Things have been very busy these last few weeks as preparations are being made for the ceremony at Tipton Ford. Shoal Creek Heritage Preservation is sponsoring the event which started out as a simple project; set a stone to note the 100th anniversary of the wreck. Before we knew it, the idea became a snowball rolling rapidly downhill. The result was not only setting a stone, but putting a book together, holding a ceremony, forming a partnership with the Carver Monument, and a planning a lunch.
As of this moment, I believe we will have people from Missouri, Texas, Kansas, Indiana, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Iowa. These states are the only ones we KNOW that will be represented, but I feel sure more states will check in.
Shoal Creek Heritage Preservation publicly thanks everyone who has given support to this event. We are a small committee, but several people have offered to help with from everything from helping buy the food to passing out ice water at the event.
It's been a rather long road, but when Tuesday ends, we will know what we are made of. And I think we will be happy with the results. We will feel we added to some heritage tourism figures for Newton County. And that's the best kind of tourism.
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No telephone. No computers. No e-mail. No instant messages. No television. For one blessed day, we were without these things because of some new flooring. We had to be unconnected with the world. It was wonderful.
When we got the mail that day, there was a packet from our British friends who had been guests a few weeks back. The packet included an issue of a small regional British magazine. Almost everything in the magazine dealt with that part of the Tour de France being run in England. One amusing short story told of a town that had an annual Ferret Show. The show was the biggest thing in the year as ferret owners came to the show and stayed a couple of days. People from miles around came, filling the town square. Local booths and local merchants did well.
But, lo and behold, it was announced that the Tour de France would pass through the town commons where the show was held. Oh, the excitement! The local tavern owner was going to order lots of refreshments and most people were happy. The women of the town even knit little yellow jerseys for the ferrets, in honor of the yellow jersey the race leader wears.
But the ferret show organizer, Benjamin Burnshaw, nearly had a heart attack. He said the bicycle race would ruin the ferret show. With not only with the hundreds of bikers who would pass through, ambulances, support vehicles and television crews would as well. They would take up all the room and the parking spaces Benjamin lamented.
Things were in turmoil until the morning the race was set to come through the little town. The old dead sycamore tree on the edge of town, with some powerful help, just fell across the road blocking the way of the race into town.
Emergency messages were sent out by race officials and the route was detoured onto another road about a mile away. So went the race, and so, too, on went the ferret show.
"It was a small crowd," commented Constable Watkins later, as he examined a prize-winning ferret wearing a yellow jersey.
"Aye," muttered Benjamin Burnshaw. "They've all gone to watch yon bike race."
Kay Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.