A Bond Never Broken

 

Marvin Ruby HollingsworthWhen I first started interviewing people for my historical articles in the Observer, I was driving a Ford Thunderbird. The one year they decided to grow that particular model from the original sports car to one as large as a sedan. One of my first drives into the depths of the wilderness occurred in the spring. It was rainy season and creeks were rising.

I received a call from one of the daughters of a couple who were soon to celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary. The Holllingsworths lived in a cabin outside Delaney surrounded by the Ozark National Forest. They had always lived there.

With directions lying on the seat beside me I drove out highway 16 to Delaney, turned onto the gravel road as instructed, you know, the one where the white horse is in the pasture, and began a journey I will never forget.

The road narrowed, twisted and turned until it was two ruts with weeds growing up in the middle. I braked at the first of several creeks, looked at the other side to make sure I could climb out once I went in, and drove down into the shallow, but rushing waters. Back then many things were different than they now are. Another of those things was if a car’s brakes got a soaking set they no longer functioned.

About the time I forded several more of these watery crossings and steered around a curve that literally hung on the rim of a bluff I wished for the dozenth or more time that I’d bought a Jeep before I took this job. No one warned me. Oh, I’d lived in the Ozarks of Arkansas for quite a while and knew some roads were iffy, but this one was a real challenge, especially in a low-slung Thunderbird.

But what utter beauty surrounded me. Sometimes I caught my breath at the sheer magnificence. The air was sweet and filled with silence broken only by the songs of birds and my car making its way deeper and deeper into the wilderness. And, on yes, the movement of crystal clear water over and around rocks.

And then I began the final climb, and perched right in the edge of a thick forest, at the very end of the road, was a log cabin. And on the porch sat a man. Once he caught sight of me he raised a hand in welcome. A fence surrounded the yard. I parked and opened the car door.

“Get out and come on up.” He waved some more as if I might not see him.

I stepped out, went through a gate that screeched shut behind me. Sounds were exaggerated in the silence. The peaceful feeling that came over me that day would be one I experienced often during my years of traveling for miles into another strange land to meet someone who had something special to tell me. Something worth my time and whatever struggles it took to arrive at my destination.

Marvin told me the thing he worried about most was that something might change his way of living before he would no longer have to worry about how he lived. He said that they had already passed some ridiculous laws like making it against the law to kill rattlesnakes. “What hillbilly won’t kill a rattlesnake every chance he gets,” he added. I was with him on that.

His grandparents came into Arkansas when virgin timber covered the hills. He told me that the woods were full of tents and cabins then when people came to make a living in the timber. That would’ve been the 1800s. He was born just under the hill where he lived with his wife Ruby who was 16 when they married. The only time he had left the place was in 1919 when he was drafted and went to Springdale. In those days Springdale had one main street and wooden sidewalks. He waited all day Sunday for the bus and never saw one single car. Before he could be inducted, as he put it, “the Kaiser gave it up,” and he was sent home.

He never drove or owned a car. And the first one he saw was when someone brought a Model T up the road. The couple had 12 children and at that time when I interviewed him they had 131 living descendants. His son Burt and daughter-in-law Jo Ann lived there with him and Ruby, who was deaf and almost blind. She sat silently with us during the interview, and when she felt me stirring to get ready to leave she put a hand on my arm and said, “Oh, stay more. Stay more.” It was a vivid moment while I considered how lonely she must have been for adult company over the years. I couldn’t imagine it.

Sitting there on that porch, looking out over the mountains I had a taste of what it was like to live in the pure wilderness a hundred years earlier. We can only imagine that kind of life, probably don’t desire it, yet there was a certain pure serenity in the surroundings.

Jo Ann told me they were going to keep the older couple around a few more years and would have the biggest party ever when they celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. I was to visit the couple two more times. Once during that very celebration and one last journey when I visited their final resting place. They were buried together on the hill overlooking the house in which they had spent their entire lives.

 

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Miss Phydella

Phydalla - CopyDuring my 20 years with newspapers I met some fabulous people who influenced and touched my life in ways I had never imagined could happen. Their strength and passion for living often changed the way I looked at things. In writing these posts, a memoir of sorts, I want to tell their stories to keep them alive. So many of the wonders we experience slip away as the years pass. Call it history if you must, I prefer to refer to these tales as keeping the beauty of life’s memories living.

Phydella Hogan’s recent birthday a while back reminded me of the day I met this fascinating lady. At the time she was 74 and had just published her book of poetry, Matchsticks. I still have the book which she signed for me. The poems are a collection of expressive emotions that reveal the innermost thoughts of this saucy poet.

Besides the book I also have memories of our talks. She was bright, full of energy and inquisitive. The previous May she had graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas and was pursuing a Master’s Degree. I guess what impressed me so much was her intense desire to learn all she could of the intricacies of life, of what made people tick. And most of all the happiness with which she greeted that life.

Many people are content to rest on their laurels at her age. I don’t think age meant much to her. What did was the exciting experiences waiting for her just around the corner.

A native Arkansan, she was born near Cave Springs and raised in Washington County. The beginning of her education took place at Zion, a rural one-room school from which she graduated the eighth grade.

She owned a small store in Fayetteville for years and was lovingly known as Miss Phydella by all who knew her. Her writing included two books of poetry and many columns for several weekly newspapers. The last time I spoke with her she was working on a series of children’s stories.

There my memories of knowing Miss Phydella end, but several years later I was fortunate to meet her son J. B. at the Washington County Historical Society. There is much of his mother in him. Today we share the same publisher and once in a while talk about the late Miss Phydella whose accomplishments continue to influence his life as well.

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The Fantastic Automobile

old car Ozarks

When I was young, and don’t be surprised that I can remember so very long ago, my uncle showed up one day with a Model A coupe that had a mother-in-law seat. Oh, how I yearned to ride back there. In case you never saw one, where the trunk should be it had a pull out that revealed a seat. No roof over it, just out in the open. All my uncles tended to spoil me since I was the very first niece any of them had. The eldest on both sides of my parents’ family. So I rode in that seat, long hair flying, every chance I got.

Anyway, I think of that ride so often when I’m driving and staring at the fancy cars of today. For various reasons that seat would be outlawed on our highways. Now we are seeing cars that almost drive themselves, and that is just around the corner. I hope I live to ride in one.

Makes me think back even farther into the past. Being a historian of sorts, I settled on this subject thinking of how far we’ve come in transportation. In 1876 the White River Valley Historical Quarterly published a petition titled The Wilderness Road. It asked the Honorable County court of Green County to open a road recently closed by James Driden. It had been hand written originally and many of the words were misspelled. I have the typed copy.

It seems Mr. Driden claimed that the road damaged him on the account of teamsters burning his “railes”. The petition asked “Is this alone reason enough for you to shut us out from your town where all of our wheat and produce from this county and all North Arkansas travels?”

It seems that road was traveled by from one to seventy-five wagons a day in the cotton and produce season. The petition went on to list many reasons to reopen the road. The plea ended, and I quote, “…for the sake of humanity we ask your Honor to give this road and give it immediately.”

Their reasons for asking this favor of his Honor is because there were but few fordings on the James River “that we can hold the bottoms.” I’m not sure what that means except perhaps their wagon wheels would stay on the bottom crossing the river.

What I wondered was why a private citizen would be allowed to close a road in the first place. Anyway, it made me think of those early roads in Arkansas and how difficult travel was. I’ve read that many new arrivals had to chop down trees in front of their wagon as they traveled into the Ozarks. The Boston Mountains are named that for a reason. Boston was slang for a hard way to go. Obviously Mr. Driden’s road somehow bypassed the river crossing or had a fording that would allow wagon masters to hold the bottoms. The petition was signed by 178 residents. I have no idea if their plea was honored.

My Dad was sixteen when he accompanied his Dad to Arkansas. My Granddad was a powder monkey and they were building the new highway 71 north from Mountainburg to Winslow, and of course beyond. But a powder monkey was needed to place the dynamite that blasted boulders and even bluffs from the right-away over the mountains. At 16 my Dad also worked on the building of the highway. It turned out that eventually he met my mother, was smitten, and never went back to Texas.

Here in Winslow the highway that goes west out of town climbed steeply straight up. When Model As were in use they had to back up that highway. Anyone care to guess why? The gasoline wouldn’t feed the engine going forward. In those days women were beginning to drive and none of them were strong enough to back all the way up the mountain, so a woman mayor of Winslow, Maud Duncan, saw that a new highway was built that curled up instead of climbing straight up.

I for one am glad I live now instead of back then. There were so many barriers to climb over just to get through a day.

Below is the transportation of most residents in Arkansas in the 1800s

horsedrawn dray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Playing Hide’n Seek

harried woman

Yes, this is me today. Did you ever put things away in special places so you could find them, and then lo and behold, they were never seen again. Unless of course you were looking for something else and didn’t need the first one anymore. Had given up on ever finding it? Well, that’s me today. I’m searching images in boxes, on CDs, in my computer for two or three photos, only to find others I might use one day. I stop, save each of those to a special place, knowing full well I may never see them again.

I can hear you all laughing already, shaking your heads because you either never do that or you do it too. I did however find one I looked for a few weeks ago for the blog on snakes. It’s me holding one of the reticulated pythons I wrote about then. I did not find one I was searching for that I swear I had my hands on a few weeks ago. So the search goes on.

Since I’ve vowed to write a blog every Monday from now into perpetuity I put down my search and took up the keyboard to do just that. I promised readers it would tell tales of my adventures working for a rural newspaper. Though that doesn’t sound very exciting, you’ve already learned that it was if you’ve been reading the past few posts.

Besides writing about my misadventures and adventures, I will tell stories about those of others I interviewed over the years. There’s Robert Younkin, the famous aviator, whose nephew Bobby was killed in an air show not many years ago. I spent time with his wife until we watched this airplane land on her front lawn. “There he is now,” she said. I hoped for a ride, but that didn’t happen. I did get a great interview.

Then there’s Al Houser, the first Apache baby born to the Ft. Sill Apaches after they were released from prison to live in Indian Territory. Oklahoma for those of you who might not know that. Al’s brother Al is a famous sculptor. For two hours I sat in the living room of this Apache warrior while he told me tales of his life and about how he flew night raids over Germany during WW II. Think about the irony of that for a moment folks.

As soon as I find my articles on these so I can make sure my memory is correct, I will write the full stories.

I know there are a lot of people who don’t give a crap about history or the people who lived through it. This blog is for those who do.

Because I couldn’t find the following photo when I wrote the story, if you missed it go back and read my blog about snakes. Here’s the picture my husband took of me getting acquainted. Well, he was never much of a photographer.

me and python

 

 

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Seeing is Believing – Maybe  

python-e1554750469911.jpegBecause of the ability of computers to create any image we have in our minds, we no longer believe some things we see. If our mind rebels and says no, there’s no such thing, then doubt rises and we question the images we see.The featured photo I took of my host’s wife and one of the pythons I visited in their snake house. I held one and my husband took the picture. I haven’t found it yet. Yeah sure, I know you don’t believe me.

This week in my blog I’m showing you some more pictures that link with the blogs I’ve been writing of late. You saw the sabre tooth tiger, but at the time I couldn’t find some of my collection..

A search has begun for images to accompany blogs, and here are some you missed. I’ve been busy digging through hundreds, no thousands, of photos I’ve taken over the years, many of them for the newspaper. So I hope you enjoy a look at baby pythons hatching from eggs and my vision from inside Fifi, the only B29 bomber still flying. You’ll remember I climbed up through her belly hole and took a ride that included several touch and go approaches to Drake Airfield. Last I also found a photo of America’s first space man, Joe Kittinger, which I took  while he was at Drake taking the brave up high in the sky in his biplane. You’ll recall I was one of those privileged to soar through the skies with this heroic and historic man.

Coming soon, a story of my experiences with the tigers at River Glen including the white ones which I walked among.

I hope you enjoy these and stay tuned for more.

python eggs

python eggs hatching

 

aboard B29

 

Joe Kittinger

 

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Outlaw and bandit queen produces a Pearl

Belle side saddle

Belle Starr Side Saddle

For some reason lately I’ve been fascinated by outlaws of old. I wonder at what motivated them, what, why and how they did what they did.. Probably because I live in Winslow, one that always comes to mind is Belle Starr. Not that she hasn’t already been written to death, but still here’s my take on this much publicized rough and tumble woman.

This week I have more than a good reason to publish this. I’m involved in writing a western series, a continuation of one begun by my best buddy and friend, Dusty Richards. I have added to his lineup of characters a bounty hunter and I’ve based her loosely on the Starrs in this blog. She is the daughter of a woman who ran a house with ladies of the night in Ft. Smith. You’ll see the resemblance when you read the Texas Lightning and Texas Furies, my addition to the series. So let’s go western this week and have a rip roaring time learning some little known facts about Belle and Pearl Starr.

Homer Croy, author of the Last of the Great Outlaws: The Story of Cole Younger, wrote of Belle: “She is the most famous bandit woman America has produced. She’s unbelievable, but there she is and you can’t pooh-pooh her. She is more than herself; she is an embodiment of the time and the era.”

Most of the time outlaws of yesteryear are romanticized far beyond the truth. But Croy went on to praise Edwin P. Hicks, who wrote Belle Starr and Her Pearl, which was published in 1963. A good writer friend was kind enough to give me a copy of this book he’d picked up at a used book store, and it is autographed by Hicks. Only another author could know how thrilled I am to have been the recipient of this book. Not only does it tell stories not told anywhere else, but it is chock-full of photos of the Fort Smith of Belle’s time, of Belle and her Pearl, and of Belle’s environs.

About ten years ago I wrote what I had learned about Belle and Pearl, but I didn’t have this book.  Hicks, a native of Fort Smith, dug up so much more than was ever before published about these two women, and Belle’s life as well. He interviewed people who had actually known both women, and has given me so much more fodder for another article. Where his writing is used in this story, he will receive credit.

I want to concentrate on Belle and her first love, Cole Younger, because from that union came daughter Pearl. From her youngest Myra Belle Shirley was outgoing and fearless. She was not a pretty girl, but she made up for that lack with her audacious personality. She could deal with the roughest of men, be they Quantrill’s raiders or other wild outlaws of the day. From the first day she met up with Cole Younger, who rode up to her father’s farm in Scyene, Texas with a bunch of raiders when she was a slip of a girl, she was entranced. The feeling was reciprocated, and she teased and flirted with the well known, tall and handsome bandit. The Civil War was over, and the hills were filled with outlaws, many mean and unsociable

The personable Cole remained a long while at the Shirley ranch, and of course so did his impatient brothers, Bob and Jim. Belle was the better horseback rider, Cole the better shot and they traded what they knew. Soon they were inseparable, riding the countryside together.

Hicks wrote, “The way she sat a horse, sitting primly side-saddle fascinated Cole. And Younger appreciated her spirit, she was as wild as the prairie, as wild as the winds which swept across the prairie, and the wail of the coyotes at night. She was all dash and go and a spark of flame. . .”

As was bound to happen, Belle was soon with child by this man. This shocked Bible reading Cole Younger, and he couldn’t have a pregnant woman by his side while he ran wild robbing banks, so he began to treat her like a prostitute. Early in 1867 Pearl Younger was born, and her mother loved her dearly. The baby was hers alone, and the resentment she’d felt toward Younger for his treatment of her vanished beneath the adoration she poured upon this beautiful little girl.

Unlike her mother, Pearl was a beauty. And Belle remembered only the good things about Pearl’s father. How much in love they had been . . . all the rowdy times they’d had when he’d treated her as an equal. Later she would fall back in with Cole and his ways, but she continued to be independent and took up gambling to support her Pearl. For a while she had returned to school under her father’s insistence, but the wild life was her way and she could not leave it for long. Living with the leader of the gang that had committed the first bank robbery in America must have been exciting to this girl who would rather run with the men.

Hicks wrote, “She was a mite of a girl afraid of no one wearing pants.”

Continued later will come

Belle side saddle

Belle Starr Side Saddle

the rest of the story.

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The Day I Walked With Snakes

Snakes Tigers

Small reticulated pythons A white and a natural

Snakes have always been one of my fears. If one took so much as a glance at me in the wild I just knew he was measuring me either for how fast I could run or if I would fit in his mouth. So when my boss at the Observer asked me to interview “the snake man” I wanted to crawl under the desk or plead illness. But, liking my job a lot I thought, well how bad could it be? We would look at his little pets through glass windows and then sit and drink coffee while I obtained a good interview.

Coming up with a first question wouldn’t be difficult. Why in this whole entire world would anyone, and you look like a sane man, take up with such a career as this?” Snake handling? The study of snakes? Uh oh, research needed here so:

Herpetology (from Greek ἑρπετόν herpetón, meaning “reptile” or “creeping animal”) is the branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians (including frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and caecilians (gymnophiona)) and reptiles (includingsnakes, lizards, amphisbaenids, turtles, terrapins, tortoises, crocodilians …

None of these critters would make good roommates , but only a few of them frighten me. Feeling I was caught up on what Mr. Snake Man did, I gave him a call. He seemed anxious to show me around and tell me about his snakes. I arrived thinking I might get through this. He and his wife lived in a beautiful log cabin snugged into a cut in ragged bluffs.

I had my pad and recorder ready and settled down in a comfortable chair. That’s when I learned the awful truth. He expected me to interact with his snakes to obtain an interview. We had to go to the snake house first. He expected me to do so. So we walked up a slight incline back of his cabin to a building tucked into the bluff.

“These are reticulated pythons,” he told me and he opened the locked door.

I hesitated and in the silence of that Ozark morning I heard something coming from inside. Something he told me were his snakes breathing. Breath coming louder than the snake’s I took a step over the threshold on trembling legs. In the sunlight from behind me I saw, coiled all around each other on shelves around the room, huge, beautiful snakes. Oh, I’d seen them in movies and on television, but for real? And hearing them, smelling them was an all new experience.

Ranging in length from 15 to 30 feet, his pythons could swallow a whole goat. I thanked goodness I was larger than a goat.

“Touch them,” he said. “They like to be touched…” Even as I reached out, he added, “…and they’re not hungry.”

So, this woman who had once beat a poor garden snake to death, who literally went hyper when seeing one, laid a shaking hand on this living, breathing python, felt its life force, looked into the eyes that regarded me as if wondering as much about me as I did about her. Her skin was cool and though it appeared scaly it felt smooth.

He lifted the head of one. “Let’s take her outside.”

That seemed impossible. Were we going to talk her into going? She was too large to pick up or drag. His wife came out as if called and to my surprise that snake began to untangle from the others when she lifted its head and she walked out into the yard with it tagging along behind until its full length was stretched out in the grass. Then she sat and it crawled over her lap and around her shoulders.

Later back in the house she showed me some newly hatched white pythons, tiny replicas of the one we’d visited with earlier except they were a beautiful gold on white. He then took me to the trailer which he took on tours to fairs and shows all over the country. The floor was covered with hundreds of snakes and I stepped inside like a pro.  They crawled over my feet and went about their business, whatever it was.

While he kept all manner of poisonous snakes he was the only one who handled them. On one of my visits he dumped a wad of cobras out in the yard and walked among them while they stood and did their weird dance. He said it was too cold for them to strike.

I wen’t several times to see “the snake man” when he’d acquire a new species but the most exciting visit came some months later when he called and said I should come out because the latest eggs were hatching and I arrived in time to watch one by one as they cut their way through the shell and poked their little heads out.

He cured me of my overall fear of snakes and he also taught me to respect those who could do me harm. Once a python swallowed his head and it took five men to pry him out. He tells the story with a great deal of humor, explaining that he handled some chickens he was going to feed them and they mistook his smell for food. I was glad he told that story long after my visit to the snake house.

 

 

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The day I flew with America’s first spaceman

Kittinger planeSeptember, 1960 America entered the space race with a fantastic catch in the sky accomplished by a new space hero. Air Force Captain Joseph Kittinger jumped from an open balloon gondola at 102,800 feet above earth. This was the highest man has ever ventured into space in an unpowered flight. His falling body is thought to have broken the sound barrier. For 16 miles he plummeted from space toward earth before his chute opened. This is the longest free fall in history, truly making this man our first spaceman. Cameras in the gondola snapped some of the most exciting pictures of a man’s daring. Wish I had access to them.

Most of the public today never heard this man’s name, but I was privileged to meet him one windy summer day at Drake Field in Fayetteville when I was sent to write a story about him for the Washington County Observer. Not only did we talk he took me up into the wild blue yonder for the ride of a lifetime in his barnstorming plane. My husband told him he couldn’t scare me. But he was gentle only doing a couple of maneuvers that had my toes curled against the floor. I was fortunate that day to live the words of the poem touching the face of God with this amazing man.

He later spoke of that space experience, saying he accomplished it in a tin can with duct tape and plastic bags. Kittinger passed out during the leap, but recovered to make a stupendous landing and enter the pages of space history forever.

The highlight of his life, Joe will never forget that historical space experience. He’ll always remember that announcement, “Three minutes to jump, Joe.” He talks about it, saying “I was ready to go. For about an hour the balloon rose from 50,000 to 102,800 feet above sea level.”  At that point he was exposed to an environment that required the protection of a pressure suit and helmet. The fear of their failure was always present. If either should break death was only two minutes away.

He said, “…there in the eerie silence of space, I knew that my life depended entirely upon my equipment, my own actions, and the presence of God.”

During his military career he spent 11 months as a POW in Viet Nam and after retirement, not willing to keep his feet on the ground, he flew around the countryside giving barnstorming exhibitions and taking those brave enough to climb aboard his 1930 New Standard D-25 bi-plane high into the skies.

One morning I walked with Joe across the tarmac at Drake Field and he held onto my hand while I climbed into the nose seat of his plane. Taking pictures in those days was not so easy as aiming a cell phone, but they took the accompanying one of me aboard that plane with a sort of gripping-my- lips pose which looks a bit like I was holding back a scream. A short race along the runway, my stomach clenched and we were airborne. A shout of wild joy burst from me as we climbed into the sky. Once high above Fayetteville he rolled over onto one wing giving me an sideways look at the ground far below. A few exciting passes over the seven hills of Fayetteville and we landed. I will never forget the flight or visiting with this man who had once sailed free of the bonds of earth.

Velda in the

Austrian Felix Baumgartner broke Joe’s record in October 2012 and Kittinger was his capcom” (capsule communications chief)—mission control’s primary point of radio contact with Baumgartner throughout his ascent. Joe celebrated his 90th birthday July 27, 2018.

Read more about Kittinger’s leap from the edge of space here. https://www.history.com/news/joe-kittingers-death-defying-leap-from-the-edge-of-space

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saber Toothed Cats – In the Ozarks?

saber tiger

 

When the telephone rings at a newspaper, especially a weekly rural one, it usually means someone within the readership area has something to share. What they deem newsworthy. Often it’s unusual. This particular morning it was to be something way more than  unusual, it was freaky.

At the time, the 1990s, there was a tiger haven near West Fork where cats of the wild kind were taken in for various reasons. Usually because someone had bought a cub thinking it cute till it grew up and tried to eat their hand at feeding time. Or simply was way too big to be played with nor was it cute anymore.

When I first went to work as a feature writer at the Observer I was fascinated by the large tigers living there, some were the unusual white type. I soon made friends with the owner and she began to ask for me when she had a story to share. This was often because tigers are not always predictable, and I learned that right away. But I fell in love with the large cats and I soon learned their behavior is much like the domesticated pet kitty that owns so many of us. What they do not do like our kitty is purr or meow. The domesticated feline has learned this over the centuries in order to please and communicate with us humans.

Now to the story: The phone call that morning was to tell me in an excited voice that someone had brought in a medium sized wild black cat endowed with fangs much like photos of saber toothed tigers. She said it was very wild and very ill, so if I wanted a photo of it while it was alive I needed to hurry.

At the time we had an editor who thought he had to go along on all calls unless a body was involved, at which time he quickly found something else to do, so he went along with me to view this so called saber tooth. A caveat: we seldom if ever had bodies so I had to put up with him. He could neither write, edit, or take very good pictures but he was related to someone and convinced he could.

When we arrived he raced to beat me to the small cage where the cat was being held. Because if was lying flat he insisted on raising its chin up with a forked stick for this photo which he also took. To me it made this poor creature look like he had already passed into big cat heaven, but what it does show are the fanged teeth.

No matter what experts were called none could explain this oddity except that perhaps it was either a mutant or a cross breed or a throw-back. Here’s what “Live Science” has to say about saber toothed tigers:

Saber-toothed cats apparently did not go extinct for lack of prey, contradicting a popular explanation for why they died off, fossil evidence now suggests. … However, at the end of the late Pleistocene about 12,000 years ago, these “megafauna” went extinct, a die-off called the Quaternary extinction. I’ve always wondered what we saw in that cage. This is its picture. Since all I have is a copy from the newspaper it is not of good quality since at that time we used a darkroom to prepare the photos.

Those of my readers old enough to have known Logan France of Mountainburg know of the story he told about when he was much younger and considered quite adept at lassoing from horseback. In those days circus trains often traveled on the Frisco line that ran north and south from the Arkansas River Valley to Fayetteville. He told of the time the train wrecked and he was called upon to come help round up all the wild animals that had escaped, most especially the wild cats. Because they didn’t capture them all he always claimed that was where many of our “panthers” that are spotted roaming these Ozarks came from. And he surmised that some would have come from mating with our own wild cats. To this day mountain lions are spotted occasionally just at dusk. The Observer had a standing offer to anyone who could get a good photo of one, but all we ever got were paw prints in the dust which an animal expert said were those of mountain lions.

Saber-toothed tiger Facts. Saber-toothed tiger (Smilodon) is one of the most popular prehistoric mammals that once lived in North and South America. It was dominant predator on the grassland plains and open woodlands during the Pleistocene (from 2.5 million years – 10.000 years ago).

Now, no one can say they didn’t learn something from my blog this week.

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In The Air With Fifi

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