the school bus in the morning. The bus ride for some of the kids meant they were on the school bus for two hours before they arrived at Galena Elementary or Galena High School. After school, they would spend two hours on the bus once it left the school.

 

You would see classmates in school, but the distances and the rural road conditions to their parents’ farms meant that “visits” and social interaction was almost impossible, except for possibly on the weekend.

 

Crane, Missouri was only 10 miles from Galena and we usually only went grocery shopping in Crane on Saturdays.

 

 

 

Life On Planet Earth Before Electronics”

 

Children of the 21st Century will think I grew up in The Dark Ages because there was no Internet, no facebook, no twitter, no computers, no X box, no play station and no cell phones.

 

Yes, there was “Life On Planet Earth Before Electronics.”

 

Fire had been discovered. My father always carried his Zippo cigarette lighter.

 

We didn’t have to use stone tablets and chisels because there was an archaic device called, a typewriter that used ribbons, bond paper and carbon paper that helped people put words on paper for future generations.

 

Telephones Come To Stone County

 

Telephones were being installed in homes, near Galena and Abesville, Missouri.

 

In order to have a telephone in your home if you lived near State Highway 176, you had to be willing to be on “a party line”, which meant when your phone rang, your neighbors telephone gave off a jangle sound,

 

There was one public telephone booth in Galena, Missouri. The phone booth was on the sidewalk by the US Post Office, next to Floyd’s Barber shop, which was next to Rose’s beauty shop, which was next to the Hillbilly Cafe and sat across the street from the courthouse. In 2011, that area is now a parking lot for The Stone County Judicial Center.

 

The reason why the telephone was so important in 1960 was it allowed Momma to call Daddy in Texas and he could call her from Texas. Grandma and Uncle Richard never had a telephone. DeLong and Warren family members, who lived in other states could call us and we could call them.

 

In the 21st Century, when it seems children own a cell phone as soon as they learn to speak; it may be hard to imagine the importance of a telephone in your home, but, imagine for a moment that you lived in the snow and ice of the South Pole and you were trying to make a phone call to your grandparents in the United States.

 

If your grandparents lived in a city like Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles or New York City, it would be easy for them to place a call. But, if you lived in a remote location at the South Pole, there might not be phone lines or cell phone towers, so you might not get the phone call.

Old Missouri Spring Photo by Junior Warren1

Old Missouri Spring

This old spring is on Warren Land in Stone County, Missouri. The Ozarks area of the United States has always been difficult for “people to live off the land” because the soil is poor and rocky. If you need rain; you will get a drought. If you need sunshine;you will get a flood. Nature seems to enjoy working against farmers. Wildlife and insect pest can have a negative effect on crops. The Old Traditional Ozarks Hillbilly concept portrays citizens as dumb and lazy. The truth is an Ozarks Hillbilly is one of the smartest and hard working people, you will ever meet because they use their elbow grease and common sense to work a “Miracle” on stubborn pieces of land to earn a living and raise their families. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

The Miracle Of Life In The Ozarks

 

When you think of “The Ozarks” in the 1960s; you understand the word, “Miracle” is a reality.

 

The Ozarks’ lunar style geography of cliffs and bluffs, poor soil, an over abundance of rocks, moody weather, predator wildlife like wolves and coyotes as well as insect pests; it is a “Miracle” that people were able to live, earn a living, and sometimes prosper in this section of the United States.

 

When you are a child, you open your toys on Christmas Day. Underneath the Christmas Tree, you begin to play with the toys.

 

As a young man, you can find yourself trying to decide if you want to go “Home For The Holidays.”

 

As a senior citizen you can sit back with a cup of coffee or a glass of egg nog and remember the toys and the celebrations. When you look back long enough at your childhood, you really begin to understand and appreciate the sacrifices that your parents made for you.

 

At last, you can understand, the challenges, costs,hard work and the effort that your parents made to make Christmas seem like a “Magickal Holiday” that simply happens.

Sam

thumbnail 1 old missouri spring

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 23, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Crafts, Current Events, Ecology, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Money, Nature, Opinion, Patriotism, Rocks, Stone County History, The Ozarks, Tourism

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Opal The Business Woman Welder by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Parental Portrait for Christmas

 

Opal

The Business Woman

Welder

OPAL M DELONG WARREN_resized

 

Opal

Opal M. DeLong Warren was born in 1920, the year women got the “right to vote” in Missouri. Opal never claimed to be a feminist or a women’s libber, but, she bought land in Missouri in her own name at a time, when a woman usually had to buy land in her father’s name or a husband’s name. She bought land in Texas in her own name, when usually a woman had to purhase land in a father or husband’s name. When it came to “business”, Opal didn’t take risk. Her financial secret was, “she learned to save and manage her money.” During World War II, Opal worked as a welder in the Todd-Houston shipyard.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Opal M. DeLong Warren, my mother, began telling me her “business stories” as soon as my young ears could add meaning to sound.

 

Like my father, Samuel, my mother, Opal, had grew up “dirt poor.”

 

Aries Entrepreneur Grandfather

 

Charley Herman DeLong, my mother’s father, had been born an Aries. He apparently was an Aries man, who never succeeded in a business of any kind.

 

He had tried several different business enterprises in his life and never found his niche.

 

Grandpa DeLong didn’t make it as a farmer, but, his eldest son, Richard the Capricorn learned how to plant crops and raise livestock.

 

Grandpa had a short career as a fur trapper. But, he never made any money selling animal pelts, so his old animal traps got inherited by momma.

 

Missouri Moonshine Manufacturer

 

 

Grandpa DeLong even tried his hand at alcohol production. Not a wise decision, in the years, when “Prohibition” was “The Law Of The Land” in the United States.

 

One of momma’s earliest memories is that her father would have her stay in a holler, during the day, while he went to work deeper in the holler at an undisclosed location,

 

Of course, if their was any “commotion” in the woods, young Opal had been told to yell and run frantically through the woods screaming.

 

Grandpa like other “moonshiners” kept his still hidden in the woods. Unfortunately, the brewing process creates smoke that rises into the sky and can be seen for miles away, especially by the sheriff and deputies looking for the still.  THE LITTLE BROWN JUG OF STONE COUNTY MISSOURI_4584_resized

 

Momma told me she did remember Grandpa staying for a time in the courthouse at Galena. As a young girl, she got to “visit” him for awhile.    

This little brown jug belonged to Charley Herman DeLong, who tried his hand at making Missouri “Moonshine.” Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Stone County, Missouri courthouse records reveal “Grandpa DeLong” was a “guest of Stone County and The State Of Missouri.” He had been caught at his still and didn’t have money for bail.

 

Momma always told me she was “a daddy’s girl.” While momma respected and admired her father, she must of known in her heart that his lack of success in a legal business had to be one of the reasons it was difficult for the family to “make ends meet.”

 

Grandpa DeLong’s

Great Business Decision

 

Grandpa DeLong tried throughout his life to find a successful way to make money for his family. He made one great business decision that stood the test of time.

 

His signature is on the yellowing Bank of Reeds Spring “loan” paperwork where he signed for five dollars to “buy” a pear orchard. The Land joined Land already owned by the DeLong Family.

 

In The Great Depression, the purchase of the pear orchard was a “wise” decision. Commercial cattle and hog feed had not been introduced into rural southwest Missouri farms beyond Greene County. Even if farmers knew about the feed, they would not of had the money to buy it. Cattle had to live off acorns and the pasture grasses and perhaps, some hay in the winter.

 

Hogs find food by routing their snouts in the soil and finding what they want to eat like roots, worms and snakes that slither away too slow.

 

The Slop Bucket

 

In the country, before the 1970s, homes didn’t have waste cans and trash cans. The Slop Bucket sit on the floor. Old dishwater, vegetable peelings, fruit rinds and old meat got dumped into the slop bucket.

 

Before nightfall, the slop bucket was taken down on the hill to the hog pen and poured into the trough. Hogs, “The Almighty’s Ultimate Shredding And Recycle Machines” would consume the kitchen garbage.

 

Hogs are “Bulldozers With An Appetite” because they drop their snouts in the soil and bulldoze away at anything that slips between their teeth.

 

Like people, hogs eat pears. While people pick the pears to eat right off the trees. The pears can also be chilled for use in a dessert. Grandma and other women, would save the pears for the “canning” process to save the pears in Mason jars.

 

Ozarks women were skilled at canning the fruit and using different fruits for preserves, jams and jellies.

 

Through the years, the pear orchard provided the DeLong Family, the hogs, and local neighbors with bushel baskets of pears for food. While the DeLong Family, to my knowledge, never charged anyone for picking pears, there are commercial orchards in the United States where the farmers charge people to pick the fruit,

 

The pear orchard is an excellent example of a piece of land that always paid for itself several times over until it was sold with the rest of the land in 2007.

 

Martha

My Virgo Agribusiness Grandmother

 

Grandma DeLong, a Virgo woman had to earn a daily living for the family. She would gather the chicken eggs, milk the cows to churn butter and then walk miles to a local store at Sack And All City, a rural grist mill and country store, or to Reeds Spring to sell them to a larger grocer.

 

In spring through autumn, Grandma and Uncle Richard would take the buckboard wagon into the woods to cut down trees for two weeks at a time, They would take the logs on the wagon to Reeds Spring to sell to the Union Pacific buyer, who bought the logs for railroad ties.

 

On the DeLong Land in Stone County, Missouri, Grandma DeLong always “put out” a large “truck patch” garden. She would use her “Ladies’ Birthday Almanac” to plant the vegetable seeds in the “sign.”

 

Blackberry Season and Gooseberry Season, Grandma DeLong would “fetch” her bucket and head off down over the hill into the hollers to pick the berries for pies, cobblers and canning.

 

The Tree Tragedy

 

On one of these annual berry-picking trips, one of grandma’s sisters from Springfield had come to visit for the day. Grandma’s sister went into the woods with the rest of the women to pick berries. A tree fell on the woman.

 

An obituary in the Springfield newspaper recounts the tragic accident. The old tree simply fell and the woman was unable to move out of the path of the falling tree.

 

The Land Plan

 

My Virgo grandmother with the help of Richard, her eldest Capricorn son always made the ends meet to raise the rest of the family whether they lived in a holler, near Reeds Spring, or out on the highway between Galena and Abesville.

 

Grandma and Uncle Richard raised the livestock and the crops that paid for the DeLong Land between Galena and Abesville. Uncle Richard worked with an extension agent to get two ponds dug and stocked on the farm with catfish.

 

Human Shock Absorbers

In his younger years, Uncle Richard would break the ground by Highway A and plant rows of corn. One year, Cousin Donna and I sat on the disk harrow that was attached to the back of the John Deere A Model tractor.

 

A huge rock surrounded by bailing wire was tied to each end of the harrow to try to keep the metal frame weighed down close to the soil. I and Cousin Donna were the human weights that sat on the plow.

 

The slender metal disc points went down into the soil and kept digging up rocks of all sizes from Stone County’s rocky, dusty, light gray soil. By day’s end, Cousin Donna and I looked like we were covered by the volcanic ash of Mount Pinatubo.

 

The soil had been broke to plant the corn. We had sat on the plow, which had been dragged over the acreage to break the soil. The Life Of A Human Shock Absorber is not a job I ever wanted after being bounced around over the countryside for 12 hours.

 

Farm Ponds For Fishing

 

The ponds provided water for the cattle, hogs and a few head of horses and mules. Uncle Charley Ball, of Springfield, Missouri, always looked forward to the visits to “Richard and Marthy” because he could take the fishing rod out of the back of his green 1952 Chevrolet sedan and go sit on the pond bank to fish and smoke his pipe.

 

Grandma and Uncle Richard’s agricultural business decisions allowed the DeLong Family to farm and own 360 acres, on both sides of State Highway 176 in Stone County, in southwest Missouri from the 1930s until 2007.

 

Opal’s First Public Job

 

Opal had always been tall for her age. She went to school and learned to cook for her brothers, who were out in the fields farming, near Reeds Spring and later, near Abesville, Missouri.

 

At a young age, Opal worked for a few weeks cleaning house for a woman in Galena, known as “Grandma Stewart.” She lived in a white house, across the road, in front of the Warren Lumber Yard. “I made 25 cents a week. I got paid to clean her house,” said Opal.

 

Opal’s First Public Job of earning a regular salary was in northern Missouri.

 

Brother Willie decided to become an “outdoors man” and lived off the land, near Reeds Spring and James River, hunting and fishing. Willie had a son, Harold, and a daughter, Reva. His life ended abruptly at a country wedding reception, near Reeds Spring, in the early 1930s.

 

A gunman began shooting people and Uncle Willie was fatally wounded.

 

Brother Hobert moved to a farm near Abesville. He and his wife, Mary had two sons, Bill, Bob and a daughter, Donna. Uncle Hobert always had the reputation of being a “marksman” and an excellent hunter. He would always return from the woods with “a mess of squirrels or rabbits” for dinner.

 

Brother Joe went to work for the Burlington Northern railroad and later retired back to Stone County, Missouri. He had a daughter, named Darlene, who lives in Michigan.

 

Opal, my Pisces mother, learned how to drive by sitting in a Ford Model T and having one of her brothers push the vehicle at the top of a hill. “As the vehicle rushed down off over the hill on the rough, gravel farm road, the engine would start. I would hold on to the steering wheel and turn it to keep the Model T in the road. That is how I learned to drive,” said Opal.

 

At about age 16, Opal hitchhiked up to northern Missouri and got a job on the Illinois and Missouri border, near St. Charles, Missouri. She was tall for her age, so no one asked for an I.D., and momma got her first job as a clerk in a “liquor store.”

 

She only worked at that job a few months, but, in the process, discovered “relatives” on her mother’s side that she never knew existed.

 

Carol Jane Bellamy

Sagittarian Family Banker

 

My great-grandmother and my mother’s grandmother,Carol Jane Bellamy, a Sagittarius woman, had left northern Missouri and moved to Stone County, Missouri sometime near 1900.

 

Great-grandmother Bellamy the Sagittarian, outlived her first husband. When her second husband didn’t want to leave northern Missouri. My great-grandmother embraced the Sagittarian passion for travel and the maternal love for her daughters and son and left her husband for a chance at a better life in Stone County, Missouri.

 

It was the right decision. Grandma Bellamy raised her children and became a financial role model for her Pisces granddaughter, Opal.

 

Momma always remembered, everyone was poor, but, Grandma Bellamy never went hungry and she kept her children from going hungry by always having enough money for food.

 

Long Lost Relatives

 

A woman who walked past the liquor store thought my mother looked familiar. She went in and talked to her, A few days later, the woman returned with a photo album. She asked momma if any of the people in the photographs looked familiar. Momma recognized a maternal aunt in one of the photos. Suddenly the family connections to northern Missouri cousins became clear and obvious.

 

You Have To Earn Your Way In The World

 

A young woman of The Great Depression, momma knew “You have to earn your way in the world,” Momma loved to remind me, “The world will not ‘give’ you a living; you have to ‘earn’ your way in the world. Work for what you have and want. No one is going to give you anything other than a hard time.”

 

Hospital Cook

 

Opal left northern Missouri and returned to Greene County, in southwest Missouri. For a brief time, she worked as one of the cooks at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.

 

The old nuns on staff at the hospital were jealous of all the young girls on the staff and in the nursing school. They had all kinds of rules that made work and life difficult because they were always looking over your shoulder,” said Opal.

 

The cooking job at St. John’s didn’t pay enough to put up with that kind of silliness from the old nuns. I quit and found another better paying job that allowed me to make my own decisions about my life,” said Opal.

 

Railroad Bar And Grill Waitress

 

Then, momma went to work at a bar for railroad men, near Commercial Street in Springfield Missouri, and close to the Frisco railroad yard.

 

The railroad men worked hard and would come into the bar for something to eat or drink. I never had any problems being a young girl and working there. Times were tough. No one really had any money. You usually made enough just to get by from week to week,” said Opal.

 

The Bombing Of Pearl Harbor

 

I’ll never forget the day World War II started for the United States. I was sitting in a theater in Springfield, Missouri. They stopped the movie. The house lights came on. They made the announcement over the loud speaker that Pearl Harbor had just been bombed,” Momma said.

 

I was a young woman in Springfield. At the time, I was engaged to Lowell Wilson, a young Marine. His parents owned the Cortez Motor Court in Springfield. I really wasn’t ready to get married.”

 

When the war broke out, I talked to some other young women, who had joined the Army and the Navy in Springfield. I had my heart set on joining the Army for a time. There was an Army camp in Springfield. You could join up and serve, without ever leaving Springfield they told me,” said Opal.

 

Opal and another waitress at the railroad bar talked about the war. Then, on a whim, they went to the Greyhound bus station. They looked up at the destinations and chose Texas.

 

Momma and her friend, knew no one in Texas.

 

The Bus Trip

 

The decision was one of the craziest things I have ever done. I still don’t know why I did it. My friend and I were just tired of living and working in Springfield. We had no idea where we were going or what we were doing. We just went for a bus ride. We got on and off at the different stops,” said Opal.

 

We got off the Greyhound in Dallas. We looked around. She liked the look of Dallas and didn’t get back on the bus. I got back on the bus. When the bus, stopped in Houston, I got off and decided I liked the looks of Houston,”said Momma.

 

I walked out of the bus station and had no idea what I was going to do. I only had a few dollars left in my purse. I got a room at a boarding house, near the bus station for two dollars a week. The next day, I went out looking for work. I saw a newspaper ad that they were hiring welders at the Todd-Houston shipyard,” said Opal.

 

Bread And Water

 

I didn’t have any money for food. I just had a few cents left in my wallet, so I bought a couple of slices of bread. Water was free. I got a glass at the boarding house and got me a glass of water to have with my bread,”said Opal.

 

The heat in Houston would wear you out just walking up the street. There was an old electric fan in the room. I drew a tub of cool water and took my clothes off. I got in the tub, ate my bread and drank my water,” said Momma.

 

She had an overnight bag and a small suitcase to put in the boarding room closet. “I got up and got dressed the next day to go out looking for a job. I had a nice white satin blouse I wore. I got the job and they sent me straight to welding school the same day,” said Opal.

 

The Satin Blouse

 

Arc welding throws off sparks that hit my blouse all over. By the end of the day, I had all these tiny burnt pinholes all over my blouse. I was so embarrassed. I hunkered over in the bus seat. I kept my head down and my arms folded hoping that no one would notice how my skin was showing through the blouse. That was the longest bus ride home that night,” frowns Momma.

 

Anyone who ever met Opal M. DeLong Warren knew she was not the type of woman to act on a “whim.”

 

Youth can trump logic and common sense. The optimism of youth can shrug off the “Fear Of The Unknown.” Young people don’t fear the future; they challenge it.

 

Opal stayed on the job at the shipyard throughout the war building ships for the United States Navy, United States Merchant Marine, United States Coast Guard and welding on the “liberty ships.”

 

We were always so proud whenever we finished one of those big, beautiful ships. We would attend the christening and watch the ship slip down the rails of the dry dock into the water. Then, I would get sad. I would think about all the boys, who were going to sail on that ship into war,” said Momma.

 

The FBI Special Agent

 

Another welder at the shipyard, introduced himself to Opal. “He was a lousy welder. You would always have to go back, chip away at his welds and brush away the slag metal. Then, you would have to run a good bead of metal over the work. I couldn’t imagine why the bosses at the shipyard didn’t fire this man. We always had to go back over his work,” said Opal.

 

FBI LOGO_resizedHe invited me for a cup of coffee a couple of times. I always turned him down. “Then, one day, he came clean. He admitted he was an FBI agent working under cover. At first, I thought he was pulling my leg.”

 

A few days later, he did show me his badge. During the war, there was always the fear of saboteurs. There were posters all around the shipyard and the bosses and the foremen would always remind you, ‘Loose Lips Sinks Ships,’”said Momma.

 

He told me he had been sent there to look for someone. He didn’t get specific. I didn’t ask questions. He wanted me to introduce him to some of the workers around the shipyard and I did. He must of got whoever he was looking for. A few weeks later, we gave him a going away party as a welder, who was leaving,” said Momma.

 

Dollar Document

 

She reaches into her purse and takes out a one dollar bill. Carefully, she holds it and a portion of the dollar folds back. “I had never seen anyone split a dollar bill this way. At the party, he asked me for a dollar. I watched him move it between his fingers, until it started to separate. Then, he had people at the party sign the inside of the dollar bill. He laughed and told me, now, I had a souvenir to remember him by.” Momma laughs,”I still remember, he was a lousy welder.”

 

Lousy Painter

 

Opal became a shop steward at the shipyard. “I met your daddy at the shipyard. After he got his honorable discharge from the Army, he got on out at Todd-Houston as a painter. A friend set me up on a blind date for Thanksgiving. I wasn’t impressed.

 

Your daddy was a lousy painter. A friend told me later that the first time Sammy seen me, he told his friend, ‘I’m going to marry that woman.’ I accepted his invitation for a second date. We started dating. Then, in January of 1947, we got married,” said Momma.

 

Samuel E. Warren made a smart decision to marry Opal M. DeLong. His second smart decision was to marry her on his birthday, which meant he would never “forget” his anniversary.

 

Family Is Everything

 

Momma always stressed the importance of family to me in her business conversations. “You get many things in life. The only thing that matters is family. You get one mother. You get one father. Your brothers and sisters can’t be replaced. Once they are gone – they are gone. Always love and take care of your family. Family Is Everything,” she would emphasize time and again.

 

Momma told me that wherever she worked, she always sent money home to her mother. The psychology of the Ozarks at that time would never view the money as “charity.”

 

People in the Ozarks have a stubborn “work ethic.” The money was simply money from family for the family. And, family always takes care of one another.

 

Balancing The Books

 

As a kid, I would always smile whenever money changed hands in the DeLong Family. They always took a simple act of human kindness in the family and made it seem like Federal Reserve bankers accounting for each coin and currency in a US Mint shipment.

 

If Momma went to a grocery store and saw food or drink that grandma and Uncle Richard liked, she would buy it. Grandma DeLong always made Momma get her “change purse” and take out the money to pay for the groceries.

 

Uncle Richard always did the same thing if Momma picked up groceries or farm supplies for him.

 

It never mattered if the cost was a few cents or several dollars, Grandma and Uncle Richard always made sure Momma got paid back any money she spent for them.

 

Birthdays and Christmas were the only times that you could give Grandma DeLong or Uncle Richard a “gift” because they had the Ozarks belief that “You Pay Your Way In Life.”

 

Save And Manage Your Money

 

When Sammy and Opal got married,for a time, they lived at Opal’s apartment at 1414 Austin, Houston Texas. Opal M. DeLong Warren in her business stories always emphasized “Family” and “Save Your Money And Learn To Manage Your Money.”

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 20, 2012 at 7:35 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Editorial, Family, Money, Opinion, Stone County History

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The Little Things Of Life “Washing Powders” Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

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WASHING POWDERS_3048_resized

Washing Powders

Martha Lou Marcum DeLong, my grandmother, back on the farm, near Abesville, Missouri, would call this elongated package, "Washing Powders."

 

In the Republic of the Philippines, this package is laundry detergent, which comes in a bar form. This long bar can be broken into about four pieces to be sold for laundry.

 

As a young single man, I did some laundry, usually I would save it up and let my mom do it, when I went home for a weekend from college.

When you move to live in a foreign country, the big differences are always obvious.  It is “The Little Things Of Life” you sometimes miss. 

In 1988 in Angeles City, near Clark Air Base, you could not buy ketchup off base.  In the Johnny’s store in Balibago, a section of Angeles City you could buy UFC banana catsup, but, not tomato catsup.  I’m a country boy, I love tomatoes in my ketchup.

Furthermore, the one crop that always put and kept Stone County, Missouri on the world and national map is the big, red, juicy, mouth-watering tomatoes.

Fortunately in 2012, at Robinson’s Place in Tacloban City, you can buy Del Monte and Heinz tomato ketchup.  You can even buy Folger’s coffee in the three-pound can. 

Still, I miss the big orange box of Tide on the store shelves. There are orange packets of Tide for laundry detergent in the Philippines  — it just ain’t the same. 

On the bright side, bleach still comes in the gallon plastic jug.  Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Hog Day Afternoon — Photo for Wade Martin, American Farmer, Stone County, Missouri

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Hog Day Afternoon Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr._7707_resized

Hog Day Afternoon

Photo for Wade Martin, American Farmer, Stone County, Missouri

This hog rests under a coconut tree in Barangay Balud, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines. The hog is resting on a hill top. Behind the hog, is a drop off of about 10 feet straight down into the river, which shows up as a yellow color in the top of the photo.

I grew up on a hog farm, between Abesville and Galena, Missouri, in rural Stone County. My mother used about 10 acres of land for 25 head of hogs, Duroc, Hampshire and Yorkshire breeds to raise numerous litters of feeder pigs for market. From 1960 until 1982, before the county voted in Planning and Zoning, the hogs loved to “root” their snouts in the soil and wallow in beds of leaves in the hollow. The woven wire fence with the strand of barbed wire, usually kept the hogs in the field.

Every now and then, Momma would have to put a “ring” in a boar’s nose to keep him from “rooting under the fence” and getting out on the state highway. Filipino farmers don’t usually have the acreage to allow the hogs to roam, so it is not uncommon to see a sow or boar tethered to a tree.

Wade Martin, of Abesville, Missouri, is one American farmer, who could appreciate the weather and real estate limitations that Filipino farmers have to endure to raise a feeder pig for meat for the family or trying to get a litter ready to go to market.

I shot this photograph about 2:30 p.m., February 24, 2012. February is usually a cold month, with at least one snowfall in southwest Missouri and farmers are grateful if the temperatures rise about freezing – 32 degrees. On this February day in Leyte, it was around seventy degrees, which explains why the hog was stretched out for an afternoon nap in the heat. Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Life in the Ozarks Snapshots Feature – SUMMER DAYS ON HORSE CREEK

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Life in the Ozarks Snapshots Feature

SUMMER DAYS

ON

HORSE CREEK

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The far cattle gate of Warren Land is just a skip, hop and jump from Horse Creek Road , as the crow flies.

Horse Creek Road – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is one of the first views you see after turning off of MIssouri State Highway 176 on to Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Horse Creek Road – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is another of the views you see driving down Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Usually when someone mentions “Horse Creek,” you think of the church that holds regular religious

Horse Creek Road – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is another of the views you see driving down Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

services as well as weddings and funerals. I even took my camera and shot a wedding at the Horse Creek Church around 1986.

Visitors and tourists to Missouri sometimes have a different reason to “go down Horse Creek” : James River.

The Missouri Department of Conservation maintains the H.L. Kerr Access down on Horse Creek Road, which has a boat ramp that allows people to be able to put their boats in the James River. During the Spring and Summer, traffic passes the house and turns off the main highway to “go down Horse Creek.”

The Horse Creek Swimmin’ Hole

One of my fond memories of Horse Creek is I almost drown in Horse Creek as a child. Uncle Richard had taken, my cousin, Donna and I to Horse Creek to “go swimmin.’” It was in the early 1960s and, basically, Horse Creek was just a local “swimmin’ hole. People knew about “float fishing” on the James River, but Horse Creek didn’t have the popularity it has in 2011.

In the 1960s, the orange life vests weren’t that popular for use up and down the James River. Table Rock Dam had only been up and running a few years. Southwest Missouri had yet to become associated with water sports. Fisherman and professional anglers came to Galena to go “float fishing” or to fish for bass and catfish, but canoes and kayaks were not usually associated with the James River in and around Galena. Fishing and not boating was the allure that brought people to Galena and the James River.

Us, Stone County kids went wadin’ into the water to look for minnows and tadpoles. We, local kids called it “swimmin’, but, basically, we would sit on our backsides in a shallow spot in the river and lean forward so that our heads stuck just above the water. We’d move our arms and pretend to be swimmin’.

I hadn’t learned to swim.

Donna, really knew how to swim.

Donna and I were playing on old automobile inner tubes, near the shore. I hadn’t been paying attention to the current in James River, which had carried me farther from the shore than I needed to be.

Needless to say, I paniced! I hooted like an owl ! I screeched like a banshee ! Donna was in the water near the shore.

Uncle Richard had been “hard of hearing” since birth. I’m screaming my lungs out ! I’m scared. I’m frightened. I’m frantically waving my arms. The river current has carried me from the safety of my shallow spot. My feet aren’t touching the bottom anymore !

Donna saw me and must have thought I was fooling around in the water. She just looks at me. I’m waving my arms like a puppet with broken strings and screaming. Suddenly, she starts to slowly swim toward me.

I had gotten a whistle out of a box of Cracker Jacks, which I wore on a string necklace around my neck. I’m screaming ! I’m blowing the whistle fiercely for help. I’m bobbing around in the water like a fisherman’s busted bobber.

I go under !

I come up!

Water in my eyes blurs my vison, which only frightens me more. My hands thrust out. I slap the water ! I go down into the water again. When I come up, the toy whistle is full of water. All I’m blowing is wet air.

Donna is swimming toward me. I’m reaching out and shreiking ! I’m about six or seven years old, so I’m freaking out !

I see Uncle Richard, on the bank, at the back of the old black 1952 GMC pickup – naturally, he has his back to me. I look and Donna is swimming faster toward me. I struggle to stay afloat.

Fortunately, Donna reaches me.

I survived that day on Horse Creek in the James River.

Birthday Party At Horse Creek On James River

My childhood friend, Jack Gordon had a birthday in August. His mother, Loretta, and my mother, Opal, were friends. Thus, for a year or two Jack would have his birthday party at Horse Creek and all us kids would wade or swim in the James River.

One of the nice scenic views of Horse Creek is the massive bluffs that tower over James River at that location in the river.

People come from around the United States to “float fish” or canoe the James River. Still, as a child, I only went down Horse Creek to go swimmin’.

Horse Creek Church – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River, curves past the Horse Creek Church, which is one of the oldest churches in Stone County, Missouri. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I’m sure, the Missouri Department of Conservation has rules and guidelines on safety in and around Horse Creek, which would be posted on their website.

Horse Creek Road – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is another of the views you see traveling along Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Take the advice of a Stone County Old Timer, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation websites and their blog. Read and pay attention to the information, so when you visit Horse Creek and James River you’ll have an idea of how to go about wisely and safely enjoying your time on the river.

Horse Creek Road Trees Joplin Tornado Damage Photo 2 – This photograph was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is another of the views you see driving down Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. The bend in the left hand side of the road shows trees that were damaged in the thunderstorm the night that the EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Horse Creek Road Trees Joplin Tornado Damage Photo 3 – This photograph was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. The trees on the right hand side of the road in this photograph were damaged during a thunderstorm the night that the EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. Joplin, Missouri is 78 miles from Galena, Missouri, but the thrunderstorm collapsed at least six turkey houses along Stone County’s Horse Creek Road. One person reported witnessing two funnels touchdown and pass through Abesville, Missouri, which is about four miles from Horse Creek Road. The trees damaged in this photograph reveals another location along Horse Creek Road where the violent winds of the thunderstorm made a path through the trees, Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Horse Creek Road Trees Joplin Tornado Damage Photo 1 – This photograph was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. The trees in this photograph were damaged during a thunderstorm the night that the EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. Joplin, Missouri is 78 miles from Galena, Missouri, but the thrunderstorm collapsed at least six turkey houses along Stone County’s Horse Creek Road. One person reported witnessing two funnels touchdown and pass through Abesville, Missouri, which is about four miles from Horse Creek Road. The trees in this photograph reveal the brutal violence of the thunderstorm that spawned the EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri. The force of the winds that past through Stone County that evening twisted, snapped and even peeled some of the bark from these trees on Horse Creek Road. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Today, when I stroll over across the road into the cattle pastures of Warren Land, my farm dog, “Sarge”, sometimes likes to chase squirrels, raccoons and groundhogs through the cedar trees to near Thelma Clines old homeplace. Then, Sarge, dashes further into the woods to take a dip in the hidden cattle pond in the holler. I keep strolling through the pasture and Sarge knows that I’ll be waiting in the far cattle pasture by the end gate.

Horse Creek Road – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. This is another of the views you see driving down Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

At this gate, I can lean over the gate and watch vacation traffic round the curve and slow down to look for the turn off to Horse Creek.

Horse Creek Church – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car window.. Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River, curves past the Horse Creek Church, which is one of the oldest churches in Stone County, Missouri. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In 2011, I can stand at the gate and watch the large recreational vehicles slow down to look for the county road turn off, Fancy dual wheel “babe magnet” pickups, pull their shiny, expensive bass boats, but, they too, slow down to look for the turn off. The brake lights come on and I know the vehicles are making the turn to “go down” Horse Creek to James River.

I pat Sarge on her head. “Time to head to the house, Sarge. Those people are going fishing on Horse Creek.”

Horse Creek Church – This snapshot was taken July 9, 2011 through a car windshield. Stone County’s Horse Creek Road, which runs alongside James River, curves past the Horse Creek Church, which is one of the oldest churches in Stone County, Missouri. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sam

Right or Left ? Stone County’s Horse Creek Road merges into Missouri State Highway 176. If you turn left on to the state highway you will pass through Abesville, Missouri. If you turn right on to the state highway you will drive over James River and pass by Galena, Missouri. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

HORSE CREEK – JAMES RIVER – LINKS

Horse Creek Road – Missouri Department of Conservation H.L. Kerr Access http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/Applications/MOATLAS/AreaSummaryPage.aspx?txtAreaID=6413

Hootentown – H.L. Kerr Access http://hootentown.wordpress.com/kerr/

Missouri Department of Conservation Fishing Prospects http://extra.mdc.mo.gov/fish/prospects/?m=14

Missouri Department of Conservation Missouri Watersheds http://mdc.mo.gov/landwater-care/stream-and-watershed-management/missouri-watersheds

Missouri Department of Conservation: Missouri Outdoors http://missourioutdoors.blogspot.com/2011/04/missouri-department-of-conservation_14.html

James River Basin Partnership http://www.jamesriverbasin.com/

Galena Y Bridge – Table Rock Lake Vacation Guide http://www.gotablerocklake.com/table-rock-lake/galena-y-bridge/galena-y-bridge.html

Southwest Missouri Conservation Areas List http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Missouri_conservation_areas_-_Southwest_region

TOP SECRET – STONE COUNTY

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EDITOR’S NOTE:

This article is my observations of growing up in Stone County, Missouri in the 1960s. Stone County is a rural southwest Missouri county that neighbors Taney County, which is usually most famous for being the home of Branson, Missouri.

Stone County is a rural conservative county. Politics centers around a “fanatical”, i.e., “die hard” support of the Republican party. There are more than 150 churches in Stone County, which usually has the Baptists ranking above the other Protestant religions. Usually, the Pentecostals rank a close second. In terms of economics: Stone County at the end of the 20th Century would be considered a poor county, even in a depressed U.S. economy.

Galena, Crane, Reeds Spring, Cape Fair, Kimberling City, Abesville and the majority of Stone County towns are the classic Sinclair Lewis and Norman Rockwell “small town American towns.”

This is the county, I grew up in.

In 2010, Stone County really hasn’t changed that much, except the Stone County Sheriff’s Department now has more than 20 deputies.

The article is my observations and analysis. I hope you enjoy the article.

Junior Warren
Editor,Writer, Photographer, and Stone County, Missouri Old Timer

A Stone County Old Timer Editorial

Top Secret – Stone County, Missouri

by Junior Warren

Step up to the cipher lock of the massive steel doors and punch in the numbers.

Slowly, the six-inch thick steel doors part and open outward. The rotating red beacons, beside the doors, comes to life and tosses out their rays of crimson light.

You step through the doors.

Once inside, you continue into the secure subterranean area. Technology transforms nature’s large cave into a complex secure government facility miles down inside the earth. You stroll along the asphalt path lit by the uniformly spaced overhead recessed cavern lights. The massive underground bunker doors halt. The twin doors sensors scan the entrance. The concealed infra red beams scan the opening. The motion sensors and surveillance cameras confirm no unrecognized heat signatures.

The massive twin steel doors move and swing close. You hear the metallic thunder click of the massive steel vault locks in the doors seal behind you.

“Welcome to Stone County, Missouri.”

You’ve just stepped into Stone County, Missouri in the 1960s.

Stone County, Missouri of the 1960s
really isn’t that different from
Stone County, Missouri in 2010.

Area 51 – Midwest

Long before background checks or America’s Gated Communities of the 1980s became fashionable, Stone County, Missouri was essentially an Area 51 in the Midwestern United States.

People are familiar with the “Southern Hospitality” of the southern states and their cities; “Ozark’s Hospitality” can be ever bit as friendly, but, has to be earned over time. You don’t just show up and 24 hours later expect to be treated like a long lost friend. People in the Ozarks have to get to know you and “warm up” to you.

Growing up in the Ozarks in the 1960s was a lot like living inside a secure enormous government facility. You felt protected from the Outside World. The terrain of Arkansas’ Boston Mountains could be considered the southern most boundary. The usual belief is the northern most limits of the Ozarks imaginary boundary stops a few miles south of Jefferson City, Missouri, the state capitol. The natural terrain of the Ozarks area in the 1960s always gave the residents a sense of maximum security.

In the years before cell phones and computers, the height of technology was black and white televisions tuned to any one of the two local stations Channel 3 – KYTV, or Channel 10, KOLR. Both stations usually signed off at midnight, Monday through Friday.

Party Line

You got on a waiting list to get telephone service. When you finally did get a telephone, it would be a Party Line. Thus, when your phone rang it meant at least three other people on the phone line would hear their phones “jingle.” People on the party line knew you were getting a phone call because their telephones made a muffled rumbling sound like a phone trying to ring under a pillow. In those days, eavesdropping tended to be a major pastime for some people. It was obvious because some of the information that you and the caller talked about would usually become public knowledge from Abesville to Galena a day or two later.

Keep Watching The Ozarks

There were three popular local radio stations KWTO – “Keep Watching The Ozarks, “in Springfield, 40 miles away from Stone County, Missouri and KTTS, also in Springfield. Some people would tune in to KSWM in Aurora, Missouri, also about 40 miles away. These were the three local radio stations that were usually listened to in the 1960s in Stone County, Missouri.

The Springfield newspaper

The two major newspapers were The Stone County Republican and the Springfield Leader and Press, which was usually just called the Springfield Newspaper. If you lived in Crane, Missouri, you might subscribe to the Crane Chronicle, but, in the early 1960s, that newspaper usually didn’t circulate to far outside the Crane city limits.

People didn’t lock their doors day or night. They left the keys to their cars and pickups in the ignitions.

The nearest hospitals, in the 1960s, were about 40 miles away. You would drive north 40 miles to Springfield or south, “as the crow flies” to Aurora. The Skating hospital was being built in Branson in the 1960s.

The geography and infrastructure of southwest Missouri in the 1960s, essentially kept Stone County, Missouri as isolated and as mystical America’s legendary “Area 51.”

Stone County’s Top Secret Security Measures

Stone County’s Greatest Security Measure in the 1960s were the people.

Visitors were usually uncomfortable on their first visits to Stone County. Time and again, the comments were, “people in Stone County are stand off-is” It was true. All non residents were simply “Strangers.”

No amount of background checks, security clearances, security badges mattered to the residents of the time. If you lived outside of Stone County, Missouri you were a “Stranger.” Whether you were the President of the United States of America or the Governor of Missouri; it did not matter. If you didn’t live in Stone County; you were a “Stranger.”

All strangers had to earn the trust of the local citizens. It was a slow process. Most visitors didn’t understand it.

While most visitors in the 1960s came to Stone County expecting to find a “Beverly Hillbillies Hospitality;” they were disappointed. True, some men wore overalls and grandmothers worn nondescript cotton dresses. No one was jumping up and down to invite you to their house for “possum vittles” on the fancy dining table with the six pool pockets.

Twilight Zone Address ?

A visitor or stranger to Stone County in the 1960s might feel as though he or she had actually arrived at a “Twilight Zone” address or wound up on the set of the science fiction television series “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.” Stone County citizens simply had to “warm up” and get accustom to being around a new visitor or stranger.

Stone County citizens had a different approach to visitors and strangers than neighboring Taney County.

The Reverend Harold Bell Wright’s “Shepherd Of The Hills” novel had put Forsyth, Hollister and Branson, Missouri in the national spotlight and Taney County, Missouri had become a household word in the 1960s. Meanwhile, next door, Stone County remained a mystery to most Americans.

National Political Obscurity

Stone County, Missouri, had Dewey Short, Galena’s favorite son, and the United States 7th Congressional District congressman. But, if you weren’t into national or state politics in the 1960s, then, you probably had never heard of Stone County, Missouri or Galena.

Hunters and fisherman were familiar with Stone County, Missouri.

Folklorist Vance Randolph’s stories had drawn hunters and fishermen to Stone County. Bill Rogers, a local fisherman and hunter, acted as a local guide and operated the Bill Roger’s Motel, on the banks of the James River, beside the Y Bridge.

Galena, Missouri – Float Fishing Capitol Of The World

The large painted bass on the billboard on the corner of the square bragged: Galena, Missouri – Float Fishing Capital of the World. People did come from throughout the United States to float fish the James River. Usually, they would put their canoes in at “Horse Creek” and float down the James River to the boat dock, near the Bill Roger’s Motel.

Buttermilk Springs

One reported stop along the way was a place called, “Buttermilk Springs.” Loretta Gordon told me why the stop was called Buttermilk Springs. In those days people drank buttermilk. When fisherman came to float the James River, some of the local citizens would put jars of buttermilk in the cold water to chill until the visitors in the canoes arrived. They would buy jars of buttermilk to take back home with them, before continuing their float trip on to Galena. Loretta had worked as a waitress at the Bill Rogers Motel, so I remembered her account.

Moonshine Stills Along James River

One urban legend is that Buttermilk Springs might have been a location where visitors could buy local moonshine. In Stone County, Missouri, in the 1960s, the soil allowed you to grow hay, tomatoes and corn, in relative ease. Corn is a principal ingredient in moonshine. Throughout, my childhood in the 1960s, Stone County, Missouri had a notorious reputation as a location for the production of “moonshine.”

By the late 1970s. Federal, state and local authorities were roaming the hillsides searching for marijuana plants. Still as late as the late 1980s, there were rumors of hidden “and still producing ‘moonshine stills’ in Stone County, Missouri.’”

Stone County’s Area 51 Mystique

The Area 51 Mystique Of Stone County, Missouri continues in 2010 because the overall psychology has not changed. A Stranger is still a stranger.

To become comfortable and accepted in Stone County, Missouri, there is only one thing you can do: You must live here.

“The Stone County, Missouri difference”

Living in Stone County, Missouri is unlike living any other place on the planet. I’ve lived on military bases. I lived on base in Okinawa and off base in Misawa, Japan. I lived off base in Angeles City, Philippines and off base in Bossier City, Louisiana – to name a few places. Overtime, you usually feel at home and feel as though you can blend in. Stone County, Missouri is different.

Most places I’ve lived in around the world you could choose to immerse yourself in the culture or to sit on the sidelines and be an observer. I believe to live in Stone County, Missouri, you really have to become a part of the culture.

To feel at home in Stone County, Missouri, you simply have to live here. The feeling will not come in six months or a year. It probably will be closer to 29 years before you wake up in the morning and actually feel like you belong.

If you move to Stone County, Missouri, it helps to know or have some proof that a great-grandfather or great-grandmother lived here at one time. Still, that link to the past doesn’t make you “welcome” by traditional standards.

“Newcomers”

People who move into Stone County, Missouri are called, “Newcomers.” When I was a child, in the 1960s, the only way that a “Newcomer” would be accepted is to live in Stone County 20 years. The “Old Timers” of the day referred to anyone and everyone, who moved into Stone County as a “Newcomer” until they had lived here 20 years.

That is the magick number – 20 years to be considered a “citizen of Stone County” by the “Old Timers.” Nothing under 20 mattered. If you lived in Stone County, Missouri, 19 years and 364 days and then moved, if you moved back into the county later, then, you would be called a “Newcomer.”

Find The Ancestors

Alex Haley’s book, “Roots,” had everyone tracing their ancestors in the 1970s. People talked about their ancestors. You had people trying to find their ancestors, who had served in the Civil War, on either side, In the years before computers, people took great efforts to try to trace their ancestors back to the Daughters of the American Revolution or the Mayflower.

Meanwhile, in Stone County, Missouri, the only heraldry, lineage or coat of arms that meant anything to local citizens were your grandparents. You could have been a direct descendant of General George Washington or General Robert E. Lee and Stone County citizens would of smiled and said, “That’s nice.”

The next question would have been, “Who is your grandpa ?”

Respectable Grandparents

Stone County Heraldry and Lineage in the 1960s focused on your grandparents. If your grandparents were well thought of and respected in Stone County, then, a complete “stranger” got the benefit of the doubt and it didn’t take local citizens as long to “warm up” to that person and accept the individual as a friend.

If either grandparent had been considered less than honorable in Stone County, then, the grandchild was simply considered a “newcomer.”

None of the rules were written down, but they were understood. Grandparents and Old Timers in Stone County carried weight that would be the envy of the chair people of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee.

The Old Timers Of Stone County

The Old Timers Of Stone County were simply elderly men and women who had lived most if not all of their lives in the county. When they told you something it was almost always based on their lifetime experiences.

The Old Timers Game

In the 1960s, college graduates who moved into the county and decided to become farmers like to try and prove to the Old Timers that they were “wiser” and “smarter” because they had college educations. Usually, the Old Timers just shrugged off the bragging of the younger college educated farmers. Sometimes the youth went to far in bragging about their college educations from the University of Missouri, Southwest Missouri State University or the School of the Ozarks.

Then, the Old Timers would play their game. They would tell the youth something that they had observed all their lives. The Old Timers knew that human nature being what it is, most if not all, of the young farmers would ignore their lifetime wisdom and experience. The end result is The Old Timers would have the last laugh. The most certain information in the 1960s was the Memorial Day Hay information.

Memorial Day Hay

Old Timers would tell Newcomer farmers time and again: “cut, bale and get your hay out of the field before Memorial Day – May 30.” Usually, the newcomer farmers would tune into the radio, TV or read the newspaper weather report and make their decision. Through the years a lot of Stone County hay rot in the fields.

Newcomers didn’t always listen and they would almost always lose some if not all of the hay. Perhaps, it is just a freakish weather occurrence, but, even in 2010, if you have hay cut and lying in the field waiting to be baled, there is a good chance it will get rained on during the May 30 Memorial Day Weekend.

Old Timer’s Stories

An Old Timer might not know you, but, if you told him or her your grandfather or grandmother’s name, then, they would smile and start in with the stories about your grandparents. Having lived in the county all his or her life, the Old Timer would of known your grandpa probably all the way back to his grandpa or grandma. Old Timer’s in Stone County, “didn’t pull punches” in their storytelling. They would tell you their accounts and “let the chips fall where they may.” There was no political correctness, especially among the Old Timers, in Stone County in the 1960s. They were great sources of information because they would tell you stories that some families had tried for years to hide as though the event never happened. The Old Timers had long and clear memories.

Little Hoss Jennings

In my childhood, one of my favorite “Old Timers” was “Little Hoss Jennings.” A short man, about five foot two inches, who wore railroad pin stripe overalls and would sit on one of the benches underneath the large trees on the courthouse lawn. He also worked part-time as a dispatcher in the Stone County Sheriff’s Office, when it was in the courthouse I’d listen as he would tell people stories of bygone days of Stone County.

Back To Square One

Grand kids, nieces, nephews, and long long cousins, who came for the summer didn’t figure into the Stone County citizenship equation. It may have made them feel good to have spent time roaming the hills in the summer, but, if they came back years later to visit or live, then, they would be considered “Newcomers.” Basically, the person would go back to square one because “summer vacations” weren’t considered “living in Stone County.” And if none of the Old Timers remembered you, then, you were a “newcomer.”

Disownment

There are references in American history where a parent refused to acknowledge a child. Growing up in Stone County in the 1960s, there were times when you would hear of a parent or grandparent that refused to recognize a child or grandchild. Usually, the policy to “disown” a child came out of an act like a child being born out of wedlock. The family that “disowned” the child would not speak their name, nor, would they admit any type of connection to the disowned child.

Even in the 1960s, in Stone County, there were family members that could be considered “Black Sheep” because they didn’t fit into the overall family pattern. Family members considered “Black Sheep” were recognized; but, a “disowned” person simply didn’t exists by Stone County standards.

DNA’s discovery in the 1970s served to prove legal and medical issues of heritage, but, if a grandparent or grandparents had “disowned” a child, it would be the decision of later family members to admit or deny that person’s connection to the family, after the grandparent’s deaths.

Natives of Stone County

In 2010, a person can claim to be “a native of Stone County.” In the 1960s, to be “A Native Of Stone County” was like being a recipient of the Congressional Medal Of Honor. In the 1960s, if an Old Timer overheard someone making the claim of being “a native of Stone County; it wasn’t unusual for the Old Timer to call the person’s bluff on the spot/ Remarks like, “You haven’t live here that long.”

By the Old Timer’s definition: Natives of Stone County, Missouri are those people who can trace there family back at least two generations and usually three. Once, you’ve lived in Stone County for 20 years, then, you begin the process, but, by the Old Timers standards, you have to live here and raise your kids and watch your grand kids start to grow up before you could be called or considered, “a native.”

Green Horns, Tenderfoots, Tin Horns

In the 1960s, Newcomers to Stone County, Missouri were seldom taken seriously. People would move into the county with ideas. Usually in two or three years the disappointed “newcomer” would move to another city or state. Green Horns, Tenderfoots and tin horns were the names usually given to people who came to Stone County with ideas of how to change the county.

In the 1960s, Stone County was definitely a farm county. Farmers milked Holstein, Guernsey and Jersey cows. They raised Angus and Polled Hereford beef cattle. Hog farming was in it’s heyday with farmers raising Hampshire and Duroc pigs. Tomatoes, corn and hay were the crops.

Ozarks Hillbilly Stereotype

“The Beverly Hillbillies” TV show went on the air in the 1960s, The daily publication of Al Capp’s “Lil Abner” comic strip in newspapers contributed to America’s stereotype of the “hillbilly.” The recently opened “Silver Dollar City” and “Shepherd of the Hills attractions had people coming to Taney County like the Oklahoma Land Rush. The popularity of “The Baldknobbers” music show sprouted like corn, especially when “Hee Haw” filled the nation’s air waves. It seemed everyone wanted to see the stereotypical “hillbillies” in their native surroundings.

People who showed up with business opportunities in the 1960s, usually left frustrated. Basically, if the ideas didn’t relate to agriculture; people weren’t interested.

In the 1960s, most people farmed. Some wives worked at the garment factories in Reeds Spring or Crane. Some wives worked in the shoe factory in Marionville or the casket factory in Crane. A few people worked at the courthouse. The Stone County Sheriff’s Department from the 1960s through the early 1970s had one sheriff and usually two deputies for daily law enforcement throughout the county. There was at one point a Stone County Sheriff’s Posse, but, in the 1960s, it was usually local citizens who rode their horses in local parades.

Central Intelligence Agency World View

Neighboring Taney County always seemed to have a “Cosmopolitan View” of visitors; Stone County, Missouri had the “Central Intelligence Agency World View.”

In the 1960s, the Central Intelligence Agency was the ultimate super secret agency shrouded in secrecy. Ian Fleming’s James Bond made a “spy” and the “secret agent” popular in the American culture. Despite the critics, in my lifetime, the CIA has always been known as the government agency that keeps “secrets” and gets the job done, on behalf of all Americans.

Like the CIA, Stone County, Missouri citizens “keep their secrets,” “mind their own business,” and go about their daily lives.

Basically, you live in Stone County, Missouri and over time, then, you will be accepted.

People in Stone County were always friendly, but, they never did the “Welcome Wagon” routine. You might actually live in the county several days or weeks before a local resident welcomed you to the county because the standard Ozarks mentality was people didn’t “butt in” and everyone minded “their own business.”

Moving into Stone County, Missouri didn’t mean that you were anonymous. Whether it was a single man, woman or a family; within a few days, usually a few hours, people would know your complete background and history.

Stone County Grapevine

The Stone County Grapevine of the 1960s went beyond anything Uncle Sam could come up with in the age before computers. You might not know your new neighbors, but, they would know your background and family history, within days of you moving into the county.

It didn’t matter if you moved into or near Galena, Abesville, Ponce de Leon, Crane, Cape Fair, Kimberling City, Reeds Spring,Bass Holler or a remote area in the county, within hours of your move into the county, people would know about you or would know “of you,” which meant that although they had never met you, they had already heard “stories about you.”

Your Reputation

Within days of moving into Stone County, Missouri, a newcomer would have a “reputation” based on the stories about the person that circulated around the county about the person. Whether the “reputation” was true or not did not matter, Once a person’s “reputation” got around the county; all the “newcomer” could do was either “live up to it” or try and “live it down.”

Always an unspoken factor in your reputation was that of “your parent’s reputation” and “your grandparent’s reputation.” If either of your parents or grandparents weren’t liked or thought “well of,” then, that was always a consideration in a person’s reputation.

Slow To Accept Visitors

In my lifetime, Stone County, Missouri is unique because the local culture has always been slow to accept “visitors.” The natural geography is still an obvious factor. The hills and bluffs of the countryside suggest s sense of fortification from the outside world.

The technology of the day probably contributed to the slow acceptance of visitors and strangers. The slow growth of infrastructure, no doubt, provides the continuing sense of security. In 2010, it is still basically 40 miles in any direction to the nearest hospital. However, Greene County hospitals in Springfield are accustomed to emergency medical helicopter flights into and out of Stone County, Missouri.

‘A’ Bomb Scare

When I began going to Abesville Grade School in 1960, “the A Bomb scare” was a part of life. You went to bed at night and hoped that the “Soviet Union” would not launch their nuclear missiles or that Soviet bombers would not violate U.S. airspace and drop the dreaded “Atomic Bomb.”

By the third grade, I had found the address of the U.S. Superintendent of Documents and had wrote off to request the advertised plans to “build your own underground bomb shelter” I spent the next nine years pleading and begging with my mother to build a bomb shelter.

In 1969, Momma built a pole barn for the livestock. In 1978, I joined the U.S. Air Force. I never did get my “bomb shelter.”

The “Cold War” and the whole “United States versus the Communist” psychology was a real concern in the 1960s and 1970s.

20th Century Election Night Festivities

In the 1960s and 1970s, someone would park their pickup on the street in front of the courthouse. A big chalkboard would be in the pickup bed and someone would write the incoming vote tallies on the board for everyone to see. People either crowded around the pickup or would sit across the street in Gene Hick’s Cafe and Drugstore and stare out the large glass windows as the election eve results were being written on the chalkboard. Everyone waited to see who “Would Be The Next Sheriff Of Stone County.”

Crowds of people would fill the street and move around the pickup waiting to see who the next sheriff and president would be. Once the announcement was made and the vote tallies were written on the board, then, people would head home.

No one ever cared about who would be a Stone County commissioner or county clerk in the 1960s. In the 1960s, the “Power of Stone County” was known to rest in the Sheriff’s Office.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the only elections that really mattered were “The Sheriff Of Stone County” and “The President Of The United States.” Galena was the native home of Congressman Dewey Short, until he retired in the late 1970s. Thus, in the 1960s and 1970s, it didn’t really seem to matter who would be either of Missouri’s U.S. Senators.

Perhaps, Jefferson City, the state capitol, was considered too far away at the time to worry about. I don’t remember anyone really caring about who got elected governor or any of the senators or representatives who got elected to the Missouri General Assembly.

Of course in the 21st Century, Stone County residents seem more concerned with the election results, even if the ceremony in front of the courthouse no longer occurs on election night. Jefferson City isn’t that far away after all.

Cleared for Stone County

In 2010, in Stone County, Missouri, people use their cell phones, computers, send email and have their Facebook, My Space, and Twitter accounts, which they update while watching Direct TV or Dish Network television. The cities don’t look much different than any small towns in America. And, Galena, Missouri, the county seat, is one of the eight towns in the United States known as Galena.

You simply enter and leave the county by crossing any of the shared county lines from Barry, Christian, Taney or Lawrence counties Satellites circle the globe and broadcast their radio, TV and cell phone signals into and out of Stone County.

Area 51 Mentality

Secrecy occurs naturally in Stone County, Missouri. The traditional concept of “minding your own business” is a part of the county’s natural psychology. Outgoing and friendly people might feel like they are on a Hollywood movie set for a science fiction movie on their first visit to Stone County because the local people do seem distant.

In my lifetime it has always been this way. People meet you slowly and get to know you over time. The intent is not to make anyone feel like they are in the middle of an “X Files” episode or movie.

Stone County, Missouri is not located a mile below the earth with an impressive Cheyenne Mountain type of entrance. Nor, is Stone County, Missouri located in a parallel time and space dimension that will require you to have precise mathematical calculations or mystical, magickal incantations to open or close any kind of portal.

Perhaps, the best way for a “newcomer” to ever feel at home like “a native” is to try and understand Stone County’s “Area 51 Mentality.” You live in an area of the United States where the weather is as stable as a politician’s promises – frequently changing. Stone is an accurate description of the soil. Change of all kinds: political, religious, economic, social and technological – are slow process that occurs at a snail’s pace over time in Stone County, Missouri.

Junior Warren
Writer, Photographer, Stone County, Missouri Old Timer

Stone County, Missouri US Gen Web http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mostone/stone.htm

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