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Veteran’s Day Trip Included Visiting With Friends

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.   Last week I was privileged to attend the Veteran’s Day service, which had a good crowd.  I got to visit old friends and meet some new ones.

When people came up and told me how much they enjoyed reading “Reflections” it really made it all worth while.  I came down early to have time to visit friends, but with the extra time there were some I didn’t get to see.  

First, I visited with Jim, Jo and Jimmy Peacock, before I went to Turnages, where I got to visit with Binnie. I was pleased to see how well he looked.  I told him I thought he had retired, and he gave me a slight smile and said, “I usually come down for a while every day.”  

Turnages is the oldest business run by the same family in town and with the fourth generation now in charge.  I hope it is still around another 100.  An old friend, Bobby Poteete, was there and we visited briefly. Next I visited with Mrs. Joyner and we talked about Mr. Chester. I told her how much he had meant to me in the short time I had known him.  I was sorry I didn’t get to see Beverly, but for sure on the next trip which I hope will not be too long as this family is special to me.  

When I got to the memorial I had a few minutes to meet old friends.  There was Billy Lipscomb, Ernie Aune, Crip and Geannie Tyler, Billy Ford, Taylor Williamson, John and Clay Ashford and Mr. and Mrs. Ray Eubanks. Mrs. Eubanks  is the daughter of Ozzie and Helen Early, and I remembered how Mrs. Early and Mother were such good friends.  

Her cousin, Curtis Early was in my graduation class.  Mayor Larry Hart addressed the crowd,  as did Representative Reynolds, who gave a brief sketch of the origin of Armistice day.  

We were all invited to a catfish lunch at the VFW and it was delicious.  I sat at the table with James Gordon and we had a short talk.  Jack Gurner shot the pictures of the ceremony and I had talked with him earlier when I visited Betty at the Herald.          

Later I got to visit with sister-in-law, Virginia Scanlon, but missed Edward as he was away on  business.  I did get to take a walk down Main Street and really look at the old buildings that I have enjoyed seeing as long as I can remember.  

There are not many of the old buildings left and I do hope they’ll be preserved.  So many cities today tear down old landmarks and put up buildings with absolutely no character.          

Portland, Oregon, is one exception as the entire downtown area has preserved many of the old buildings, some which date back to the 19th Century.          

Eureka Springs, Arkansas,  is another that gives you the feeling of going back in time.  It’s hard to believe that a 100 years ago, Water Valley was almost ten thousand population, had a railroad shop that employed almost a thousand workers and over a dozen trains coming or going every day.

Just think, in those days call boys had to go in person to call a trainman or engineman to work, as almost nobody had telephones.  Today most of us have cell phones and can conduct business on the move. Technology has made so many things better today.  

Nannie and Papa Badley had a party line phone and you had to listen for your particular ring.  I can remember neighbors coming to use the phone to call a doctor.  In those days neighbors helped neighbors, even borrowing kerosene, or as it was called coal oil, a thermometer, a cup of sugar, flour, Vick’s Vapor Rub–referred to as Vick’s Salve.  

As long as I can remember there was an almanac hanging by the fireplace, not a Farmer’s but Lady’s Birthday put out by the Chattanooga Medicine Company and a calendar from Everett Cock.  

Coca Cola put out a wall thermometer in the shape of a coke bottle and I’m fortunate to have one that Mother saved over the years.  Coca Cola also put out a calendar that had some Norman Rockwell paintings.  They also had verses, but the only one I can remember was “The Old Oaken Bucket.”

I can remember when my Spears relatives at Orwood wouldn’t use anything but a cedar bucket and in recent years there was a plant on Highway 6 that manufactured those buckets but has since gone out of business.  

Every farm family had a bucket hanging in a convenient place with a dipper that was supposed to be laid by the bucket, not back in the bucket.  When a visitor dropped by it was customary to draw a fresh bucket of water for the guest.  

Papa Badley had a well that was a 120 feet deep, and the water would be ice cold when it was drawn up.  

It looks as if I’ve outdone myself in rambling around, but ‘it has been a pleasure as always.  Let me hear from you at my email address or write me at P.O. Box 613289 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week.

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