Bob Mitchell: Veterans deserve honor, recognition

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Having just past the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Europe, there was one obviously disturbing factor related to the survivors — they are leaving this world at the rate of 300 daily.

This bold breed, having reached their 90-plus years on this earth, in their later years more than likely failed to receive the recognition, or honor, they so richly deserved.

Such was the case for WWI veterans in these parts during their later years in life.

One of the photos taken years ago, which I would like to retrieve, was of the final pair of World War I veterans in Cassville. That day will always be a memory for me. These two business people, Charley Willis, the insurance man, and Charley Riddle, the shoe cobbler and store owner, didn’t choose to relate any of their experiences while serving their country, only that they were proud to have served and survived.

With the ever-increasing number of WWII veterans leaving us, it makes you wonder how many of today’s society will continue to grasp their memory, and what the veterans did against tyranny all those years ago. Without giving any odds, if things keep going as they are today, the cause of these noble people may be virtually forgotten.

Tomato planting secret

Lex Elliott, of Chinquapin Woods, could lay claim to one of the tomato growing honors this spring. By a hand measurement a couple of weeks ago, he had the veggie on his plants of about two inches. This could have just been just my estimate of the size, but he does have good-sized tomatoes.

The secret to his apparent success was a very early planting and some luck in taking care of the plants during cold weather snaps this late spring. Lex relates that he was somewhat in doubt about his crop when he found snow on his plants one morning. A quick rinse with a hose sprinkler got rid of the snow and apparently saved the plants.

This story relates to deep-south Florida where it is nothing to find ice on trees or crops after a big drop in temperature in that region. The theory behind this is that ice at 32 degrees won’t cause as much damage to a crop as would temperatures that fall below this reading.

White squirrels

Elliott is also the apparent reporter on the white squirrel population out in our area. At one time, they were scattered about the neighborhood, but for some unknown reason, they have moved east toward the Elliotts’ home.

Sue’s cat, Neeley, probably had something to do with this, since he enjoyed chasing the oddity in our yard when a couple of them were around these parts. The cat would climb 10 or 12 feet up a tree after them before realizing his efforts were in vain.

It was reported that some motorist around the circle wasn’t careful enough and lowered this population by one. The way some people drive around the circle, the loss of one of our white squirrels doesn’t surprise anyone.

July thoughts

In four days, we will be into the month of July, which was named after the Roman, Julius Caesar, who was around a long, long time ago. It just so happens he was one of my favorite studies in History of Civilization One, Two and Three while at SMS (this name remains with me no matter what the politics of Springfield wanted.)

Which brings this question to my mind, how many people around these days took this interesting series under Dr. Nicholson?

This was my favorite class, a lecture event that required a good set of notes and then a review to pull a good grade. Dr. Nicholson was a compassionate member of the history department, not at all like some on that floor who were dreaded if their class was required.

Nighttime fishing

With arrival of this month and summer temperatures, fishing will have the best results at early evening or even after dark. I spent many a night on the lake with the late Cecil Davis, of Shell Knob.

He always wanted to be at a favorite spot below Mill Creek when the moon came over the tall hills.

For those of you who might like to try this method sometime soon, the best days, according to the Almanac, are from July 17 through 21. Good days then are the 4th, 5th, 13th, 17th, 18th and 21st.

As for the weather, there are predications in the publication of cool temperatures coming out of the Rockies during a couple of periods during the month. But generally there will be plenty of humidity with us to keep the A/C running about full blast.

Independence Day

In just one week from now, we will be on the threshold of Independence Day. The connection with this holiday and the Constitution of the United States is every bit as important in this year of 2019 as it was in 1776.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat. He is a 2017 inductee to both the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and Missouri Southern State University’s Regional Media Hall of Fame.