Reflections

No Treats For Early Halloween Tricksters

By Charles Cooper


Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.  
I hope everyone came through Halloween without any problems. When I was growing up I was living on Papa Badley’s farm and houses were so scattered that trick or treating was out of the question. My first two years of school were in Oakland and the school had Halloween carnivals where we all dressed up in costumes and there was food and drinks and little skits on stage. I remember that I had an owl costume with a mask like an owl’s head that I had forgotten about until I saw all the displays in Wal-Mart.  
Even then no one knew about trick or treating  and I doubt that our parents would have allowed us to go door to door asking for goodies. I’ve heard older people tell about how in their day there were more tricks than treats. Probably back then people didn’t have money to spend on what they regarded as frivolities.  I heard that  Uncle Charlie and some of his friends took a buggy apart and put it on a barn roof, which caused the poor owner to have to bring it down piece by piece to put it back together.  
My only contribution to tricks was once we put brush across a narrow country road which caused the first driver to have to stop and clear the way before going ahead. Someone told me about putting a lady’s purse in the road attached to a fishing line and when the driver stopped to pick it up they would jerk it back and run.  In those days kids didn’t have TV or video games so they had to entertain themselves as best they could.  
My thanks to Jack for inserting the picture of the cotton mill children in the column again. Some of them were younger than my granddaughter, Shelby, and  they were all ragged, barefooted and sad eyed and looked hungry. I only wish  the descendents of the mill owners could take a look at how the family fortune was made.  
When I asked for any living mill workers I failed to ask for any children or grandchildren to contact us, if they so desire, as I’m sure they have many stories they could tell. To my knowledge I only knew one person who worked there and that was Mrs. Isaac Shepherd who started when she was six years old instead of going to school. As a result she never leaned to read or write.  
I’ve been asked why I drag up things like this and I simply answer that sorry as it is it’s part of Water Valley history. Maybe some of to-day’s generation who complain about how rough they have it might consider how fortunate we are today in comparison.  
On a happier note, I was really glad to hear about the large crowds for the art crawl. That can only help in the Main Street revival.  Maybe if my plans work out I can become part of it in the not too distant future.  
I was asked to be the guest speaker of the Friends of the Library society on Nov. 7.  I knew that some of the people had been pulling my columns off the internet. Even though they are not from the Valley, they were impressed by them and and wanted me to give a twenty minute talk. I asked the lady what I was going to do with the other fifteen minutes and she just smiled and said, “I’m sure you’ll think of something.”  
The Herald even got a plug in our paper here as I was listed as a columnist for the North Mississippi Herald.
Along with Betty’s column I enjoy Mickey How-ley’s and the Looking back at Yalobusha County segment. One item caught my eye last week about the death of Jack Dale fifty years ago. Believe it or not I remember when he was the editor. When he went into the army, Mrs. Dale continued publishing the paper until it was sold.
From what I’ve read about him he epitomized what a good newspaperman should be. He went out and dug up his stories instead of waiting to see what was on the wire services or copying what someone else had written as so many in the media do today. That’s why small town newspapers are doing well while many of the large dailies are going out of business.  
Let me hear from you at my email address cncooper1@hotmail.com or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, TN 38101 and have a great week.

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