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The storm that came through Wednesday, July 24, did quite a bit of damage but did bring us over an inch of rain at Charleston. Electricity was off over much of the county for a few hours and some families almost panicked without their television programs. Two or three told me they had to resort to old time sitting by lanterns and just talking. At Brad Richey’s house west of Charleston talk drifted to spiders and spider webs. Brad called me and wanted to know the difference in spider webs and cob webs. Technically they are both spider webs. Cob, as in cobwebs, comes from an ancient word, “cobbe” that means spider. So a cobweb is just a spider web. Over the years it seems we normally use “cobwebs” for those inside the house while spiderwebs refer to those you run into strung out across the porch or in the woods. Why don’t we just all turn off everything electrical at least once a month, get out the lanterns, and sit around talking as a family?

Cindy Jarrell called with information about the prairie mounds. Her great grandmother was a Cherokee Indian and lived in the Cumby area near what is called Blackjack Road. Information was passed down through the years concerning the mounds. If I understood Cindy right, the Indians built a lot of the mounds but only buried their dead in a few. This was done to fool the white people so they would maybe get tired of digging before finding an actual gravesite. The mounds also served as a place to bury and stash valuable items when the Native Americans were going to leave the area for a few months. Cindy is/was also the President of the Daughters of the Confederacy and while doing research of our area found that before and during the Civil War, Charleston was a rough place. There was one road in and one road out. (I guess that was not counting the Smith Bridge south of Charleston.) During the War, Charleston was used as a rehab area for the wounded. Many Native Americans served for the Confederacy. The prairie mound study continues.

Somewhere in ages past I met Billy Ray Douglas of the Brookston area. His preferred and habitual attire is western style. The old saying about “as white as a cowboy’s legs” probably got started when somebody saw his. Some of his family wanted him to go offshore fishing and his first question was could he take his horse. Finally they nagged (pun intended) him until he agreed to go and even wear shorts. His son in law caught a nine foot long bull shark and soon Billy Ray had something on his line. After a long battle he managed to get a four hundred pound goliath grouper, commonly called jewfish, to the top. These monsters are highly protected all up and down the Atlantic coast since they are classified as critically endangered. Groupers are very tame and good to eat, once a losing combination for the gentle giant. Numbers were highly decreased by spear fishing. The U.S. added them to the protected list in 1990 and now numbers are increasing. The largest one ever found weighed 790 pounds and the record catch with rod and reel is 681 pounds. Billy Ray, I sure would like to have a picture of you in fishing shorts so we could put it in the paper. I bet he wore boots and spurs with those shorts.

Congratulations to granddaughter Darby Williams of Arbala and the rest of her softball team. They play in the Dixie League, Ponytail Division (I think that’s right) and recently won state at the Lindale tournament where they beat out twelve other teams. While in Lindale we stopped to eat at Taco Bell where I ordered two of those $1.29 crunchy tacos and a glass of water. The girl told me it would over four dollars and I disagreed. That’s when I found out they have started charging $1.29 for a glass of water. I told her no thanks and drove on down to nearby McDonalds. Darby and team start the four day,
twelve team, World Series against Tennessee August 1 in Louisiana somewhere north of New Orleans and Lake Ponchartrain.
August 1-4 use the Moon’s position to help you identify two stars and a planet. On the 1st, Mars, Spica, and Saturn line up to the upper left of the Moon. The Moon is closer to Mars on the second, between Mars and Saturn on the third, and to the left of Saturn on the fourth. Many of our constellations do not look like their namesake but some do. Most famous is the Big Dipper, easily seen in the northwest on clear summer nights. The Dolphin is a small constellation almost overhead beside the Milky Way and it does have a perfect star pattern of a dolphin, or porpoise. Use the Moon’s position again on August 5 to find Antares, the heart of Scorpio, the Scorpion. Antares will be below the Moon as night comes. This is another of the “easy to see why it is has its name” ones. Follow a line of stars down into the “J” shape of the scorpion’s tail. You can even see a tiny stinger at the tip. Practice finding the Scorpion for the following few nights so when the Moon moves on out of the way you will be able to get a better view since the Moon light is not “drowning out” some of the stars.

A group of friars wanted to raise money for their church so they tried standing out on the curb selling flowers. The venture was so successful the local florist was losing money and asked the friars to stop selling flowers. They refused and the florist was going broke. He hired a big retired wrestler named Hugh to go down there and whup up on those friars to teach them a lesson. The plan really worked and the friars went back inside their church. This just goes to show that only Hugh can prevent florist friars. That’s awful. I’m sorry.
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