Bob Mitchell: “Are we still living the good life?”

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Years ago, when Cassville was flush with manufacturing employment, Springfield newspaper reporter Kathleen O’Dell wrote an extensive, two-page story about the town titled “Living the good life, in their own way.”

At that time, if the town needed a battle cry, that would have been a good one. Not fully realizing how long the town-wide attitude might last, that possibility was held for another time. It might have been a good move!

Lots of contacts

O’Dell contacted several people for her interviews, even visiting a barbershop in pre-dawn hours, which might have been her only mistake!

This individual and a couple of his customers at the time, had little positive things to say about what was going on in town. None of the three, to my knowledge, had ever been a part of or contributed much to what had been accomplished in Cassville at that time.

Changes happened

Not many months after the article appeared, there were noticeable changes in happenings and successes in Cassville. By this time, the managers of projects were no longer in positions of authority and business conditions started showing a drastic change.

Neither of these situations was obviously correctable, so the changes continued until the groundwork that had been laid was no longer available.

As a matter of fact, there are not a half-dozen of the “managers” that are even close to being in position for projects these days. Whether others will appear in the future remains to be a matter that might later materialize.

Hopefully, that will be the case!

Two-burner stove

A much-needed piece of equipment for any family in these Ozarks, as far as our household was concerned, was a two-burner camp stove.

My father-in-law, K.E. Brown, loved the outdoor life and owned one of the white gas-fueled stoves before Sue and I were married. Shortly after that event occurred 73 years ago, a package arrived at our house, bearing one of the units; From then on, at least one of units was used by someone in the family or a combination of family members.

The Browns were great fans of Roaring River State Park, being in the park, with one of the two stoves, perhaps a couple of times a week.

On a visit to California, when we were in the Navy in San Diego, K. E. rolled out his stove in Balboa Park for a picnic feast.

The compact unit later served a large segment of my family, of five or six branches, on our summer outings at Big M Marina on Table Rock Lake. In both instances, storms ruled out campfires, leaving the ‘Little Green Stove’ to cook the meals on.

One storm blew in over Turkey Mountain, obliterating the camp to the point that we loaded all the kids in two vehicles and took them back to Sunset Heights and bedded them down throughout our house.

May has arrived

The fifth month of this year, May, is now upon us, and we can watch the flowers grow. One sight we always enjoyed was the big dogwood tree by the back patio in Chinquapin Woods. The tree and its blooms for years served as a background for many Miss Cassville portraits that appeared in the Cassville Democrat.

The native tree was obtained on private land near Mark Twain National Forest and became, and supposedly still is, a beautiful tree.

No moisture shortage

There is no shortage of moisture for May predicted in the Almanac, with the usual spring showers likely to travel through this country throughout the month. Toward the end of the month, there is mention of “unseasonable cool” conditions that could visit the Midwest area.

Fishing at best

If history is any measure, May will produce the best fishing of the season on Table Rock Lake and area rivers. It’s time to be on the water!

Best fishing days are May 4th thru 6th, 14th 15th, 22nd and 23rd. Good fishing is predicted through the 18th and 23rd.

Like the old saying goes, “If you are too busy to go fishing, you are too busy.”

Spring planting

Topping possible activities in the Almanac is allowing now for planting about anything you want to put in the ground.

Again, K E. Brown, a master gardener, did most of his garden planting after Mother’s Day, and he had very few planting failures. One thing he always did was keep his tomato plants on the back porch until the frost possibility had passed.

Remember this saying, “If it thundered in February, it indicates a frost is possible in May!”

Important Sunday!

Not only for gardening, but, most importantly, Sunday is Mother’s Day! It is best to keep this one in mind, and plan your fishing schedule around it.

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.