Last week we reported on the Case of the Missing Grill that had "Little Towny" Sparks chasing all over two counties looking for his Ed Morrow-made, four-foot grill. After almost a week of searching and reaching out to anyone that knew him; that had ever sent him an email, that was in law enforcement (or even thought about wanting to be in law enforcement) the grill turned up right where he left it. Albeit, painted and shined up courtesy of his friend, Charley Hilburn.
The missing grill started out as an attempt at a good deed by Charley to do something for his buddy. When Towny reacted the way he did, "Man, someone stole my grill," Charley decided to play it out for a few days. He enlisted the help of Towny's brother-in-law and sister, Mark and Tracy Ellis along the way who enjoyed the opportunity for a little payback to big brother.
Turns out there was another fellow out there who also wanted a little piece of Towny and jumped on the chance without telling the other pranksters involved what he was doing.
During duck hunting season last year (2008 I think) Towny was in a duck blind with Roger Wheeler, Jr., known as "Tag" to his friends, Charley, Ken Johnson and maybe a couple others I'm not aware of. Somewhere along the way one morning Roger and Towny got to trash talking each other.
According to some reports Roger was getting the best of that one-on-one. So Towny found another way to get even. Without knowing all the specifics, Towny messed with the breech on Roger's shotgun. When Roger picked up the gun to shoot it was basically jammed. Roger fiddled with the gun, even took it apart and cleaned it, I'm told. He still couldn't get it to shoot. He was ready to sell it, throw it in the water; just do anything to get rid of the gun.
And, this went on for a while. Finally at the end of duck season Towny owned up to what he had done and corrected what he had done earlier. Add another person to the "Payback Towny List," which, as we're learning, seems to be a fairly long list.
When Roger learned Towny's grill was missing he saw an opportunity for payback.
Roger called the classified advertising department at the newspaper and placed an ad, "LOOK For Sale Used 4ft. Morrow Grill $300. Call 344-****" The ad came out in Friday's paper. Towny saw the ad and immediately knew it was his grill that had been stolen, basically because the advertised price is about one-tenth of what the grill is actually worth.
Towny called the number. The guy that answered the phone said he was in Hayti (which fit with a report Towny had gotten earlier that a similar grill was seen headed east on Highway 412). Towny made arrangements to meet the guy at a used car lot in Hayti.
When Towny got to the car lot the fellow he met said something like, "My buddy's got it right now. Here's his number. Call him and see if he can bring it back up here."
Towny called the number he had been given. That number just happened to be Roger's cell phone number. When Roger answered he reminded Towny about messing with his shotgun. I think something was said about paybacks being kinda tough. Roger called the newspaper back and reported the grill had been "Sold" and said we could discontinue the ad.
As you now know, Towny headed back to Kennett ended up reunited with his grill later that afternoon. Tough crowd, but I suspect that's the way they want it.
I saw Charley at the ballgame that evening and asked if he and Towny had made up.
"Aw, yeah," Charley said, "he's been with me all afternoon." What I thought was that Towny probably doesn't trust him not to pull another prank and so didn't want to let Charley out of his sight.
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I ran into Street Commissioner Randy Carter Friday morning who admitted to having a good day. Better days in the near future?
"We've had ice. We've had snow. We've had really cold weather," Randy said. "It's time to warm up."
Break out the Bermuda shorts and forget about that groundhog thing. We've got Randy.
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Notes by the Way
"Notice is hereby given that a petition will be presented to the county court, of Dunklin county, Missouri, at the April term, 1903, of said court, praying the court to disincorporate the village of Spoonerville, Dunklin county, Missouri.
"The congregations at Harkey Chapel and Cotton Plant were a little under the usual number last Sunday; too much ice.
"The Ach island, a forty acre lot of timber, ¼ mile west of Cotton Plant, belonging to Bert Langdon, is being cleared and corn and pumpkins will grow there, this year. The island was one of the old landmarks of the Langdon farm.
"'Old Jude Ownby' has been at some more of her pranks. It is true she is old and ugly, and one would expect remarks to be made about her, in keeping with her appearance; but Rev. R.M. Ownby says that when Henry Parker and others were discussing her in no very complementary way, she resented the insult by running away with the wagon, and spilling the occupant." I'm guessing "Old Jude" was a horse or mule and not Missus Ownby, but there is no further intent to identify "Old Jude."
Thanks to the DDD's unofficial, but much appreciated historian, Vivian Helton, for passing along those notes from the Feb. 27, 1903 edition of the DDD.
Bud Hunt is publisher of the
Daily Dunklin Democrat, Daily Statesman, Delta News-Citizen, Missourian-News and
North Stoddard Countian.