Out On The Mudline

Families Gathered For Favorite Radio Shows

By W. P. Sissell

Long Ago

  The radio woke me up this morning with a strange “jabbering”. One of my first thoughts was—if John Boyd doesn’t get that straightened out he will be talking to the FCC shortly.

It turns out that the “jabbering” was my fault for I had attempted to adjust the radio earlier and had gotten it slightly off station. Nannette corrected that and me.

  All this carried me back to events of long ago. I remembered those days when folks in the neighborhood gathered in the homes on Amos and Andy and/or Lum and Abner night. Our house was the place for one of those gatherings for Dad’s friend, Mr. Wilcox, was a radio bug and always kept him in the latest things “radio.” How many of you can remember when we went from earphones only to a big horn type speaker.

  I got strict attention from an all boys science class (all girls were in a home economics class) one year when we built a radio using copper wire wrapped around an oatmeal box, a single diode and earphones. We picked up WBLE easily long before it went to high wattage.

  I think I still have several of the tools that group of boys brought to build that radio—it seems that they had a ready supply—their father’s tool box. Those boys, or one of them, got me in a little friendly trouble with their fathers when I illustrated the principle of hydraulics with a very simple illustration.

  In WWII I was a gunner on a 155 howitzer (trained in one like the one in Railroad Park). The recoil mechanism on those guns was an adaptation of the principle of hydraulics. I demonstrated the hydraulic principle using a small mouth glass jug, a solid rubber stopper and a hammer. Usually I streaked the bottom of the jug with a glass cutter but this was not entirely necessary.

I filled the jug completely full with water (any liquid works). After putting the stopper in the mouth of the jug, holding the filled jug over the sink I hit the stopper with the hammer. My mistake was in not stressing hold the jug over the sink or a tub for the hammer blow shatters the jug. Today we utilize this non-compressibility of liquids in many ways. One of my boys saved a large supply of jugs and gathered a group of his friends to the family basement (no sink) and had a “Jug Bustin”. The young man who did the inviting is today a doctor.

Other Memories

  Some of you may think that was a long time ago, but really it was just yesterday.

  My grandchildren told me just the other day that they were going to Enid Reservoir to swim—because we haven’t opened our pool as yet. I am looking forward to Sunday morning when Lee Rowsey will tell our Methodist Men’s unit about the building of Sardis Dam. I remember a lot of the men getting a job that paid very high wages for that day and time. They were looking for dozer operators and I wanted very much to go over there and hire on. I drove a tractor on the farm almost daily, when not in school, and my Dad had other ideas about what I should do.

  Mr. Rowsey is a retiree from the Corps of Engineers. He worked there many years and has many interesting facts to tell. Although Lee lives in Batesville he farms the home place just west of the Yalobusha County line where his mother, Miss Martha, lives. Lee’s Dad owned the swimming mule I wrote about long ago and brought folks to town—Water Valley—on Saturday in his school bus.

  Thank you for your help, your interest and your compliments. Our hope for you is a great week. Do be careful on Highway 6-278 where they are stripping and re-topping without closing the highway.

  You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606, or (662) 563-9879.

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