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Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

Twain knew the river well

Sunday, May 8, 2011

(Photo)
Bud Hunt publisher Daily Dunklin Democrat
Mark Twain is reported to have said some 100 years ago, the Mississippi River "cannot be tamed, curbed or confined.....you cannot bar its path with an obstruction which it will not tear down, dance over and laugh at."

Most folks on this side of the river, and likely most on the other side as well, would have preferred to remain blissfully ignorant of what it would mean to breach the levee at Birds Point. It was unfortunate and "tragic." I believe that's the way Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh, president of the Mississippi River Commission, described his actions last week in deciding to set off the charges that would breach the levee.

I learned a little bit about the levee in 1993. The flood that year did have some impact down here, but most of the flooding occurred along the Missouri River across the central part of the state. However, the Mississippi did get up and I recall talking to Jack Ratliff with the Corps of Engineers. Jack assured me then that breaching the levee was a very real possibility but the water level never got high enough to merit further discussion.

Birds Point was last "activated," (that must be civil engineer-speak for "blown up") in 1937. There are a few folks around who remember that day but not a lot. One fellow who recalled that day is Louis Womack, who works for our newspaper in Dexter.

On that day in February 1937, Louis was living in Wardell. He recalled hearing, and feeling, the explosion that breached the levee on that day.

Last Tuesday morning some of our newspaper staff in Dexter said they heard the explosion. Shelia Rouse, publisher of the Dyersburg State Gazette, said she felt it at her house. Scott Seal is general manager of the newspaper in Portageville and lives in Lilbourn. Scott told me he thought we were having an earthquake. He heard the detonation and said his house shook pretty hard. More than a few folks in the immediate area also reported hearing or feeling the initial blast that opened up the floodway.

As this is being written we're still waiting on a crest of the Mississippi as well as the St. Francis. Once that occurs we'll then begin tackling the cleanup battle that ironically will be longer and likely more work than what went into preventing the flood.

* * *

400th anniversary

Last week, May 2 to be exact, marked the anniversary of the publication of the Authorized King James Version of the Bible. As reported by Steve King (not that King, this author is a professor at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland) for Barnes and Nobles' Daybook feature on its Nook e-reader.

"There was immediate controversy over some of the wording-about 80% of which was taken from William Tyndale's Bible; that edition was so unauthorized that Tyndale was hanged for it."

King also pointed out some other "translation" of the Bible over the years. Among those are the "'Basketball edition' where 'hoopes' instead of 'hookes' are used in the construction of the Tabernacle; in ... the 'Vinegar' edition, Luke tells 'The Parable of the Vinegar' instead of the 'Parable of the Vineyard' in the 'Murderers' edition, Jesus commands 'Let the children first be killed' instead of 'Let the children first be filled' in the 'Unrighteous' edition, ' the unrighteous shall inherit the Kingdom of God' in the 'Wicked' edition, the seventh commandment is 'Thou shalt commit adultery."

* * *

Ace

There have been other married couples to record holes-in-one and there have even been couples to record their respective aces on the same hole.

However, I would guess that after last week George and Betty Byers can claim a world record for having a hole-on-one on the same hole in at least one respect.

While playing a round several days ago Betty recorded her ace on the 120-yard, par three eighth hole at the local golf course. Betty stepped up and with a might swat knocked the ball in the hole. That was her first ace and she was tickled, excited and quite happy as most everyone would be who had a hole-in-one.

She joins her husband, George, as having had an ace on the eighth hole. Betty didn't see the ball roll into the cup. She thought it rolled off to the side of the green. Their playing partners, John and Nancy Pullam of USPS fame, assured her the ball went in the hole. "Doubting Betty" walked up to the green and plucked her ball from the hole.

George actually accomplished his feat a couple of years ago. And remember above when I said "most everyone" would be happy with a hole-in-one? George is one of those folks. In fact, George says he didn't even bother to go pick the ball up out of the hole when he knocked it in the cup; one of his playing partners went to retrieve the ball.

George's friends will recall he actually made his hole-in-one on the eighth hole while teeing off from the ninth hole, which explains his reticence in talking about the ace. In fairness to George, there are others who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, who have come close to accomplishing the same dubious ace.

Still, I think George and Betty should probably go down in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only couple to record an ace on the same hole from two different tee boxes.

* * *

Rivalry

St. Louis Cardinals fans and Chicago Cubs fans have a long-standing, good-natured rivalry. Locals enjoy the rivalry of our area high schools that has, for the most part, been good-natured as well.

"Senath (before there was a Senath-Hornersville merger) defeated Kennett last Sunday in Hornersville (guess they had to play on a neutral site) in an eleven-inning game by a score of 3 to 2. Those who watched it closely think that the result might have been different had the rules of the game been observed."

That little jab comes from the Friday, July 4, 1913 edition of the Dunklin Democrat courtesy of the DDD's unofficial, but much appreciated historian, Vivian Helton.

Bud Hunt is regional vice

president, publisher of the

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

North Stoddard Countian.