Bob Mitchell: April is here, no fooling

Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Bob Mitchell Ozark Views & Comments

Another month is down the tubes. We've arrived at April, and this column just missed the opportunity for an April Fool's prank.

Regardless of what's missed, the opportunities are wide for this month, with the old saying, "April showers bring May flowers." Other choices might make you think it's time to get into some warm-weather activities.

We're past the Easter storm that could have put hard freeze temperatures around us a couple of weeks ago, so we can feel free to cut loose an plant, but it might be wise to remember history of this area. Keep in mind, there is still the Blackberry Winter weather that could approach us from the north about the time blackberries are in bloom.

Reference the Almanac

When everything else fails, there are always those who refer weather questions to the Almanac, and that's what I'm doing now -- questioning the correctness of any advice to plant this early. There are a few notations toward the middle and end of the month that would advise against getting in too big of a hurry for much gardening.

About the middle of the month, the weather is supposed to be settled with sunny days, but a kicker exists in cool nights. There is no indication of how cool the temps might be, but cool could mean a little frost. This period is to be followed by thunderstorms and the possibility of plant-destroying hail in some areas.

Winds could also damage plantings. Those winds, called blustery, could continue through the latter part of the month, again giving early gardeners problems with their crops.

Winds last year put my tomato crop out of business by putting a pear tree down on the garden, crushing everything planted and ruining some steel posts and wire.

Main Street

Standing on Main Street, about 10th and looking north, there are a lot of changes from years past and some absentee structures that played an important part in this town's history. For memories' sake, Main Street has always flooded, with waters coming down Little Troublesome and Brock Spring through the 11th Street ditch, and flowing over to inundate the surrounding areas.

The first absentee on the east side of the street is the Colman Bakery. Leonard Mitchell's (my dad) tire recapping, and the creamery that operate in the back of that building, were subject to flooding years ago. Further north, about 11th Street, on the north side of the street, was the Hailey home -- seldom missed due to the family name appearing in large rock carvings. Next door east was the Newman home, both giving way in later years to an apartment structure, medical clinic and Mill Street Church of Christ and parsonage.

Conoco place

Back next to Little Troublesome, and possibly too close to flood, was the Clark Conoco development. This included a café building, service station and home. The café, which attracted several operators over the years, was where high school students of that era gathered for their lunch break. That was before the campus became closed for that period in later years.

Next door north to the Conoco were the Henry Apartments, operated initially by the parents of Mrs. Gladys Wilks. For years, they served as home for a few families, mostly singles. The Cope family resided in a flagstone home, as they also owned a grocery and feed business in the south part of town. All but the Cope home have been acquired by others in later years and most recently demolished, as have those adjacent to the 11th street ditch.

Across 11th, on the south side, was the W.D. Brown home. Along with wife, Fountianella, he operated a grocery business for several years. These were the parents of one-time jeweler, Kenneth Brown. The senior Browns were the grandparents of Anita Sue Mitchell. The Berziel home (Mrs. Berziel was a fifth-grade teacher in Cassville) was razed several years ago to become a parking lot for Fohn Funeral Home

These are the major changes in north main, with the exception of properties in the vicinity of Cassville R-4, which have been converted to educational developments over the years. Included was the Wooten home, initially used as offices for the system, and the Bower property and real estate, which also became school property.

Home marking

The large lettering that once marked the Hailey properties had several of the children residing there with their elderly mother, who lived to reach 100. The children were Frank and Charley Hailey, Electa Mitchell and Zuey Newman, she was Dr. George Newman's mother. Electa was the wife of Carl Mitchell, who at the time was operator of the Music Store on the southeast corner of the square.

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