Bob Mitchell: Experiences with great-grandkids continue

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

If you have never experienced hosting six great-grandkids and their families over a two-week period, you have missed a real experience in life.


These youngsters were from just under 2 years of age up to 12. They were from not ready for any schooling to having reached junior high school. They were evenly divided, three girls and three boys.

They have one thing in common -- they are absolute water dogs. One dad exclaimed, "They have actually worn out that water day and night!" Even for the toddler, there was a blow-up device that kept the child at least partially out of the sun.

Back to Navy days

Three of them brought me back to Navy days in boot camp during swimming qualifications, where the requirement was to enter the pool other than just jumping in feet first. It was required that boots had to dive into the water -- we were never told the reason. The surprise came when it was determined many of the recruits either hadn't been around water or never learned to dive. The instructors weren't very tolerant with those non-divers, so I volunteered to teach them the way I had been instructed by cousins during my early swimming years.

A held a pole about three feet above the water as they leaned over it until they lost their balance, then kicked up their legs to take them over the pole gave them a sufficient dive to qualify in the swimming pool phase of their training.

That same theory worked for the swimmers in our visiting groups. Most of them were so concentrated with the newfound effort they eventually graduated to the diving board, which kept them involved in and out of the water efforts to improve their newly discovered skills.

Then, Table Rock

One of the groups of people missed out on a trip to Table Rock due to their arrival on the weekend when boating traffic is high enough that novice operators don't need to be on the waters. On their last day here it rained, so that eliminated any boating activity.

The second group was not to be denied a trip on the water under any circumstances. This meant we had to locate the hitch for the pickup, unload fishing tackle out of the Fish-ski Monarch and head for Big M. The 30-year-old craft kicked right off and ran like a top. They were gone longer than we had anticipated, and we learned cell phones work in that area. We also discovered they had beached the boat for a picnic on snacks, something they didn't tell us was in their trip.

The group did make it back to the area just in time for another experience.

Helicopter landed

While they were swimming and collecting shells, a helicopter arrived, circled to inspect the parking lot and eventually touched down to meet emergency vehicles from the Eagle Rock, Golden and Mano fire departments, as well as a Mercy Ambulance. An apparent accident victim was loaded aboard the helicopter as the four youngsters watched in amazement, having never seen anything like that before.

When the bird lifted off, the kids were told that this same experience had been included in my life. That story had to be retold a couple of times.

Hillbilly golf tourney

Last week was the annual Hillbilly Golf Tournament, which found some 80 golfers locally and from afar touring the Cassville Golf Club facility. As per usual, there were compliments galore about the facilities and the outing in general, which was originally designed to recognize and compliment the industrial neighbors in Cassville.

As per usual, the pre-tournament event honored a facility in our community for a considerable contribution to our way or life. This year, it fell on the course to recognize its 50th year of existence.

It shook my timbers when I realized that I was the lone living member of the original board of directors that started the tournament. No one had realized this until I reminded them.

Looking back over those original years of the golfing facility and some of the problems that existed could be the source of information for a column one of these days. Problems arose during the process of obtaining the first FMHA construction loan in the state of Missouri.

They don't know today

Those around to run things today have no idea of some of the problems that existed back in the old days. Perhaps it might help them appreciate what they have if they did know the facts, whether they're interested in knowing or not.

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

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