Here I sit in front of that old (daggum)-Corona typewriter -- I just can't make myself use the word "Smith" with that virus that has for so long needed to be stepped on -- here I sit, looking out occasionally at what might evolve into slick walks and roads, as winter keeps trying to grab a hold on Westside Eagle Observer country ... here I sit just wondering what would be a good topic to 'cuff around about.
Just in case you're wondering, it's the twelfth of January, and the sky is gray, the temp is dropping, and yet ... there go those tube experts saying that by the end of the week, it will be in the sixties again. Wow, what a good way to start the old (yes, he's already old) new year with us.
Have you heard me blasting that sweet gum tree that fills the backyard with bushels of sweet gum balls, which usually mostly get raked up by Thanksgiving Day? I know from past tall tales (the tree is quite tall) those prickly little spheres are pains in whatever, but this year, that's right, they're still stalling around, falling to the ground, and here it is last year's crop.
Several people have mentioned that this autumn their trees have kept their leaves because they had that seventeen temp pounding in the middle of October which seemed to freeze the leaves (and those balls) onto the branches, and it wasn't until mid-November that nature got things back on track.
Even the sweet gum and the big oak held on for a few more weeks until they (just the leaves) came down to join the others, which usually are all hauled off before Thanksgiving. Those many leaves of all sizes piled against fences and bushes and the house, and most of them stayed there because strong wind puffs made it hard to rake until there were big piles. Do you remember those few years ago when you enjoyed jumping and playing in big leaf piles which later were burned?
Can you give me a few more sentences? This 'cuff has been caused by those now famous words, "climate change." There have often been differences in springs, summers and winters every once in a while which make for good talking and remembering, such as, "Do you remember that day it rained all of the Fourth of July?" and "Do you remember the Easter egg hunt had to be postponed a week?" and "Remember, so and so creek was out of its banks and took that bridge out for several weeks?" and "Remember those years when the celebrations at Decatur and Gentry and Gravette and other towns were rained out?"
There's just a little more to this 'cuff tale (or make it a tail, the end). Do you remember that nice little snow on the ground a day or so before Christmas? Remember? It was then I ventured outside and there, yep, there, big as life or at least as a sweet gum ball ... there on the white snow were dozens, or hundreds, or make that fifteen thousand and twenty-seven shiny black, or make that dark brown, balls atop those white flakes!
I didn't get a picture, but Louise came out with her phone and took several pics of a small brown, dead grass area where rested handsful of those dumb ... yep, those dumb balls. That was several days after the snow melted and I had spent several hours raking and bouncing those balls. By the way, I put one of those round tan balls that Pioneers, Bulldogs and Lions toss toward that rope-hanging hoop right in the middle of those little round balls. So there it is.
The past few weeks have been nice for raking and piling leaves and balls and then piling them on a tarp to haul to the edge of a small ravine. End of story? Hooray, hooray.
Now for the end of a real topic I'm working on. Remember several weeks or months ago that I promised to write a column about an area man whose working helped in ending a war. It's finally coming along, but I have to check a few lines about his growing up in the area. And the war was WWII ... unless I get off the roads again.
Dodie Evans is the former owner and longtime editor of the Gravette News Herald. Opinions expressed are those of the author.