The Ozarks Almanac

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Thinking about Route 66

I grew up near Route 66, and I live today near Route 66. In fact, I drive daily to work and home on sections of Route 66, because I hate to drive in the traffic on Interstate 44.

What is called the Mother Road has interested me for many years, not enough to do any major research, but enough to make me stop and read whenever I see the phrase "Route 66."

And I was reading a list of birthdays for today, Oct. 18, and I saw that in 1918, Bobby Troup, a jazz pianist and composer was born. He is the composer of "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66."

Robert Wesley Troup, Jr. (who died Feb. 7, 1999),  was also an actor. Among his roles was Dr. Joe Early on "Emergency!" back in the Seventies of the previous century when I was in high school and college.

That is all it took to get me to thinking about Route 66. I remember when it was still Route 66, not Historic Route 66 or, as it was called when I was older, Missouri 266.

To get from our home in Moniteau County, Missouri, down to my grandparents' home in Greene County, Missouri, we had to drive south and then get on Route 66 at Lebanon. I don't remember much of those trips, but I do remember a trip when we ended up driving on rough road under construction, getting off and on the roadway.

We were driving on both sections of Route 66 and sections of its replacement, Interstate 44. At least that is how I remember it.

Eventually, we moved to live near my grandparents in Greene County, and I began attending Republic Elementary School. That was in school year 1963-1964.  Interstate 44 was still under construction in that area, for I remember a classmate in my new school who was named Stanley, I think, and he was the son of a highway engineer. He moved before the school year was over. I have not thought about that for years, and I am surprised I recall Stanley's first name. I hope that is not a sign of impending Alzheimer's.

We drove frequently on Route 66 to shop at Barnes General Store, a terrific place that had a mill, barber shop, grocery store all in one building and a gas station across the highway. Also, a hardware store was across the street.

When I was much older. in fact, when I was nearly in my 50s, I rode my bicycle twice on summer vacations from my home in Rolla to my sister's house on the old home place outside Republic. I rode on Route 66 as much as possible. That was a great deal of fun.

I like thinking about Route 66, and I'm going to have to do more of it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

I love cowboy music so much that I wish I had a horse

Pandora, the music website, is a most wonderful technology.
You probably know how it works, but I'll give a brief explanation. You type in a name of a song or an artist, and then the computer program will pick music that is close to what you started with as a seed. You hit a thumbs up or thumbs down symbol for each song, and the computer that programs your station will select music more closely akin to your preferences.
I use Pandora almost every day while I write, and usually I tap into my Don Edwards Radio channel. Don Edwards is one of my favorite singers. He is a western singer. You've heard of country and western music? Well, he sings the western part of that. I hit a thumbs up symbol on all of his music, so the computer gives me more songs like that, songs by Sons of the Pioneers and Foy Willing and Riders of the Purple Sage, Red Stegall, R.W. Hampton, Dave Stamey, Marty Robbins, all kinds of good music.
I listen to that music and wish I had a horse and Stetson hat and some boots. I'd like a rope, too, and a fancy saddle. Oh, what a life I could lead ...

Oh, I'm a-ridin' around this here big spread
on Ole Paint, herdin' dogies with big thoughts in my head,
enjoying the good life out here in the saddle,
dreaming of ways to build a herd of fine cattle.
"Ride around, little dogies, ride around kinda slow!
"I'll get you to market, whoopee-ti-yi-yo!"
Oh, I'm lovin' the cowboy life out here in the sun,
Ridin', ropin', whoopin' and having big fun.
Then my wife hollers , "Push that thing a little slower!
"Or you'll hit one of my babies with that dang mower."
OK, I confess, this is fun, just oodles,
but Ole Paint is my mower and I'm chasing our poodles
around the back yard of our modest home
in small-town Missouri, not where buffaloes roam
"Yes, ma'am," I holler. Well, what else could I say?
I'm herdin' doggies, not dogies, whoopee-ti-yi-yay!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Forgive me, Jesus, but I am going to vote

This is a brutal presidential campaign. Because I have said publicly and emphatically that I will vote for Donald Trump, social media users have called me a Hitlerian brown shirt and have questioned whether I am truly a follower of  Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Although, I see only two choices on the ballot, I have been told I am wrong.
Now, it seems that the politically correct choice for the vocal progressive Christians, progressive evangelical Christians and liberal Christians is Hillary Clinton, because she is a Methodist who is pro-abortion, approves of same-sex marriage and seems to believe cops are evil white guys who want to kill all black people. She has the mind of Christ, the progressive and liberal Christians say. They believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for reproductive rights and same-sex marriage.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a dirty loudmouth and a capitalistic adulterer who doesn't trust Muslims and wants to keep Mexicans from swarming across the southern border. The progressives say Jesus welcomes all, died for all and so we should lay down our lives and our children's lives for all. We should put Muslims, illegal immigrants and urban thugs ahead of any other interest we might have, including our children's future.
Then, there are the Never Trumpers, so-called conservatives, many of them conservative Christians, who are campaigning agaist Trump. They say they are not going to vote for either of the main-party candidates. They question the Christian commitment of any conservative who will vote for Trump, the Republican. The Never Trumpers would rather see Hillary elected, though they claim they won't vote for her directly.
Now, I will acknowledge that I don't think either one of those two candidates is worthy of my vote, but they are the only two candidates we have, and I must make a choice.
Why must I make a choice? Why can't I do the so-called true Christian thing and sit this election out?
Listen, I went to elementary school at California, Mo., and Republic, Mo. I have an eighth grade diploma from Republic Junior High School that I received in May 1967. I got a diploma in May 1971 from Republic High School. All through those years, I was taught the history of the United States, how the Founding Fathers, the Sons of Liberty, the Minutemen, the Patriots, all fought monarchy in favor of the people having a voice in their own government. I believed all that stuff, and I still do.
I eventually earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri, and that was back in a day when a student learned to think for himself. There were no safe spaces or baloney like that. Students would stand out on the commons and preach socialism or Jesus, either one or both. I had a professor in Southern history class who said slavery was not the main issue that caused the so-called Civil War. Back in those days, professors welcomed disagreement and argument and dialogue. I had an economics professor that demanded it, and you got marked down for not speaking out in the lab class.
I'm digressing and ranting. Let me get back on track. My educational foundation is this: We live in a democratic republic that people died to give us. We have a right to speak and vote because they shed their blood for us to have those rights. We continue to have men and women willing to die to protect our rights and to extend that right to other people.
For me to boycott this election would be a betrayal, in my mind, of those brave men and women.
Those courageous souls who fought for and founded this nation and those who continue to protect it believed in and continue to believe in the value of letting the people make the choice of who will lead them. They trusted people would make the right choices. Over our history, we've made some bad choices. I don't particularly like Lincoln, but he was the choice. My Southern people didn't like that choice, so they attempted to save the Constitution by forming their own nation. That failed, resulting in more power for the federal government, as well as more than 600,000 dead Americans.
Even after all that Lincolnite mess, we still have a right to vote, and through primary elections and caucuses, we have two choices. You might not like the choice, but I think you should, as an American, make a choice.
I have to vote. I'd like to secede, but that is a proven failure, so I have to vote just to have a tiny voice in the future of this nation.
Maybe Jesus doesn't want me to vote because neither candidate seems to be one of His followers, but I have done a lot of things Jesus doesn't want me to do. I'm sorry, Jesus, but I can't sit this election out. I am a loyal American and I am  going to cast a vote, and I am going to vote for Trump because I believe he has a better understanding of the value of our democratic republic than she does.
Call me a brown shirt, call me a non-Christian pagan if you wish. I think I'm a patriot.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Tonight's full moon is super!

Tonight's Hunter's Moon is a super moon. November's full moon will be even more super.
Despite the poor quality of the photograph taken by my tablet computer, tonight's full moon is a super moon.
This is called the Hunter's Moon.
It is a super moon because it is closer to Earth than it was back in the spring when it achieved fullness. It was a micro-moon then.
Being super, it looks bigger, though you probably won't notice it. It will just look big and full and bright and neat, and that is all that really matters. If you are interested in more info, I suggest a visit over to for a nice explanation of a super moon.
Or just do what I do: Look and enjoy and thank the Lord for a marvelous creation.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Hardy red buckeye finally bears some fruit

This is the red buckeye tree last month.
After all these years, I have harvested some buckeyes off my buckeye tree.
Now that I've got four of them (and there are many more still on my small tree), I don't know what I'll do with them. Can't eat them; they're poisonous to humans. I guess I'll just carry one around in my pocket and save the rest of them for decoration or kids or something.
I really don't know how many years we've had that tree. My wife bought it because she knew I liked buckeyes, for I carried one in my pocket when I met her back in 2002. I guess she bought the tree a couple years after we got married in 2004, and I planted it in full sun in the front yard right close to the street.
The next spring, I mowed it off level to the ground. Wasn't paying attention.
Fortunately, it grew back.
A year later, maybe two, I hired a kid to mow the yard. "Don't mow down the buckeye," I told him. "This is the buckeye," I said, pointing to it.
He went right on and mowed it down.
It grew back, though.
Then, over the summers, I failed to water it regularly when there was no rain, and it looked like it burned up.
But every spring, it would grow back.
I finally learned to water it and care for it. Sort of.
Here is the tree Sunday afternoon. Notice the fruit husk splitting.
It bloomed in the spring, but it did not bear any fruit, for several years. Or maybe some critters ate them. I don't know. Last year, I saw some fruits, but they disappeared. I can't explain it, so don't ask me any questions.
This year, the tree bloomed and fruited. I thought I had taken a picture of those booms, but I could not find it, if I did. We had adequate rainfall, and that tree thrived. Today, while I was knocking down some brush and weeds along my driveway, I went over to the tree and noticed the fruit husks or rinds were starting to split on a couple of them. I picked them and easily removed the husks to get the buckeyes out. You can see them in a picture accompanying this article; I've put some coins next to them so you can judge the size.
Here are the red buckeyes.
Now, about this buckeye tree. This is not the native Missouri buckeye, the horse chestnut. This is a Southern tree, called the red buckeye or the firecracker plant; it's the aesculus pavia, a deciduous flowering plant.
The University of Kentucky Department of Horticulture says it can grow 16-25 feet tall, but the Missouri Botanical Garden says it will grow 12-15 feet tall. It will bush out about the same width.
Right now, my tree is just about as tall as I am. I'm going to take the advice of the Missouri Botanical Garden and mulch and water it regularly; maybe it will grow better.
It has red flowers in April and May, the same time that hummingbrids show up in Missouri. And hummingbirds like those blooms, so if you want to attract hummingbirds (and bees), plant a red buckeye tree.

Map of Missouri counties

Map Courtesy of Digital Map Store