Bob Mitchell:Time to enjoy the fall foliage
With fall's arrival, we're right in the middle of my favorite time of the year, with spring coming in at a strong second.
For years, at this time of year, I would talk to someone with the Cassville Ranger District of the Mark Twain National Forest, either Chuck Miner or Richard Linebarger, to get their feel for the start of the Flaming Fall Review.
During those years, whoever was on duty at the time would sometimes snicker and tell me it would be the middle of the month. Their prediction never changed, although they might have missed it a week or so a couple of times.
Those days are gone
As we're in the season for color change in the forest, it might be noted there have been a number of changes, in case you haven't had the opportunity to discover what is happening.
Both of those local individuals have retired. There really is no Cassville Ranger District, as there isn't any ranger on the station located on Highway 248 at the east edge of town. Administration of Mark Twain, now engulfing Clark National Forest to the east, is headquartered at Ava in Douglas County. The big Forest Service top offices are in Rolla, where the lights are brighter.
All this moving and retirement has no effect on what Mother Nature might have in store for this area when she gets out her paint brushes and goes to work.
Just about any route out of Cassville, especially to the south, can put you in the Flaming Fall Review quite quickly. Or, if you prefer seeing the maples instead of the oak, service, dogwood or some other of the species that might grow around here, your route probably should be driving around one of the towns where these trees might be planted.
Gas prices being what they are these days, if you want to make a trip out of it, head for McNatt, which is west of Fairview, and you might find something different to add to your Flaming Fall Review memories. Eventually, this route will take you into Neosho, known for dogwood plantings in past years.
Better still, if you happen to be a boater or fisherman, fire up the craft and head for some destination you might know of that isn't settled all that much and just pull into a cove and shut down the motor.
This was once for sure my favorite this time of the year, especially in the Big Creek area of Table Rock Lake. This trip gave me a chance to say hello to the developers of Fitz' Fish and Fun, the Fitzpatricks, and then proceed on upstream to where the cove splits.
As my favorite spot, it would present the opportunity during a sunny afternoon to put a worm or chunk bait in the water, lean back and hope something ran off with the lure.
If that didn't happen, which was more times than not, a nature scene would unfold in a few short minutes. This could come as a group of deer, a flock of turkeys, a fox or two and untold numbers of squirrels doing their pre-winter food gathering.
Sitting there in the boat, there wasn't anything to keep them from knowing I was in their neighborhood, but that didn't seem to bother any of the wildlife. Their presence with the color show was worth the trip, regardless of whether anything found the lure that had been cast in the water.
Off the spike
Near the end of the lawn mowing season, an observation that might be appropriate: Fewer people are cutting their own grass. In fact, we have more lawn care contractors in the Cassville area than we have banks.
On a personal note, we have another great-granddaughter on the way, due about February, in Washington, D.C. The proud parents, adding to their family including two other youngsters, are Lieutenant Commander Andrew Parsons, MD, USNR, and his wife, Janna.
Last week's column was partly the result of checking the saddlebags of Dr. John Ray recently. Although they are from the Civil War era, it would be interesting to know what the small bottles he carried might have had inside them. They surely had something to do with medical treatment during one of his house calls, especially in the Pioneer and Pierce City communities. It could have been something of a hazard to make either of those trips, since he carried a small Derringer pistol under a flap in the bags, which had been fired, but never by me.
Don't forget Cassville's activities this week, The Show and the Chili and Salsa Cook-off are produced for your entertainment by a group of hard-working volunteers.
Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.