Bob Mitchell: Memories can return many ways

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Thoughts that return concerning my life during years past experiences, usually called memories, can often return to my thinking in many ways.

They can come as a similar experience, by someone bringing a subject to mind, viewing a written word, and so on down the line in whatever experience that usually attracts.

Many of my memories are before me every time I open the garage door where we now reside. The sight is an idea of my son-in-law, Dennis Bartkoski. Upon arriving in Springfield, I had a garbage bag full of hats that had been lying around in a couple of closets and other locations for years. They had been around for many years and the upcoming move made it necessary to gather them up.

Actually, these were just a part of the collection. Several years ago, Jerry Marple had gone to Africa with a Methodist Church group and found folks that took a liking to his hats, giving him an idea. When he returned home he collected hats to send to those folk, and I contributed a garbage bag full. So, the garage arrangement here was not the full collection.

In two rows, resting on a taunt nylon cord, are 41 hats that make up some of the experiences I like to hold as at least some of the most outstanding in my lifetime. The collection is not complete in this regard, but it represents a good majority and some that both Sue and I have enjoyed in our 73 years together.

Every time the pickup rolls out it gives me an opportunity to pick a hat and see how it fits in the scheme of things.

So, here goes with the hat line and what memories each one carries for me.

Top row, left to right

Cassville MFA Agri Services, complete with earflaps, came from manager Ronnie Miller and was handy in S.D. in 1991. Hillbilly Industrial, which has now run nearly 40 years, is a bucket hat, which Scott Spencer insisted we use. Justin Boot, sadly reminds of when John Justin, Jr., brought his firm to Cassville. Hillbilly Industrial 1995, which was a good year. Cassville Wildcats, sponsored by Commerce Bank, out of Mike McCracken’s desk. Cassville Golf Club, when the first grass green course in Barry County, and first FmHA financed in Missouri was built. Justin Boot Co., when the Cassville plant opened and J. J. presented principals with the anniversary boots. CHS Wildcat logo, probably another Commerce handout, this time from Bill Easley.

American Red Cross, from the days Shelley was PR director for K.C. region of the organization, running all over the country to disaster areas. SMT, when Southwest Missouri Transportation, managed by Danny Mackey, was in Cassville and Purdy. Wildcat Football, came after one of the two State Championships. Cassville, part of an apparent celebration in town. Mitchell Hardware, a camo that came from the Homestead, Fla., firm started in 1947 by Bill Mitchell and sold last year by Bobby Mitchell. Strictly a Commerce Bank ad provided in one of their anniversaries. USS Missouri, acquired in 1950 after she had participated in Hungnam evacuation in Korea. Jumping-Jacks Shoes, from the McCaffery when the plant built in Cassville, forerunner of Justin. Tim’s’ Fly Shop, Roaring River, one of park area most visited businesses, Tim Homesley has become a by-word in Rainbow Trout fishing. Just MFA Inc., no idea of origin. Eisenhower Golf Course, U.S. Air Force Academy, my initial time playing golf in high altitude, with Truman Baker.

Second row, also interesting

George ‘92s Poultry, when sprawling plant opened in Butterfield; Mitchell Hardware, acquired in one of the fishing, hunting, fun, trips to South Florida to visit family, Eddie Bass, Outdoors, again, no idea of origin. Tower Club, from times we took team from Cassville to Highland Springs Golf Course in Springfield for Club’s annual tournament, which Ed Spencer and I once won. Highland Springs Golf Club, from the time we came in first. Boatman’s Bank, just an advertisement. Hillbilly Golf, 1995, must have been two of these. Cowboy Three Shot Sage Grouse Hunt, Raleigh, WY, which team of Spiz Stephen and I, with two from Monett that were champions in hunt and field shooting event. Justin Boots, camo, for what reason I don’t know. Air Force Academy, from Bruce, attached Indian Thunderbird sign from Thunderbird team and silver form of a B-2 bomber during Whiteman AFB open house with late Secretary of State James Kirkpatrick and Bruce.

One Box Pheasant Hunt, Broken Bow, Neb., which our Missouri Team finished both last and first among some of the best shooters in country, I got both trap and sporting clay plaques on handicap competition. ComPhipGrp Three, one of the amphibious groups I served with in the Korean War, also with Group One and Commander Amphibious Force Pacific in Korea and USA. And a Cassville Democrat we had used toward selling gift subscriptions.

(To be continued next week, if you’re not too bored.)

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.

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