There were no convenience stores in Anderson in the '30s and no Walmart and, if there had been, there was no money to buy things.

There were no convenience stores in Anderson in the '30s and no Walmart and, if there had been, there was no money to buy things.

Orpha and Happy, born in 1914 and 1915, married in 1933, were hard workers and industrious, but jobs were scarce. Orpha was a very accomplished homemaker, she could make scrapple and head cheese and knew several ways to cook squirrel and raccoon and had even cooked possum, but, when there is no money, even ammunition is scarce.
Orpha cooked and sewed and tended garden and cleaned and Happy worked whenever work was to be had but in Southwest Missouri jobs were, as I said, scarce. The big cities were having bread lines and soup kitchens and people were struggling just to survive, trying to survive the depression and hard times. Happy was a singing man, singing, whistling, joking, and had a great love for babies and small children. They had no children in those days and were lucky to have a roof over their heads and a fire in the stove.

They also had a three-legged bulldog that Orpha was afraid of. If Happy remembered to put the dog out before he left for his job, all was OK. But, if he didn't, the dog would lie behind the stove and resist any efforts of Orpha to move him out of the house. Under ordinary circumstances they would not keep a pet that Orpha was afraid of, but this dog was different. I don't have any information about his name or why he just had three legs, but Orpha painted a picture when she described why they kept this three-legged bulldog.

Happy was not only musical, but he was handy with a rock. When you hear the story next time of David and Goliath, you will need to think about Happy Anders. Happy was a good ball player and once was knocked out by a rock. He threw it in the air, it came down and knocked him out and his brother was about to get a whipping for it, until Happy came to and confessed he'd thrown the rock! As Orpha told it, Happy would take his three-legged bulldog out into the woods. Lots of woods in those days in McDonald County and no one cared if you hunted in their woods. He would get a good club or a rock and his dog and go to the woods and wait until a rabbit would get to fooling around in the woods, sic the bull dog on it, the dog would run the rabbit by Happy and he would send that rabbit to rabbit heaven and bring home meat that Orpha would then cook. She'd probably cook it with greens that she had put up from a garden they had planted and harvested, or a field nearby and make some good corn bread or biscuits and some gravy and they would have a feast. No soup kitchen, no bread line, just good home cookin'.

Orpha (Spears) and Happy were married from 1933 until his death in 1968 and he had biscuits or cornbread at every meal, cooked from scratch, with love, by his bride. As years passed, they had children, four lived, and they had pigs that they butchered and cows that they milked and better jobs and bought and sold several homes. They raised four healthy children, educated them and taught them about their creator. They had a good life. Disasters, including a burnout, losing everything, were among many catastrophes, but, they survived. They kept the faith and were inspiration to people around them, admired and respected. This doesn't mean things were easy for them, as you can see from this story, they survived illness, poverty, tragedies and they struggled.

When things are hard for you, when you are struggling, remember that, like the original Americans, you are from good strong stock, and, while you may not be lucky enough to have a three-legged bulldog, you too will survive and prosper, just be true to yourself and proud of your good name, protect it and be faithful. (This letter written to writer's nieces and nephews during Christmas season.)

We at the McDonald County Historical Society would like to invite you to join us at the McDonald County Historical Museum on the square in Pineville. Open Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday afternoon as volunteers are available. You can write us at P.O. Box 572, Pineville, 64856. Telephone, when open, 417-223-7700, or go to

We would like to invite you to join us at our annual Christmas party at the museum, Sunday, Dec. 8 – drop by and learn about early days in McDonald County.

New 2014 calendars(featuring country stores in our county) are available for a donation of $8, Check at Cornerstone Bank in Southwest City, Mustang Pharmacy in Anderson, city hall in Pineville or at our museum, on the square in Pineville.

Alberta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.