Tecumseh news: April 25 , 2018

As I write these items I’m sipping some sassafrass tea, a favorite of mine. My son-in-law, Dave, brought me a handful of sassafras roots that he got when he was dozing some land recently. Sassafras tea is something I’ve enjoyed all my life. It was our spring tonic, growing up. My grandpa, being a medical doctor, had instilled in our family that it was a healthful thing to consume in late winter and early spring – a tonic that was supposed to thin the blood. These days there are probably medications that do the same thing – but they won’t have the flavor of my sassafras tea!
The Times Past picture in last week’s Ozark County Times of the newly completed steel bridge at Tecumseh, which was finished in 1924, brought to mind the stories my mother told me about boarding some of the men who had come from other states for employment with the bridge building. I was only 2 years old at the time, but Mama told me later about cooking all the food she could scrape up for the workers. All the canned goods from the cellar and home-cured meat came in handy, I’m sure. There was no electricity, or anything like that back then, and we didn’t even have a well, just a cistern that collected rainwater. My mother worked tirelessly cooking their meals on a wood-burning cookstove –a big breakfast and a big supper for them – and probably packed them a big lunch too. And prepared their beds and washed their laundry on a washboard. She said they helped by carrying me out in the yard and entertaining me while she cooked their supper. My what a job that was for Mama!
Thinking of the cistern, I remember that Mama made a filter using charcoal from the wood stove to filter.  Now such things probably wouldn’t be accepted at all by the health department.
I also have a photo of my late husband, Glen Ingram, balancing precariously atop that high steel bridge the workers built at Tecumseh. The photo was taken sometime in the 1930s, I believe, and Glen was up there, just showing off. And someone else must have been up there with him, taking the photo.
That was long before we married. Glen was 10 years older than I was. He dated my sister Edith for a while, and then both ended up marrying other people. My first husband, Eldon Pitcock, died on May 3, 1971, and Glen’s wife died 15 days later. Glen and I were married by Brother Wiley McGhee in November of that year.  
My neighbor Bill Rapier died Sunday after living with cancer for quite a time. Sympathy to his loved ones. He was a good neighbor, and his wife had passed away a few years ago. We’ll miss him.
My great-nephew Tyler Aronis, 21, son of Jonathan and Kathy Aronis of Springfield, passed away Sunday after many attempts to save his life. He had suffered a head injury when he was driving to one of his two jobs several days ago and his car slid on what they call black ice. Tyler’s grandparents are Paul and Carol Adamson Aronis. Carol is the daughter of my late sister Edith Crawford Adamson and her husband, Lloyd.
Blooming spring flowers bring new life and hope for another year. My hedge made of bridal wreath and japonica and forsythia has been beautiful . It makes me thing spring is retty close.
My big red birds are still dominating the territory around my bird feeder and the ground underneath it, taking all the seeds before the little finches can get to it.
The spring flowers continue to bring me joy and remind me that spring is finally here – or on its way. The row of red tulips out my kitchen window are so pretty, and my hedge of bridal wreath, japonica and forsythia continue to line the driveway with white, red and yellow. Thing of years past, I remember when my husband Eldon Pitcock was with the Corps of Engineers working on the Minuteman Missile project, and we moved to Lewistown, Montana, in the spring of the year, and, as they have a much later spring up there, I got to see all the spring flowers bloom again.
Thinking of things that are blooming, I remember there’s one pear tree back on my family’s home place that died and then came back to life. At least it seemed to have died and was nothing but a stump, or maybe you would call it a snag. It came back to life and made another tree, and now it has blooms and occasionally a pear. The current owner has told me I’m welcome to stop by and pick a pear off the old tree sometime. Lucky me!
They are Kiefer pears – I remember calling them “keepers” as a girl, and they are delicious. I remember carrying many a bucketful of pears up the stairs in our family’s home there. Daddy would put down newspapers, and we would spread the pears out on them and then Daddy would cover them with a blanket. And in the dead of winter, what a treat it was to climb those stairs and retrieve a pear to enjoy. They would keep all winter that way, and I don’t remember ever having a rotten one.
This 96-year-old mind of mine is not as pliable as it once was. I appreciate those who call or write to share their news with me: 679-4148.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423