"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day



A good friend, and fellow Navy Veteran, posted this earlier today.  I don’t know if they’re his words or someone else’s, but the message hits home.  But for the grace of God, someone could be reading my name on a wall today.

“Every tombstone, every name on a wall or monument represents a once living young man or woman who was someone’s son or daughter. They may have been someone’s husband or wife or sweetheart. They may also have been someone’s father or mother.  One thing that they all have in common is that they were young men and women who never got the chance to become old men and women.  We need to do more to honor their memory.”

Take a moment today to remember those who gave all for our Country.  And also say a “thank you” to those still doing their part to protect our freedom…..jc

Monday, May 18, 2015

Boredom, and learning a little history.



To say there isn’t much going on around the home place would be an understatement.  Reading of friends exciting happenings in places such as Utah, Colorado, and Oregon give me a bad case of the mullygrubs.

I don’t have a Facebook account, but while browsing the wife’s one day, I realized something.  I found that there are lots and lots of pages dedicated to history.  Pages dedicated to specific sites, towns, counties, etc.

I sometimes browse those pages, reading of times gone by, and looking at pictures of places I remember hearing of in my childhood. 

Today, I was browsing some posts on a Natchez page, and a name caught my eye.  New Salem.  That was the name of the little country church I attended as a child.  I knew there had been a school there in the past, but that was all.  Following the next paragraph, you will find two pieces of local history I stumbled upon.

I find it remarkable the things our forefathers did for the education of their children.  The first article was a report done by the WPA in the 1930’s.  The article contains the name of my Great Grandfather, and the person quoted with the report was his daughter, my great aunt.

The second one is a newspaper article from 1908.  Can you imagine, over eighty dollars for a cake?  In 1908!  The two ladies must have been some beauties.  And on the debate, If I understand it correctly, the works of man beat out nature when it comes to attractiveness. I’m not sure about that.

Excuse the transcription.  That’s the way it copied.

“ The schools which proceeded the present school system of District 4 were viz., New Salem, Kenolia, Wrights and Ramah. New Salem probably led the others in success and we will follow it as an example.

        The school was organized about 1878 at the place where New Salem Church is
now located or about three-fourths of a mile north of highway from McCall. The
first instructor of the school was Mr. T. J. Scott. They had only four months of
school taught in the summer months, but from this it gave the people of the
community an inspiration to build and maintain a better school system for their
children and in 1902 the first graded school of this district was organized.
This school was organized by J. F. Porter, M. M. Ballard, Dave Wright, Jim
Wilson, Zack Wilson, A. J. Arnold, T. S. Byrd, John Byrd, Leo Wilson, and James
and David Chapman. The leading purpose was to have a more lengthy term. This school
was taught in the winter months and ran from six to sometimes seven months. Not
only the immediate community was interested in this type of school, but people
from all over the county heard of the great work done in the school and brought
their children and placed them in the homes in the community to let them receive
instruction from the efficient teachers.
The first principal of this school was Mr. John Bruick, a Franklin
county product. He was succeeded by Mr. Albert Godbold from Lincoln County.
Godbold was followed by a Mr. Futch from Kentucky. His health forced him to give
up his work and Hon. R. E. Bennett, now of Meadville, finished his work. He was
succeeded by Mr. Moxley from Kentucky. Then came I. K. Floyd from Kentucky and he
was followed by B. M. Russell from Lawrence County.
The building was of woodwork. At first it was just a three room building, but
the people soon saw that it would not accommodate the mass of pupils so they built
an addition of two more classrooms and a music room separate from the classrooms.
They taught through the tenth grade in a crude way. They kept no permanent
record of work done by students, but gave examinations at the end of each session
to determine if pupils were qualified to enter another grade.”
REF: Sarah Chapman, McCall, MS

News Article From the Franklin Advocate – April 2, 1908 – Cake Brought $83.40

  The writer attended a box supper at New Salem High School on the 13th, the
first of the kind ever gotten up here. It was arranged by Prof. B. M. Russell and
his efficient assistants in the school, Misses Iva Coleman and Ethyl Flowers.
First on the program was a lively debate on the subject “Resolved, that the works
of nature are more attractive than the arts of man,” the judges deciding in favor
of the negative.
A handsome cake was then put up to be voted to the prettiest girl at 10
cents a vote. After a few scattering votes, the contest settled down between Miss
Minnie Cupit of Lucien, a student of the school and Miss Iva Coleman of Jefferson
County, one of the teachers. The voting was pretty lively, fifty votes frequently going in at one time,
and when the interest began to lag, the beautiful contestants were placed on the
stage. Beauty! Truly, the writer has no language to describe it as they sat there
side by side, but their pure girlish beauty around the voters on each side and the
votes were polled until each had 407, and it was agreed to divide the cake equally
between them. After counting all the votes, it was found that the cake brought
the neat sum of $83.40. Then came the sales. About forty boxes had been prepared,
which were auctioned off to the highest bidder, bring from twenty five cents to
one dollar, making a total of $11.65.
The money thus raised is for the school, the total sum being $95.05.
Everyone had a pleasant time, a flood of beautiful moonlight to light the
homeward way. New Salem is one of the best schools in this county, and is
gradually moving on up the grade.
By: J. H. Cotton
Have you heard of box suppers?  They were still taking place when I was in elementary school.
Over a hundred years later, a failing education system appears to be the norm in most places.  I wonder what our forefathers knew; that we have forgotten…..jc 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015



Those of you that have spent very much time in the deep South know we have a plethora of insects.  Flying, crawling, biting; we have them all. During the past few days we have enjoyed the company of a species that shows up only once every 13 years.  The 13 year Cicada has appeared like a plague from the Bible.

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These ugly bugs spend 13 years underground, living on the nutrients they take from the roots of trees and other plants.  In the Spring of their thirteenth year, when the soil temperature reaches a certain point, they emerge by the thousands.  They emerge from the soil and immediately make for any elevated place.  These are crawling up a Sweet Gum tree in our yard.

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Once off the ground, the exoskeleton dries out, splits, and the adult emerges.  This takes place overnight.

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This is what the adult looks like.

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Don’t you love those red eyes?

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Once the adults have shed their shell, they crawl into the tops of the trees and wait for the sun to warm the day.  That’s when the singing begins.  Once the temperature reaches a certain point, It will go from dead silence to a crescendo within minutes, and they will sing all day, hoping to attract a mate.  Imagine millions of them singing this song.  Being surrounded by woods, that’s the sound we hear all day.  It ebbs and flows with the wind, but never stops.

This goes on for a couple of weeks before the males begin to die.  The females deposit their eggs into slits on twigs of living trees, then die themselves.  A short time later the eggs hatch, the nymphs drop to the ground, and burrow in to begin the cycle again.  Hope I’m here to welcome them back in 2028.

Ugly bugs, for sure, but other wildlife loves them.  I think they look at them as the 5 PM buffet..jc