Friday, August 28, 2015

Mid-November 1998 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
Mid-November 1998


This series of posts on each Friday during 2015 continues the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began. Here is a peek at ‘Life in Oak Springs,’ and the surrounding valley, in Mid-November of 1998.



The Oaks Springs Historical and Genealogical Society held a regular monthly meeting at the Oak Springs Public Library on Tuesday evening, November 17. Jennifer Kirk presented the program on her experiences using the PAF computer program for storing her researched family history data. Discussion after the meeting was split between those who saw the computer program as a ‘great new tool’ and those who only wanted to continue to use paper records and notebooks as they had always done it. 

A joint press release from The Bevins Trust and the McDonald Conservancy was published in the Oak Springs Enterprise on Wednesday, November 18. It simply stated that agreements had been reached among all parties involved with regard to land assignments and distributions to the various ongoing projects related to the two entities and related individuals. These agreements would allow planning for the individual projects to move forward. Both entities expressed their appreciation to all other entities, both public and private, for their cooperation. Ronnie Cox, Executive Director of the McDonald Conservancy, in response to questions following the press release, added: “We felt it was important to let the public know that these negotiations had been completed. It was one of the loose ends following the awarding of the DNR grant that had held up or delayed some other project planning. Those plans and projects can now move forward.”

Meanwhile, construction work at the McDonald Conservancy Visitor Center on Highway 37 was moving along briskly.

Paul Gates, Manager of the Oak Creek Mill and Mill Market, confirmed that plans for the Par-3 Golf Course near the Mill along the creek were now proceeding forward. He added that clarification of the land ownership interests had opened the way for the golf course planning as well as the modifications to the kayak/canoe portage roads and the proposed new housing development in the area. These would all now be done in concert with the trails system of the McDonald Conservancy funded by each phase of the DNR grant.

Traditional Thanksgiving holiday activities in Oak Springs and the Oak Creek Valley were continued with a focus on “food and football” for most of the local residents.

Thanksgiving Day family gatherings reported included:
1) Harry and Sarah Flanders hosted Jacob Howell, his wife, Lisa Flanders-Howell, and their son, Tommy Howell.
2) Jack and Mona Evans hosted Travis and Laura Inman and their children along with his parents, Grover and Hedda Inman. Mona’s father, Lyle Cunningham, and Jack’s father, Doc Evans, were also among their guests. Late afternoon guests were Christopher, Nicole and C.P. Ogden.
3) Karen and Lori Winslow hosted the extended Bevins family in the Heritage Hall at the Homeplace Country Inn, including:
a) Bart and Diane Bevins; Christopher, Nicole and C.P. Ogden; Brian, Jennifer and Ashley Kirk; Don and Linda Kirk
b) Paul Gates, Julie Barnes, Scott, Rachel and Faith Gates, and Heather Gates
c) Peter, Sheila and Jeremy Bevins
d) Matt, Susan, Tyler and Emily Winslow
e) Mark, Erin and Jessica James, visiting from Austin, Texas
f) Raynor Crimmons and his daughter, Randi, visiting from the Washington, D.C. area
g) Dick and Penny Nixon


"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."


Dr. Bill  ;-)


Friday, August 21, 2015

November 1998 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
November 1998


This series of posts on each Friday during 2015 continues the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began. Here is a peek at ‘Life in Oak Springs,’ and the surrounding valley, in early November of 1998.


At 4:50 p.m on Thursday, November 5, 1998, the phone rang and Karen Winslow picked it up. It was her sister, Beverly, on the other end of the line, calling from her home in Jackson, Mississippi. “Winnie has died. He had a massive heart attack, late this morning. There was nothing they could do.” Beverly began sobbing. “I’m sorry, I’ll get myself together again. I just cannot believe it. He was so vital, so full of life!”

Karen listened carefully. She had never heard Beverly sound like this, and let her talk, waiting for an opening to reply. “Are you okay, Beverly?” she said. “What can I do for you?”

Beverly sniffed hard, “Can you tell Scott and Heather? I can’t do it over the phone.” More sobbing. “I just can’t.”

“Of course. I’ll go do that, and you call back when you know what comes next. OK?”

“Yes, thank you, Karen. I’ll do that. Just let the kids know. I’ll get back to you when I know about arrangements.” Beverly hung up.

Karen immediately set about locating Scott and Heather and arranging to speak to each of them in person. Her nursing and counseling skills kicked in automatically. She handled the task with ease even with the difficult circumstances. She had gone to the stable to talk to Heather, and then the two of them went to Scott and Rachel’s house to tell them. Lori had agreed to stay by the phone at the Inn in case Beverly called back sooner than expected. She didn’t.

Like Karen, both Heather and Scott were much more concerned about their mother’s mental health condition than the fact that their stepfather had died. He was an old man after all. They barely knew him. He was very nice to them, but he really was their mother’s close companion, not theirs. They expected he would die one day, but were expecting it to be further in the future than turned out to be the case. They were also concerned, of course, about what came next. Karen was a good person to have available to talk to. She assured them the next steps would come in order. It would just be a matter of hurry up and wait, over and over, for a while. They talked about possible approaches until they were comfortable with the most likely outcomes. They had called their father, Paul, and he had joined them at Scott and Rachel’s place. He had assured them that he would accompany them to the funeral in Jackson, if that turned out to be the right thing to do.

And, that is what they did. In addition, Karen, and Bart and Diane, went to the funeral as well. Rachel and baby Faith stayed in Oak Springs, of course; her sister and father were available to assist, as needed. Lori stayed to look after the Country Inn. Peter decided he didn’t need to go. He wasn’t that close to his older sister Beverly, and felt he would only be a distraction.

On their return, Karen summarized their observations when she spoke with Lori. “Beverly was completely composed, again, for the funeral. She acted appropriately, as Winnie would have wanted her to. She introduced us to his children and their families. We were also all surprised that they all knew, already, about Winnie’s distribution of his assets. Apparently he had been very open with his children, and with Beverly. They had a pre-nuptial agreement that was very specific. All of his Mississippi property went to his children, except that Beverly could continue to live in the mansion as long as she wished (as long as she didn’t remarry). All of his Missouri property and interests went to Beverly along with a one million dollar asset fund that was hers without strings. Beverly had seemed perfectly happy in the mansion, made them all feel at home, while they were there, and handled herself as well as anyone could have expected.”

Heather returned to school the day after her return and everyone else went on with their lives as usual.

Over at Bart and Diane’s house, Bart just said one more thing: “Well, I wonder what Beverly will do next.”

Diane replied, “Don’t we all.”



"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."


Dr. Bill  ;-)


Friday, August 14, 2015

Mid-October 1998 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
Mid-October 1998


This series of posts on each Friday during 2015 continues the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began. Here is a peek at ‘Life in Oak Springs,’ and the surrounding valley, in mid-October of 1998.




Sunday, October 18, 1998, was a sunny, crisp fall day in Oak Springs and the Oak Creek valley. Families gathered at many homes to enjoy this particular day, each in their own ways.

Peter, Sheila, and Jeremy Gates chose this Sunday to scout the woods along the ridge in the 4-wheel ATVs for future Christmas trees. In another month or so, it would be time to get serious about this task. They enjoyed just being out in the woods, together, of course. From time to time, they stopped to examine a particular area more carefully. Or, a high spot on the ridge provided a distinctive view of the surrounding Ozarks wooded mountains that they want to share. Life was good, on days like these.

Don and Linda Kirk hosted their family for dinner after church, and family time after. This also served as a family one-year birthday party (actual birthday was the 15th, of course) for grandson, C.P., along with his parents, Christopher and Nicole Ogden. Baby Ashley, now in her second month, was also a center of attention, of course. They grow so fast. Young parents, Brian and Jennifer Kirk, were happy to share their baby and realized she would have a first birthday, before they knew it. The other grandparents, Diane and Bart Bevins, were pleased to be invited to join in the celebrations.

Matt, Susan, Tyler and Emily Winslow had invited his mother, Karen, and sister, Lori, to join them for dinner after church, as well. Tyler was now in third grade and Emily had started Kindergarten, earlier in the fall. They enjoyed playing games together and Emily was especially proud to show her grandma some of her art projects from school.

Travis and Laura Inman, Zach and Kyla, hosted the paternal grandparents, Grover and Hedda Inman, on Sunday afternoon, at their home.

Paul and his daughter Heather Gates visited Scott, Rachel and baby Faith on Sunday afternoon. They didn’t stay long, to allow baby and mother to get their rest. They continued to marvel at the miracle of birth that had blessed their family.

The Oak Springs Enterprise on Wednesday, October 28, was filled with advertisements and announcements related to the upcoming weekend Halloween activities for the community. There were also notices of prohibited activities and the penalties for violations.



"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."


Dr. Bill  ;-)


Friday, August 7, 2015

October 1998 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
October 1998


This series of posts on each Friday during 2015 continues the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began. Here is a peek at ‘Life in Oak Springs,’ and the surrounding valley, in October of 1998.



Winnie and Beverly (Bevins) (Gates) Threshold arrived at the Oak Springs Motel late Thursday afternoon, October 1, 1998. They had driven up from their home in Jackson, Mississippi, in anticipation of the birth of the first child of Beverly’s son, Scott, and his wife, Rachel. They hoped they were not too late. They had not received word on the car-phone Winnie had in his car, so they assumed they had made it on time. Winnie was known in Mississippi at Winston T. Threshold III, a wealthy local industrialist. Here in Missouri, he insisted on just being “Winnie” the southern gentleman visiting his second wife’s hometown. He had built, and did own, the Oak Springs Motel so their arrival did not go unnoticed by the local staff.

Normally, they stayed northeast of town, in the adjoining county, at the Big Thunder Lodge, where he was a major stockholder and a member of the Board of Directors. A board meeting was his normal excuse to get Beverly to come up and visit her children by her first marriage to Paul Gates, Scott and Heather. She always enjoyed seeing the children, but had also always been reluctant to stay more than a few days in her hometown. She had left for Jackson right out of high school, and at the time, said she would never return. However, in 1987, in order to assure a family inheritance for her children, she had come “Back to the Homeplace” as the wife of Gates and the mother of their two young children. She soon returned ‘home’ to Jackson, divorced Gates, and sometime later, married Threshold. Paul Gates and the children, Scott and Heather, remained in the Oak Springs area to participate in the Bevins Trust, created by Beverly’s parents to preserve the family farm and related assets. They had been very happy living in Oak Springs. For this trip, Winnie had insisted they stay nearby Scott and Rachel at the Oak Springs Motel.

Beverly had come back for Scott’s graduation, both High School and Community College, and his marriage to Rachel (Rachel was one daughter of the local newspaper editor and publisher). But, each time, Beverly had retreated back to Jackson in short order. Now, with a grand baby arriving, Beverly really wanted to be a part of this new phase of her life, if she could. She called Scott and learned that, yes, the baby was still pending… but it wouldn’t be long, for sure.

The baby, a girl, arrived early on Saturday morning, October 3. They named her Faith Gates. Mother and baby were able to have family visitors at the hospital, for a brief visit, late that afternoon. Along with Winnie and Beverly, Paul Gates was there, of course. Paul and Beverly now had a friendly, civil, relationship based on their mutual love of their children. He still didn’t understand her motivations, nor she his, but they had worked it out. Also there, whom they had met at the wedding, was Richard ‘Dick’ Nixon, Rachel’s widowed, and still single, father. The grandparents took turns going in to see the baby and her mother. The young father, Scott, was mostly happy to have a healthy wife and baby. He was pleased the grandparents were each there to visit, but really hoped they wouldn’t stay too long.

Baby Faith had two aunts, Penny Nixon and Heather Gates. Each decided to wait until Sunday afternoon to come for a visit. Penny was the older sister of Rachel, and was Associate Editor to her father at the Oak Springs Enterprise. Penny had never married, and assumed she would not have children, so she felt a special relationship to her new little niece. Heather was now in her Senior Year of High School. Her feelings toward the baby were very similar to those that Penny was feeling.

Winnie and Beverly returned to Jackson a couple of days after Scott and Rachel took baby Faith home.


"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."


Dr. Bill  ;-)


Friday, July 31, 2015

September 1998 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
September 1998


This series of posts on each Friday during 2015 continues the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began. Here is a peek at ‘Life in Oak Springs,’ and the surrounding valley, in September of 1998.


At a public meeting held at the Oak Springs Public Library on Wednesday, September 25, Ronnie Cox shared more details of the plans for the McDonald Conservancy Visitor Center now under construction at the northeast corner of State Highway 37 and Mill Road in the east valley. The Visitor Center is being funded as part of Phase One of the $800,000 grant received last month from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR). Cox shared the architectural drawings for the Visitor Center for Phase One. The main building will contain an exhibit area, a conference room, and offices for staff and volunteer activities. A hallway leading off the exhibit area divides the office. In Phase Five, an addition will be added, at the end of the hall, to accommodate expected expansion needs by that time.

Cox pointed out that our report last week was in error in suggesting that the only trailhead would be located at the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center would be the first trailhead constructed, but would be one of several as the trail system is developed over the years. A Public Restroom facility will be constructed between the Visitor Center and the Trailhead for the convenience of visitors. A maintenance garage for vehicles will be constructed behind the Visitor Center. It will also be built so as to provide the opportunity for later expansion as the need arises. The drawings also demonstrated possible landscaping elements for the entire site.

About twenty persons attended the meeting where drawings were also shared that showed the general areas were the trail system would be built. Cox pointed out that final placement would depend on further studies of the land itself and plans for adjoining developments still in the early planning phases. When asked about the projected westward trail, Cox responded that they were in early discussions with the State Department of Transportation regarding passage across State Highway 37. That portion of the trail, he added, would not be completed in the coming year, but later in the development process. The safety and convenience of the trail users were high priorities along with costs as planning moved forward he added.


Locals:

Ozarks Communications, Inc. was advertising an array of regional and national football games available on the local cable television network. Special deals coupling football with movies seemed to be the best available options.

Friday night football at the Oak Springs High School dominated the Oak Springs Enterprise Sports Section. The local Tigers were 2-2 in the young season.

A photo of a combine in a cornfield graced the front page of the Oak Springs Enterprise to signal that the fall corn harvest was underway.


Social Notes:

Brian and Jennifer Kirk were the parents of a daughter, Ashley Diane, born on the first day of September 1998. Grandparents were Bart and Diane Bevins and Don and Linda Kirk.

Richard, Melanie and Kim Stone visited over the Labor Weekend in the parental Don and Linda Kirk home. Additional dinner guests on Sunday, September 6, were Brian, Jennifer and Ashley Kirk along with Christopher, Nicole and C.P. Ogden. They all enjoyed getting to see the brand new addition to the family.

Reverend Clarice McCauley baptized Ashley Kirk at the United Methodist Church on Sunday, September 27. Her parents, both grandparents, along with many other relatives and friends were in attendance. Bart and Diane Bevins hosted a family dinner at their home following services honoring their new granddaughter.


"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."


Dr. Bill  ;-)


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits - July 28, 2015 - Levi Weston


Tuesday Tidbits
July 28, 2015
Levi Weston

I was recently asked to name my “favorite character” in my “The Homeplace Saga” stories. That, of course, is like asking you to name a favorite child. Instead, I named three from the ‘modern’ stories and three from the ‘founding’ stories.


See link for free Kindle app for your reading device]


The first among the three for the ‘historical’ stories was Levi Weston. He is really an ‘outsider’ in a number of ways, which perhaps makes him especially interesting. But, he had a fascinating relationship with ‘founder’ Jake Patton. Levi’s story shares many of the experiences of Oak Springs area residents in the Jefferson City area while they were ‘in exile’ during the Civil War. Levi makes major contributions to re-bullding Oak Springs. Also, he ties in nicely with “The Kings of Oak Springs” stories.

Here are some sample episodes from his story (each included in the eBook):

1. The opening chapter of Levi’s story…

2. Levi’s first contact with Oak Springs area folks…

3. Levi moved to Oak Springs, the first time, in 1857…

4. Levi during the Civil War…

5. Levi returned to Oak Springs after the war, in 1869…



Dr. Bill  ;-)

Friday, July 24, 2015

August 1998 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace


Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
August 1998


This series of posts on each Friday during 2015 continues the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began. Here is a peek at ‘Life in Oak Springs,’ and the surrounding valley, in August of 1998.




Locals:

The 119th Annual Oak Creek Fair was held successfully on Thursday, August 6, through Sunday, August 9. Township residents displayed their animals, crops and projects on the fairgrounds in the southwest corner of Oak Springs. Highly ranked entries would likely also be seen later at the County Fair in Eminence and possibly later at the State Fair.

Six bands and musical groups performed on the two stages set up at each end of the fairgrounds this year and were a favorite of many people. As usual, the carnival was set up in the middle of the fairgrounds, and was well attended.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR) announced that the grant from a special fund for which the McDonald Conservancy had made application last November had been approved. The grant awarded a total of $800,000 in 5 phases for projects to be carried out over the next three years. A department spokesperson said it was one of the most complex grants ever processed by the department, to date, but all of the required criteria had been met. McDonald Conservancy Executive Director Ronnie Cox spoke for the group: “We want to thank all of the persons and agencies that were involved in making the awarding of this grant to the Conservancy possible. Right now, the feeling here is simply one gigantic sigh of relief. Just about everything else we have been working on, and looking forward to, was contingent in some way on some part of this grant being approved. With the approval and primary funding of all 5 phases, actual work can move forward and really begin to appear in tangible ways. Each phase also has supplementary funding sources that now have to be confirmed and processed, as well. We look forward to hitting the ground running in a matter of days.”

Grading equipment was seen at work at the northeast corner of State Highway 37 and Mill Road preparing the land for the construction of the McDonald Conservancy Visitor Center. The Visitor Center construction is the first noticeable project now underway since the receipt of the MoDNR grant earlier in the month. The Visitor Center site will serve as the one trailhead for the several miles of trails to be constructed along Oak Creek in the coming months and years.
  

Social Notes:

Karen, Lori, Matt and Susan Winslow, recently returned from nearly a week in Tucson, Arizona, where they attended the wedding of their son and brother, Kevin Winslow and his finance, Carmen Martinez, who visited their family in the Oak Creek valley last month. Her family has roots in Arizona dating to many years before Arizona became part of the United States. The Wedding Ceremony and many related events celebrated that deep heritage as well as completing the actual nuptials.

Tyler and Emily Winslow, children of Matt and Susan Winslow, stayed in the Peter, Sheila and Jeremy Bevins home while their parents were in Arizona recently.

Harry and Sarah Flanders hosted a 6th Birthday Party for their grandson, Thomas Howell, Sunday afternoon, August 23, at their home. Thomas is the son of their daughter, Lisa Flanders-Howell and her husband, City Manager Jacob Howell.



"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."


Dr. Bill  ;-)