Skip to content

Betty’s Week


By Betty Shearer

Interest has been expressed in pictures of the old wading pool, located in the Court Street Park. The Herald pictures were lost in the ‘84 Flood—long after this pool was demolished or covered—so we have none. If anyone has pictures of the pool, we would very much like to borrow them. They will be scanned and returned, with no harm to your pictures.


  Visiting in the office week before last was Greg Duke and Patty Carroll of Crystal Springs. They operate a Christian publishing company and one of their publications, To Have and To Hold, is presented to couples planning to wed. While Patty checked our files from last year, Greg and I talked. He was interested in our Watermelon Carnival and told me about their Tomato Festival, held each year in July. He grew  up in Mt. Olive and so he shared some about the pickle manufacturing in this city. Greg related his favorite Watermelon story, which I found priceless. Thought you’d also enjoy it.     

    Story goes that when he was probably nine or ten years old, he, a cousin and a friend, discovered a watermelon delivery truck stopped at the farmer’s market on a regular basis. The truck left the market, traveled to the highway, where it stopped to gain entrance into traffic there. Says they decided they could enjoy some cheap melons.

    They’d climb onto the truck at the market, throw off a couple of melons before the truck came to the highway entrance, and when the truck stopped there they’d jump off, walk back and enjoy their melons. Said this went fine for awhile. Then one day Greg says, the driver did not stop to gain entrance to the main road.

    He reported that they were terrified. About three miles down the road, the driver pulled over, and said, “You boys enjoy unloading melons so much that I’m taking you to Jackson to unload this load for me!”  He stopped at the next phone, called their parents to tell them he had their sons and would bring them back late in the afternoon.

    Greg says they spent a long hot afternoon unloading those melons. Then the melon vendor delivered each of the errant boys to their parents, explaining what they had done, and actually paid each one a dollar, stating they had earned it. He didn’t tell what the punishments from the parents were, but I’m sure each was substantial. Says that he’s never wanted to steal another melon. Let’s not judge these boys to harshly though—most of us have “stolen” melons from patches. My dad used to place signs in his melon patches, which read, “Take the melons, just don’t step on my vine!”  My dad grew the best melons in the area, and his kids still stole from the neighbors (forbidden fruit just tastes better), but we did not step on vines. Ed was not a good melon thief—he carried buckshot in his thigh to his grave, taken while going over a fence in a melon raid.


  Jimmie and I spent Friday and Saturday in the TBZH Print Shop on Main Street at the MS Ag and Forestry Museum in Jackson. We have pumpkin patches there, but no Watermelons.

  Mary Sue and Bennett Anderson of Olive Branch and T. J. Ray from Oxford had gone earlier, on Wednesday, and reported very little traffic on Wednesday (rain and cool weather kept the children away.)

    On Thursday, the report was about 1,200 visitors. On Friday, we had wall-to-wall teachers and students, along with some others. Report for this day was about 1,500 students. We’ve been attending Harvest Fest for about 10 years and I believe this was the best behaved and most interested group of young people we’ve ever had visit. They were quiet, listening to explanations of the equipment and procedures, watching all of our demonstrations with interest. They also asked many questions.

    My job was demonstrating the Ludlow, and some of the time explaining the Linotype. These are both hot metal casting machines. The Ludlow is manual set and distributed, while the Linotype sets type via a keyboard and distributes the mats mechanically. Casting on both are very similar, using moltant metal, a well and plunger, which pushes it into the assembled brass mats, thus creating a line of type.

  Jimmie juggled printing and educating, accomplishing a lot of work in two days – getting a thousand or more Christmas cards ready for T. J. to hand out during the Christmas event. We can’t get to this one, so we needed to help all we could this past weekend. He’ll be on his own during this December 11 and 12 special event, and it’s not easy to run the shop alone.

  In addition to the school visitors, we had many other very interesting guests. I especially enjoyed visiting with a couple, presently Jackson residents, who will soon be transferred to New Hampshire. He works for the government. I says to the wife, “Oh, that’s going to be quite a change in weather for you.” She replies, “No Betty, It’ll be like going home, I a native Canadian!”

    We also had folks from Australia, who had rented an RV and were traveling for a year, visiting points of interest in the U.S. and Canada. We were so happy that they counted us interesting enough to stop by. Other visitors came from Alaska, California, and many of the northern, mid-western, western, eastern and southeastern states.        Jimmie and I spent Friday night with Brother Terry in Brandon, and he took us out for supper. Afterwards we enjoyed a fun time of visiting until bedtime. He has a regular phone ministry, calling many of his friends in the trucking industry, and also checking on several family members. He was an over-the-road trucker for most of his life, having retired a few years ago. He still has friends on the road, though, and one of his buddies he talks with around eight each night. This Friday night, Terry caught him in California, about a hundred miles from the fires, and he reported that even from where he was, you could smell the smoke and see the glow. He was relating a story to Terry from a mutual friend, who had narrowly escaped death earlier in the week. The friend’s rig had almost gone off a mountain side. These drivers are all a bunch of clowns and the report of how bad the accident would have been was, “If I’d gone over, I’d have died of natural causes before I hit the bottom!”

  Jimmie and I got up early Saturday morning and took in the super sale at Belk’s—she picked up some Christmas presents and bought a couple of turtlenecks in colors that I’ve tried to find for several years. She also got a neat black and white jacket, because I’ll try on any size if it looks big enough. The tag was medium, but it was actually an extra large, so she bought it. I wear a large. However, she’d never have tried it on, so she owes me.

  Next week we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving, but you’d never know it by the store and home decorations—looks like Christmas is the upcoming holiday.

  The leaves were beautiful on the trip down, many were gone on our return. We did have a great time and are looking forward to the next museum visit.

Leave a Comment