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Sunday, May 1, 2016

A tour of the White House

Sunday, January 30, 2011

(Photo)
Bud Hunt publisher Daily Dunklin Democrat
Pulling rank

Several of our local folks journeyed to the nation's capitol a few weeks ago. Even the cold temperatures couldn't keep them from doing a little sight-seeing. A "must see" on any Washington, D.C., trip is obviously the White House.

As you can imagine security at the home of our nation's president is a high priority. Part of the security process involves submitting names of individuals who want to take the tour. Presumably those names are run through a network of data banks the size of which would make those old Eniac computers look like a laptop.

Photos are matched up, nearest relatives are interviewed, fingerprints taken, DNA run through national data banks, retinal imaging is done; and that's just to get your name on the list. Once a would-be tourist arrives at the gates a pat down that would make a Transportation Security Administration pat down at the airport look like love pats from your grandmother takes place.

So, when our local folks lined up to take their tour they were waived through the first set of security officials. At the second checkpoint a problem was discovered. Seems one of the names on the list did not match up with the person in line. It was an easy enough mistake to make in this case. The daughter's name was listed twice, whereas her mother's name was not on the list at all.

Given what happened back in 2009 when the Salahis crashed a gala event there, one would think bells and whistles would have gone off. Armed guards accompanied by ferocious attack dogs would have descended on the misidentified line crasher.

One report that made its way to me suggests that the security people considered all of those scenarios. They were ready to do all those things.

At that point our local gal, affectionately (emphasis on the "affectionate' part here) known as The Little General, pulled rank. She was in line having come all the way from the Bootheel of Missouri and no bureaucratic goof up was going to keep her from going on her tour.

Realizing they were out-ranked and out-classed, the G-men backed down.

There's another story that says this same gal popped into the chair behind the big desk in the Oval Office and said something like, "This feels just fine, believe I'll stay here for a couple years," but that's just a rumor.

* * *

Pay-backs

Several years ago, back when he was full of himself and a wet-behind-the-ears, freshly minted college graduate, John Robertson arrived back in the Bootheel ready to go to work.

The late Robert Caneer had just the spot for him, running a grain elevator in the southern part of the county. The elevator did its banking at Kennett National Bank. There was a quiet, demure teller there by the name of Earline Hovis (I know, that "quiet, demure" part is the funniest thing you'll read today).

One particular summer day John had Cindy Caneer Wilkins make the bank run for him. Being much younger than Johnny, Cindy only worked at the elevator when she was out of school. On that day John decided to slip a rubber mouse into the bank bag.

When Cindy returned and with the straightest face she could muster, said, "Earline passed out. They had to take her to the hospital."

Now John was too smart to fall for that one. He waited just a little bit and then called the bank. He asked for Earline. The woman who answered the phone replied, "They had to take her to the hospital. She fainted." Apparently John, still not believing what he was hearing, talked to someone else. He was told the same story. His conscious got to bothering him a bit at this point.

John called the Hovis house. Jesse was home. But then again, Jesse was usually home at that time of day because he was working the night shift at the Uarco plant. John woke him up.

"Jesse, is Earline all right?" John asked. There's one report that says Jesse's first thought was, "Well, she never has been. Why would she be all right now?" but that's just a friend of Earline's stirring the pot. Jesse told John that as far as he knew Earline was just fine. At that point John knew he had been paid back for his stunt.

Not that Earline let it end there. The way John remembers it, his bank bag came back to him one day with a rubber snake in it. I don't believe John attempted any more practical jokes on Earline.

* * *

Spring training

It won't be long until the nation's pastime begins preparing for a new season. Pitchers and catchers will be reporting in about two weeks. Knowing that, the blurb I came across from the DDD's unofficial, but much appreciated historian, Vivian Helton, from the Thursday, Aug. 10, 1893 edition of the DD was of interest.

"A game of base ball between two rival clubs of Kennett, known as the Fats and the Leans, has been arranged to occur at this place next Tuesday afternoon, August 15th and already the indications are good for a high old time. An observance fee of 10 cents will be charged to everyone who crosses the railroad track or gets within seeing distance of the game, the proceeds to be devoted to some charity yet to be named. The players for each club have been arranged...each club being allowed four members as substitutes, two surgeons, two water carriers, a coacher and an umpire, in attrition to the regular players."

From the sounds of this baseball was a little more of a contact sport back in the day.

Bud Hunt is regional vice

president,

publisher of the

Daily Dunklin Democrat, Daily Statesman, Delta News-Citizen, Missourian-News and

North Stoddard Countian.