Home Opinion Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Yellow Feathers

Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Yellow Feathers


THIS IS NOT THE DEEPEST that water has topped the spillway at Narrows Dam, our colleague John Balch has learned. It was during the 1968 overflow — 18 inches. Less in May 2009 — 7 inches.

This time 6 inches. The thundering overflow quit sometime late Monday.

During the first and second overflows, the Corps didn’t open the bungar valves which really, really release lots of water. The valves were opened this time because work on the electricity generating thingy kept water from being released the usual way.

I am proud to share my vast knowledge of large electricity generating devices with you at no extra charge.

There was a constant stream of visitors to the dam during the weekend to witness only the third time since its 1950 dedication that the lake was deeper than the spillway.

The whole of the picnic/swimming area at SWAHA was waaaaay under water. The water was so deep, I saw on Facebook that even some fish had drowned up at Cowhide Cove. It must be true.


THE GOOD EARTH. Global warming deniers should just ignore the announcement that the blooming of the Japanese cherry blossom trees in the nation’s capital will again be well ahead of what used to be a predictable date. The timetable has been advancing a little bit every year in recent times.

And here in our own community, Bradford pears and tulip trees are not only blooming, some tulips are beginning to shed. The speed of the transition from bare limb to bloom is amazing.

In my backyard, the lower limbs of the loquat tree have blooms. I hope it’s a sign that the tree will give fruit this year.


ANIMAL CRACKERS. Birdwatchers are ‘flocking’ (please excuse me, I couldn’t resist) to Alabaster, Ala., where they might catch a glimpse of a male cardinal with yellow feathers instead of red. Extremely, incredibly rare, one article sez. It’s caused by a genetic mutation. The bird visits some lady’s back yard. She didn’t want to give out her address, fearing that she’d be overrun by people wanting to see the critter. And, of course, there’d be some boys wanting to shoot at it with their BB guns.

I never thought I’d see it, but cardinals have now overtaken what was once the bluejay’s dominance at the morning peanut pile on my patio.

Pretty soon I’ll tune my ears in hopes of hearing ‘my’ summer tanager at the turnaround point of my morning walk on North 14th Steet. I cannot whistle the song, but I know it when I hear it.

My bird likes to come out of the woods and sit on Janice Huffman’s pasture fenceposts. If I get too close it darts off. And it must prefer the semi-darkness because I rarely see or hear it later in the day.

Although I had a trusty Red Ryder BB gun as a boy, I was reluctant to use it in the war on innocent birds, NOT because of virtue but because I was afraid that Miss Jamie McConnell would find out. She was our town’s Bird Lady — a sweet grandmotherly type who would not hesitate to chase down hellion boys who had the nerve to shoot at birds anywhere near her home on Hempstead Street. If someone found a wounded cardinal or a bluebird chick that had abanoned the nest too soon, they’d hustle the bird to Miss Jamie who could coax it back to good health and set it free. That’s why there were so many birds of all varieties in the trees around that house.


HEARD FROM. Our town’s Randy White knew the name of the Hope semi-pro baseball team: the Legionaires. I guess the team came by its name by being sponsored by the American Legion Post in Hope. Anyone know? Anyone know how to correctly spell Legionaires?

Randy also remembers a team his late father-in-law, Milton Masey, coached: the Murfreesboro Red Sox. The late great Milton Masey may be the main reason this place is still such a baseball town.

This topic came up because I saw the obituary for Marty Filogamo who was a pitcher for the Legionaires.

Filogamo’s main opponent here was a heckler known as Sewing Machine Allen who was, himself, worth the price of admission to Wilson Park. Rest their souls.


OFFICIAL FAIR WEATHER FAN. As the number one Razorback Fair Weather Fan I cannot resist predicting how the Hogs will do in the SEC tournament this week. We play either LSU or Mississippi State. I predict a first game loss in the tournament, and a quick exit from the NCAA tournament. We’ll probably lose to someone like Nebraska Weslyan, or St. Rita’s of Colorado, or some other powerhouse with no player taller than 6’2”. At least we don’t have to play the South Carolina women’s team. We’d be in trouble.


THINGS I LEARNED from opening email. The Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from public libraries.


WORD GAMES. The twins: Tooth and Nail. They are totally dedicated, and their last name sure isn’t Quit.


HE SAID: “If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another.” Winston Churchill, statesman


SHE SAID: “I will tell you King’s First Law of Recognition: You never get it when you want it, and then when it comes, you get too much.” Billy Jean King, tennis star



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