The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on May 9, 1967 · Page 6
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 6

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Blytheville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, May 9, 1967
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Page 6
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Myfhtrffl* (Ark.) CouMtr Ntwi - Tueiday, Miy 1,1MT - Faa« ton* IN STORM PATH-The home of Bob Lee »t Tomato was nearly de-roofed during a Saturday night tornado. The home was wrenched by winds, which loosened fram- ing. "It sounded like a barge out on the river," Lee said of the cloud, which uprooted several trees. (Courier News Photo) NEWS BRIEFS that would have allowed two snakes to be displayed at a zoo in this otherwise snakeless state died recently in a Senate committee when a legislative session ended. WINTHROP, Mass. (AP) Leonard Nelson started building a 44-foot schooner in his back yard in March 1955 and, learning as he went along, he still hadn't finished more than 11 years later. SEATTE, Wash. (AP) The Monks Club, a long-ttm» haven for Seattle bachelors, wai dissolved in a Superior Court order after it filed a petition saying too many members had gotten married. PROIDENCE, R.I. (AP) Opera singer Eileen Farrell, baseball umpire Hank Soar and film star Ruth Hussey are among the recently inducted members of the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. Wheelbarrow Tex Is for Real EDITOR'S NOTE-Early in April Cliff McAdams of the San Gabriel (Calif.) Valley Daily Tribune, wrote a story for the Associated Press about Wheel- borrow Tex., who makes his home around Death Valley preaching a philosophy of'hu- manity. This is what happened following publication of that story. By CLIFF MCADAMS Valley Daily Tribune San Gabriel, Calif. SARATOGA SPRING, Calif. (AP) —On a recent morning, a "fixture" in Death Valley- Wheelbarrow Tex-appeared at the post office at Furnace Creek and approached a clerk. "Any mail?" he asked. "You must be kiddin,'" the clerk replied. "Who'd write to you?" "Just checkin'," said Tex. "I was passin' through so decided to stop. Well, I'll see you again. I got to get movin'." "Wait!" said the clerk. "I thought you knew." "He produced more letters than I ever saw," said a beaming Tex, a few days later. "There were hundreds, it seemed—and addressed to me. To Wheelbarrow Tex. "I couldn't believe it. I wondered why. But a few minutes later I had the answer." People were responding to a story distributed by the Associated Press about Wheelborrow Tex—the desert nomad, who likes people and likes to get let- Iters. From throughout America, and from foreign countries, from people in all walks of life and in all age groups, there were letters and cards, occasionally a package. All of the people were interested in Tex the man who had said: "All people are important. People are nice. There is good all around us." Tex has been living in the desert for years. And for the past foui' years he has pushed a wheelbarrow, gathered up items for possible sale, greeted the vicitors to the Death Valley region and talked his philosophy. Additionally, he has led a tour of same mines—"to give the people a touch of the West as it used to be.". He seldom received letters and existed on pittances from appreciative visitors. "But there's more to living than striving for money. There's Wealth in doing good, in making people happy. And that's what I do—or what I try to do." And people believed—and returned some "wealth." In addition to tne Setters, Tex received in the mail some cash, and stamps, clothes, shoes, thermometers, pedometers, ties, maps, tracts and religious medals. A Canadian youngster sent a handful of pennies; a Georgia youth sent a stick of gum; a man from California sent a pocket radio, and Bibles arrived from throughout the country. "THE IRON BALL STOPPED ander the GI's chest and Payne, unable to move, braced . tlmsell for the blast." The Rat Chaser By TOM TIEDE Newspaper Enterprise Assn. HOBO WOODS, Vietnam — (NBA) — The men in his outfit call him the' rat chaser. And the title especially fits Sgt. Ron Payne. He's a tunnel expert here. His war is underground. And the rats he cases are human. Payne, 21, from Atlanta, Ga., has a ghastly job. He spends much of his time grubbing through the foul-smelling tunnel systems which are both shelter and sanctuary for Viet Cong guerrillas. The tunnels are overstocked with all manner of dreads, chief among which are cornered enemy soldiers who sit quietly, guns in hand and dare intruders to trespass. Payne accepts the dare. Has for months. And in the course has risked his life as often and as obviously as a man can in this war. Take the. other day, as example. Payne was with a mechanized infantry unit and engaged in a jungle - located, search- and- destroy operation. His particular element was mixed up in a firefight which centered around a VC bunker. During the shooting, a guerrilla soldier was observed retreating into the bunker, which camouflaged a large tunnel entrance and young Sgt. Payne wai given th« order to follow him. The GI's reaction was habit. JHe slipped out of his shirt, 'stripped his field gear off, slapped a clip into a .45 caliber pistol, tested his flashlight ...and lowered himself into the enemy hole. It was instantly dark. Payne grunted. "I'll yell if I need help." His outfit agreed. Payne moved on slowly. Experience had tutored him caution. Scrambling guerrillas would invariably leave booby traps in their wake ... and each would have to be painfully picked out and disengaged. The tunnel was of the shape and size of a reservoir water duct. It was dank and earth was cool. It was also dusty in places and the sergeant's eyes watered in the fog of foreign particles. * * * His flashlight picked up moving shadows and from time to time Payne used the butt of his pistol to crack the life out of a creeping scorpion. The scorpions, about two to three inches long, are not necessarily poisonous, but carry a paralyzing sting. Then there were the spiders. Enormous, bloat - bellied creatures which feed on the blood of their fellows. They clung to the tunnel walls with sticky legs that often measured thre3 inches .in length. Ther« were other things, also. Centipedes, beetles, roaches and whole colonies of active ants. Payne had run into coiled snakes in his time, big ones, and even an occasional snarling animal. But such were minor irritations. The prime worry was the chase itself. And while on it the sergeant's thoughts fixed solely ont the sight or the sound of the fleeing, frightened enemy rat. His light caught an outline. "Here he is" Payne yelled. The VC stopped. At the sound the VC guerrilla fired one round at Payne. He missed. Payne returned in kind. He missed also. The guerrilla fumbled in the darkness and Payne flattened himself and tried to get a steady shot. Then he heard a thud. His light glinted on a small objject bo'incing towards him. It dribbled and rolled. A hand grenade! The iron ball stopped under the GI's chest and Payne, unable to move, braced himself for the blast. It never came. Payne stared at the grenade in utter disbelief. It was a dud. It lay there harmless as a giant dead bug. "God," Payne sighed. He wiped his face ... and shook. Then, swatting the dud away with his arm, he raised himself to his hands and knees and crawled into the darkness after his rat. Especially welcomed by the desert nomad, were the letters from youngsters. Teachers gave assignments to write to Tex., and whole classes took part. Some draw pictures. Questions were numerous: What do you eat? How do you sleep? How hot is the desert? Do you play any games? How much do you charge for a tour of the mines? Do you like little kids? Why aren't you married? Do you cook your eggs in the morning sun? Humorous to Tex was this fifth-grade rhetoric: "What do you eat? I have a sister and a brother." An adult wrote: "I'd like to make a deal. I have a gold-finding machine that you carry around and hold in your hand, and when the loop passes over a big gold nugget the machine goes B-U-Z-Z. Then you stop and dig it out and put it in a sack and hunt for another. "Sounds easy, don't you think? Well, nope, it isn't. I hain't found a nugget yet. "But I was thinkin' the other day, maybe there in Death Valley, there might be just a few. If they're kickin' around, just drop me a line and I'll be right out." Said a man from Arkansas— obviously confused by'the name "Wheelbarrow Tex": "I got out some maps and tried to find Wheelbarrow—but it wasn't there. At least, not in Texas. Where do you live?" Interestingly, perhaps, out of some 2,000, not a letter was "crankish." And most gave praise for an "admirable philosophy." What's next in the life of Wheelbarrow Tex? "I'll answer these letters. I don't know just how, but I'll do it in time. The main thing now is to thank these people." Then, a few minutes later: "Maybe you could help—and all of those papers—and tell the folks thanks, and tell 'em I' real!" " A number of the writers were not too sure that Tex was real." "ral." No gimmick, of course. Old Wheelbarrow Tex is definitely real. The ancient Greeks flavored their wine with spices; the ancient Romans mixed theirs with honey. HERMON JONES BUSINESS MEN'S ASSURANCE CO. 14M Onion Ate. Plume 274-4400 Memphis 4, Tennessee Call tor Free consultation, insurance for Estate Planning Key Man Partnership nd Corporation Group Pension Retirement and Hospital izatton. REMEMBER! His or Hers Graduation Gifts By Saying - I have Been Shopping at THE COSMETIQUE SHOPPE 105 S. Division PO 3-1134 From Hnnttag Cry Soho, a district in the city of Londo noted lor Piccadilly Circus and other colorful quarters, gets its name from '.'so ho," an old English hunting cry. 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