Bob Mitchell: America's Founders lost their shirts

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Independence Day this Saturday will be observed with the usual round of activities this generation seems to enjoy. Little observation with the holiday has anything to do with the framers of our Constitution and the hardships they endured with our separating from England's rule.

Virtually all of those involved with the Constitution lost their shirts as a result of signing the document. But they stepped up to the table, took the quill in hand and attached their signature, establishing what we know today as the United States of America.

Perhaps the only recognition of the event today is the gathering of families that with a couple of days off will provide for a holiday. There will be noisy celebrations and some good eats thrown in as people get together. Little notice will be given to the processes that made it possible for us to enjoy Independence Day every summer.

If it were possible to mandate an observance that included the background that made our nation possible, this would go against the very core of out freedoms, which was the reason our forefathers put their lives, their families, their property and their fortunes on the line 239 years ago.

Without computers

And, think of it, they accomplished it all without the modern-day miracles like computers or methods of transportation that people use today. Actually, the transportation problem wasn't as difficult as you might think.

A few years ago, following our son Bruce when he was involved with a project in Boston, we took one day to visit firms in the extreme northeastern part of the nation. Driving from Boston to Maine was an experience that we noticed very quickly. No sooner did you cross one state line than you were nearing another. The interstate road system put you in access to eastern states very quickly -- obviously sooner than the people involved with the Declaration of Independence might have traveled.

Those folks in the funny clothing and wigs more than likely knew what would come down on them as a result of their actions. But their dedication and foresight is what we are enjoying today.


Here are a few things to be concerned about this July 4:

No. 1 will be driving with care if you are traveling to be with relatives or friends for the observance.

No. 2 will be caution involved with handling fireworks. There were a couple of instances in my youth that fingers could have been lost due mishandling of heavy fireworks.

No. 3 will be using good judgment if you are going to be on the lake. Recent rains have put area streams out of their banks and subsequently washed trash into q Table Rock Lake that will be around for several weeks. Boating, or even swimming, on the lake will be a problem as long as trash is in the lake. Traveling at high speeds in boats makes it nearly impossible to avoid floating logs when they are upon your vessel. Slow down and avoid a problem with your family while on the lake waters this holiday.

Correcting a mistake

In a recent column, I made mention of their not being any World War II veterans around anymore. That was an error that needs to be corrected.

Herman Stringer, who will be 94 years young this October, served his country during that great war. He was a part of the Greatest Generation, as those who served in the military during World War II.

I should have said, "that I was aware of," giving myself some leeway in not knowing exactly what the situation was.

That said, my apologies to Herman, and thank you for serving our country.

The missing

Recent weather conditions brought to mind a good friend and observer of local history that has been long gone from the scene. Oral Chaney, a long-time barber on the south side of the Cassville square, had a saying about virtually everything.

For example, when weather would blow in, he would walk out in front of his shop, make an observation of the sky, and proclaim, "When the little clouds run fast under the big clouds, there will be a heavy rain." That must have been the situation because a lot of little clouds have been running around this area for the past week or so. Anyway, we got our share of rain, filling ponds probably into the summer, and surely washing out creeks and rivers.

Again with Chaney, he ranks right along with the loss of the C&E Railroad for Cassville when we let his Indian arrowhead collection get out of our hands. What an addition it would have been for our past.

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