by Rita Hooper
On the road again – that’s where I am – enjoying the highways and byways of our country.
This year, I added the state of Oklahoma to my list of states visited…after a very long diagonal trip through Missouri. I passed the Arch in St. Louis at break-neck speed but managed to capture a few pics none the less. Next year I’ll get there if I have to jump out of the car!
Made it to the George Washington Carver Monument just before it closed but in plenty of time to get my National Park Passport stamped and do a quick walk through. Picked up a swamp oak acorn – they are about twice as long as the acorns up in our area.
I remember reading about George Washington Carver when I was in grade school. I connected him with peanuts. My 40 something son said, “I thought that was Jimmy Carter!”
Jimmy Carter was peanut man number-two — Carver was the first! Carver was born a slave around 1864 on the Moses and Susan Carver farm in Diamond, Mo. His mother had been sold a slave in 1855 for $700; she was only 13 years old. He and his mother were kidnapped when he was an infant and he was found very sick and returned to the Carver farm. His mother was never found.
As he was “sickly,” he spent much of his time alone in the woods and fields around the farm. Even as a young child, he acquired the name “The Plant Doctor.” He left the farm in 1875 at age 11, never to return, but he took with him the values he had learned from the Carvers.
Carver had a love for creation and “believed that everything that had life was a window on God and a mouthpiece through which the great Creator spoke.” He sought an education, but because of his race he was always denied. In 1890, he finally was accepted at Simpson College in Iowa where he was an art major.
After a year there, he transferred to Iowa State Ag School, now the State University, and became an agricultural major. He graduated from there with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in 1896.
He accepted an offer from Booker T. Washington to become the head of the new Agricultural Dept. at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
This answered his dream to become the greatest good to the greatest number of my people. His peanut work began in 1903; he was anxious to find a second crop for the south that would be a money maker, help the African-American farmer and at the same time replenish nutrients to the soil that cotton growing took out of it.
Carver found more than 300 uses for peanuts including use of them for massage for polio victims. In 1921, he testified before a Congressional committee debating a peanut tariff bill. He was to become a symbol of interracial cooperation. Edison and Ford sought information from him on industrial uses of plants, including peanuts and soybeans. He died in Tuskegee in 1943. Check out the internet or go to the library and find some books on him. He was a fascinating man, who overcame many hardships in life just so he could help his fellowman.
Yesterday, I saw some real life cowboys, rounding up some cattle on the range. I could hardly believe it as we sailed by them at 75 miles an hour.
We stopped in Muskogee, Okla. for the night and had a wonderful dinner at a steak house. It had some hombres playing cards – they were the strong silent type – and a dance hall floozy sprawled on top of the piano. Naturally I had to touch them.
It must havebeen 25 years ago, Shirly Kring and I made a number of these life size mannequins – Shirly did the heads and I did the bodies. Shirly had bought out a company in, I think, Wisconsin that was making them.
One of those dummies had to have come from there. The others were made slightly differently and I know we didn’t ship any to Oklahoma. It’s great fun to bring up old memories…at least the good ones!
I never take a trip that I don’t wish we could build in a year of school for all the students to take a sabbatical – or a year off from school to travel the country. CNY is just a very small part of it. Many today don’t even have a chance to see the old cowboy pictures of my era, to know about the cowboys, cattle rustling, wide-open spaces and dancehall floozies.
To be continued next week with a visit to the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
That’s it for this week. I’ll leave you with a “Happy trails to you…until we meet again…keep smilin’ until then…”
* * * * *
The Friends of the Hannibal Free Library will be holding a Book and Bake Sale today, Oct. 13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will take place in the Hannibal Community Center, next to the library. There will also be a wide variety of baked goods for sale.
The Hannibal Historical Society is pleased to announce that pewter Christmas ornaments are now for sale. The ornament shows the original Hannibal Baptist Church on the front, with a short history of the building on the back.
Each ornament comes with a cord for hanging and a pouch for storage. Orders can be placed with Ann Mahaney by calling 564-5658 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ann will be at the Hannibal Library Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m., where orders can be picked up and ornaments can be purchased.
The Hannibal Senior Band will be having a can and bottle drive Saturday, Oct. 13 from 9 a.m. to noon with support from N&N Redemption Center. Please start to save your empty returnable cans and bottles for collection that day. Anyone that needs to arrange a special pick-up time or location can call Shirley Terrinoni at 564-7910 ext. 4132.
The Sons of the American Legion will be holding a chicken barbecue tomorrow, Oct. 14 from noon until gone at the Legion on Rochester Street.
The Menu for this week at Senior Meals Program is beef stroganoff over noodles, green and yellow beans, orange juice, and brownie on Monday; open-faced hot turkey sandwich, mashed potatoes, vegetable blend, cranberry juice, and cookie on Wednesday; and meatloaf with gravy, baked potato, spinach, and mandarin oranges on Friday.
Give Rosemary a call at 564-5471 to make your reservation.
The Jammers will be holding forth at the American Legion this Monday beginning at 7 p.m.
A Meet and Greet with Amy Tresidder, candidate for the New York State Senate, will be held at the Community Center Tuesday, Oct. 16 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
TOPS will meet at Our Lady of the Rosary on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m.
The Hannibal Methodist Church hosts a free chili and soup lunch Thursdays at 11:30 a.m.
The Hannibal Historical Society is hosting an Archives Day Saturday, Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. t 4 p.m. at the Hannibal Community Center on Oswego Street.
Historian Lowell Newvine will show copies of newspaper clippings and photos dating from the mid 1800s. Lowell will also be available to help with genealogy research. The upstairs room will be open for those who wish to see artifacts owned by the Society.