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September 17, 1977 Around Adair with Ed Waggener

This article first appeared in the September 17, 1977 issue of the Daily Statesman. Topics included the accomplishments of outgoing mayor W.R. Murphy, cave-based air conditioning, Ruby Yates' poultry, the creation of an entirely new word, and speculation on the local real estate scene. --Pen

By Ed Waggener

Mayor W.R. Murphy has been a non-candidate for only three days now, and already his stock is rising. Even old enemies are saying good things about the Mayor now. It's almost a replay of the Harry Truman story. While Truman was alive, it was hard to find a Republican who would say a good thing for the man. Today, you hear more Republicans singing the praises of Harry Truman than you ever hear saying good things about their greatest vote-getter, Dwight Eisenhower. And Democrats are more sold on him than ever.

It's in the cards: Dr. Murphy will more and more be remembered as a great Columbia mayor.

For now, it's well enough that the public is now admitting that there has been just one awful lot of good come to Columbia because of the man, a scrappy politician whom Pete Walker first called "The Fighting Irishman."

Even today, there is consideration by some of the candidates as to what post Dr. Murphy might hold in the administration.

Mayor Murphy, besides the tangible projects which are a great asset to Columbia, has added a greater dimension to the office of Mayor. His thoughts, prior to deciding not to make this race, were of the dignity of the office, and how his administration and his conduct at this time would affect the way local history would remember his years in office.

Remember the chants from the first administration
Today, few Columbians would dream of parting with the Municipal Building, the garbage disposal system, or the major improvements in water and sewer services which Mayor Murphy helped bring.

But 15 years ago, when Dr. Murphy was leading the city to begin these projects, the Municipal Building was considered very unwise.

Today, we look back on those days, and they remind us of the chants of "Seward's Folly," in buying Alaska.

Successful ventures need people who will dare a lot for a dream.

We are a people, in Columbia, with too many who take the one talent they have and bury it in the ground, rather than using it to gain prosperity.

We have been a community of magnificent cynics. We have had too many who wanted to stand on the sidelines and tell everybody why a project won't work.

There are indications that the day is over.
  • Where are the people who said Kenneth Hughes didn't know what in the world he was doing when he built a motel on the edge of town?
  • Where are the people who said that Adair County could never support a hospital?
  • Where are the people who said Ores Royse didn't know what he was doing when he started a soft ice cream store in Columbia?
  • Where are the people who said Jessie Keith was crazy for trying to start a restaurant on East 80 in Columbia, the one which eventually became the Circle R?
  • Where are the people who said that Floyd Squires was way out on a limb when he thought he could build a successful apartment house in Columbia?
  • And, where are the people who said that Kenneth Cundiff had made a flash when he built a building supply store on the outskirts of town?
  • And looking further back, where are the people who said that Columbia didn't need natural gas, "because the damned stuff will blow up"?
  • And more recently, where are the people who said a fast-serve hamburger franchise or a quick-service mini-market wouldn't be successful in Columbia? (They're saying now that a pizza parlor won't go here. They're wrong, again, of course.
For sure, the cynics are still around. You can go to one side of town and find out what is going to happen and then go to the other and find out why it can't.

But fortunately for the future of the city, the nay-sayers are becoming fewer, thankfully. Because while their doubt didn't stop the progress we have enjoyed, it may have stifled some ventures which would have been useful even if they enjoyed only limited odds of success.

Barnyard review
Ruby Yates has a rooster she doesn't understand and a turkey gobbler which she doesn't understand either. She doesn't understand why the rooster wants to roost at night on the turkey gobbler's back. And she doesn't understand why the turkey puts up with it. But it's the truth. I've known Ruby a long time, and I've never caught her exaggerating.

A bigger elephant-ear plant
After we recorded the record-breaking elephant-ear plant raised by Leslie Herron on WAIN Street, we received word that Mrs. Fred Janes, who lives at the corner of High Street and Fortune Street, claims an even bigger one. Our team of verifiers hasn't checked out the matter, but wouldn't it be something if Columbia had a Guiness Book of World record and then had it broken right here?

Air conditioning from the ground
Jack Garrett on Burkesville Street may have the energy crisis whipped. He's planning to pipe in air conditioning from the Sales Coffey Cave which extends under his property. He'll have a driller bore a hole to the cave, put in a pipeline attached to a blower, and have cooler air, almost for free, all the hot months.

The air will be filtered through charcoal, and thermostats will turn it on and off to regulate the temperature in the house. Mr. Garrett thinks that the cave-air- conditioning system will cost little more than a one-room air conditioner. He also thinks he can run the system for no more than $10 per month. We hope to have more on this in future editions.

A new word puts it better
Another editor told me this: He said a local politician came bursting into his office one day, intent on putting "a piece in the paper" to stop some malicious rumors which were going around. But he talked himself out of it. "I don't guess nobody would understand it nohow," the politician reasoned, "people are so damned mehainious around here." Those are the worst kind of people to prove anything to.

Is the Lord still a Republican?
Growing up in the Baptist Church, I never gave much thought as to the politics of the Lord. But in Metcalfe County, I found out that he must be a Republican. Judge Joe Martin, who spent most of his adult life in office in Edmonton, was usually always asked to give the invocation whenever the Republicans rallied over there. He would start off the prayers, "Oh Lord, be with those who are gathered here in the vanguard of the movement for good government..." You wouldn't think He would be a member of the party not in that vanguard, would He?

Things are looking up
There was some speculation that business and the building boom might slow down this fall. But the real estate people say differently. And new housing starts are seen all around the county. One of the most impressive new starts is the eight-unit townhouse development which Jimmy Maupin has started on Bryant Street, just off Miller Avenue.

This story was posted on 2019-09-29 08:39:23
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