Home Opinion Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Squirrel Hideaway

Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Squirrel Hideaway

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IT IS ONLY 292 days until Thanksgiving, and already I am thankful.

First of all, I am thankful for my longtime friend Jo N. Howard, legendary County Agent for the Howard County Extension Service, organizer of many Stand Up for America galas and extension homemaker events, cancer survivor and chef-without-equal.

Jo even wrote a recipe book about cooking wild game.

Second, I am thankful for the delicious butterscotch pie Jo brought to our office Monday. I have grudgingly allowed my colleagues to have small slices. Jo knew that butterscotch was my favorite.

Third, I am thankful she brought a butterscotch pie, not a possum pie from her wild game cookbook.

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BY THE END of every summer there are a couple of dozen oak saplings which have sprung up, unbidden,  out of the landscaping at my house. This may be proof that the squirrels do not remember each and every spot where they ‘hide’ their acorns.

I mention this because of a smug article at LiveScience.com which explains that squirrels are really quite bright and may have several scientific ways of memorizing where they hide acorns.

They don’t bury them all in the same cache because some greedy, theiving competitor could wipe out their winter stash with just one pass.

This is the squirrel equivalent of putting all of your eggs in one basket.

The article even claims that squirrels sometimes ‘fake’ hiding acorns in order to mislead any of the aforementioned competitors that might be spying.

The geniuses at LiveScience say that there are two ways animals hoard food for the winter: Scatter-hoarding and larder-hoarding. Squirrels are scatter-hoarders and that means they must remember each and every scattered place where they have hidden an acorn.

It’s entirely possible that they are scatter-hoarders because they don’t like lard. (This is what we at the ‘News-Leader’ like to call h-u-m-o-r.)

I know this: If you try to make something squirrel-proof, it will take them just a couple of days to get around your swell invention.

A related LiveScience article claims that German-speaking persons cannot properly pronounce the word ‘squirrel.’ One person with lots of hindsight and too much time on his hands says that back in WWII suspected spies should have been asked to pronounce squirrel because no matter hard they try, Germans cannot say squirrel.

I am not making fun of Germans. There may be one American word (squirrel) that Germans cannot pronounce; there are thousands of German words that I cannot pronounce (no examples needed). I took a semester of German during my undergraduate days at the University of Arkansas. That was a long time ago, and my jaw and tongue still haven’t recovered.

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OUR TOWN HAS a fine rivalry with the city of De Queen, but we sure don’t want anything bad to happen to that town or its citizens. So, I have been disheartened to learn and read about the town’s ongoing difficulties with their local hospital. A hospital is vital to small communities like ours and De Queen’s.

Recently there were stories about the Sevier County’s hospital employees not getting paid. And Monday’s ‘Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’ had another story. Apparently the owners, a Missouri company that owns De Queen along with a passle of hospitals in eight states, haven’t been paying taxes or insurance premiums for employees, either.

Things sound pretty dire.

It makes me appreciate what we have here. I thank the administrators and board of directors who have kept our little, rural hospital viable. Ours is a splendid jewel.

Back long ago when the hospital needed to build a new wing to keep up with community health and medical needs, our citizens passed a tax. To have the tax income required that the hospital become ‘owned’ by the board of directors. It’s also why the hospital’s name was changed from Howard County Memorial Hospital to Howard Memorial Hospital.

The community kept control through the Howard County Quorum Court which controls who serves on the hospital board of directors.

Again, there have been many farsighted men and women who have served on the Howard Memorial Hospital board of directors. The board is made up of men and women, Anglos and African-Americans, from all over the county.

Our hospital is owned locally, not by some out-of-state firm which might not have the longterm well-being of our the hospital at heart.

These days, our hospital is getting a lot of business out of the De Queen area.

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THINGS I LEARNED from opening (and believing) email: “There are only four words in the English language which end in “dous”: Tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.”

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WORD GAMES. Another set of twins: Stars and Stripes. Maybe you’re feeling patriotic. I think their surname is Forever.

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HE SAID: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Henry Ford, industrialist

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SHE SAID: “Laughter is much more important than applause. Applause is almost a duty. Laughter is a reward.” Carol Channing, Broadway performer

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SWEET DREAMS, Baby