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- City of Ava
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Memorial Day brings many visitors to the Ozark County countryside, especially to the rural cemeteries that dot our landscape. The Souder Cemetery was no exception, and in spite of the road having nearly washed away during the recent high water in Spring Creek, there was a steady stream of traffic going to and from the little church house with its adjacent burial ground. The congregation hosted a basket dinner on Sunday after the morning service, and several visitors from out of town joined local members to remember loved ones and days gone by and to decorate. By Monday evening, the peaceful old cemetery was colorfully decorated and looked beautiful in the dappled late afternoon sunshine.
Best wishes to the church’s minister, E.J. Hampton, who is getting over a bout of tick fever. E.J., who celebrated a birthday on Sunday, preached that morning but was feeling tired by late in the day, so the evening service was mostly songs and prayer.
Get well wishes, too, to Velta Morrison, Faye Hampton’s aunt, who fell last week and is a patient in Baxter Regional Medical Center.
Dennis and Deniece Souder of rural Ava came to the cemetery on Monday afternoon, bringing along four of their 10 grandchildren. And as they crossed the slab near the old schoolhouse, the lure of the sparkling, clear water splashing over the edge of the bridge compelled them to pull over for a spell. A pristine gravel bar across from the big bluff provided a good place to relax, and the children were soon splashing in the cold stream. Dennis preferred watching from the shade of the giant sycamore, but before long, Deniece, with her pant legs rolled up, was in the water, too!
Deniece said the bluff was where she and her family always swam in the summers when she was growing up at Almartha with her grandparents, the Robertsons. During those summers, the creek ran all year ’round and always had plenty of water for swimming, with a deep hole under the bluff. Nowadays, it tends to dry up when we don’t get much rain – but that hasn’t been an issue this year!
Julia Taber enjoyed a visit over the weekend with her daughter, Beth Peters, of West Plains.
Norma Eslinger picked two gallons of cherries Saturday morning from a tree near son Dave’s house that she planted more than 20 years ago. The cherries will be made into delicious pies for her family in the coming months. Norma said she has tried to grow cherries up where she lives, but for some reason the trees have never done any good. The small one in Dave’s yard is always prolific, and she must be quick to pick the fruit as soon as it ripens, to keep ahead of the birds, who also love cherries.
Norma’s company over the Memorial Day weekend included her sisters, Mabel Bryan and Jewel Tibbetts of Springfield, as well as Mabel’s son and his wife, Jim and Susan Bryan. The family came to decorate at the Jackson Cemetery at Romance where all their kin are buried.
Local farmers are delighted to have some hot, dry weather, allowing them to finally get into the hayfields.
Our daughter and granddaughters, Sarah Knopik, Emma and Lucy, of Kansas City spent several days with us last week, celebrating the end of the school year. Joining them were Sarah’s sister-in-law, Kristin Gillette, and baby Benton. The girls visited great-grandmas Bonnie Ebrite and Julia Taber, had lunch at the Harlin House and Rockbridge, and played with cousins Wyatt and Addie Alms. An exciting moment occurred when 5-year-old Lucy tied a piece of thread around a loose tooth and proceeded to pull it right out! It has been many years since the Tooth Fairy visited our home, but somehow she found her way back that night. How quiet the house seems this week, now that we are back to just the two of us!
Happy birthday wishes are extended this week to Norma Eslinger, whose special day is tomorrow, June 2. Also celebrating in the next few days are my good friend, Louise Pace of North Little Rock, whose birthday is Friday, June 3, and our young neighbor, Kane Thomas, whose birthday is Saturday, June 4. Then on Sunday, June 5, two more dear childhood friends, Pam McGinnis and Vicky Evans, will get to make a special offering at church while being serenaded with “Happy Birthday to You.”
Sounds like a week for lots of birthday cake!