Bob Mitchell: One more day ‘til February

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wait one more day after reading this and we will be into February, the month that this column has talked about for years — proposing to get rid of the second month of the year.

There have been others that have joined this effort, but all those proposals that came down the pike were to no avail.

Plans were to take the 28 or 29 days, whichever the year might be, and distribute them to the remaining 11 months.

There were always some rewards with February, in that it was followed quickly by March and one of the most important events of this region, the opening of Roaring River State Park and the supposed beginning of spring that that event was suppose to signal for the natives. But, there were years that this wasn’t the case as Mother Nature would have her way with the weather and very disagreeable conditions would roll into the area.

For instance 35 years ago

Take 1983 as an example. When February was winding down, the park opening was at hand, and a brand new concessionaire was in place at Roaring River. That was the first year for Jack Nickols to step into the operation as the successful bidder through Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources. As was required from all new operators he had acquired the stocks of materials, merchandise and supplies either from the previous operator or for wholesalers throughout the area, anticipating March 1.

Then, that last night in February, 35 years ago, a virtual blizzard struck Barry County, dumping up to 30 inches of snow in most places in the county. As if this wasn’t enough to cause a problem in the area, there were other developments that had to be dealt with.

A major controversy

The blizzard conditions caused power outages in various parts of the county, but the biggest problem seemed to be on Barry Electric Cooperative lines, especially those serving dairy farms and some poultry operations in the area. So far as Roaring River was concerned, their power outage was short lived. When the three-phase line down Highway 112 was re-energized, the park had power.

That is when the stuff hit the fan, with all others in that service area believed they had been overlooked and preference had been given the park over their needs.

National Guard to rescue

Probably saving some real problems was the quick action by the Missouri National Guard who hit the area with heavy military-type generators and bulldozers to provide power for dairy farmers twice a day and opening roads to permit feed trucks and tankers to service agriculture needs.

The Guard personnel stayed on the scene for the duration of the emergency much to the agreement of those involved. With this emergency service available, at least some tempers cooled and understandings began to develop as to what exactly had happened in the availability of power in the area.

The fact of the main line being first to have power restored was a necessity to bringing power to feeder lines, finally got through to those who were the most disturbed by the situation and better, more sensible heads prevailed in the situation.

The cows and chickens, and eventually even the human beings involved, were quick to respond to a fairly fast melting of the heavy, wet snow and the area returned to normal. Believe it or not, Roaring River had a fairly good opening, much to the dedication of Rainbow Trout anglers from throughout the area who managed to get to the park on cleared roads, compliments of MoDOT.

Spike stuff

Some time, if you happen to be a bird watcher, take time to watch some of our feathered friends at a drinking station. For instance, how many beak-fulls do you think it takes for a Red Headed Woodpecker to get a drink? Counting them the other day, it required 23 dips into the water to satisfy this male’s thirst. Bet you never thought of this one.

Another feather related observation around our feeder — wonder what has happened to all the Red Birds. Where there were several, up to 10 at a time, a good number these days might be two.

Cassville will soon claim another distinction to her list in addition to the City of Seven Valleys. While this one hasn’t been that enjoyable in times of Flat Creek floods, it has stuck for decades. A new one that seems destined just around the corner might be the label, City of Six Banks.

With Cornerstone Bank coming to the four-way stop area, as the Eureka Springs, Ark., firm purchased property there, the number of banks in town will jump to to six. Cornerstone, operated by the Cross family, was long headed by John Cross, no stranger to Cassville.