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Weekend Plans in southwest Missouri ? Summer Photo Feature

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Weekend Plans in southwest Missouri ?

Into James River

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Fisherman carries his catch of blue gill from the James River. “Galena, MIssouri – Float Fishing Capitol Of The World” – Before Table Rock Dam became famous for water sports, anglers came to Galena and the James River to go “float fishing” from the 1930s through the mid 1960s. In 2011, visitors and tourist still journey to the waters of the James River around Galena to canoe and kayak. Still some people bring their fishing pole and fish from a boat, one of the banks or wade out into James River. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

One of those weeks. Everything that can go wrong – Did.

The temperatures have been through the roof – and you felt like you were sweating in the shade. How many more hours until the week end ? You can’t wait to kick your shoes off and just kick back and relax. Have you already made your plans for the weekend ?

A Chair To Relax In On A Bank Of The James River – One local landowner has the right idea. Pull up a chair and watch the canoes float by. Bring your chairs to the gravel bars of the James River and relax. But, please, leave this man’s chair alone. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Grocery prices seem to keep rising. And, gas prices are out of this world with no end in sight. The TV news and

Secluded Cabin on a bank of the James River at Galena. The heavy rural foilage and vegetation in and around Galena make it a paradise for people who want to get back to “The Great Outdoors.” The James River weaves in and around the countryside, which is still home to deer, raccoons, wild turkeys and foxes. The massive bluffs ov Horse Creek that look down on James River will amaze tourists and inspire photographers. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

the news stories that show up on your computer make it seem as if the “Whole World Is Going Nuts !” Thank God for the Week end.

How many hours until the week end ?

If you are looking for an idea to relax. Consider James River. If you live in northern Arkansas or southwest Missouri, then, one way to relax and get away from the cares of the world is to kick your shoes off and wiggle your toes in the waters of James River.


Bring a fishing pole and fish off the banks of the James River or relax on one of the gravel bars and just watch children playing in the river.

Galena. Missouri is a small town of under 500 people, in southwest Missouri, near Springfield, Republic, Nixa, and Branson on the banks of the James River.

You can spend the day on the James River and should still be able to drive into Branson for an evening music show.

Sitting In The James River – Sometimes a writer and photographer has to leap into a subject with both feet. On this day, I waded into the James River and found a shallow spot to sit in the river and let the water flow around me.I also promised myself if I ever win the Missouri Lottery that I would buy one of those waterproof housings for my camera. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

In The James River – In the Spring and Summer, there are shallow places in the river by Galena, Missouri, where you can wade into the river or relax on a gravel bar. If you pay attention to the current, you can sit in James River and lean forward with your camera and get a photograph of the water flowing under the Y Bridge. Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr.

If you have a short canoe trip in mind, then, you might consider putting in at Horse Creek, which is basically about

Man’s Best Friend Stands Guard On A Gravel Bar In James River. One pet owner brought his dog to allow the animal to be able to “dog paddle” and swim in the river. Later the dog, got comfortable and stretched out to enjoy the afternoon sun. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

half-way between Abesville and Galena, Missouri.

Time To Shove Off – Weekends and days off, during the Spring and Summer, are times when you can put a boat, bass boat, canoe or kayak into Missouri’s James River at different points along the 130-mile waterway and enjoy a day of boating or fishing. This boat rests on a rock on a bank of the James River, near Galena, Missouri. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sam

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

Rocket’s Red Gare Over Galena Pride. Politics, Patriots

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Rockets’ Red Glare – Over Galena

Pride,

Politics,

Patriots

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Galena, Missouri is one of those Norman Rockwell towns that seems best represented by oil paint on canvas.

Galena, Missouri, a small town in the Heartland of America that gets immortalized by a Ralph Waldo Emerson or a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Galena, Missouri is the kind of small town that has New York City, Boston, Hollywood, teenagers in big city high school English classes smirking, “Yeah, Right, dude. Galena. Missouri – Like some small town like that ever existed Maybe, on Paramount’s back lot or in one of those writer guys’ imaginations.”

Galena, Missouri does exists

The Situation Report

Galena, Missouri is a small town of about 500 people in southwest Missouri. We are 78 miles from Joplin, Missouri, which makes us less than a hundred miles from the famous city in Kansas, named Galena.

There are actually eight towns or cities in the United States of America named Galena.

Galena, Kansas is a famous mining town.

Galena is a precious mineral used in lead and used in making ammunition.

The irony of Galena, Missouri is that an early explorer supposedly saw a mineral in the river that he identified as Galena and thus, Galena, Missouri would be born.

This Galena is a small town, which for decades boasted about being “The Float Fishing Capitol Of The World.” The Bill Rogers Motel on the the shores of the James River would welcome hunters and fishermen from throughout the United States.

Table Rock Dam went operational and people quit coming to Galena to go “float fishing.”

Hidden In The Hills

Most of Galena’s businesses in 2011 are out on the shoulders of the state highway. But, if you turn off the highway and go around the hillside or up the road into the city, you will find Galena. Missouri.

The 1920 Stone County Courthouse on the National Register of Historic Places is the hardest working tourist attraction in America because the building has offices, where work still gets done. The Bank of Galena Museum is the other tourist attraction in town. Outside of the funeral home, bank, medical lab, and the Masonic Lodge – basically, county government moved in to take over the abandoned storefronts of the square. The Baptist Church sits near, but not on the square. The new library is in town, but off the square proper.

Y Bridge Park

Over the railroad tracks, you find the Y Bridge Park, which sits directly across from a private home, which was Dick Lebow’s DX Service Station in 1960.

July 4, 2011 — In the city park, people began stopping by to see what the Galena Park Board was up to. The annual fireworks display is set up on the Y Bridge and people can watch from the park.

Mother Nature’s warm attitude sent people strolling into the snow cone concessions on the park grounds. Some grandparents looked for comfortable places to sit up their lawn chairs or a spot to sit on on the ground, while anxious parents rushed around making last minute preparations.

The dunking booth caused a few youngsters to limber up their arms for a possible future in the St. Louis Cardinals. Some kids smiled to show off their face painted kittens and flags. Meanwhile, parents, especially mothers, rushed about with wide pieces of ribbons and long stemmed flowers.

The long lowboy tractor trailer trailer sit front and center and commanded the center stage spot. Hidden behind patriotic pennants and beneath a humongous American Flag, the presence of keyboards, drums and displayed guitars suggested, “the band isn’t in the house – yet.”

An arched white metal trellis entwined in vines sprouts up on the flatbed trailer and like a fairy godmother, the young master of ceremonies seems to magically appear.

Tiny Tots Time.

Stone County’s smallest citizens make their debutante debut. The little girl’s stroll out on to the portable stage. The emcee asks questions and the youngest girls stare back at all the people in the crowd. Judges make their decisions and trophies are awarded to Stone County’s young future Miss America Contestants. Then, the band steps on stage and entertains with a variety of rock and roll and country and western music.

Meanwhile, Bingo is going on under the rural pavilion with the baby blue telephone poles. While the band plays, a few children dance to the music. Everyone is enjoying the sunshine and waiting for the fireworks. I wander around and take some photos for prosperity and my blog.

Then, I get asked if I want to call out Bingo numbers. Why not ?

The Aquamarine Compote

Back in the mid-1960s on the courthouse lawn, during a Stone County Fair, I and some devoted Bingo players settled in to a long highly polished dining room table to play Bingo, on the east lawn of the courthouse. They probably loved the game.

Me, I had my eye on an aquamarine compote to give my mother. That Bingo game lasted until midnight because I still remember how tired everyone seemed, when the person in charged announced the time and said that was the end of the night’s bingo.

I never did win the compote.

But, the man in charge of that Bingo game allowed me to pay ten dollars to buy the compote. At least, I got the compote for my mom.

Bingo Baby Boomer

This Fourth of July, I was willing to try my talents at calling out the numbers. I do have one of the best of all qualifications – I have a big mouth.

Most of the players seemed to be smiling and winning, so I kept calling out the numbers until the game ended before the fireworks started about nine p.m.

The people in the park seemed in a festive mood as I strolled out of the park to find a location to shoot fireworks photos. The number of people in the park reminded me of my childhood in the 1960s and 1970s: Election Night.

Election Night in the 1960s and 1970s, people would come to Galena for election results.

Give Me That Old Time Politics – Election Run Up

Politics in Stone County and Galena, Missouri in the 1960s was like being Neil Armstrong ready to step on the moon – it was an adventure. The excitement in the air was like taking the enthusiasm for the Academy Awards, the Miss America Pageant, The World Series and The Super Bowl and rolling it into one event called: Election Night.

In the 1960s, Independents were like wood nymphs no one could prove they existed – and no one cared.

In the 1960s, there were Democrats in Stone County, but, they were covert.

Democrats were like CIA agents – everyone suspected them of being Democrats, but know one knew for sure. Unless a Stone County Republican died in office and a Missouri Democrat Governor appointed a Stone County man to serve out the term – you never knew.

In the 1960s, Stone County still celebrated Galena’s favorite son, Dewey Short. The congressman had gotten Galena the Y Bridge and gotten Stone County Table Rock Dam and the United States Navy even named a ship, the U.S.S. Stone County. Thanks to Congressman Short’s popularity, no Republican would dare pass up Galena or Stone County.

Congressman Gene Taylor campaigned at political rallies in Stone County. I listened to State Senator Emory Melton at one of the political rallies. I even attended a political rally and fish fry at Shoals Motel for a Republican challenger to Sheriff Tommy Walker. Most of the aggressive, get out the vote, campaigns of the 1960s were not against Democrats, they were Republicans squaring off to take the county nomination in August for the November election.

Crane, Missouri – 38th Parallel Of Missouri Politics

The Crane Broiler Festival was always an important Political Demilitarized Zone: The 38th Parallel Of Missouri Politics. By the broiler festival in late August, Missouri Republicans had earned their local and county party nominations, showing up at Crane to make speeches always helped to bring hold out hardliners into the fold and to remind the people, who said, “I vote for the person; not the party” – that they weren’t in Kansas in ruby slippers – they were in Stone County, Missouri – where even Jesus Christ was expected to vote Republican!

In more than 50 years of life, I never recall a Democrat or an Independent ever speaking at The Annual Crane Broiler Festival.

Election Night In Stone County In The 1960s

Come Election Night, you knew collectively Stone County voted “A Straight Republican Ticket,”; what you didn’t know was how the rest of America voted?

Election Day people would begin drifting into Galena to wait for “the fireworks.” Once the polls closed, then, information would start to find its way around the square. There was always a carnival atmosphere in town. Galena, Missouri has always been a town that “rolls up the sidewalks after 4 p.m.,” but – election night people would sit on the courthouse lawn, camp out in one of the businesses on the square and wait.

A pickup would be parked on the street in front of the courthouse. In those days, the Stone County Health Center was Gene Hicks Cafe and Pharmacy. You could sit in the cafe and watch someone in the back of the pickup scrawling the changing election numbers on to the two joined and tepid blackboards. Some of the local old timers would camp out on the church style pew benches leaned up against one of the trees.

Everyone always waited for the results of two elections: The President Of The United States Of America and The Sheriff Of Stone County.

All the results were yelled out from the back of the pickup before the figures were scrawled on the board, but usually people only seemed to really care about who got the White House and who gets to be The Sheriff Of Stone County.

Sometimes some people would be concerned about who became The Governor Of Missouri and, in later years, some people seemed interested in who won election as County Clerk or one of the county commissioners – Usually, though, in Stone County – the President and the Sheriff were the Big Dogs that kept people on the edge of their seats.

While the fireworks exploded over head to announce the crescendo to this Fourth of July, I realized America Politics will be no less explosive in the 21st Century. The thunderous roar of the blasts served as a reminder that the political apathy that we tolerate keeps us as spectators on the bleachers in our own political processes.

We have to watch our politicians, listen to their words and watch their actions. We have to hold politicians accountable to maintain freedom. When we shrug off those responsibilities, then, we get less than we deserve. We get whatever is let at the bottom of the barrel.

Freedom should always be celebrated by the explosions and fireworks overhead. The loss of American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and the current state of America’s economy suggests that we may have shrugged off the political process once too often. We need to get back into the fray. We need to support Americans with vision for freedom and the future.

Generations of aspiring young pitchers and Miss America contestants have the right to expect more from the inherited legacy of their nation. Freedom should always be protected and celebrated, which is, no doubt, the lesson that The Founding Fathers intended to leave enshrined in our hearts.

Sam

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