By Betty Shearer
Got so involved with our trip to the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum over the Fourth weekend that I ran out of space before getting to tell you about a very interesting and fun visit with Irby Boyd (actually a couple of visits.)
Irby came in to place an ad for the bank and while in the office shared about Sue and his visit to Biltmore. Irby confessed to really not having wanted to go, but says, “I’m so glad I did.” He vows that it is one of the most interesting and awesome points of interest in the U.S. Says everyone really needs to visit it once. Of course he knew that it was one of my “To See” destinations. And after Irby’s description I’m even more anxious for that vacation trip.
Next time in he had a yard sale ad for publication. Irby says he has yard sales to fund the family vacations. Sounds like a plan—especially since I’m cleaning out the office and my house. Might even have some junk that others would pay pennies for. Irby says don’t give it away, because you might give it to someone who doesn’t want it and they would not know how to refuse it.
He’s a brilliant man—I would never have thought of that. I’m sure there’s tons of junk in homes that people hate me for. Irby says put it out, price it reasonably, people who really want, buy it, take it home and enjoy it.
After placing the yard sale ad, Irby began sharing with me the Boyd family experiences during and following the ‘84 Tornado. Now I’ve heard many of the harrowing experiences of the north end Vallians, but for some reason just had never known what Sue, Irby and the girls endured.
Irby reminded me that it was Easter Eve and that store (for you new comers to the Valley, Irby’s store was Western Auto, next to Jone’s Supermarket) customers were few. He said he’d sent Sue on home and was about to lock up—shortly before 5. Going out the door, Irby says he looked south and saw a small tornado coming up the street. He related that he just stood there watching the tornado.
Then he remembered that you really needed to take cover if you saw a tornado. His first thought was to go back into the store, tossed that idea aside, then contemplated getting into his truck and outrunning the thing, no that was always discouraged by the experts, so remembering the experts advice to take cover in the nearest depression, with his cardboard box cover, he crawled under the little footbridge, which was over the shallow ditch to the north of the store.
You really need to hear Irby tell this tale—it’s hilarious. Said that the first thing to go was the bridge, then it was bye-bye cardboard cover. Said he thought very soon it’s going to be bye-bye Irby. Then in seconds it was all over and Irby was still there. Said he got up, looked in the direction of the departing tornado and found not the little twister he’d watched come down the street, but a tremendous funnel going northeast.
The Valley actually was host to two tornadoes on that date—a small one from the south and a huge one from the west—they met about where Irby was hiding. We’re so glad that Irby and so many other folks caught in this storm were spared.
Irby said then he looked at his store (or where it had been) and at his pick-up (also gone). He knew that he needed to get word to Sue and the girls that he was okay, so he walked north to the barbershop, and after explaining what had happened was taken home. Sue met him at the door, with questions as to why he was being brought home. Said it took a while to explain that they no longer had a store or a truck. She took him back to the store site, where he stood guard through the night—some of the stock was left and it was valuable.
You know it’s good to occasionally recall the tornado experience—we tend let our guard down even though we all know that it can happen again.
After Irby’s and my visit, I was much more vigilant in watching those clouds last Friday. Several times I saw little tails drop down, begin rotating, hook up with other tails, growing every larger—then just climb back into the mother cloud. Was glad that nothing life-threatening materialized. All we got was some much needed rain, for which we’re all grateful.
This has been “Dig Into The Past Week.” Dewitt Kehoe left a box of pictures for the Crows with me. I’d looked at them and remembered some names. Becky came by a little while ago and we went through them again and she remembered most of the students and parents. One newspaper clipping even went back to Tommy Shearer’s days.
Really in the past was a copy of an article from a July 25, 1913 Herald, brought to us by A. K. “Ken” Gault of Florida. He is a 1940 graduate of Water Valley High School and the article was about his mother. I have never heard of this contest and doubt that there’s anyone alive who knows what it was. The prize was a $400 Obermeyer Piano and apparently many lesser prizes. We can’t figure out what the contest was—possibly popularity. Miss Viola Kelly won and Miss Irene Lowe came in second. If you know anything about this let us know. Also, if you want to see the article, I have a copy on my desk.
My week has been filled with vacation Bible school. Friday night Cathy and Erin Sartain and I went over to Crowder Baptist Church to pick up decorations which they so generously shared. Jeremy Sartain is Youth Minister there and Larry Kilgore is the pastor. It was so good to see Jeremy and Betty and Larry.
I have not cooked Saturday or Sunday lunch in a couple of weeks and am about to be thrown out of the family. Don’t know why, though, siblings and their spouses are doing a great job. I have promised to get back in the groove next week—may even make them a peach cobbler.
VBS began last night (Monday) and we had a great time. Everyone is invited to join us. We begin at 6 p.m. each night.
An exciting upcoming event is The Water Valley Main Street Association’s Monday Night Mixer, scheduled for July 21. This will be held in the newly renovated Main Street Association’s Office, located in the Old City Hall Building. If you have not seen this renovated building, you really need to. The Association, under the direction of Jessie Gurner, has done a tremendous job on it. Director Pat Ray says come and see what the Association is all about, and you may want to join and help with the program. Of course you are invited to just come, visit and see the beautiful building.