IT NEVER FAILS. It’s always overcast or frigid when heavenly fireworks are predicted. Last Thursday and Friday was the annual time for the Geminid Meteor shower, a shower usually marked by lots of shooting stars with long green tails. But this time, the moon was so bright you couldn’t see any.
Usually the skywatchers say that the best time to see the meteors is after midnight.
I think they just do that to make me mad.
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STILL HERE. No, your eyes are not tricking you. This IS the Mine Creek Revelations column. Last week I told you I was retiring. I still am, but it will be a gradual thing. I’m still doing many of the duties I formerly had. I’m still trying to decide if Mrs. Claus has retired, too.
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TOO MANY FUNERALS. Last week I buried my NHS classmate Karen Dildy McCoy. On a late December Saturday I will be in Foreman at the graveside rites for a guy you probably never met or heard of — Joseph Taaffe Rice. For a glorious year Joe and I were roommates at the University of Arkansas. He was in law school; we were both veterans — USAF and USN, respectively — and we sometimes felt out of place with the younger students.
He tired of law school and went back to Foreman where he taught school and raised blueberries. I evaded the campus police long enough to collect my diploma a couple of years later.
Nashville and Foreman aren’t far apart. We stayed in touch, but saw each other less and less as we grew older.
Back in the 1990s after people in Little River County were amazed by two consecutive nights of UFO sightings I contacted Joe with the purpose of teasing him gently about seeing aliens.
Joe didn’t think my teasing was funny, and I am a UFO believer now because of him and another friend, Jim Williamson, who was then editor and owner of the ‘Little River News’ at Ashdown.
They both saw the UFO on those two nights, along with apparently a lot of people in Little River County. They both described the craft as being flat black in color, about the size of a football field, flying low and slow with just a moaning sound.
I can’t remember if they said the craft had lights.
Here’s what made me a believer. When Joe went into the USAF he already had a degree from Henderson. In the Air Force he specialized in precisely loading cargo in large aircraft. So, he had experience in judging size, speed and altitude of flying objects.
My newspaper buddy didn’t take teasing lightly, either. He was a serious guy who saw something in the sky and wrote about it.
Although these two guys at least knew of each other, they weren’t together on those nights, and they didn’t confer on what they saw before being pestered by their unbelieving former UA roomie/newspaper buddy from Nashville.
Before that I was skeptical. Now, I’m a believer.
And now, Joe knows for sure. RIP, pal.
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ANIMAL CRACKERS. Normally I write smarmy sweet little pieces under the Animal Crackers heading. Yeah, I know. I can barely tolerate them, myself.
This time it’s neither smarmy nor sweet.
Last week I watched as a young man knelt by a water meter box; pried it open with a long screwdriver; and wrote down some numbers.
He stood up as I passed by.
And I made some wisecrack about snakes in the meter boxes, which had only been something in my sick imagination until this time.
“Yep, I’ve seen a few,” he answered good naturedly.
The young man was Rico Haney, a Lockesburg High School grad who actually grew up in Nashville and who has been working with Nashville Public Works for about a year. Among his duties — opening water meter boxes and recording water usage.
Rico said that since the weather had gotten cold the snakes have gone underground in the meter boxes because it is little warmer there.
He said he’d come across four or five snakes, and didn’t think any of them were poisonous.
“That’s not what bothers me, though,” he said.
I got curious. “If snakes in the meter boxes you’re about to reach into don’t bother you, what in the heck does?”
Black Widow Spiders, he said.
He waived the screwdriver, “That’s why I have this to reach in and open the meter boxes.”
Rico says that there’s nothing scarier than to open a meter box, look on the back side of the meter cover, and see some Black Widow Spiders just waiting for a chance to bite an innocent human’s hand.
Pardon me while I shudder. Black Widow Spiders, snakes in meter boxes, and water bills.
Yep, pardon me while I shudder.
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WORD GAMES. Another set of twins: Joyful and Triumphant. Just hearing their names makes me think of Christmas carols.
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HE SAID: “The earth has grown old with its burden of care, but at Christmas it always is young, the heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair, and its soul full of music breaks the air, when the song of angels is sung.” Phillips Brooks, American Episcopal clergyman who wrote “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”
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SHE SAID: “What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.” Phyllis Diller, American comic
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SWEET DREAMS, Baby