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Bear Board Report Part Iii

This article first appeared in issue 12, and was written by Ed Waggener.

Wherein is related the elation

of being wrote up in Byron Crawford;

the post fame depression which follows;

the healthy resolve to get back to work;

and the astounding scientific discovery

from the wilderness of Russell County.

There are two sides to everything.

So little seems all good and all bad.

It was like Pervis Ellison winning the NCAA in his freshman year.

Everything after that was anticlimactic.

So it was when the Bear Board was officially recognized by Byron Crawford.

Pride soared in the hearts of the Adair County Bear Board members.

It was like being a member of the Rescue Squad which reaches the drowned body before all the other Rescue Squads get there.

What can we do to top being wrote up by Byron Crawford?

Not winning the Red Man Tournament. Or getting a Presidential citation.

Not having an audience with the Pope, Billy Graham, or Doug Moseley.

Not even being a Republican and getting a bona fide Eisenhower Award with Dr. Phil's signature on it.

Or being a Democrat and having a conference with Thomas Jefferson, FDR, John Kennedy, Huey Long, Mayor Daley, Woodrow Wilson I of Metcalfe County, not the Princeton dude; Barbara Jordan, Holland Loy, and James Carville.

Or having fried catfish with Tabasco and Halloween peppers, sweet vinegar slaw, Vidalia onion, blackeyed peas, Arkansas rice and red beans, hot rosaneers dripping with real butter, Momma's cornbread, sweet tomato relish, black coffee, a bottle of Lone Star, and real Monroe County Shoulder sandwiches with Back Room Hot Sauce and a Ski from the Pits out on Glasgow Road-all for supper.

Why Granny couldn't have been prouder beating Sally Kelly's devil's food cake at the Adair County Fair than we were when we got that honor.


It was bigger than all those things. Almost like the feeling Mr. G.V. Yarberry had the time he won the Adair County Derby or the vicarious elation we felt when Cassius Clay whooped hell out of that other fella and the rest was history. Maybe even close to the feeling the Neatsville Home Guard got when they saved Jamestown from John Hunt Morgan in the Civil War.

No. It would seem there are no more frontiers, no more horizons to walk toward, after basking in the warm light of international fame: Wrote up by Byron Crawford. .

You would think so. But it is not that way.

There is life after ultimate glory. Even if, after a month or so of basking and loafing and not getting out February report until the middle of March, and everybody quits throwing up their hand and hollering at you and reminding you that you all were wrote up in Byron Crawford and you all hit earth again. It hit us like-as the legendary Joe Moore would say-a hangover from drinking poison whisky or mixing brands, whichever of those evils is the most worst.

And reality sets in, and the awful truth is faced: We've got more work to do than 100,000 Bear Board members could get done.

So we press on. Indefatigable Bear Board member Johnny Vaughn often travels abroad in his real life job. One such venture took him to far-off Russell County where two ambitious young bankers, Bobby Mann and Ronald Hopper, presented him with the pictures on this page.

"I can't vouch for whether it is a bear in the picture or not." Johnny Vaughn said, "But these boys gave it to me and I want to pass it on for the Bear Board to do whatever should be done.

"I think these are good boys. They were wearing good clothes, the kind bankers wear, and they had clean fingernails and good manners-like bankers do. They seem to be pretty good workers; they don't need gardeens. I think they mean to be honest. I think they think they saw a bear in Russell County. But, other than that," Mr. Vaughn said, " I wouldn't want to warranty them."

That ringing endorsement was good enough to elevate both Mr. Hopper and Mr. Mann to full BRBB membership, with all privileges and responsibilities thereto.

Still, other than the information already imparted, very little is known of Bobby Mann and Ronald Hopper.

At first we simply assumed that the bear they had seen was air bear, a mixed up Adair County bruin which didn't know when he had it good and had wandered into the unknown wilderness to the East. And that Hopper & Mann, et all, were Russell Countians trying to lay claim to yet another Adair County distinction.

But that was before our geographer told us that there was as much chance of there being a place called Ono as there was of somebody named Rudy Higginbotham marrying Ronald Hopper's big sister.

"I can tell you emphatically that I know no Ono," our learned geographer told us, "but maybe you just misunderstood and the bear pictures came from Torch Ridge-and that is in Russell County. So take them over to the Bear Board Science Center, to the Photography Authentication Department, and have it tested.

We submitted the pictures to the BRBB photo scientists..

The report back from the photo analysis was conclusive:

The figure is definitely that of a bear!

It was an ursus suburbus Elius or common (once) Russell County Nar'Bar-a man-eating subspecies which developed over there during the Great Depression-when the only fat man in The County was a hog thief. The surviving man-eating bears went genetically narrow.

Our scientist determined the bear in the picture may be no thicker than 3/8-inch.

A disappointment. Mann & Hopper, et all, who are now seen more than ever on golf courses in The County or in a deer stand in Adair County or at Banking Seminars for Ambitious Young Russell County Bankers and less and less in Polaroid pursuit of the elusive black bear, ursus adairicanus. Still, they and we press on.

Epilogue: One other disappointing bit of news and some good news: The disappointing news was we had to fire our geographer, because of the good news that, yes, Virginia, there really is an Ono! It is a suburb of Eli, Russell County, KY, USA. And we have since learned that there really is a Rudy Higginbotham and that, in fact, he did marry Ronald Hopper's sister, that they settled in Adair County, bought a farm, had a son, and lived happily ever afterward, as all blessed to be or become Adair Countians do.

This story was posted on 1997-03-01 12:01:01
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Archive Photo

1997-03-01 - Photo Staff. THE TWO ALPINESQUE PICTURES taken near Ono were presented to the BRBB by two Russell boys, Bobby Mann and Ronald Hopper who think that the black botch in the center of the photo above is a bear. The inset photo was taken at dangerously close range.This item first appeared in Issue 12 of the print edition of Columbia! Magazine.
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