Bob Mitchell: Remember?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Owning our first boat was part of the conversation this week as some folks came through on their way from Arizona to North Carolina.

Bob and Mary Shuey got to Cassville in their motor home, which is always their home. The former Cassville residents now reside in Glenville, N.C., which is in the beautiful Smoky Mountains.

They are actually just about 25 miles from a cousin of mine, John Mitchell, who we've visited a number of times at Franklin and Cherokee.

If you remember the Shueys... Gifford was his dad's name, he had the first boat and motor business in Cassville, and later moved the business to a new location at the south end of the Shell Knob-Viola bridge on Table Rock.

Our first boat

We bought our first boat -- at least Sue did, without my knowledge -- from Tommy Young in Monett. Pop Blalack insisted it was the safest on the water for anyone with a family. We hung an Evinrude on it with Shuey doing the mounting. It came from Shuey's Sport Spot on Highway 112, near where A-J's Gun Shop is now.

We were stupid for the operation of a boat, but insisted on taking it to the water a day or two after the purchase. First crack out of the box, the motor stopped and would not start. Finally, Bill Obins, developer of Eagle Rock Dock, recognized our plight and came out to help us. Getting aboard, he quickly noticed the door to the fuel tanks had pinched the gas line and the motor couldn't run.

Back to the travelers

They are now managers of Signa Ridge Marina, a small lake in the mountains where Bob has a maintenance crew for outboards. Mary says she just works there. The area is near the highly-restricted development of the Highlands, accessible by the most crooked road that can be found anywhere.

Right now, she says her only claim to fame is being one of the only triplets from Barry County. Her sisters are Martha and May. They recalled when it was the responsibility of Keith Shumaker and Max Cope to light or stoke the heating stove in the Golden Baptist Church each Sunday morning before church.

Back then, Bro. Loren Easley alternated preaching on Sundays between Mano, Golden and Eagle Rock.

First bears

Mary was a Vanderpool, on whose farm came the first bears in modern times, probably moving out of Arkansas. The place is located in the Pasley or Corinth community, it your choice.

The late John Frye was Conservation Agent here at the time and called me to photograph the action of investigating. When we arrived, the two cubs were in the Vanderpool hog house. Frye ran them out of the enclosure, sending them toward some trees. As they climbed one tree, he reached up and pulled some hair out of their back for identification purposes.

Pearl brothers

Also recent visitors were the Pearl brothers, sons of the late Chick and Christine Pearl. They were all born in Cassville, as was their older brother, Charles, now deceased. A sister resides in Neosho. They are part of the Ray family, our second cousins.

The three brothers were completing a two-year planned tour of their roots including Cassville, Diamond and Neosho. Jim lives in Kansas City, Tom in Springfield, and Glen in St. Louis. Jim still has an office for his public relations business in Kansas City. Tom is retired from the Missouri State faculty, and Glen is retired as chief fiscal officer for St. Louis County.

Their past

It was something to lunch with them and listen to them inquire about their younger years and what is remaining of them these days. This brought back a lot of memories for both of us and tested our memories considerably.

One story they related was when they lived at Gravel and Third streets in Cassville, and their dad was always reminding them to be good boys when they were anywhere downtown, especially in the hours before or after dark. His caution came in the form of a night-watchman who would put boys or girls in jail if they misbehaved. They had forgotten his name, but Sue reminded them it was Guy Lathem.

He was the one who patrolled the square, which was the main business section in those days, placing white cardboard in between the screen door and the facing. Then, on his rounds, he could walk the inner square and flash his six-cell light at the door. If the cardboard was missing, he called the business owner to make sure no one else had entered the building.

They inquired about a lot of people. Unfortunately, many were no longer with us.

Among their memories was the advantage of living in a small town and being able to move about on their own. Today, they range from 69 to 73 years of age.

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