Bob Mitchell: Will February weather impact May?
Now that we are out of February with some weather signs that nearly didnít happen, what do people ó especially the early gardening types ó expect the weather to be when the early part of spring rolls around in May?
There is an old adage in these parts that thunder in February brings frost in May.
That isnít always the case, but experience tells us that it has happened, much to the disgust of those who have to make a return trip to the store to purchase new plantings to replace those that were burned by a late frost.
So, in case you arenít the kind to notice these things, it thundered quite frequently on Feb. 28 ó about 3 p.m.. to be exact ó in a fast moving shower that didnít even cover the entire community. Rainfall and pea-sized sleet that accompanied this fast mover didnít amount to much, but it did lightning and thunder enough to make the tradition watchers wonder what is going to be around when May rolls around.
Weather arriving at 2:40 a.m. that evening, Wednesday, March 1, was outside the February realm of happenings affecting future weather. And, it was just ahead of the 6:30 a.m. opening of Rainbow Trout Season.
Spring in 12 days
With the opening of Roaring River out of the way, itís a sure sign the spring season is nearly upon us officially arriving March 20, just after Daylight Saving Time on March 12.
Itís a general rule of thumb in these parts that once the siren and gunshot are heard in Roaring River Hollow to signal the start of fishing, weíre considered to be in the throws of spring. Thatís not always the case, as snow showers have known to end up being hip-deep in some years, but in most years that Ozarkian way of thinking has prevailed.
Tourneys decades ago
With the coming of spring decades ago, it was the time for rural schools ó and there were more than 100 of them in the county at one time ó could begin to look forward to coming to the county seat, first for a chance to play basketball inside a gym, and later to play softball on a level field.
The occasion was the annual rural school tournaments, which were actually instigated by the one-time county superintendent of schools, M.M. Hess. All those who fielded a team and had been involved in competition on outside courts, some who would have to make an effort to acquire a pair of gym shoes, or several played in their stockings, got with it at the Cassville rock gym.
Butterfield frequently hosted the softball competitions on its elementary schoolís ideal field adjacent to the school. It was a treat for some teams, since their facility was often on a hillside that permitted many extra base hits, should the ball get past an outfielder and roll into the nearby woods.
These events were always popular with high school coaches of the area, who even in those days paid attention to players in districts that used their higher-level facilities to continue their playing careers. From these events came the varsity teams of later years.
In past years, it seems like the sport of softball has been taken over by the girls and competition for boys has moved to baseball.
The decision by Irwin-Easley American Legion of Cassville to discontinue bingo could be a real opportunity for Cassville to have an event center that once existed for the structure of the Legion Home on Highway 112 in the southeast part of town.
One of the most popular events in years past was the 4-H Achievement Show, which was held for competition just before the Ozark Empire Fair in the summer. Then there were the Soils and Crops Conferences and many organizational banquets all that went together to make good community events. The buildingís auditorium, now vacant of bingo apparatus, makes an ideal hall for virtually any type gathering.
Many a trip up and down steps was taken in serving meals years ago. That might have to be remedied, but itís not an impossibility. The Legion members are looking for revenue sources that can utilize the property in future years.
The structure was not constructed in the 1930s as has been stated by some officials. It was actually a post-World War II project of the Legion.
Funds available at the time permitted for building only the basement, which was used for a period of time. When the post decided to go on up with the structure, it was J.A.(Pop) Blalack, the Chevrolet dealer, who co-signed the note at the Barry County Bank that financed additional construction.
Post officials are receptive of inquiries regarding use of the facilities.
Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.