Out On The Mudline

Today I continue with Mr. Wilson’s e-mail:

Fish for Supper

Dad had built a winter home in the corner of what is now Champion Circle and Highway 32 for us to live in for the school year.  Since our property was inside the block, he rented the higher ground across the road for pasture.  The grassland gave way to an ancient cypress swamp, full of cypress knees.  The creek was  full of fish and my brothers would set hooks and bring in long strings of catfish.  

High water coming under the bridge kept a nice swimming hole washed out about 100 yards from our house.  There was a pond across the road (32) that never went dry and the flood water kept it full of fish. I would take my pet raccoon over there and wade out into the pond with him on a chain.  He would stand still then leap into the unclear water, bringing up a little bream.

So Long Paris!

At the conclusion of our first school year no one wanted to go back to our big gingerbread house at Paris. Dad soon got a transfer to Water Valley after buying property on Highway 32 almost a mile east of Highway 7 where he built a home we lived in the rest of the time.

Later, when they were building Highway 7, (apparently raising the level of the highway above flood stage) my brother worked on the crew building the bridge across O’Tuckalofa (this would have been Mr. Will Wilbourn’s Company).  I would take him his lunch and the different crew members would give me tips to bring them drinks from the little store on the edge of the O’Tuckalofa flood plain on South Main, the last business.  

Yes, before the levee on Number 7, it flooded all the way to the city limits.  The levee prevented the water coming back as far on the west side.  

I was acquainted with people from Pine Valley to Sylva Rena and Water valley to Coffeeville, inclusive, but not Camp Ground.  I knew a few people from Camp Ground due to the athletic activities. I dated a girl from Coffeeville which introduced me to a large segment of the high school.  

I graduated from Water Valley (Class of 1935) the same (class) with Hamerick Henry, results: I attended the prom of Water Valley, Jeff Davis and Coffeeville.  I might be the only one to ever attend three proms in one year with a date from each school.

Back to Bill

I want to thank Mr. Wilson for letting us know what it was like to be a youngster in the early twenties in Water Valley. When I first read his communication I realized that he covered areas that I could not for I just wasn’t around.  The area he refers to was a part of my mother and father’s first farm—later sold to Mr. Frost and called “Frostland.”  My older sister and brother partly grew up there.  I expect that Mr. Wilson knew them for they went to school together at Water Valley.  

 A Fun Trip Too

Nannette and I spent the weekend in Mountain View, Arkansas, with the Hunts of your town.  We were a little early for the “leaf turn” but we had a doctor’s appointment in Clinton.  We did stop for a short visit with friends Bob and Mary Samuels and family in Beebe. Their new home is beautiful.

We learned something through something we accidentally did:  If you want to make a friend of a person—do something nice for him/her—or better yet—let him/her do something nice for you.  We stopped at a little roadside “Rock House” in the mountains.  It looked as if the termites had gotten the best of it—about to fall down the mountainside.  The old gentleman, the owner, (a self avowed native American [Cherokee] looked almost like his building, with his askew cap)  totaling  our bill on his very small calculator—almost ashamedly it seemed—gave us a figure covering the bigger part of a twenty. When he started looking for change—the drawer—a cigar box—looked “kinda” empty, I said, “don’t look for change.” A  big grin covered his face as he turned to a stack (maybe stash would be a better term) of thin, compartmentalized boxes.  Opening several boxes, he told Nannette to pick one of the contents.  Nannette now has a  necklace coming with a pendant of tiny crystals of rock crystal quartz.  I’ll bet he’s still smiling and so are we.  

We had a great week and hope that you did. You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606, 662-563-9879 or wsissell@bellsouth.net.

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