By Charles Cooper
Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.
While I’m thinking about it, if any of you know where there will be some country-produced sorghum molasses, please let me know.
Frances Stewart’s dad, Cliff Terrell, years ago was supposed to be the best sorghum cooker around and Papa Badley always tried to get him. He was so in demand that many times he just wasn’t available. Since you have a time frame to harvest and cook off sorghum, many times he couldn’t wait.
Other good cookers were Mitchell Cox and Isaac Shepherd and as kids, we always enjoyed Mr. Cox because he would joke with us and let us take a piece of cane and dip it into the molasses while it was still hot. It was better than an all-day sucker.
Mr. Shepherd always had funny stories to tell, but he seemed geared more to the adults than the kids. Nevertheless he raised his grandson, my childhood friend, C.L. Cook, until he was a teenager. Mrs. Shepherd was a dear old lady that told how she went to work in the Cotton Mill when she was six years old and even saw a man killed in front of her.
Yet she had a serene manner without a trace of bitterness. She had two sons in World War II, both in combat zones – one in Europe and the other in the South Pacific. They both survived the war.
I remember seeing her get a letter from one of them and she would shout, “Praise The Lord” and have C.L read it as she had never learned to read. One of the sad things I remember while at Newman-Gardner was being a director at her funeral.
On a happier note I understand the Art Crawl was an outstanding success with the largest crowd to date. This can only help the Main Street revival and every time I’m able to visit I see more evidence that it’s succeeding. However, this means that ALL businesses must do their part to make it a success.
My long time friend, Joe Lowe, stressed that in his recent letter to the editor.
In spite of what Washing-ton is trying to do, we still live in a market driven economy. This means that with the good roads and everyone owning automobiles, people are going to look for the best value for their money.
Since I’m self-employed and use my car extensively in my business, I have to look for the best gasoline prices. On a recent trip to Water Valley I saw regular gas for $3.39 in Batesville and when I got to the Valley it was $3.69 – a difference of thirty cents per gallon. Since my car would take 20 gallons to fill up, it would cost me six dollars more which would not make good business sense.
I’m not picking on stations in Water Valley per se, as I find the same disparity in West Memphis where I live, so consequently, I go to where I get the best value for my dollar. Now I can just hear some of you saying that Cooper doesn’t even live in Water Valley anymore, but remember I’ve owned property and paid taxes here for years.
Recently I sold one house and bought another so I might have a dog in that fight one of these days and I plan to get along with every one who will let me.
Now Joe, keep up the good work as you seem to have an instinct for the right things and don’t mind writing about them.
Water Valley has that incredible pull to any of us who were born and raised here and many of us move back after retiring, so when someone complains about people spending money somewhere else ask yourselves the one question, WHY?
Once the problem is identified, all that remains is to find the solution and implement it. I’m so proud of my Water Valley roots and I hope to take an active role one day. Let me hear from you at my email address firstname.lastname@example.org or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, TN 38101 and have a great week.