Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Question

Was it a breeze that touched my face, tugged at my sleeve and then was gone?
It was a fleeting thing, leaving the Black Eyed Susan’s nodding in the dawn.
Was it a breeze that caused the cedars to whisper to the Whippoorwill?
A gentle passing stirring the oaks high on a barren hill.
Was it a breeze, or perhaps an old friend that passed by and touched my face, I wonder? Adios

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Long Road Home

A Long Road Home
By Ronnie Powell

Destiny, as is fate are colorful words, romantic I suppose and used to spice up a story, statement or article. I cannot say I believe them to be the controlling factor in my life, but of course I could be wrong. Prevailing circumstances should not be overlooked that may bring about a course change in ones life and could possibly have been avoided if not for tunnel vision. To step off a curb into traffic and hit by a car some would say was fate or destiny, but on the other hand failure to look to the left and right before stepping onto the street is as far as I am concerned could be a prevailing factor. I do believe, however, to avert all negative situations would be near to impossible.
This story (true) began unwittingly with a phone call one evening on October 18, 1991. The caller was my wife’s oldest sister Belva. She needed help in moving from Texarkana. She had sold her home and was coming back to Missouri to live her remaining years. She was in tears, frustrated, sad and unable to cope with her decision. She was leaving behind many friends and a lifetime of memories. She had not thought far enough ahead to where she would live upon reaching the Ozarks. She would have a truck load of possessions that would eventually arrive. It was understandably a very traumatic time in her life and she turned to family for help.
The phone call from Belva prompted my wife and me to help her and resulted in offering her a space for a Mobil home of which we went in search of. It took time to complete all of this, but the day finally arrived when the home was set up and the water and sewer connected. The Mobil home was beautiful, very spacious and cozy and at last ready for Belva. All that was left was for me to board a bus for Texarkana and help her drive back, via Little Rock, Arkansas. It was a simple plan, to be gone about three days and then a leisurely drive home across a beautiful country.
I boarded a bus in Lebanon, Missouri near sundown and found it completely full, every seat taken and I was forced to sit on the landing by the door. The aisle between the seats was cluttered with an assortment of cardboard boxes and bulging paper sacks. The travelers were a diverse lot, men, women and children crammed together, many appeared weary, especially the women. I was told by the driver my first chance to gain a seat would be at Fort Smith, Arkansas, a hundred miles or more further ahead. I placed my small duffel back at my feet, tugged my Stetson hat down over my eyes and leaned back against a rail, resigned to a long uncomfortable ride.
The bus arrived into Fort Smith very early the next morning along a shadowy, ill kept street and came to a halt before a rather shabby building that was only dimly lit on the outside. At the ticket counter I was told I would have about an hour layover. Several hours had passed since I had eaten and I decided to go to a small restaurant inside the terminal and found it crowded with impatient people trying to get a meal before leaving. There was a lot of noise and I took a seat at the counter where two weary waitresses tried to keep up with the barrage of demands. After about a half hour I was bluntly asked what I wanted and quickly gave my order for coffee, eggs and bacon. The time for my departure was approaching and I began to wonder if I would be able to stay. The food and coffee came at last about twenty minutes before my bus scheduled departure and placed before me. I was hungry, but a part of me cringed at the food, lying on a chipped old platter swimming in grease. I quickly consumed the food and even had enough time for a second cup of the thick black coffee and off I went on my second leg of the journey to Texarkana. I hurried outside, found the bus and stepped inside. To my relief I discovered it to be only about half full and quickly took a seat near the front by a window. From there to Texarkana, the population of the bus steadily declined and by the time upon reaching my destination I was the only passenger left.
As the bus slowly came to a halt I saw Belva and a friend standing in front of the building waiting for me. I wasted no time in leaving the bus, very tired and feeling slightly nauseas and attributed it to the long night. Belva was glad to see me and introduced me to the woman standing next to her. Belva led the way across a parking lot to an old Toyota, four door sedan. I politely entered the back and sat down, even wearier now and not feeling well, but I said nothing about my condition and tried to enjoy a tour of Texarkana as we made our way to Belva’s home. I was astounded by the condition of the downtown area and could see it had once been a very beautiful and stylish place. Whole sections of it stood idle, boarded up and or in near ruins. A mall we passed looked as if it had been abandoned. I was told much of the town had moved away from the center. It was to say the least a very sad plight the old section had suffered. A lot of history lay in shambles; eventually I suppose to be lost forever.
The trip to Belva’s house didn’t take long and it too was located in an old section of town and it also had suffered greatly. A wide, tree lined Front Street once graced the lawns of well kept elegant homes but now cluttered with abandoned automobiles. Most of the homes were shabby and ill kept. Belva told me later she was afraid to live there any longer. She had even been mugged once as she was going to her garage and several times someone had attempted to break into her house. All of this put me ill at ease, along with a queasy stomach and a general feeling of a worsening physical condition.
I found her house in a state of disorder with packed boxes and empties waiting to be filled. We did little that first day and later she took me out to eat. I had no appetite, but forced the food down and she took notice and I revealed my discomfort. I told her I had eaten breakfast at the bus terminal in Fort Smith and almost immediately began feeling bad.
“You should not have eaten there, Ronnie,” she stated. “I’ll stop on the way home and get you something that will make you feel better.”
That was an understatement for in the next two days, I consumed little food, almost no water and it did not matter what she gave me my condition grew worse. I could tell she was worried about me and decided put on a face of feeling better and helped her finish the packing for the moving truck fellows to load. At first I vomited, and then diarrhea set in. It was very difficult for me to keep all of that a secret from Belva. But on the third day it was time to leave. The moving van came and I assured her they would safely pack everything and bring it to her new home in Missouri. Belva wept, for the reality of leaving her home of many years and all her friends was weighing heavy on the stooped shoulders. She I went across the street to an old friend of hers and said goodbye and the lady gave Belva a sweet potato pie for us to eat along the way.
Earlier that third day we had filled the cranky little Toyota with gasoline, packed with her clothes and other personal possession that completely filled the back of the sedan. I was informed I would drive. We started out along what must have been familiar streets to Belva to a broad four lane Highway. I noticed from time to time a small puff of black smoke coming from the exhaust and asked Belva if she had serviced the car for the trip. She said she had and the fellow assured her everything was alright, even though the old car had many miles on it. I relaxed then, determined to get home before nightfall. The Toyota had a good sound as we cruised along that wide highway toward Little Rock. I don’t think I had ever felt as bad as I did that day, but relieved to be heading home I forced a good face to keep Belva at ease.
About mid afternoon we were approximately fifty miles from Little Rock and making good time and I estimated we would cross the Arkansas line into Missouri in about two hours. The traffic had picked up considerably, but most of it buzzed on around us. We began a long descent down a hill when the inkling of trouble came. An ominous shadow of black smoke suddenly appeared behind the Toyota, wagging mischievously, but then disappeared. Whether it was my condition or apprehension I felt a cold chill run up my back. A few moments later a terrible cracking noise reverberated through the car. Black smoke gushed out from under the hood and the engine clattered and belts screamed shrilly. Again a sharp cracking noise sounded, followed by a loud thud and then more smoke engulfed us trailing behind the car like a plane going down. The smoke became so dense I could see nothing but the swirling dark cloud in the rear view mirror. Cars began passing us swinging wide, blowing their horns. Quite unnerved momentarily by all the shouting and horn blowing, I hunkered down in the seat until all the traffic had passed the tortured Toyota.
Belva screamed and shouted for me to stop the car, but I refused for there was nothing out there but highway. I pushed the accelerator to the floor, and the car barely responded, but enough to gain some speed. I wanted to find an overpass road and possibly a business for us to take refuge. Soon the radiator began to blow antifreeze and water onto the windshield and still more choking smoke. I peered ahead and could make out a road leading up to an overpass and grasped the steering wheel tighter. The engine clattered horribly and then died, but our momentum carried us half way up the road and the Toyota shuttered to a halt completely engulfed in smoke. Belva immediately left the car, screaming for me to get out before I was burned alive. I did exit the car, but not as quickly as she had, for I had not the strength. The Toyota did not burn, but sat there emitting a steady but declining amount of smoke.
Belva and I slowly made our way up the hill to a service station and informed a man of our plight. He immediately got into a tow truck and pulled the Toyota up the hill to a small lot. It was during this time we decided to go on to Little Rock and take a bus home, but in order to do that we needed help. The man in charge said he would take us to the bus terminal in Little Rock for fifty dollars and the Toyota. He said he would provide us with enough plastic bags to pack her belongings in.
We arrived at the bus station in less than an hour and the man pulled his Cadillac to the curb, opened the trunk and removed all of the bags containing Belva’s things, dropped them on the sidewalk and got into the Cadillac and then drove away.
I quickly informed Belva that I should go inside the terminal to inquire about when the next bus would arrive for Springfield, Missouri.
She was understandably very distraught, standing there next to her possessions and said to me. “No I won’t stay out here alone.”
“But, I replied, “Someone may steal everything.”
It was at this moment a tall, young black man stepped forward and said. “I’ll watch your belongings Lady.”
I looked up at the man and into his steady gaze and saw there an honest man. Belva quietly observed him and nodded. “Thank you young man,” she replied.
Belva and I hurried inside and learned that a bus bound for Springfield was due at anytime and would not stay long before it continued on. We bought tickets and hurried back out side to see the bus pulling along side the curb.
The young man smiled and said. “I’ll help you load everything.
The bus driver came to where we were standing and informed us that all Belva’s things would have to in the compartment under the bus and within moments we were ready to board the vehicle. Belva wearily climbed the steps into the bus, but I turned toward the young man and offered to pay him for staying with Belva’s belongings.
“No Sir,” he calmly replied. “I just wanted to help you folks. I ain’t taking no money.”
Approximately ten minutes later the bus pulled away from the curb and to our dismay learned it would not take a northern route toward Springfield, but was heading to Fort Smith, a long way around. My nightmare intensified.
Belva sat next to me by a window and began to cry, sobbing quietly and this lasted for several moments and then it was over. The diarrhea returned to me with a vengeance and I was forced to use the onboard restroom many times during that night. The rest room was located in the rear of the bus and swayed with the motion of the vehicle and sitting on the contraption was an ordeal in itself. I grew weaker by the hour and wondered a time or two if I should inform Belva of my worsening condition and even considered asking her to have the bus driver call an ambulance, but I didn’t for she seemed to be content at last.
There were several short stops along the way and at each one Belva would go inside, buy a cup of coffee and a chicken breast. She was enjoying herself. I did have the presence of mind to drink as much Seven-Up soda as I could, to stave off dehydration, but the diarrhea persisted and then came a low grade fever.
I am not sure how long it took us to reach Fort Smith, but it was nearing dawn when the bus pulled in next to the familiar terminal. Her belongings were unloaded and I managed to take it all inside and then more or less collapsed on a bench. Belva went to the counter and she was informed we were to have a four hour layover, devastating news to her. It really didn’t matter to me any longer, I just wanted to rest.
If not for a young woman who befriended Belva I don’t think she could have survived the on going ordeal. I don’t think Belva was too fond of her, for the young woman was very out spoken and began showing Belva an album of photos that represented her life. The girl finally took notice of me and became concerned for my well being and tried in her own way to comfort me, by offering me a pillow and water to drink. It was during and nearing the long wait, I began to realize I was feeling better and was able to call my wife to tell her she would have to meet us in Springfield and gave her an approximate arrival time.
When at last our bus arrived and we went out to board it, we were told by the driver that only one seat was available and two of us would have to stay behind. The young woman stepped up and the oratory she presented to the bus driver was quite plain and colorful. She said in part,” Mister you have no idea how much these folks have suffered. The lady’s car broke down at Little Rock, the man has got food poisoning and as for me I am very pregnant. You let the lady have the seat and Ronnie and me will sit in the aisle on my box of stuff.” (Cuss words have been omitted) The driver nodded and loaded Belva’s belongs and we boarded the bus.
“Ronnie, the girl said, “you sit with your back against me and we’ll be alright.”
Sometime midmorning we arrived in Springfield and as the bus came to a halt I could see my wife standing there waiting. A most welcome sight to say the least. When I stepped down off the bus, I smiled at her, but she did not know me for a moment or so. She said later I looked terrible as did Belva. I have never been so glad to be back at home as I was that day and slept for several hours and when I awakened I felt much better. The Long Road Home tested my mettle, an ordeal I don’t wish to be subjected to again. It was an adventure I will not easily forget. Adios

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Poem From The Heart of Joyce

In Memory of Sunrise Surprise
Born 200 years from the birth of the U. S. A.
Sunrise was a surprise
Born at sunrise 1976, June 25
Little wobbly legs and a big blaze face
A natural fox trotter
Chestnut and pretty as could be
He came to live in Windyville
At the age of two
Gentle and a one man horse
Oh how he could buck
When someone else sit astride
His master was all that could ride
Many a trails we rode with him in the lead
Commanche and Lady followed at their speed
The beautiful Sunrise Surprise
He took sick one eve at five
A long rainy night of pain he survived
The vet came and sadly said
"Sunrise is very sick."
So at 8 a.m. he left this old hill
Riding in the heavens on high
He's free from the pain and hurt
He endured in his life on Earth
Commanche, his old pal of 29 years is so sad today
As we are all that he had to go away
On December 4, 1999
Forever on Windyville hill, his memory will stay
But the beautiful Sunny will have to leave today
A treasured poem. Adios

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Guns of the Old West

Butcher With His Tennesse Rifle

This Thirty One Colt Belonged To Bluejay In A Stranger In London Smoke

As Deadly as A Black Widow

Watchout! Scorpion

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My fourth book, Life Along The Dousinberry, has arrived And I am very pleased with it. It is beautiful. The quality of the book material is excellent, as always and I must give credit to Morris Publishing for their work and patience. Life Along The Dousinberry, although fiction is based on the upbringing of a Missouri Ozark boy. The tale is set in a unique locale along the Dousinberry creek, A tributary of the legendary Niangua river.It is a story of hardships, fascinations, greed and tragedies of this native son during the troubling years of the 1940's. The saga is often hilarious, sad and a time when love was tender but easily forgotton. To be certain, Ronnie Shannon and his sidekick Jimmie, thrive in the clandestine world of their adventures, a period of transformation into the reality of an uncertain adolescence. The book is a 295 page lmited, signed and numbered edition. The front cover features a painting of mine of a Dousinberry scene. For more information e-mail Adios

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Time to Remember

Some of my first woodcarving of the early 1970's. A few went to England.

The tractor of the present. It is over fifty years old

My first tractor in 1972. It steered with a long bar.

Old photos are great to look back on. They are frozen in time and bring back old memories. Adios

To MrMe

Thank you MrMe for your comment. I appreciate your response. Cyber cowards are not good people and yes they should be hunted down. Adios

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Hole in the Wall

The intruder did not enter though a window or a door, but busted through a wall. It happened quickly or so it seemed and suddenly my computer was overwelmed by an alien. I cannot comprehend what makes up a person who sits at a desk and sends out infectious cyber elments to deliberatly destroy other peoples computers. The mentality of these individuals are undoubtedly defectived to say the least. I have to wonder what kind of a miserable life they live to have nothing better to do with thier talents than to reach out and destroy. I pity them. But again I am back and will begin answering all my neglected e-mails and continue writing on my blog. Adios

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Children of Spring

Whitetail Doe
Box Turtle

Wild Rabbit

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Reflection of the Past

Time has a way of reminding us of our beginning, whether or not we approve. Our genetic history is a foundation that cannot be ignored. Our characteristics are distinquishing traits not unque to us but are mirrors into the past of other people. Each day we see many aspects of what they left behind, but often ignore. I recieved an old photo from a cousin of mine that is of one of my Great, Great Grandfather's. Over One hundred and fifty years seperate us and yet the resemblence is still distinctive, the bloodline secure. I must say I am honored to favor this very important man in Arkansas History. Adios

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beyond My Realm

The horizen is further than I shall ever go and truly I am glad, for if I should reach its farthrest edge I would no longer dream. Adios