I hope some of you have been out to see the Daisy Cook exhibit at Crowder College. There isn’t much time left so take some children out with you and enjoy some Ozark history.
I’ve been thinking about how much volunteers mean to so many groups. It seems that every group, movement or organization depends on volunteers. No matter what your interest is or what age group you like to help or what your politics, there is a place for you and your labor. If you are interested in young people or the elderly, history or science, Republican causes or those of the Democrats, there are ample opportunities to serve. And service comes in many forms: donations, physical labor, time, or talent.
Some time ago, someone donated a fire-proof filing cabinet to a couple of organizations I work with. This is a great item which weighs a ton, but it was built to protect almost anything from papers to money to artifacts. This filing cabinet sells new for $2,000-$3,000 and we are offering it for $400. If we can sell it, the Newtonia Battlefields Protection Association and the Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery will split the money. So, if you need a very nice filing cabinet, give me a call and leave a message if I don’t answer.
I don’t watch the television show “Longmire” very often, but I did catch it last week and I got a very nice surprise. Much of last week’s episode was set in a courtroom. But I could hardly pay attention to the dialogue because the walls of the courtroom were covered with Thomas Hart Benton paintings. Almost every scene had a Benton painting in the background. It was amazing to me. I think much, if not all of the paintings, were taken from the mural in the Truman Library in Kansas City.
In 1997, I wrote two little books. Billie Stewart was going to illustrate them, but for whatever reason, we never got them finished. I suspect the courthouse mural was on her mind. Nonetheless, Billie called me one day and said she had found those books. She had forgotten about them. I was surprised at the call and had no idea what she was talking about.
One book is a girl’s view of the history of Neosho and the other is a boy’s look. We have read them over and are contemplating publishing them. In the girl’s book, we meet seven Emilys who have lived through Neosho’s past. Emily the First came to Neosho the year it was founded. Each Emily had a daughter named Emily and you get to see Neosho through each one’s eyes.
Each small chapter covers about 20 years and tells most of the major events and personalities of that score of years.
The books end in 1997 (the year we laid the books aside) and I have been wondering if we were to add a couple of Emilys, who would we highlight or what changes of importance would he describe. Are there any real outstanding people in Neosho in the last 20 or 30 years; someone of the stature of Thomas Hart Benton, or Lemuel Hearrell or Herman Jaeger or Hugh Robinson? Have there been exciting things like the arrival of Rocketdyne or the building of two or three new courthouses? Has there been something like the hitch rack war or the Big Spring Inn or the Civil War?
Those questions have been on my mind for about a month and I have not yet found any answers.
Kay Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.