Tharol and Mary Gay (Landers) Oxley of Texarkana spent a few days visiting his brother, Theron and wife Vickie recently. The two couples enjoy floating the Ozarks streams in kayaks, so this time they decided to stay overnight on the Norfork. But instead of camping on a gravel bar, they “camped” in style by spending a couple of very enjoyable nights in the tree house cabins at River of Life Farm near Dora.

Little red-headed Blair Oxley of Ava spent last week with her grandparents, Theron and Vickie. Blair likes to go to the garden with her grandma, but Vickie says she can’t take her too often because Blair loves to pick green tomatoes!

Summer is a great time for grandchildren to enjoy all sorts of activities with grandparents. Last week, Wyatt and Addie Alms spent the day with me, and we had a full day of fun. First, we enjoyed watching Yorik do dozens of clever tricks at the Tricky Dog Show at the Douglas County Library. Afterward, we had lunch at Ava Drug, where our two twenty-first-century kids were fascinated with the juke box. They had never seen records, and loved to put in a quarter, push the buttons (G4) and watch the selector pull the right record (Wake up, Little Susie) from its slot. After that bit of nostalgia, it was time for the pool, where the kids (and the Mimi) had a cool time in the water. Wyatt especially loved going down the twisting slide, and Addie loved all the showering flowers and dumping buckets. By the time we got back home, I wasn’t the only one ready for a little rest (they’re too big for naps.)

Best wishes to Norma Eslinger as she continues to recover from a broken shoulder. The hardest thing for Norma about her accident was having to miss seeing all of her old friends at the Romance School Reunion on Memorial Day weekend. She fell just a couple of days before the celebration. Norma is doing her therapy at home and is determined to regain the use of her arm. Her family has been very supportive and helpful during her recovery, and Norma is truly thankful for them.

Get-well wishes are also extended to Kathryn Atkinson and Arne Gustafson, who’ve both suffered broken hips in the last couple of weeks.

The extreme heat and dry weather are undoubtedly taking a toll on pastures, ponds and hayfields, and gardens are needing lots of watering, but are doing surprisingly well. Joe and Shirley Schaadt of Wasola have a beautiful corn patch full of bright tassels; I hope they can enjoy the harvest before the critters discover it.

The Schaadts have many passersby stop to tell them how much they enjoy their flowers and garden; often they ask to take pictures. It is very gratifying to Joe and Shirley to know that others enjoy the result of their hard work.

Paul and Joyce Bonds spent a few days last week at their place in Almartha. Joyce is looking forward to a trip to Fulton, Mo., later this summer to see where their grandson, Jesse Edwards, will be spending the next few years. Jesse, son of John and Michelle, graduated from Rogersville High School in May as one of the top ten in his large class, and he is enrolled at Westminster College in Fulton. Because of his hard work in high school, Jesse received a nice academic scholarship, and the Westminster coach has recruited him for the school’s track and cross-country teams. Jesse tentatively plans to follow his brother and sister-in-law by going to medical school once he attains his undergraduate degree.

Other recent high school graduates from our part of the county include two bright stars. Gainesville High School’s salutatorian, Kayla Thomas, daughter of Kurtis and Kelly, lives at Almartha. Kayla has enrolled at ASU-MH this fall to pursue her goal of becoming a CPA. And from Souder, Katy MacMillan, daughter of the late Bill and Liz MacMillan, garnered a bunch of scholarships in preparation for her upcoming studies at Evangel University in Springfield. Congratulations and best wishes to all these hardworking and very deserving young people!

Happy 62nd anniversary wishes to Lawrence and Dot Strickland of Gainesville! Lawrence and Dot were front-row center at the Music on the Square concert last Friday night, and as usual, Lawrence couldn’t resist a few dance steps when the fiddlin’ got fast. After the concert, Lawrence revealed that it was their day to celebrate and that they had dinner at Cookie’s early, so as not to miss the music. I asked Lawrence if he could even remember life before Dot, and he quipped, “Was there any?” It was a joy to see them leave the square that evening, hand in hand.

And extra special happy birthday wishes are extended this week to Linnie Ingram. Linnie, who turns 90 years young on Saturday, is my first cousin twice removed. Linnie’s mother, Jennie Ebrite, was the youngest child of George and Sarah Ebrite, whose oldest child, Earle, was my great-grandfather. Earle was the publisher and editor of the Ozark County Times for 40 years. Linnie has long been a contributor of items to the Ozark County Times, and although I’ve only been doing it for a short while, I believe Earle would be pleased that two of his family members are carrying on the tradition of reporting news in Ozark County.