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Saturday, May 28, 2016

What do words really mean?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

(Photo)
Bud Hunt publisher Daily Dunklin Democrat
It is my sad duty to report that winter has finally made an appearance.

As a kid growing up in Tampa, Fla. we would poke fun at folks known as "snowbirds." About right now I'm thinking about how much pleasure I would take in being called a "snowbird." No longer do I see that as a derisive term, instead it looks more and more like one of endearment.

That got me to thinking about some other terms of endearment, if you will. One such word came from Whit Thrower, via Vivian Helton, the DDD's unofficial, but much appreciated historian.

"The greatest emotional outlet demonstration ever to happen in Dunklin county happened 35 years ago this week when by some mysterious source it was confirmed that the Kaiser was a dead herring.

"The rigorous living that World War I had imposed on the people bottled up so much energy from a mental attitude that when the news came that the war was over nearly all rational people went screwy. It was a matter that involved so many facets of living that it is hard to describe them in a short column.

"The streets of Kennett, including the Square, were not paved at the time and favorite loafing places (in front of where Blakemore drug store now is and McPhersons drug store) had benches on the curb. The remarkable grapevine of that era was might efficient and when the light plant whistle and other places that had whistles began to sound off, some enterprising person got up to the bell on the courthouse clock and we had nothing less than pandemonium.

"Most everyone accepted it as a signal that all of the heartbreak and privations of war were at an end. There was no radio of course and people ganged around the telegraph station at the depot to get the latest dope, particularly the skeptics that just couldn't believe it.

"Finally it was general (concensus)that maybe this was not another false alarm and then all hell broke loose. A group formed around the old flag pole that stood beside the old Civil War cannon that was a landmark on the northeast corner of the courthouse and the almost hysterical demonstration that followed will probably never be matched in this century, at least we hope...

"...Armistice is a wonderful word in the English language.

"Why must there be wars?"

That column was written by Whit Thrower and published in the November 12, 1953 edition of the Dunklin Democrat. The esteemed Mr. Thrower was impressed with the power and wonder of "armistice" and what it meant to the country at the end of the conflict.

Another word that is top of mind right now is election. The words associated with that process are interesting to say the least.

We're watching Republican candidates go at each other pretty strong, with a lot of help from the media. A lot of people, myself included, complain about how nasty politics can be. Where I differ with a lot of people is the assumption that the rancor is something new. Politics in the United States have always been a tough game. Downright mean in some cases.

Consider these words.

Perpetual campaign. Imagine a campaign that begins almost as soon as the new president is sworn in. Sound familiar?

Personal attacks. Even though both candidates have strong differences on the issues the campaign degenerates into personal attacks and character assassination with underhanded tactics. Sound familiar?

Partisan news coverage. The news media participates by backing one candidate to the extent of basically becoming a partisan publication little more than a candidate's public relations firm. Sound familiar?

If you think that sounds like the current environment or that it sounds like a presidential election from the past three campaigns you would be correct. However, that was actually what was happening in what historians refer to as the dirtiest presidential election ever in 1928 between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.

Adams ran as a "Republican" and Jackson as a "Democratic Republican," later shortened to Democrat. Most of that information above came from the website, About.com. Pretty interesting stuff.

I think the reason current political vitriol seems more intense is the 24/7 news cycle. It's almost like we can't get away from it unless we tune in the Cartoon Channel (insert your own political joke here).

* * *

Mark your calendars

It's almost VFW Cruise Party time. The local VFW dinner, dance and party is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11 at the post headquarters on the South Bypass.

It's almost auction time. Local Rotarians are scurrying, well it's actually kind of hard to imagine Steve McElwrath scurrying anywhere except a racquetball court, to get things in order for the annual auction. That's coming up next month. More info to follow later.

It's almost Mardi Gras time. And, you don't have to travel to "N'awlins" to enjoy the fun. In fact, a portion of New Orleans actually comes our way and can be found at the Bootheel Youth Museum's auction, fabulous Cajun buffet and party. It's also going to be held on Saturday, Feb. 11 as well. I have known folks to attend both the VFW party and BYM Mardi Gras.

Bud Hunt is regional vice

president, publisher of the

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

North Stoddard Countian.