Monday, December 2, 2013

Hometown Monday - R is for Rachel, Rhoda, Richard and Ronny Cox

Hometown Monday
R is for Rachel, Rhoda, Richard and Ronny Cox

We are continuing this series of posts of excerpts from the novels, novellas, and short stories of "The Homeplace Saga" family story-telling, with a new twist. We have adopted a format from the: "Blogging From A to Z Challenge." Each week we will share a published except related to a person whose name begins with that letter. 

This series of posts is to provide an insight into the story lines that may not be clear from other promotional pieces about "The Homeplace Saga." These will also be coordinated with the content of the developmental Wiki, "Beyond the Books" - to expand the information available there, as well. [Links in the text, below, provide more information on that person or entity]

Today we look at names beginning with the letter R.

For R, we have (with two excerpts, below):

Rachel Nixon - Scott's girl friend; writer for Oak Springs Enterprise in 1996

Rhoda Offutt - retired teacher in 1987 - in MBTHP - she appears again, in a larger role, in "Christmas at the Homeplace"

Richard Stone - husband of Melanie Ogden

Ronny Cox - with Dept of Natural Resources

Our excerpts today are from the novel, "Christmas at the Homeplace," recently released, now available at… for Christmas purchases:

This excerpt is from "Christmas at the Homeplace" is from Chapter 6, Saturday, November 2, 1996:

Brian Kirk and Jennifer Bevins were sharing another afternoon at the Oak Springs Public Library. This week, they had volunteered to work with Judy Watson, the Librarian, on some local history collections materials that had been received but not yet properly documented and stored for use by the public.
“It is hard not to read every piece of paper we come across,” Jennifer said to Judy, as Judy laid two stacks of paper on the table in front of them.

“I totally agree, Jennifer. That is partially why I’ve not done more with them, myself. I’d want to stop and read each one from beginning to end.” Judy paused and took a deep breath, then continued. “I really wish more folks would come and spend some time doing what you have volunteered to do here today. If they did, before you know it, we’d have a much more complete, and useful, local history section here at the library.”

“Have you asked folks to help out, Judy?” Brian wanted to be supportive.

“I’m sure not often enough… and probably not the right people, I must admit, Brian. We just have so many needs around the library.” As she spoke, Judy noticed her friend, Rhoda Offutt, sit down at another table, nearby. “Do you two know Rhoda Offutt? She is a retired school teacher who is also very interested in researching her family history.”

Jennifer replied, “No, but I do recognize her from seeing her around town.”

“Do you mind if I invite her over and introduce you?”

“No, that would be wonderful.” Jennifer watched as Judy approached Rhoda, and they both returned to the table where Brian and Jennifer were sitting. Brian rose to shake Rhoda’s hand as they were introduced. Jennifer did likewise.

The four new friends quickly found they had a number of common interests and concerns centered on doing family and local history research, and began to talk about others they knew with common interests. Rhoda mentioned that she had regularly worked some with Harry Flanders, at the bank, and his wife, Sarah, since they did have some ancestors in common. Rhoda shared that they each descended from the Campbell family in the west valley. Victor Campbell’s family had settled there in 1836, just a few years after the McDonald’s and the first settlers arrive in the east and central valley. This news led to more discussion of common and different information each of them found most interesting.
Brian was the first to raise the question of whether Oak Springs had ever had a local historical or genealogical society. Judy and Rhoda each shared what they knew about efforts to form such a group back in earlier times such as the town’s centennial. They seemed to agree that the idea never caught on with enough people for a lasting organization to take hold. That led, of course, to the question, “what about now?”

Springing from the interests they each were expressing, and noticing the spread of ages and interests among themselves, they began to talk about others, young, middle aged, and older who might now become interested if their interests were shared and they took a leading role. Judy said she would certainly support their efforts, as librarian, but could not take too active a role, personally. They then talked a bit about how each person that might get involved with such a project would have to realize part of their efforts would need to go to the ‘common good’ while part of their efforts would continue to be on their individual interests. 

They soon realized they were writing down notes of organizational priorities and other persons in the community to invite to join them. They also agreed they would want to involve the newspaper, the Oak Springs Enterprise in some way. Judy was quick to say she would be happen to connect them with her long-time friend, Penny Nixon, now Associate Editor of the paper. She was sure Penny would be happy to help out in such a community project.

Dividing up responsibilities, Rhoda agreed to make a list of others she knew, from her past work, that might like to be part of their initial planning. Brian agreed to apply his legal background to some research on similar organizations and what others were doing around the region and the country. Judy agreed to contact Penny and get her with Jennifer to talk about generating some publicity – about whatever it was they were agreeing to initiate. They decided to meet at the library in a week, to invite others who might be interested, and see where these ideas might take them.

Jennifer and Brian then tried to get back to sorting and labeling the stack of paper before them, but after about an hour they gave up. They realized all they were really getting done was talking about the new local history and genealogical society they were going to form. Their volunteer task would wait for another day.

This excerpt is from "Christmas at the Homeplace" is from Chapter 18, Saturday, December 4, 1996:

Peter and Paul had invited Ronny Cox, with the Rolla regional office of the state Department of Natural Resources to meet with them at Paul’s office at the Mill specifically to talk about the work being proposed by Big Thunder but also to consult with them on the McDonald Conservancy reviews they were doing as well. Ronny Cox had worked closely with Peter and the Bevins Trust earlier in the year on the endangered bat project in the caves west of State Highway 37 that was initiated by the highway construction work. 

The conservation easement issues involved at the time had actually led to the studies that were now becoming the McDonald Conservancy concept. They wanted to be sure Ronny was up to date on all they were doing with that, and perhaps, pick his brain a bit.

When he arrived and they got started talking, Ronny said that the work Big Thunder and the Forest Service had agreed to so far had been filed with his office, so he had reviewed that before he came down. Paul had a few specific questions and Ronny was able to address them. Ronny said his office was generally in support of the planned activities.

They talked a bit about some similar projects over on the bigger Current River and on the Jacks Fork River and their tributaries to get some ideas of issues that might arise as this project developed. Paul was very interested to learn even more and Peter was interested as well from the environmental impact perspective as well as the implications for the Bevins Trust and McDonald Conservancy land and nearby lands.

Ronny was very anxious to hear more about the plans for the McDonald Conservancy. He felt as though some of suggestions for considerations earlier might have affected this development and he was told they most certainly did. For the next couple of hours the three men talked and listened, questioned and answered with respect to current plans and Ronny’s experience and knowledge with related activities around the region, the state, and even the nation.

By the time they realized they needed to end their discussion, both Peter and Paul had developed several pages of notes and references to be checked. They thanked Ronny very much. In turn, he asked that they keep him in their planning loop so that he could assist them in any way possible.

"May each of us have a Homeplace to hold onto, if only in our minds."

Bill  ;-)

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