growing up

Pea Ridge

by admin on December 8, 2011

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In the early 60s Rosie and I, while on vacation, looked on a map that said Pea Ridge National Park. Since it wasn’t far we headed in that direction. As we pulled into town we saw a sign that said civil war museum 50 cents. I thought that was odd it was in someones garage. Then a few more blocks and there was another. We stopped at the third or fourth garage and went inside and the owner took our money. There were weapons of every kind from that era including some Indian war clubs and bows and arrows including the quiver for the arrows, uniforms both northern and southern. small cannons and cannon balls stacked here and there. Some of my relatives had found Civil War artifacts at Wilson’s Creek Battlefield in MO. but nothing like this. We left and went a short way out of town to the park; the museum building was not built yet but you could go on a self guided tour of the park so we followed the signs. It was early in the morning and there was still some mist lying low in the fields here and there and fading fast. a black top road meandered around the fields with a sign here and there explaining what happened there or how many were killed here. In the distance you could see a large rock cliff with trees on top we past the Elk Horn Tavern that was a hospital for the wounded and served as head quarters for both sides as the battle raged on around it. On the side of the wall of the Tavern there was a button you could push to hear the story of the struggle there. As the booming voice came over the speakers loud and clear I realized we were there all alone not a soul anywhere just the ghosts of all the men that died while trying to stay alive. We left and went up the road to the top of the cliff and you could look out over the fields below. There on the cliff pointing out toward the battle was a huge Cannon that changed hands at least twice or more in the battle. It was so quite you could hear your own heart beat. A sign said that you could walk across the field below with out touching the ground by stepping on the dead and dieing. The hair on the back of my neck stood up and I turned around to look at my wife and two little kids….Lets go I said I don’t feel like we belong here. After the battle was over and bodies had been removed the farmers who owned the ground picked up wagon loads of rifles, bayonets, swords, bows and arrows clubs and cannon balls, and dumped them in ravines and the creeks beds so they could plant their crops and go on about the task of living……this fall we went through there again but we didn’t stop…. I had seen enough…

A Rose and a Baby Ruth

by admin on December 5, 2011

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Many years ago when I was in high school a song came out that was popular for a while called a Rose and A Baby Ruth. It was the kind of song that a love sick teenager wants to hear and you stow the song in the back of your mind thinking someday you might need those words for someone. It tells a story of how a boy has an argument with his girl friend and he needs to patch things up so they can get back together. I would walk down the halls on my way to class singing the song over and over in my head, till I memorized it. Then me and my buddy Dave would walk along singing this tune and trying to harmonize our voices. Our cafeteria was also our assembly hall and had a stage at one end for performances one day at noon we got behind the curtain and sang this song to the student body on an open mike, then took our bow. Last year I met the guy that sang that hit song so many years ago. His name was George Hamilton the IV.  He was very gracious and we talked briefly and like so many others I told how I used to sing that old song in school. He had been a Grand Old Opry member for fifty years by that time and had a few other hits to his credit among them a song called “Abilene”. I thought at the time he’s just a nice old guy that had a few hit songs and made the best of it. He didn’t have a particularly great voice so he would sing a song, then tell a story; but his story telling was what kept people entertained. I guess you just work with what you’ve got and do the best you can……..

Grandpa’s Bar

by admin on September 7, 2011

in Blog

It was the middle of summer; a warm night with lots of stars. My friends Joe and Eddie and I were looking for a bar we had heard about some where out in the sticks in K.C.K., that didn’t card you when you went in looking like kids in high school. We drove down to about 7th and Minnesota ave. and stopped at a small Gas station to see if the attendant knew where it was. I was driving as usual since I was the only one with a car and a job, so I pulled in and started to get out and go in when a black man came running out of the station at a full all out sprint being chased by a man with a pistol trying his best to shoot him…. POP POP POP…. Joe and Eddie (and me of course) was fighting for rights to the floor of the front seat. we looked up after the gunfire and the guy came out to see what we wanted. He pointed us in the right direction and we took off pointing fingers at each other and declaring that each one was a sissy.
We pulled into the gravel parking lot of Grandpa’s and The sound of that vulgar music and the smell of new and used beer in the night air was like the neon sign flashing; come on in and leave your good judgment at the door. We found a place at the back of the lot since it was crowded, and we just new that all kinds of sin lay just beyond the threshold. As I stepped out of the car I thought this place sure is out in the boonies, nothing but trees and bushes all around when all hell broke loose again…. POP POP POP POP……I froze not knowing which way to go ’till I heard Joe and Eddie yelling “over here.. over here” I ran and dove head first for the tall weeds and caught a strand of fence wire right across the bridge of my nose and shot back like a boomerang. I jumped back up and climbed over the fence to see a bunch of cops going in the front door yelling that it was a raid and everybody stay where they were. One of them had fired his weapon in the air to get every ones attention and you can bet it worked: especially on three desperadoes from the burbs. We all looked at each other and knew it was time to call it a night.