It was fitting at the end of its annual breakfast held Friday, Sept. 2 that the University of Missouri recognized longtime Delta Research Center director T.E. "Jake" Fisher by renaming the facility in his honor.
As the new sign was unveiled Jake was, at least for a few minutes, speechless. I know, those of us in attendance were all surprised, too. It didn't take him long to recover though as Jake expressed his thanks.
The center has prospered under Jake's tutelage and while he will be the first to tell you he had a lot of help from his "friends" Jake was the guy driving the tractor for the past 50 years. He has been instrumental in a lot of changes at the center as well.
One significant change was the "tractor shed" where the breakfast is now held, more properly known as the Rone Exhibit Hall.
The air conditioning was working well that morning a couple of weeks ago, but it wasn't always that way. Cletus Weidenbenner pointed out that when the center first opened it did not have air conditioning. One of the suits, probably a politician, suggested to Jake that he might want to open the big bay doors because it was so hot.
Jake's reply was something like, "Well, friend, we can either sweat or fight the mosquitoes." The doors stayed shut. With that kind of wisdom it's no wonder Jake lasted 50 years in a position that required him to keep farmers, academicians and politicians happy.
It was also noted that Jake and Shelly will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this December. Thinking back on that time some 50 years ago I'm guessing Shelly must have told Jake she would marry him if he got a job. The way the timeline works out it sounds like Jake got hired at the Delta Center and went straight to Shelly's house to propose. Guess she figured the boy had staying power.
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Outta the club
The "Grandpa Club" picked up a new member several weeks ago, but we're seriously thinking about kicking him out.
Roger Sledge became a grandpa with the birth of his first grandchild, "Slice." Oh, I know the lad's real name is Zayden, but outside of his mom and maybe his grandmother, Diane, no one is going to call him Zayden. He's "Slice." Every kid needs a nickname and naming him after the way his dad, Chris hits the golf ball isn't all bad.
I ran into Roger last week on the golf course and asked him if he had any pictures of "Slice." He didn't. Hard to believe. That's grounds for dismissal from the the Grandpa Club. None of his playing partners; Paula Calhoun, Billie Sue Woodard and John Robertson, could believe it either. By the way, they all knew who I was talking about when I asked about "Slice."
Roger promises to do better. I'll be sure to follow up with him next time we meet. He's on probation right now.
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Baseball game report
"The ball game. Played Friday afternoon, between the teams selected from the Lions Club, by Messers Baldwin and Karsten for the benefit of the Cemetery Association, was a howling success...
"E.A. Baldwin's team was designated from that of "Ex-Mayor" Karsten by the wearing of a strip of green on some part of their anatomy while the opposing team wore yellow...
"Those appearing upon the field were as follows:
"Wm. Lasswell, first base
"Hal McHaney, second base
"Langdon Jones, short stop
"Dr. Paul Baldwin, left field, (in lady's hose)
"Sid Jones, catcher
"Sam Schultz, pitcher
"Ed Jones, right field
"Chas. Schultz, any position he desired
"M.W. Lloyd, somewhere in the outfield
"J.A. Hemphill, "beefing" at the score keeper
"E.A. Baldwin, the football third baseman
"Dr. Smith, D.D.S., filled a cavity in the outfield
"T.R.R. Ely, issued mandamus proceeding to the umpire
"Clyde Oaks, protested all checks in the game
"L.B. Erwin, just lumbered around
"Dr. Brown, studying the batter's defective visions.
"O.G. Gray, catcher
"H.B. Pankey, third baseman and umpire aggravator
"Irl Jones, the growling shortstop
"Geo. Hemphill, second base
"Wm. Stokes, the sliding base runner
"J.W. Karsten, first base
"David (Runt) Stroud, he was just out there
"Bill Hemphill, (pitcher for a while)
"J.N. Goldsmith, K. and S. E'd
"Paul King, (with his bulldog) right field
"Leo Rosenberg, we haven't the heart to comment
"W.R. Plunkett, was just and agate line
"Cliff Talbert, wholesale errors
"W.D. Laswell, pinch hitter.
"The attendance was excelled and so we are informed, netted the cemetery association something near fifty dollars. It's a pity it wasn't five times this amount. "
There are a lot of familiar names in the above lineups. As we look back on the history of Kennett and the surrounding area we recognize men (I'm sure the women were just as involved they just didn't happen to be playing baseball at this time) who contributed to building this area into more than just swamp land. I suspect, but don't know, that the reporter, Bill Porter, may have been the umpire.
The above comes from the pages of the Friday, Aug. 3, 1923 edition on 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.