Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Modern Technology and Old Tractors

       I hear there will be a city in Toronto called “Technology City” where the latest in technological advancement will be built into every home and business.  Mankind has come a long way since Plymouth Rock and Boonesborough, but folks, I mean it when I say that I think Boonesborough probably had happier people than “Techology City” will have.  Given a choice, I wouldn’t even hesitate to choose Boonesborough and a chance to know Daniel Boone.  I know there were Indians who were a problem, but I think I might have been able to bring about peace with them by setting up a good local pool hall and teaching them how to play pool and dominoes and checkers.

       Even with the Indians to cope with, seems like Boonesborough was a safer place than Los Angeles or Chicago or New York is today.  Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see a place where kids weren’t consumed with the buttons on a little box all their waking hours?

       What is referred to as social media might ought to be called, ‘social mayhem’!  Recently my daughter put an exercise bike and a treadmill on some kind of computer site and while they show up on my computer as 100 dollar items, some guy came up here with one of those little boxes and showed me where both are listed as forty dollars each.  They are expensive pieces of equipment that my wife's parents paid more than four hundred dollars a piece for, and he insisted that I sell them to him for forty dollars.  I chose not to.

       So this might be a good time to mention that they, along with hundreds of other items, hunting and fishing gear and that kind of thing, will be hauled out beneath the old oak trees up here on Lightnin’ Ridge and sold in one of the biggest sales ever, in October.  I say that because I will be selling something like 1500 fishing lures, many of them antiques.  There will be guns, rods and reels, antiques of all kind, including a Mosley safe made in the 1870’s in Hamilton Ohio, said to be in place in a bank western Missouri that Jesse and Frank James tried to rob. It is huge. 

       I will sell most of my guns at the sale, and that will include the little Iver-Johnson I bought from someone in the pool hall back home when I was eleven years old. I killed my first duck with that gun.  There will also be boat paddles my grandfather hand carved in the 1930’s and lots of valuable wildlife art and that is just a small list of what I will have for sale.  

       I have talked with my daughter Leah, about someday splitting the money I have made to St. Judes Children’s hospital and the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, and most of what we make from this sale will go to them I hope, if the government doesn’t get it first.

       But this sale will be an opportunity to visit my museum, walk the nature trails when fall colors are the best, and see first-hand what Lightnin’ Ridge is.  About 35 years ago, I moved my family to a beautiful ridge-top at the edge of the Ozark mountains about 6 or 7 miles west of Harrison, Arkansas. The first night we were there, a big storm came through and a bolt of lightning hit a back-hoe one of the construction people had left there.  So I began to call it “Lightnin’ Ridge.  Twenty-five years ago, we moved back to Missouri, eight miles north of Bolivar, to a home I built on another high ridge, the highest point in Polk County.  That first night a storm passed through and another bolt of lightning hit a chinquapin oak tree right off the screened porch.  It was scarred, but it survived and still grows today.  So therefore the name moved here with us, and when I started a fledgling publishing company 16 years ago, what better name could I have come up with?

       This ridge-top is a beautiful forest, with trees more than 250 years old, and home to dozens of birds and all kinds of wildlife species… one of them, a gray shrew, residing beneath an old tool shed, is not suppose to even exist in Missouri. 

An old civil war road runs right through the middle of it. You can still see the wagon ruts where Federal troops hauled cannons from Jefferson City down to Wilson’s Creek and Pea Ridge battlefields.  They crossed the Pomme de Terre River about a mile from here.  I found half of an old army saber blade beside those ruts here on my ridge. 

       So all day on Saturday, October 21 we will be proud to let visitors come see this ridgetop home, office and museum and take part in the sale.  I will see to it that there is cake and pie and coffee and tea for all visitors, and you will find tables filled with stuff I have used since I was a boy, and things belonging to my dad and grandfather and Uncle Norten, a legendary guide and WWII veteran.

       We have some churches bringing kids to our Panther Creek Youth Retreat this summer, where we make it possible for underprivileged kids, and boys without fathers, to stay for days free of charge.  They can swim, shoot clay pigeons, fish, learn to canoe and hike our trails, and now use a brand new sports field for softball, soccer, whatever.  

 But the old Farmall Cub tractor I use to mow the trails has stopped running and we need a good mechanic to come and fix it there, since I have no trailer that will haul it anywhere. It will start and run, but only for less than a minute. they tell me it is a pretty simple machine, made about 1950. Last year it ran perfectly.

      I tried last week to use a smaller tractor but I turned it over on a slope and was lucky to escape a tragedy.  Now it doesn’t run either. It is a much newer machine, a Massey-Ferguson 14-hp edition made in the '60s. If anyone can fix either of them, I will be glad to payt them well and let them stay a couple of days in one of the cabins. You can call me at 417-777-5227, email me at or write to me at Box 22, Bolivar MO 65613

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