Bob Mitchell: Catching up with an ardent reader

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It had been some time since we had been to the Cassville Senior Center for lunch, until a couple of weeks ago when we went next door south of the one-time Pet Milk Plant to enjoy some of their cooking.

There at the same table where we were seated was one of my favorite readers. She always identifies herself as a long-time reader.

It must be said that she has been reading the Cassville Democrat a lot longer than I have been writing for the paper. At age 93, Annabel Walker, who now lives in town, could probably come up with a story or two if we can get a long enough visit one of these days.

She and her late husband, Warren, came to this county in 1966, and one of her usual conversation topics is about the Cassville Democrat. She will mention that one of the first things she noticed was the sign above the office door, when the business was located on the south side of the public square, which was "Covers Barry County Like The Morning Dew."

Subscribing to the paper, for considerably less money than today, was one of her first acts when becoming a Barry Countian.

From Texas

The Walkers started their lives together in Texas, eventually moving to Kansas to farm. He developed health problems and was told to get out of the dusty conditions in that state. Looking for a more serene atmosphere, they located a 700-plus acre farm in the Mano community, between Rock Creek and Highway 86, where they settled down.

She says these days that their decision to make the move to the Ozarks was possibly the best they ever made, and it was made jointly.

Her family included three girls -- all of whom were redheads. Annabel chuckles today with "few people today would have no idea I was once a redhead!"

Business

Warren and son, Jim, who was in the real estate business here, were once involved in a modular home manufacturing facility in Cassville. The business was located on West 11th Street. After a short period of time, the facility closed and became the property of the IDC and was quickly converted. The work pit down the middle was filled, and the structure became the first home for Wells Aluminum when they opened a window-door facility in Cassville as an offshoot of their extrusion plant in Monett.

That move was actually facilitated by the late E.L. Monroe, a Monett attorney for Wells, who initially contacted Nolan McNeill, who was Cassville Chamber president at the time.

By the way, Elvin Kime came to Cassville as the first Wells plant superintendent at this time.

Off-the-spike

With the promise of a "Blue Northern" bringing Arctic temperatures to this area brings a reminder of what my aunt Mary Ray's thoughts were about the coming of lower temperatures. She would say "It's a pair of drawers colder." She and uncle John lived across Main Street from the old high school building for many years. She was actually a double relative of mine. Her maiden name was Mitchell. She might be best remembered by her pair of bulldogs -- Romeo and Juliet -- who she took nearly everywhere she went. They were as much at home in her black Buick automobile as they were at home.

There is probably a new first for Cassville High School graduates -- at least that would be my thought for Laura Jo (Ellis) Johnson, daughter of the late Joe Ellis and his wife Jo Anne of Cassville. A graduate with the class of 1981, Laura will take her place in the judicial circles as circuit judge for Christian and Taney counties. She takes office after an unopposed election, which was just completed.

A story coming from a recent trip of Cassville folks traveling Texas to visit the largest flea market in the country -- at least that's their claim. One of the ladies was interested in a particular piece being offered by a Hispanic man. She wasn't having any luck with getting the price she wanted. Finally the man told her about the piece, which might have been heavy, "Lady you have no idea how much trouble it was to swim across that river with this piece on my back." I never did hear if she bought it or not.

It's about this time of the year that one-time quail hunters of the area start remembering the old days when the season opened on Nov. 10. As has been stated previously, there was an actual exodus from Cassville by businessmen to pursue their favorite sport. Actually, thanks to no one except some farming practices, the word is out that there might be a revival of the bobwhites. That's thanks to no one in the Conservation Department, since this area was never tagged for any restoration programs as there have been on other species in the state.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.