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Betty’s Week

By Betty Shearer

The front  page picture of the Gum’s Crossing Bridge, having been closed due to structural damage by the high water, brought on much discussion Wednesday morning. I was surprised at the number of vehicles that used this bridge daily and also the long detour these people would have to make. 

The cost of bridge building also surprised me. Begin thinking that there surely is another way to cross that water—some less costly and a shorter time period to get the traffic flowing again.

Remembered that over 50 years ago Brother Bo had worked for Boyd Construction of Grenada, building roads and bridges in Arkansas. While  he was stationed in DeWitt, we took him back home several times—teenage brother, Rance, or sister, Jimmie, wanted to use his car for a week—he had a brand new classy one. 

To get to and from DeWitt, we had to cross a river via ferry and the thing worked very well. Wait was never very long and the toll was nominal. This one operated by cables with a small engine taking us across. Best I can remember it transported some 10 to 12 vehicles each load. I’m sure building ramps is doable and probably some of those old ferries are still around—probably can be picked up very cheaply. 

Motors would have to be replaced, but all this is I’m sure a lot less expensive that the $8.5 million to build a new bridge and this could be done a lot quicker than replacing the bridge. If I were traveling that detour I don’t think I’d mind a short wait and paying even a hefty toll. I’m sure that this would not be a long-term fix, but it might be an interim solution. Also some of the larger ferries did not use the cable system, but were motorized and carried a much larger load.

The last of the Arkansas ferries were phased out about the time Jim left the state 30 years ago. The final two were located near Magnolia, where Jim taught his first year out of school. We did not go to see the last runs, and now I’m sorry that we didn’t. This was about 20 years after Bo was in Arkansas, when many ferries were still being used.

Now this mode of transportation may be a lot more complicated than it looked to me, but thought it worth throwing out the idea.


Thursday morning I was running late but I drove at normal speeds. Had a string of vehicles behind me and I was doing 60, when an impatient driver came around several cars and me, passing on a double yellow line and going up a hill. I slowed down, as did everyone else—none of us wanted to get splattered when he hit someone head on coming over the hill in the other lane. 

Was glad I had traveled at a higher speed and got to the nursing home earlier, because when I arrived Mom was awake and I thought, “Oh great, maybe she will be hungry and ready to eat.” Wrong, even though she was very alert, she still didn’t want to eat. About 10:30 she decided to eat a few bites of oatmeal and drank about 16 ounces of milk—better than nothing.

On Friday, however, I got up early and found very little traffic, until I got almost to the Batesville City Limits. So, I drove about 40 mph and enjoyed the Dorothy Perkins and Prim Roses in full bloom. Also, the pesky Kudzu is in full leaf and growing. At my slow speed I think I could almost see it growing. Watching this plant though the years, I really believe it grows almost a foot a night, especially across my driveway.


Saturday  night I had gone to bed early and was sleeping so soundly, when a thunder boomer shook me awake. The storm didn’t last long and thought I’d get right back to sleep. Wrong, a huge hard shell bug had gotten stuck on one of my sticky pads and it was making a screeching sound, so I found sleep was impossible. I got up, went back to the den and turned on the TV and watched “Hart to Hart.”  

Was a pretty good show, except that one of the program was set in a jungle and it had snakes. Went back to check on my bug and apparently it had died, so it was back to bed.  

The rain was gone, but looked like it could return anytime. Brian York came in with a big umbrella and told us he had brought it to scare the rain away—it must have worked because when we left after morning service it still had not rained. Told him to be sure to keep that umbrella handy all day because we did not  need any more rain. He just smiled and nodded affirmative.

Our graduate, Autumn McCluskey, was honored during the morning service. She was recognized and presented a Bible. We were honored to have the Bro. Billy Childs bring our messages at both the morning and evening services. Billy delivers the sermons God’s lays on his heart in an excellent manner. I think God sent Sunday night’s service for me—maybe others also needed to hear it. It was on depression – I’m not depressed but I am discouraged because I have  no idea of how to get Mom to eat. All I know to do is pray and urge her. I know that it’s all in God hands, but you still feel like there must be something you can do. 

Billy’s encouraging words were, “God will take care of it,” and I know He will but it’s always good to have someone else tell you what you already know. Billy and the rest of the congregation are also praying for us and that’s so comforting.


Graduation will be held Friday night—hope I get to attend, since it’s been a couple of years since I’ve had that privilege.

Us  older folks were discussing the number of accidents each year, some with fatalities, following graduation in our area and across the nation. Remembering what we did following our big event, most of us admitted to going home or to a friend’s home, where we had some refreshments—non-alcoholic—and just visited. We all agreed that we had a good time.

Congratulations to all our graduates and do be safe.

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