WE’RE #1. We’re #1. The recent issue of ‘Southern Traveler,” the regional magazine of the American Automobile Association, says that from January thru October of 2016 (the most recent statistics available) 11 people died in railroad crossing accidents in Arkansas. In that period of time, seven were killed in Mississippi and six in Louisiana, meaning that drivers in the mid-South were possibly most likely the worst at trying to beat a train through a RR crossing.
The magazine reported that nationwide, a person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours.
(Please pay close attention — the following quotation really makes me doubt the mental acuity of present day magazine writers.)
The author says:
“… trains always have the right of way because they cannot swerve, stop quickly or
change direction to avert collisions.”
Really? Honest. It was right there in the magazine. Black ink on white paper. I kid you not.
The article did offer one sobering thought: A train traveling at 55 mph takes a mile to come to a halt, even with the emergency brake in use. Even if it’s sliding along atop some empty-headed driver’s pickup truck.
As a longtime reader of southwest Arkansas newspapers, I have come to the conclusion that Ashdown is the most dangerous place in the state to try to get across railroad tracks in one piece.
BE SAFE. According to information released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, usage of seatbelts appears to have reached its highest level since Uncle Sam began counting in 1994. Daytime seatbelt use by drivers and ‘shotgun’ seat passengers (for those of you who are ignorant of proper car passenger terminology, ‘shotgun’ is front right) hit just slightly over 90 percent in 2016, up by almost 2 percent over the previous year.
The agency says that seatbelts have saved approximately 345,000 lives since 1975.
I always buckle up. Not because it’s safer, but because the doggone buggy starts ringing bells before I can go a hundred yards unbuckled.
REMEMBERED. On Page 2 of this issue of the ‘News-Leader’ you will find the obituary of Jackie Dyer. A busy lady when she was younger. When she was a high school coed she wrote the words for the Dierks High School school song.
Several years ago I wrote an article bout her and the four other talented students who wrote original school song lyrics for their schools at Dierks, Nashville, Murfreesboro and Mineral Springs. In Nashville’s case, the tune was also original. How many schools can claim that?
I know the difference between a bluebird and a blue bunting. The latter is all brilliant blue; the former has a blue back and brown on its chest. Coloring on the female of each species is subdued.
So when I say that I saw a bluebird with exceptional blue coloring I’m not confusing a bluebird with a blue bunting. I saw such a bird clinging to the birdbox where I had two batches of bluebird families during the summer of last year.
This new bluebird’s blue was exceptional.
Hope it brings its mate to the box. Maybe she’s extra purty, too.
THE GOOD EARTH. The cherry blossom tree in my front yard is getting ready to bloom. An article in a real news source says that the cherry blossom trees in our nation’s capital are going to bloom two weeks ahead of their average. And it’s possible that they may bloom at a record early date. My tree sprouted from a cutting off one of the original trees given to the American people by the emperor of Japan after WWI.
There are fruit trees already in some level of bloom in local peach orchards, and that’s probably not a good sign given the likelihood that we still have some cold weather ahead.
In my patio landscaping, banana palms are poking up well above the ground, and there are lots of other signs of spring flora growth.
I believe in global warming.
THE TWINS. No matter what, they just don’t seem to get along — Cats and Dogs.
THINGS I LEARNED from opening email: How do you tell when you’re out of invisible ink?
HE SAID: “Peace is the beauty of life. It is sunshine. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. It is the advancement of man, the victory of a just cause, the triumph of truth.”
Menachem Begin, Israeli politician
SHE SAID: “So many times, people told me I can’t do this or can’t do that. My nature is that I don’t listen very well. I’m very determined, and I believe in myself. My parents brought me up that way. Thank God for that. I don’t let anything stand in my way.”
Chantal Sutherland, jockey
SWEET DREAMS, Baby