Who said we wouldn't get through the heat waves and stingy clouds of summer? It seemed doubtful but "lo and behold" (who, these days, uses that old saying?) right on time the last few days of September and the first couple of days of October brought relief. In buckets full, more than five inches of rain along with shrinking thermometers. Now, how about settling in for a pleasant autumn before all those climate changes planned for winter arrive?
I'm sitting here (last Monday, the fourth) at the keys of that old Smith-Corona typewriter that begged for a new ribbon. That daggum word, Corona, always seems to pop up and gets things focused on the present. Well, there's plenty these days out of focus, isn't there? Now the letters are more readable, even if sometimes they don't make sense ... and my fingers are as black as they used to be those years I was in the print shop and the newspaper.
Speaking of typewriters, what is the first thing youngsters say when they see one? You guessed it: "What is that?" Then a five-minute story follows attempting to describe how a typewriter works. And then comes the begging to get to pound on it; well, that's not quite right. Of course, a gramp gives in with his fingers crossed behind his back hoping the fifty-year-old portable will hold up for another 'cuff. So here we go, this 'cuff is going to be a conglomeration type like the package of mixed seeds good old Henry Fields, for a penny, would send kids as advertised in his catalog, so they could make their own gardens. What's next?
No politics. No Highway 59. No postage stamp garden. Just a look at how the hummingbirds put on quite a show during the last weeks of September. There were those two birds who guarded the two feeders, along with what seemed like a dozen hummers who filled the air while darting to the feeders for a sip. Then suddenly it all stopped. It was two days later when what appeared to be a new flock suddenly arrived.
Would you call a bunch of hummingbirds a flock? Just wondered. They sipped several hours and then, then, off; they seemed to disappear suddenly. This happened several more times until ... nothing. Until the first day of October when, lo and behold, two birds arrived. After watching them get their fill (can you imagine how much it takes to fill a little hummer's tummy?). I'll put out some fresh food for a few more days then it's take 'em down (the feeders, that is) and get them ready to welcome the northbound hummers next spring. A few years ago, there was a skiff of snow on a feeder with a hummer getting a drink.
It's new conglomeration time, time to clear up a little mixed up paragraph in the last 'cuff, the story about how ice harvesters did just that -- they harvested ice from a frozen pond and the paragraph explaining the process of harvesting got tangled up in the old Smith-Corona typing. Sorry about that. Here's how the harvesting paragraph reads: "But back to the harvesting process: When pond ice freezes from 8 to 12 inches thick, it was lived off by harvesters to form blocks measuring 18 x 36 inches, which would weigh well over 100 pounds. Then a horse wearing ice shoes was led, grooving the outlines with a device, and then the men, using ice saws and breaker bars, were able to free the ice blocks. They (the blocks) were guided to an ice house where a horse would pull them up a ramp where they were packed in all sides with sawdust in the house." That describes how a dozen or so men and a couple of horses harvested ice for next summer's ice cream churning and kept goodies in an icebox. Can't you just see a bunch of men and a couple of horses all bundled up (the men) sawing ice on a frozen pond?
How about taking a little break? Look out to see if the sun is shining or if another gully washer might come along. The temperatures are nice, the grass will need at least one more mowing and the trees are starting to change their dresses. Perhaps the log-jam in D.C. will get cleared up one of these days -- hopefully, very soon, without pouring a bunch of IOUs on the grand's futures.
That's enough politics for this 'cuff so ... 'till next time, maybe a look at the new census figures can be a topic. One thing for certain is there are surprises in some of the totals and Westside Eagle Observer country added a few people but ... there is one new thing that we can be proud of, the Bella Vista bypass is completed. How about a one-day trip from Kansas City to Fort Worth? That project has cost millions and many years of hard work.
"Till next time, maybe the little bridges in Decatur will be a topic for discussion.
Dodie Evans is the former owner and long-time editor of the Gravette News Herald. Opinions expressed are those of the author.