After the inch and a half snow made its appearance last Tuesday afternoon in Eagle Observer territory, an old song emerged in the gray matter (not black, but rather gray, which we all have a bit of now and then) and it began trying to remember the words of a song that once meant so much to so many. The tune came to mind but only the title burrowed through the mess called the brain.
Do you remember hearing that old song, "It's a long way to Tipperary"? I'd bet a quarter very few of the younger crowd have even heard of it. What made it pop up was the snow because the thought came up, "It's been a long time 'till spring." That just seemed to fit in.
What adds to the explanation is that just a few days ago, a new memorial was dedicated in our nation's capitol honoring heroes who helped preserve our nation and the world's freedom during World War I. Those heroes were the only veterans who have never been recognized for their service in that bloody, poppy-blooming European war that took so many lives. Gravette's Capt. Field Kindley, along with many Eagle Observer men, served more than a year in those frozen trenches in 1917-18. They really were the forgotten heroes for more than a century.
Ironically, the new memorial was designed by U of A architect Joseph Weishaar, of Fayetteville, whose entry was chosen over more than 350 designs almost six years ago. He was present at the ceremony of the fifty-million-dollar memorial which is now partially opened. It will probably not be completed until two or three years from now. No World War I veteran attended the ceremony, except in spirit. The last veteran of that conflict died in 2011 at the age of 110.
But what about that Tipperary song? It was written in 1912 by an Englishman, Jack Judge, an Englishman and a "fishmonger," whatever that means. How it evolved into a patriotic war song can be explained in detail on your computer ... how a six verse poem which began, "It's a long way to Tipperary," is followed by many poignant memories to end with these words, "But my heart's right there ..."
And now ... what about the snow? An April snow is not a regular occurrence in these beautiful Ozarks but it and cold weather do occur, much to the consternation of the agricultural community as well as flower lovers covering their flowers, the gardeners keeping their fingers crossed and the fruit growers hoping their smudge pots will save the crop, particularly blueberries, strawberries and those delicious peaches.
What was probably the deepest April snow was reported by observer A.F. Stevens whose carbon copy report on April 14, 1933, showed either a 12-inch or a 2-inch snow. The smudge also reported more than 3 inches of precipitation which would indicate 12 inches of the white stuff. The precip is the most important information figure. A 4-inch snow was on a report by observer Elson Schmidt on April 12, 1967, with a .63 inch precip. The report for the snow the other day showed .18 inch precipitation of melted wet snow. The little flakes began about noon, included a couple of heavy displays and stopped slightly after 1 p.m. Sunshine which began to pop out melted the display which was all gone before the six o'clock reading. (I did the measurement when the flakes folded.)
New records are being observed in many places but the one record that I've most enjoyed turning in to the National Weather Service office in Tulsa was that mind-boggling 4-plus inch snow that covered the area locally during the night and welcomed sunrise on May 3, 2013. It was all melted by noon and the temp shot up to 78 degrees that afternoon.
A bit of a change ... It appears that a Canadian firm is considering purchasing the Kansas City Southern Railroad, which came through our area in the late 1800s. Who knows what will happen, but if it happens, let's hope the good KCS name will be preserved.
Which brings up one question: Have you noticed some different type cars on the KCS trains in recent weeks? Maybe they have been there for years but they just caught my attention as I waited for a train to pass a crossing. The cars looked higher than usual, were sort of a light tan color and had several rows of what appeared to be small windows on the side. Could they be housing some foreign aliens, men from Mars or ... you know what I mean? Maybe Mike Eckels knows what they are, but the good photographer/writer for the Eagle can find out and get me back on the ground.
'Till next time, the 'cuff just postulates and ... finally, Highway 59 ... here we come. But no snow ice cream.
Dodie Evans is the former owner and long-time editor of the Gravette News Herald. Opinions expressed are those of the author.