If you have yet to visit the McDonald County Historical Museum on the square in Pineville, now is a good time to take advantage of this unparalleled building. Do drop in on Friday or Saturday, or Sunday afternoon, as volunteers are available to keep the doors open for you. Don’t miss the theatre, the sheriff as he guards his prisoner in the jail cell. Lots of history to remind you of yesterday.
In the meantime, a friend of mine shared with me interesting information in the New-Mac Co-op “Energy Partners” relating to ‘Patriotism prevalent in early days of their cooperative.” When I left McDonald County in the third grade, in the 1940s electricity and inside plumbing were both luxuries enjoyed by a very few. Featured was the message, “We Have A War to Win.” As all were encouraged to work together: “Selfishness of small groups and individuals are one of our Home Front Enemies, Just stop and think where the cooperative idea would be today if the very few had mutually agreed with the majority. There has never been a time when the need for Brotherhood among men was as great as it is now, Our Cooperative can be one of the factors in helping to attain this brotherhood. Remember it takes the support of all to make a good cooperative, and our job doesn’t stop here, We Have A War To Win. Unless we win this war there will be no cooperatives; there will be no farm life as we now know it’ we will not be permitted to worship as we please; there will be no U.S.A. Therefore, we must complete the job regardless of the sacrifice, We can’t do it by sitting around. “The hen is the only creature that can produce dividends by sitting around,” — and sometimes she doesn’t.”
As my grandfather, Willy Spears, implored neighbors to work with him in bringing electricity to his rural farm it fell on deaf ears. “No way,” his neighbor answered, those telephone poles and wires attracted lightning and he wasn’t having it. Today, 60-plus years later you drive out to that location and the farm house is gone, the barn is gone, the outhouse no longer there but in their place, a lone electric pole.
So much we take for granted today it is difficult to realize all the changes in that one generation. Kerosene lamps, wood heat, lucky to have batteries for a small radio, a cold stream under a cliff to keep the milk from going bad, no such thing as air conditioning (in desperation we sometimes moved our beds out in the yard to catch a breeze at night, why were we not eaten alive by mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks? – maybe due to the lack of men’s cologne, toilet water, fragrant soaps and lotions, or, maybe the sulfur water that was consumed). No one wants to go backwards but I would, today, suggest that we take a moment to appreciate the progress—It’s 11:30 at night and you no longer have to take that short little walk to the outhouse in back, don’t take it for granted, appreciate it. As the New Mac information said, “There has never been a time when the need for Brotherhood among men was as great as it is now” and don’t take your blessings for granted, appreciate, and enjoy.
You may write to McDonald County Historical Society at P.O. Box 572, Pineville, 64856, as well as checking out our webpage. Come visit our walk into history.
Alberta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.