Walker Richey with a big hog he killed near Cooper.
CHUCK CHUCK CHUCK
by: Eddie Trapp
While at the Pioneer Cemetery on Oklahoma’s scenic Highway 1 last week, I heard a strange noise. It sounded like someone hammering, maybe on a deer stand. Very close and two beats a second. What are the odds of hearing a new sound at a spooky cemetery? I walked toward the noise and a small bird flew away. That sure was a funny noise for a small bird. After visiting the cemetery we came back to the pickup and the hammering started again. Jean walked the short distance to see if she could recognize the bird I thought had made it. To my surprise she hollered that it wasn’t a bird but a chipmunk. The bird I saw just happened to be by the chipmunk. The only places I had seen them before were in Colorado and other places further north. When we got home I searched through a mammal field guide and found the little critter to be an eastern chipmunk, common in the Oklahoma and Arkansas mountains. The description of its call fit perfectly with what we heard. The book described it to be a rapid “chuck, chuck, chuck.”
Leaving the cemetery we moved on east and entered Arkansas. Oklahoma Highway I changes to Arkansas 88 at the state line and we began our roller coaster descent into the town of Mena. It was Halloween and the town was full of goblins, witches, and spooks as they walked sidewalks and streets going to a program of some kind. As we drove slowly down the street my phone rang and I pulled over to talk. Albert Moore, grandson of Albert Johnson, was calling from Marshall and said he reads these articles each week. I know many of you will remember the Albert Johnson family that lived near Vasco east of Cooper. Other family members were Bud, Hadley, Eugene, Barbara, Mary Lou, and Dana. Mary Lou was in school with Jean and me. Rode the same bus I did. I remember one day Mary Lou was having boyfriend trouble and cried all the way home. Dana was crying just because Mary Lou was crying. That’s a loyal sister. Just before I got off the bus at East Delta, Dana sniffed, wiped her eyes and said, “Mary Lou, what we crying about?” Thanks for the call Albert and I may have got part of it wrong because I was trying to listen, write, and watch out for the goblins all at the same time. Most people would enjoy the scenic drive from Talimina, Oklahoma to Mena, Arkansas.
About thirty years ago Jean, Greg, and I were cutting wood southwest of Charleston. Over the roar of my saw I heard their screaming as they ran through the woods. They were slapping their heads and ears at what we called “ground hornets.” As they ran through the woods I hollered for them to try to catch one so I could take it to show my science class. Luckily no one got stung but Jean gave me a bad time for wanting them to catch a hornet instead of worrying about them. A few days ago Jean, Floyd McMillan and I were at the river south of Charleston. Floyd was climbing a near vertical bank as we got ready to go home when something stung him on his cheek. He slapped at it and knocked his glasses off before getting stung again. The stinging critters were coming from a hole in the bank and Floyd was lucky to only receive three stings. After waiting on the critters to go back in their hole we slipped down quietly and looked for the glasses. No luck after thirty minutes. Reckon which way those glasses flew to when he slapped them? Surely they are close. After another thirty minutes we were about to give up, planning to come back at night and maybe see the glasses reflecting light. I had already climbed back to the top when Floyd hollered that he saw them. The Sun had moved enough to change the angle and made the glasses reflect. They were within a few feet of the “ground hornet” den and I slipped up slowly to retrieve them. At home I got my insect field guide to settle the wasp, hornet, bumblebee, or bee argument. In this area we use the term “yellow jacket” to refer to our most common wasps that make the paper nests around the edges of houses and other buildings. “Yellow jacket” is what we call a common name that usually changes from community to community. The “book name” for the honey bee sized “ground hornets” that make nests underground is yellow jacket even though we use that term for the ones around houses. Both kinds have yellow bands on the body which serves as a warning sign in nature. The ground dwelling yellow jackets are not to be confused with the solid black, honey bee size bumblebees that nest in the ground and are common in hay meadows. Email me to let me know what people in your area call the yellow banded wasps that make the paper nests.
Due to the recent storm in New York we are hearing a lot about “nor easters.” I know this term has been used for centuries but I wonder why we don’t have nor westers, sou easters, and sou westers.
Most of you receive this article through The Cooper Review. Others receive it directly from my email. Over a week ago my email quit working and I could not send article 1255 to anyone. Had to carry it to the newspaper office and they did magic to get a copy of it. Pass the word if you hear anyone saying they didn’t get my weekly email. Will send it as soon as email fixed.
Congrats to Travis Darden for killing an eight point buck with an eighteen inch spread this weekend near Charleston.
Thursday, November 15, Mars is to the upper left of the Moon, low in the southwest at nightfall. The Leonid meteor shower is at its best on the night of November 16.
A farmer asked the village idiot to help him work one day. The man asked the farmer how much the pay would be. The farmer said, “As much as you’re worth.” The man thought a minute and answered, “I’d be an idiot to work for that.”
The “Human Cannonball” told the circus owner he was going to retire. The circus owner told him, “You can’t. Where would I ever find another man of your caliber?”