A Cold Blustery Night

Even though winter doesn’t officially start until December 21, old man winter showed up here in southwest Missouri with a vengeance.

As I sit here writing in my journal I can here the wind gusting outside my tiny cabin. It is blowing relentlessly across Mother Earth. It hasn’t let up all day. I pray that the homeless have secured a warm place to sleep for the night.

My mind wanders back to my grandparents who lived in a drafty old farmhouse with nothing but an old potbelly wood stove to provide them warmth. At one time the cracks in the floor were so bad that you could see the chickens gathered underneath the house to absorb the warmth of the stove as the heat escaped through the cracks. My grandparents survived many winters in that old farm house.

Feather beds were present on all the beds to help keep the occupants warm since the only stove was located in the living room. On top of the bed were many quilts to hold ones body heat for warmth. There was no inside plumbing so chamber pots were in fashion.

They didn’t get running water until I was 16 (1970). When I was twenty one (1975) my uncle and I installed an inside bathroom. I can’t ever remember them complaining about not having modern conveniences.

As I lie in bed tonight listening to the roar of the wind I am sure I will think about the winter nights I spent in the old farm house surrounded by the love of my grandparents.

My grandparents old farm house in 2017.

True Friendship

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” Woodrow T Wilson

Friendship is the glue that binds people to each other. True friendship can bring happiness into one’s life.

Fair weather friends tend to give friendship a bad reputation. They cause heartbreak and create a stormy relationship.

“A friend is someone who understandS your past, believes in your future and accepts you just the way you are.” – Unknown

True friendship is when you both realize there are certain topics you have to avoid talking about.A silent understanding that sometimes you just have to agree to disagree. It’s respecting each other’s believes and ideologies so as not to jeopardize your friendship.

“The friendship that can cease has never been real.”- St. Jerome

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

Another Family Reunion in the Books

“The memories we make with our family is everything.” – Candace Cameron Bure

It’s official another White family reunion is under our belts. All my dad’s brothers and sisters, that are still with is we’re there. Lots of great food and trips down memory lane.

I went to the cemetery to visit the graves of family members. As I stood there I thought back to when I was a child and the Decoration Day’s of the past. Now off to visit my grandparents old farm.

As I stood there in front of my grandparents house my mind began a journey back in time. An image of the house of yesterday began emerging and the house that used to be filled with love and life was once again before me. Much different than the house that was void of both in present time.

I saw my grandpa working the truck patch with his old mule Mike. Grandma was planting marigolds in the soil he had ready for planting. She was wearing her sun bonnet and her apron was covering the dress she wore. She always said the marigolds would keep bugs out of the rest of the garden.

Then the vision of us sitting in the porch swings waiting to take our turn at cranking the handle on the ice cream maker appeared so vividly before me. It was so real I could taste it.

I revisited the Christmas celebrations that happened within the walls of the old house. I remembered sleeping in the unheated bedroom snuggled in the warmth of the featherbed with a hundred pounds of quilts covering me. I would be awakened by the aroma of fresh made coffee and the unforgettable smell of bacon frying and homemade biscuits baking. I would jump out of bed and run into the living room and stand next to the wood stove to get warm.

Life was so simple then. The only technology in the house was the rabbit ear antenna wrapped in aluminum foil to help television reception.

The old outhouse was gone. Grandma had an old tom turkey who would always lay in waiting until I made my morning visit to the outhouse and he would chase me until I reached the safety of the outhouse. As I stood there I caught myself looking over my shoulder making sure the old tom wasn’t stalking me.

The old barn is gone but my grandpa’s pond was still there overgrown with brush. All the grandkids had fished in that pond at one time or another.

The trip down memory lane was so refreshing but the real world is starting to creep back into my mind. Time to go…………..

During your celebration of Memorial Day please take the time to remember those who gave all.

All pictures are the property of Double D Acres LLC and may not be used or reproduced without permission.

Aw the Memories

As I sat at the window today watching the snow flakes dance to the ground my mind revisited the memories of my childhood.

I remember sitting in front of the window watching as the snow blanketed Mother Earth.

I loved walking in the woods while it is snowing. Not everyone realizes you can hear snow falling to the ground. It has its own distinct sound. You have to stand really still and be quiet and you will here it. I have to admit I only heard snow fall in the woods where it was really quiet.

I remember the year we got our hands on an old car hood. They make great sleds. It held all six of us but it took all of us to pull it back up the hill.

The last ride of the day was a wild ride. The slope now had an ice sheet on it. Now all we have is the hood and we needed steering and brakes to go with it. Off we go down the hill and we blew by the old stopping place and on the cuff of a new distance record. Then “BAM”! We hit the side of a car parked in the driveway. Now let me set the record straight. That car wasn’t there when we put the hood in motion. No brakes, no steering. We were hollering at the driver and he just waved at us.

I am happy to report that no one was seriously hurt and we walked away. Now for the car there were two perfect head imprints in the side. The car hood slid right under that car and came to a stop.

My mind became flooded with memories of snowball fights, snow forts, building snowmen, and sledding. I could taste my mom’s snow cream. That was always a treat we looked forward to.

A cat jumps up in the tree in front of the house and wakes me from my trip down memory lane. Guess I better put some hay out for the horses.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it and maybe took you on a trip down memory lane. Spread the love and remember it doesn’t cost to be kind.

Let Us Not Bury the Past

 

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In Memory of

Thomas Robert Burnette

January 31, 1915 – November 14, 1992

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“Mining is a dangerous profession.  There’s no way to make a mine completely safe: These are the words owners have always used to excuse needless deaths and the words miners use to prepare for them.” – Tawni O’Dell

Mr Burnette was a resident of Flat River, MO and he worked in the lead mines.  He worked at the St. Joe Lead Number 9 mine in  Farmington, MO and at the Pea Ridge Mine. He dug ore for nearly 30 years.  When he worked in the mines they didn’t do blood tests to check for lead poisoning.   During his time in the mines he cut a finger off and got caught between two ore cars and suffered a broken hip that had to be pinned.  After he healed up, back in the mines he went and worked there until he suffered a heart attack and was forced to retire at the age of fifty-eight.  His daughter remembered seeing his checks and said he cleared fifty dollars a week.  He was married and reared five children.  He is just one of many who worked in the mines and his family is just one of many that have all the memories of their families working in the mines.

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The Old Lead Belt is located deep within the eastern Ozarks of Missouri.  The Southeast Missouri lead district is a major part of the lead belt and has been a major player in Missouri’s economic and social fabric for more than 280 years.  In early 1700 a European by the name of Pierre Charles LeSeur led the first mineralogical expedition into the Mississippi Valley.  Missouri’s ore deposits have made it the nation’s major source of ore for over 90 years.  The abundant ore deposits brought thousands of workers to Missouri, where over the years they created 1,000 miles of abandoned multilevel mine tunnels,  300 miles of underground mainline railroad tracks and a legacy of 108 years of mining operations in the area.

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Drum roll……………., I am stepping onto my soap box.  Here is my beef.  In 1923 St. Joe Lead CO. purchased the Federal Mill No. 3 lead-concentrating complex.  They all ready owned nearly 950 acres in Bonne Terre that was bought in 1864.  In late 1975 they donated the Federal mine mill complex and its adjoining lands to Missouri for the purpose of creating a state park.  The Missouri Department of Natural Resources took possession of the 8,244 acre tract in 1976 and named it St. Joe Park and in 1980 the 25 acre mine mill was designated as Missouri Mines State Historic Site.

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I just visited the site along with Mr Burnette’s daughter and step son.  I am appalled by the way the state is letting the old mill fall into ruination.  I know money is tight but they could do more.  This site holds a lot of memories for the miner families in Bonne Terre, Desloge, Park Hills and the surrounding areas.  People died in these mines. Why let it die off?  This could be an amazing tourist attraction for these towns.  This site has so many possibilities.  There is so much history here.  PLEASE don’t let it fall down and disappear into the past.

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The 16,00 square-foot mine-mill powerhouse is being developed into a large museum providing information and the history of the mining business in Missouri with displays and old mining machinery and a huge collection of minerals.  It is a start but the site has the potential for so much more.

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In 1981 Doug and Cathy Georgens bought the rights to the Bonne Terre Mine and invested their money in the mine and have built it into a diving mecca.  They have daily tours also.  I have took the tour myself and it is fascinating.  The state of Missouri could save the history of mines in St. Joe and should do just that.  I urge them to set up a fund that people can give to the mine exclusively.  I also urge them to start funding the mine and start rehabbing the buildings.  Please for the sake of those that worked in and died in the mines save the mine.

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In closing I ask for anyone’s help in saving this mine.  Please write your representatives and if you haven’t, take the tour.  Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  Help save the history of Missouri’s mines.

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The Joy of Friendship

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Long time friend David Tripp

“The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.” – Hubert Humphrey

David and I met in the second grade and thanks to FB we reconnected.  David is a retired educator and a profound artist and writer.  He now lives in Texas and when he comes to Missouri to visit family we always try to get together and chew the fat.  We try to plan a fishing trip once a year and this past week we managed to get some fishing in.

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Rock of David

There is a rock formation on the Big River up river from the Leadwood Access that David wanted to see.  I had sent him a picture of it some time ago and he did a plein air water color of it that I was very impressed with so I named it the Rock of David.  He finally got to see it Friday with his own eyes and rumor is there will be another plein air watercolor of it in the future.

Since we went to view the Rock of David we decided to get some fishing time in.  The river was low so we pulled the boat up on a gravel bar in the middle of the river and did some wading.  We caught several fish, panfish, David caught some smallies and I caught a spotted bass.  Some of the perch were the size of our hands.  We both thought the day felt like a fall day.

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It was a good day.   We talked about the town of High Ridge that we grew up in.  remembered classmates and wondered what happened to some of them.  Discussed teachers and sports.  Laughed.  There was also a lot of quiet time so we could take a walk down memory lane alone.  We shared war stories and discussed books. We solved all the world’s problems.

“Friendship is the fruit which the year should bear; it lends its fragrance to the flowers, and its in vain if we get only a large crop of apples without it.” – Henry David Thoreau

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Big River

“Life is like the river, sometimes it sweeps you gently along and sometimes the rapids come out of nowhere.” – Emma Smith

It is always fun to share the beauty of this part of the river.  I don’t think David was disappointed.  This stretch of the river has never failed to mesmerize me every time I pass through it.

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Big River


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Big River

As the sun began to sink into the western horizon I realized that this perfect day was about to come to an end.  I realized how lucky I was to have a friend like David.  As I watched the sun as it light seemed to make its final escape from the river the realization that the day was about to end, I realized just how we sometime overlook the importance of a good friend.  To think a liberal and conservative spent the day together and didn’t kill each other.  Thanks for reading my blog.  I hope you enjoyed the photos of the Big River.  The beauty of it is stunning and it is easy to get lost in it.   Remember to be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.

 

 

 

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Almost There

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{Left to Right} Mark’s Grandson, David, Me and Mark

“Remember the most valuable antiques are dear old friends.”  – H. Jackson Brown Jr

I thought the above quote was quite appropriate however I can’t speak for David and Mark.  In the movie Wild Hogs four middle aged men hit the road for adventure on motorcycles.  So I guess for three guys hitting the open river for 7 days in kayaks and canoe, I guess we would be called the Wild Yaks.  Hopefully we wont hear banjos.

Some months back I had mentioned to them that I was going to do a seven day float on the river and they thought it was such a great idea that they wanted in, so on Saturday the Geritol Crew will begin a seven day journey down the beautiful Big River.  I guess we should call it the Rice Krispies float because every time we get out of the boats you can hear snap, crackle, pop.

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One of the places we will pass by.  I call it Rock of David,  because my friend David brought it to life in water color.

I hate to say it but this float trip was brought together by Facebook.  Mark, David and I graduated together and were reunited by Facebook.  I will let you know how many bottles of Geritol we go through.  Instead of butcher, baker and Indian Chief we have, retired teacher, bails bondsman and semi-retired horseshoer.  What a combination.  Well with three wild sixty-three year old men unsupervised on the river, I think the bails bondsman will be most beneficial.  I just hope I don’t overdose on Geritol.

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Another site we will see on the Big River

I have our trip planned to cover around 6 to 8 miles a day.  I hope we reach Cherokee Landing by Monday evening.  Our final destination is going to be Washington State Park south of De Soto, MO.   I figure it is about a forty-five mile float.  I hope to get lots of pics and fish.  My wish is to some day float the whole Big River and Bourbeuse River.

“Friends…they cherish one another’s hopes.  They are kind to one another’s dreams.” – Henry David Thoreau

As our time draws closer my mind wanders back to the times in school when life was so much simpler.  Then my mind rockets back to the present making me realize how much different things are today.  We all seem to have a little more snow on the roof.  Our step doesn’t have as much spring in it as it used to have.  I know some mornings I get up and notice that the “git” in my “git along” all ready got up and left without me.  Our friendship has endured a long time.  I am looking forward to taking a trip down memory lane this weekend, going back to a time when you all climbed into one car and dumped all your change out to get enough gas in the car to ride around all night.  Life was good.

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Another place on the river we will pass by.

Thank you for reading my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Be kind to one another and share the love.  Don’t squat with your spurs on and God Bless you one and all.

 

 

Oh, The Memories

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My grandparents home in Lafe, Arkansas

“Take care of all your memories.  For you cannot relive them.” – Bob Dylan

During Memorial Day weekend I headed to Lafe, Arkansas for the yearly family reunion. Driving south on  67 was a real treat.  It has been quite a while since I had made that trip. As I traveled down the highway my memory drifted back to when I was a child and we use to make that trip as a family.  I could hear my sister saying, “mom Wayne touched me” or “mom Wayne is sitting too close to me”.

After some time I came upon a place in the road that really stirred memories inside of me.  My grandpa had got me a pup and helped me get it in the car.  I named the pup Penny. We made it about an hour up the road before Penny began to whine.  It didn’t sit well with my dad, no siree.

My grandparents lived in this house for as long as I can remember.  When I was a yung -un I thought that house was so big.  After I became an adult I realized it wasn’t as big as I thought it was.  One of the things I remember is that when we had family get togethers my grandma would put the desserts on her bed just outside the kitchen door.  We called it the “dessert bed”.  We had a well on the porch that we pulled water up in a well bucket. All the kids got together and drilled them a well in 1970.  They now had running water.  Then in 1973 my uncle and I put an inside bathroom in for them,  That summer my grandma refused to use it because in her words it was too pretty to mess up.  That winter when the temps dropped and the snow flew grandma decided it wasn’t as pretty as she thought because she began using it.

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Grandparents house in Lafe, Arkansas

My grandpa had 3 ponds on the place.  I remember one day while fishing with two of my cousins and my cousin Billy Jean hooked my cousin Clois’s eye lid.  Man my cousin could scream.  My grandma had an old root cellar off the back porch where she kept the food she canned.

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Front door to grandparent’s house

As I stood there looking at the front door my mind was drawn back into time remembering all the warm times we enjoyed in their home.  The front porch used to be screened in and there was a porch swing on each end.  They had a wood stove for heat so we slept in feather beds with so many covers on you, it was almost impossible to turn over.  As I stood there I could smell the coffee and bacon like it was real.  When I was young these smells woke me up and I would run to the wood stove to try and get warm.  Oh the memories.  I could go on for ever.

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Headstone of Great Grandparents

In closing I would like to mention that my ancestors fought on the side of the South.  My great grandfather’s name was Robert E Lee White.  That should suffice as to which side my family supported.  Since the new mayor of St. Louis is removing a confederate statue I will never spend any money in the city.  The mayor can believe that the Civil War was about slavery.  I remind her that over 200,000 African Americans fought on the side of the Confederates.  I would also like to remind her how racist the American flag is to the Native Americans.  It is a symbol of lies, murder and of the people who took their land away from them.

Thanks for reading my blog.  I hope you enjoyed reading it.  Be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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