Remember when…

5 years ago

• A couple of years ago I was working on some cabinets in a log cabin in the deep woods. There was nowhere to go for about three days, so I didn’t even open the truck. Since I have an older truck, I decided to check my oil. 

As I lifted the hood I was surprised to see a pile of sticks about the size of a large basket sitting on top of the intake manifold. I was even more surprised to see two beady eyes, a pointed nose and long whiskers peering from the middle of the basket. 

It took me a couple of seconds to react, then a loud shout came from my mouth. I know the little creature was more terrified than me but I immediately had goose bumps and started to wave my hands at the now-identified “RAT.” (Bob Brennecke)

15 years ago

• Far too many campers are fair weather campers, especially river campers. Our Ozark streams are a national treasure and attract thousands of floaters and campers during the three summer months. 

Numbers drop dramatically by September. October brings out the fall color enthusiasts. 

However, during the winter months Ozark streams are almost void of floaters and campers. What a shame. The winter months provide the avid outdoorsman with a much sought after ingredient for floating and camping trips — solitude. (Bill Cooper)

20 years ago

• Way back in geologic time, there was a mountain in what was to become Madison County, east of what was to become Fredericktown. 

The mountain was perfectly content and peaceful, buried down cozy layers of dolomite left by the most recent invasion by the sea. And there was the prehistoric Caster River, bumping around there up there in the dolomite, digging itself a valley. 

Wouldn’t you know it, the river bumped into the mountain top. And instead of doing what most respectable rivers do and going around the mountain, little Castor decided to cut across the top of this buried mountain. (Bob Todd)

• I can only open so much junk mail that reads, “This cancer plan will protect you and your family for the low semi-annual premium of 25.80,” before, like Ishmael, I must “get to sea as soon as I can.” 

I began muttering things like “Thoreau was right,” and roaming through the garage and basement, fingering the sleeping bags, checking the saw and camp shovel for rust, sniffing the tent for mold. 

But getting to sea means, in these Missouri latitudes, canoeing — or floating as we call it. So when that restlessness strikes in the middle of December, certain difficulties rear their pacifical heads. (Robert Lee Mahon)

30 years ago 

• Perhaps as a step toward a comprehensive state plan for state parks, the Missouri Division of Natural Resources is holding meetings around the state to get input about the type of park system the public wants in the future. 

At the meeting in Cape Girardeau, held in November, DNR directer Tracy Mehan said the Division wants to know what should be added to the system in the future, and what standards those additions should meet to be considered as part of the state system. 

Currently, the state park system covers about 117,000 acres. Park planners think about 90,000 acres should be added to the existing sites to develop them properly and to give them proper protection. But what about additional sites? (Bob Todd)

(Compiled by Wyatt Sexton)

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