Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ozarks: Old Friends

In the past two days, I've introduced my family to a couple of old friends, my high school math teacher (and surveyor extraordinaire) Mr. Jim Scott and my boyhood scoutmaster (and Chosun Few survivor) Mr. Albert Holland.

Longtime, attentive readers of Gypsy Scholar may recall my mention of Mr. Scott in a post on how I learned the word "antigogglin" -- and my Ozark dialect column about that, which I mentioned yesterday, will appear in the Korea Herald in a couple of weeks (though it won't mention Mr. Scott by name).

Well, I took my family to see him and his wife yesterday at their farm on Republican Road -- so named, I'm told, because one of the few Republican Party members used to live on that road back in the days when Fulton County was almost entirely the Democratic Party's portion. The road is still unpaved despite the Bush Administration, which stands as another broken promise, I reckon. I'm sure that George said that he was going to pave that Republican road...

Anyway, the kids enjoyed the drive on that dirt road and marveled at the low-water bridge as our car splashed through the water flowing over its surface. We'd actually seen one the day before with Mr. Holland when we crossed the Southfork River on a farm near his home, and En-Uk, never having seen such a bridge before, had looked at that one and asked what it was. Upon being told that it was a low-water bridge, namely, a bridge built to allow the fording of a stream by allowing the water to flow over smoothly at an even depth, he asked, "So, why is it a bridge?" Stumped for an explanation, I had to admit that he'd asked a good question. Why is it a "bridge"?

Mr. Holland, incidentally, will turn 90 this year, but he still looks good, at least 20 years younger than his age, and still has his memory, alertness, and humor. Only his hearing is significantly impaired, but his hearing aids make up for that. He still drives and showed us a lot of land in the river bottom, the hill further up, and other such places. We must have seen 20 deer and 50 turkeys on that farmland tour! He also showed us the cattle on his place, his dog, and his rooster, all of which delighted Sa-Rah and En-Uk. I'm glad that the kids are seeing so many animals, for it redeems my promises that they would see plenty, both wild and domestic.

One more thing about Mr. Holland. I mentioned that he is an old survivor of the Chosun Few, those men in the Korean War who found themselves surrounded in North Korean territory near the Chosun Reservoir and had to fight their way out, losing a lot of buddies in the process. He endured an entire winter outdoors sleeping in the snow and still remembers names, places, and battles. Somebody ought to interview him for an oral history project and get his memories into the public record for future historians while he's still so clearheaded and informative.

Mr. Scott is also getting old, having reached 74, but he's still extremely sharp. I had once been told that he had an IQ of 186 and must have mentioned this to my kids, for En-Uk asked him, "Is your IQ 187?"

I interjected, "No, it's only 186," at which Mr. Scott laughed. He denied that level of IQ, however, and -- noting that it varied across testings -- surmised that it was about 150.

That settled, we took a couple of trips across his farmland, where we saw cattle, horses, deer, and even a coyote . . . dead. The local farmers don't much care for the coyotes, and the kids seemed bothered by the carcass. We explained that the coyotes will kill newborn calves, chickens, and other small farm animals. Sa-Rah and En-Uk seemed to dislike the coyote's death anyway, but they enjoyed feeding the horses from their open palms. Sa-Rah even had the honor of petting a bull, whereas En-Uk only got to throw hay to the cattle.

In such endeavors, we have spent our past two days, unable to travel much due to the sleet and ice that have followed in the wake of last week's tornadoes. If we get clear skies today, however, we'll drive down to Blanchard Springs Caverns with my brother Shan and his wife Shoshanna, who arrived yesterday afternoon.

Part of that drive winds through the Sylamore Hills near the White River, so we may have more to report.

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At 10:38 AM, Blogger Bill said...

I've just finished reading your latest explorations and discoveries in Izard and Fulton counties. The descriptions therein made me wish I'd extended my trip by a few days and accompanied you all on a little sightseeing. Sa-Rah and En-Uk certainly appear to be enjoying the trip judging from the photos on Daddio's site.
Reading of En-Uk's question about the "bridge", perhaps "low water crossing", would have saved a little brain scratching in search of a logical explanation. Or in Ozark talk, "it ain't a bridge, it's a ford in the creek".
I will continue to follow the daily excursions, so enjoy and say hello to bride Sun-Ae and the children for me.
Reading about the borrowed car scraping a little Ozark sand reminds me of the time Grandpa Archie directed me over a gulley in my new pickup, making necessary a walk back to the barn for a chain and his old brush painted Chevy pickup for a retrieval. I recall more chassis damage and sand relocation occurring as a result from Archie yanking me out than occurred during the drive in.
Oh yeah, thanks for the compliment about me appearing a decade younger. I may cut that quote and post it on the mirror to help me get motivated each morning.

At 1:14 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Bill, thanks. I've not been able to check Daddio's website on Exploring Izard County because it shuts down my brother's browser.

This computer is still rather buggy, so I'd better stop now and go to bed...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Different spellings in the Ozarks are "antigogglin," "antegodlin" and a few others, but it means slanting, or not exactly plumb or level, I think. Originally a low water bridge was a cheaply bridge of wood or concrete just above water level. You could call it a "slab bridge", sometimes called by other, expletive terms. My mother told me the superintendent of my school said my IQ was 143, which goes to prove that being able to make good guesses on a series of tests doesn't lead to success or wealth.
Uncle Cran

At 7:10 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cranford, you have a farm, a good family, and happiness. What more could one want?

Well, one could always use a damned good antigogglin slab of money, I guess (though maybe I guess wrong)...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind a good "blessed" slab of money anytime, but I think the good Lord looked at me as a young man and decided I couldn't handle a lot of filthy lucre, and made sure that was never to be my problem.
Uncle Cran

At 7:03 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Or perhaps you're being providentially prepared for a windfall in your old age . . . which means several more years of poverty, unfortunately...

Jeffery Hodges

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