Bob Mitchell: Young minds of today

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Many of you have experienced having grandchildren visit, maybe even great-grandkids, but last week was our first since last summer with one 7-year-old.

Talon Mitchell of Colorado Springs included our abode as part of his spring break, bringing his parents along.

Like anyone's great-grandson, he's an exceptional youngster, even enjoying a visit to Crystal Bridges Art display in Bentonville, Ark. He and his parents went through the entire exhibit, while grandma and grandpa watched the crowd from a comfortable chair location near the restaurant.

Our lives were full for three days with his tales of experiences and likes and dislikes. The thing we noticed about him was his use of words and vocabulary depth. He probably responds to this due to his mother's teaching experience as a one-time Outstanding Graduate of Assembly of God and Teacher of the Year recipient in the Springs. His father's Air Force involvement in Global Positioning experience and satellite doesn't do him any harm either.

About the only failure we could detect was Neeley disappearing when the youngster arrived. The cat came out only to use his box and eat during the day while Talon was roaming the house. Upon his departure, he came out and resumed his regular routine.

Not hard to feed

This 7-year-old wasn't difficult to satisfy at mealtime, since his favorite food was cheeseburgers. Since we were eating out most of the time during their stay, he was easy to please.

His mother, Carrie, is expecting a second child in May, a girl. She demanded her favorite -- turkey meatballs and spaghetti -- which was my first experience with this combination. It wasn't bad at all.

His dad was another story. He was more choosey with his fare, so the restaurant trips were to his liking.

Welcome event

Those who haven't experienced great-grandchildren have something great to experience in the future. These young minds of today are exposed to so much more than any previous generation.

For instance, I was an adult before my first experience with an art exhibit of the caliber of this one at Bentonville, Ark. During all our visits, we have found the staff most helpful and accommodating. And, if you are unaware, the admission is free.

Reminder

I received lots of comments, phone and otherwise, concerning last week's column regarding the late Ray Correll. Foremost of these came from an avid reader and oftentimes critic, Jim Bower, regarding a usual habit of a former city superintendent who found favor with the young people of Cassville.

His practice was to rope off cross streets to the Seventh Street Hill when snowfall was sufficient for sledding. The activity would run day and night as Correll would collect cinders from the courthouse furnace, which was then heated by coal. He would place the cinders at the bottom of the hill to prohibit sleds from entering the square.

At night, shovels would appear and remove this crossing to permit runs from atop the old schoolhouse hill through to Flat Creek. It was possible to see sleds coming down the hill as they crossed under streetlights to permit a guard at Main Street to stop oncoming traffic, if there was any. That permitted the sledders to go clear to the old spring just before the creek.

Bower was correct. Correll never failed to make this activity available for kids, even over the objections of some residents who would be forced to walk to their homes because of the barriers.

Elections

Coming spring elections next Tuesday reminds me of the days long ago when absentee voting was abused in Barry County. People were actually hired to follow, and sometimes carry absentee ballots to homebound or others, to influence their voting. There were instances in Barry County when these actions overturned results of regular poll tabulations.

At one time, recordings were made of this electioneering abuse, but nothing in the way of charges were ever filed.

The abuse practices came to an end during the administration of County Clerk Rex Stumpff. He installed a rule for voting absentee outside his office. They were to be handled by a team of two -- one Democrat and one Republican -- to ensure the handling of ballots was secure.

Apparently, the practice is being followed today, since there are not as many complaints as there were years ago. The fact is, both parties worked the absentees in the past, with the dominant group obviously more successful.

Important

These spring elections are important, since they will choose officials of cities, school districts, road districts and those other county entities naming officials this year.

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