Community residents will want to come to the meeting Tuesday, April 11, at Byng City Hall to finally dissolve Rural Water District 2 which has been the agency through which Byng bought water for almost 41 years.

Board members are hoping that Byng people will vote to turn the administration of the water over to Ada’s water department.   If this happens, the community will see little difference.   If they should vote against this measure, the community will be faced with finding a water source and adding personnel to maintain the system.

A previous meeting March 2 brought out only 13 voters.  They voted  8-5 in favor of letting the Ada water department continue selling the water and billing residents.  According to Guidelines for Rural Water District, a vote of 75 percent is necessary to pass any measure.  Byng Mayor Charles Barrick resigned as water board chairman.   President Tex Seymour, as well as Board member Rick Woodward and Byng resident Pat Engel, spoke in favor of the measure; nevertheless, the vote was only 62 percent for the measure.

A preliminary Board meeting was held April 4.  Tex Seymour offered his resignation as a board member and officer citing poor health as a reason.  The group elected Charles Barrick to replace him.   Two new board members were elected:  Nate Matthews and Pat Engel were chosen to replace two inactive members.  Whatever action the community takes, these men will assume leadership.

Don’t forget the annual meeting next Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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The Rev. Joe Dixon was gone three days last week to San Diego, Calif., from Monday until Thursday. Jerald Harris, deacon, was in charge on the Wednesday night service.    Joe and Lynda  were also gone the following Sunday.  They went to Enos, Texas, where he baptized his young grandson, Nathaniel Dixon and was guest speaker at the 11 a.m. service in the Enos Baptist Church that their son and daughter-in-law, Randy and Selena Dixon, attend.  Filling in at New Bethel was Joe Howry.  Somebody commented that we don’t absolutely have to have a preacher named Joe, but it helps.

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“When you’ve had as many birthdays as I have, it takes a whole week to celebrate them,” declares Richard Watson whose 85th birthday was Friday, March 31.   His daughter, Linda Fivey,  flew in from Santa Ana, Calif., and was able to attend church on March 26 with her father.   With his daughter, Linda West, who lives at Francis, the family had something celebratory going on every day all week.  Richard and both his daughters attended game night at the Francis City Hall, bringing along a delicious pineapple upside-down cake to commemorate his special day.

On Sunday, April 2, New Bethel Baptist Church surprised Richard with another celebration of his birthday.   Several women brought cakes, and he had a veritable shower of cards.    Pauline Jones brought a nut and prune cake that was made from a recipe that had belonged to Richard’s  late wife, one which had been a long time favorite of his.

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Lots of people have had back surgery in recent months, and most seem to be doing well.  Roger Williamson’s surgery last week was a five-hour ordeal, but he appears to be doing well. Jerry Studebaker who has had complications as a result of an infection from his surgery in December has made improvement, but he is not expected to resume his job as math and computer teacher at Latta this year.  Toby Owens had surgery in February to repair some neck and back damage.  

He is now able to take an active part with his wife Lou  in operation of the salvage store which is located in the old Francis-Byng school building.   The couple retired here from California and they have made their store an attraction not only to the people of Francis but of Byng and other communities as well.  The Owenses stock health and gourmet food items as well as regular groceries and sundries.  Recently, they have fresh eggs and milk as well.

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Jodi Jackson and her daughter, Donna Bennett, took last weekend to make a trip to Eureka Springs, Ark., where they visited their son and grandson, Daniel Jackson and his wife, Sarah.  Daniel had visited Dave and Jodi in Eureka Springs a few years ago when they were working for the Passion Play.  Daniel also had a part in the play serving, among other roles, as a Roman soldier at the reification trial.    Jodi and Dave eventually tired of their work in Arkansas and became full time Winter Texans in Rockport, but Daniel met and married Sarah in Arkansas and elected to become a permanent Arkansawer. Both Donna and Jodi report a good visit.  The young couple is doing well and are working hard.

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The last time I talked to our son, Tim, who lives in Hot Springs, Ark., he told me the redbud are in full bloom in his area, but the dogwood aren’t showing any signs of blossoming.  To that, I have to say that Byng dogwood are more precocious. Not only the dogwood in our yard but several others in the neighborhood are white clouds of  flowers..

Dogwoods have a special significance to me.  When I was  a child growing up in Arkansas, I hated shoes and socks and, left to  my own devices, I would have shed them no later than St. Patrick’s Day, and some years I would have discarded them by Valentine’s Day.   My mother, who was always sure I was going to “catch my death” of cold, finally made a deal with me.

If I would keep quiet until the dogwoods were in full bloom, I had her permission to shuck my shoes until the first freeze of autumn.

It was a good arrangement.   I wore shoes only to school, church, and Saturday trips to town.   However, we moved to Oklahoma when I was 16, and I stopped being the Barefoot Girl.

I’d like to think it was because I became a little more sophisticated or because I became a town dweller, but I think the real reason for my change was that my feet were tough enough for Arkansas’ rocky ground, but they were not tough enough for Oklahoma’s goat heads or sand burrs.   My observation has been that no human skin is tough enough to withstand either of those scourges.