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editorial

The 21st Century Dad

W

hen I was growing up, a dad’s traditional role in the family was the breadwinner who left in the morning and returned home at night. Mainly after a long day, he would come home, expect a hot meal, read the newspaper, watch a little television and go to bed. Time with the family was usually spent getting caught up on some of the household chores on the weekend like mowing and some of the stuff outside and some recreational time with the family, perhaps a movie at the drive-in, telling stories and of course every night children would get their bedtime kisses. In the United States, Father’s Day was officially celebrated for the first time on June 10, 1910, in Washington state after a Spokane woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, wanted to establish a male equivalent to Mother’s Day. She approached local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to encourage support for the idea. Today, Father’s Day is a major U.S. holiday, celebrated on the third Sunday in June every year. The 21st century father is more involved, either by choice, or we have a lot more who are single fathers that are raising their children alone. Dads have proven that they can change diapers, drive car pools, help with homework, and burp the baby. For too long, Dad was regarded as someone who did little in the day-to-day running of the home and Mom was the caregiver, the cook, the chauffeur, the dishwasher and the laundress. Dads today play a vitally important role in child-rearing. Not only is their presence as a second adult usually a significant factor in a family’s income, good fathers also serve as positive male role models. Children raised with actively involved fathers are far more likely to grow into emotionally secure, socially confident, well-adjusted adults.

4 | June 2021

Kids raised with hands-on dads tend to have better verbal skills, and do better academically. Fathers have the ability to serve as important role models for sons and daughters and to make a lasting impact on the lives of their children. The relationship between a father and a child affects healthy development on a variety of levels, from language acquisition and cognition to physical and emotional development. I personally was a “daddy’s girl” and enjoyed the time I had with my Dad. In my situation, because of my father’s job, we made sure our time together was quality time because there wasn’t much quantity. But the quality time will be remembered, always.

Fathers have the ability to serve as important role models for sons and daughters and to make a lasting impact on the lives of their children. Being a parent is one of life’s toughest jobs. On Father’s Day, we recognize all the fathers who care about their children and inspire them to reach their fullest potential. Happy Father’s Day to the dads who serve as strong role models who take the time to invest in their kids. Kudos to all the fathers who understand the importance of “paying it forward” and spending quality time with their children. Their legacy lives on today and throughout the year in the hearts and minds of everyone who loves them.

Lisa Craft

General Manager, Connection Magazine Lisa Craft is General Manager of Connection Magazine, The Monett Times and Cassville Democrat. She can be reached at monettcommunity@gmail.com or connection@monett-times.com


A MAGAZINE DEDICATED TO SOUTHWEST MISSOURIANS

GENERAL MANAGER Lisa Craft monettcommunity@gmail.com EDITOR Kyle Troutman editor@cassville-democrat.com ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Vicky Abraham Marion Chrysler CONTRIBUTORS Meagan Ruffing Lisa Ramirez Darlene Wierman Melonie Roberts Susan Funkhouser Pam Wormington Jordan Troutman Jane Severson Verna Fry Christa Stout Cheryl Williams Sierra Gunter Jennifer Conner Annie Lisenby Smith Mike Gervais PHOTOGRAPHERS Chuck Nickle Jamie Brownlee Amy Sampson

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DISTRIBUTION Greg Gilliam Kevin Funcannon TO ADVERTISE 417-847-2610 - Cassville 417-235-3135 - Monett Send email inquiries to connection@monett-times.com Mailing address: P.O. Box 40, Monett, MO 65708 Connection is published monthly and distributed free in Cassville, Monett, Exeter, Washburn, Pierce City, Mt. Vernon, Aurora, Verona, Roaring River, Eagle Rock, Shell Knob, Purdy, Wheaton, Freistatt, Marionville, Seligman, Golden and other surrounding areas. Connection is a publication of the Cassville Democrat, The Monett Times and Rust Communications.

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SPILLWATER DRIVE

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Photo credit: mythja | AdobeStock.com

CONTENTS 9 Staff Column: For Dad 15 Cutest Kid

19 Guest Column: Ever Met a Vet?

27 Healthy Connection: Sleep Apnea

31 Rescued, My Favorite Breed 36 Parenting Column: My Summer

39 Mental Health Column 44 Date Night

47 Familiar Faces 50 Parting Shot

Have an idea for a story you would like to see in Connection Magazine? Email it to connection@monett-times.com Facebook.com/MyConnectionMo Twitter.com/MyConnection_Mo


F

E

A

T

U

R

Photo courtesy of Julie Lee Photography

Spillwater Drive bandmembers are Adam Ash on banjo, Gary Cook on bass fiddle, Sam Cobb on mandolin, and Jake Stogdill on guitar.

E

S

12 | GET FRESH LOCAL

Step right up to the best offers of local produce and goods by visiting your farmer’s market

16 | A FATHER’S FARM

The next generation of farmer pays homage to a careful, hard-working heritage

22 | INSTANT DADS

Marrying into fatherhood brings a unique set of blessings and experiences that make a family

28 | SPILLWATER DRIVE

Artist’s spotlight on a budding Bluegrass band with Roaring River roots

33 | LIONS CLUB BBQ TRADITION Erin Davis and her daughter Eva are shown on Erin and Robbie Davis’ wedding day in 2020. Robbie gained a wife and a daughter that day.

J U N E 2021

A long tradition of Independence Day BBQ chicken changes serving dates this year

41 | TEACHERS COLLABORATE

Mt. Vernon educators pool resources to provide educational support materials to K-12

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 7


Summer’s Almost Here! We’ll Keep You Cool So You Can Breathe Easy!

8 | June 2021


Photo courtesy of Free Dove Photography

staff column

Hey, Dad, ‘It’s Your Song’ By Kyle Troutman

I

f I am ever listening to the albums “Out of Time” by REM or “Double Live” by Garth Brooks, you can bet one thing — I’m thinking about my father, John Troutman. My father and I spent a lot of time on the road. In my pre-teen and teenage years I played travel soccer, and in the spring and fall, about two weekends per month were dedicated to tournament weekends all across the south-central U.S. From home in Little Rock, we’d hit the road for Fayetteville, Ark.; Fort Smith, Ark.; Tulsa, Okla,; Tyler, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Shreveport, La.; Jackson, Miss.; Memphis, Tenn.; or Joplin, Mo. While many kids might snooze on those 2-hour to 4-hour drives, not me (most of the time anyway). Our time was always spent talking about life or the future or sports or anything to pass the time. And when we weren’t talking, you could bet good money that one of those two albums was cranked up to where you couldn’t even hear yourself sing. My father was a huge influencer in

My father, John Troutman, and me at my wedding in October 2020. my life and one of my heroes. He put a soccer ball at my feet before I could walk, initiating one of the major themes in my life throughout my early 20s. It was through all those years traveling and playing soccer that my dad and I developed a bond unique to just us. At those tournaments, we’d typically spend about 8 hours at the fields on Saturdays and at least another 4 on Sundays. He would watch me play, usually two games on Saturdays, and I would watch him referee about four games, always taking advantage of halftime to get some shots in on the goal. On Sundays, we usually had one game in the morning, and if our team was doing well, a semifinal or championship game later in the day. Then, we’d head home, wash, rinse and repeat. Having a father so active in my life, especially since I had two younger siblings that only came on a few trips here and there, had a profound

impact on me. Before the travel became such a big part of our lives, I had seen my father twice handle infants and toddlers. He was a get-on-the ground-andplay, toss-you-in-the-air, pick-on-youfor-fun kind of dad, and grandpa for that matter. He had a diverse sense of humor, often times involving jump scares. You didn’t go into a room with no lights on without knowing where he was. He was a master at hide and seek, which we played with all lights off and using flashlights or glow sticks. He loved jumping on our trampoline, especially timing his jumps right to send us about 10-15 feet in the air. And, he enjoyed all manner of board games and video games, always playing competitively but never just letting one of us win. He was also a fair disciplinarian. For major mess ups, we had choices of punishment, like swats, excess chores or a time period of grounding. For

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 9


Photo courtesy of Free Dove Photography

minor incidents, he was a master of non-verbal cues. He would give us the stern dad look, and if that didn’t work, he had us trained on the sign language for “no,” which looks like snapping your index and middle fingers to your thumb, and boy could that be menacing when he wanted. When he and my mother divorced, I saw him at some of his lowest lows, but over the next number of years, I saw him at some of his highest highs.

Through those weekends traveling to tournaments, and the weeks in between, I was given a sturdy example of what a man and a father should be. His sense of humor changed, still an expert picker, but now unable to resist a pun. That’s definitely a trait I received from him and one that serves me well in my career. His ability to give attention to all of his children was effortless, and even when his temper rose, he was quick to let it go and return to his base demeanor. That even-keeled nature is another trait I picked up from him that has served me well with my family. His pride in me and my siblings is exceedingly evident. He beams when he talks about our accomplishments — my success in journalism, my brother in the Air Force, my oldest sister graduating from Oklahoma City University and working at Disney World, my middle sister graduating from the University of Texas and on her way to becoming the first Dr. Troutman, and

10 | June 2021

My father, John Troutman, and me when I was named Missouri Young Journalist of the Year in September 2017. my youngest sister finishing out high school and developing into a strong cross country runner. Even though some of us have had some rough patches with him (boys in their late teens can sometimes be turds and not realize it until about 25 or so), he never faltered in his love and support of us, always planted as a rock of strength throughout our lives. These days, we both spend far less time playing soccer or refereeing. We traded in those physical demands for doing curls with adult beverages and lifting prime cuts of meat off the grill. The long car ride conversations have

been replaced by long phone calls, and I’m sure he and I equally miss having them in person on the road. We may be “Half a World Away” or spending time with other “Friends in Low Places,” but that won’t stop us from being “Shiny Happy People” that enjoy the same “Radio Song” here and there. Hopefully, one day soon, we will get together at “The River” for a “Longneck Bottle” or “Two Pina Colada(d)s” (that’s a pun he would appreciate) and I’ll put on some REM or Garth Brooks and say, “Hey dad, listen — ‘It’s Your Song.’” n


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ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 11


Farmer’s Markets offer the best in homegrown, homemade goodies

Getting Fresh

Mark Thompson, of Sweet Springs Gardens, said he has 45 varieties of heirloom tomato plants ready to transfer into garden beds. The heirloom plants are not genetically modified like many of the grocery store varieties.

F

arm fresh is best, whether it comes to produce, eggs, or home canned jams, jellies and local honey. Many farmer’s market shoppers have commented on the abundance of food stuffs offered at local markets, and marveled at the better taste of homegrown over store bought food. Although farmer’s markets are a seasonal operation, many kick off in late April or early May, and continue through October, offering lighter fruits and vegetables in the spring and summer, and heartier winter vegetables like squash and parsnips during the cooler autumn and winter months. Many local farmers use heirloom seeds in their gardens, which are more nutritious than the genetically modified seeds and plants used in larger, commercial farming operations.

Krysty Nagle, of Shoal Creek Gardens, tends to the bedding plants she had offered in early May at the Monett Area Farmer’s Market, sponsored by Tyson Foods. 12 | June 2021

Story by Melonie Roberts


FARMER’S MARKET To get the freshest, picked at the height of ripeness produce and other market items, visit one of these nearby farmer’s markets:

Monett

7 a.m. to noon. Saturday from May to October Jerry D. Hall Memorial Pavilion, Front Street, Monett

Mt. Vernon

7 a.m. to noon, Saturday from April 1 to Oct. 31 West side of the Mt. Vernon Square, next to the courthouse

Cassville’s Garden Sass Farmer’s Market

Sarah Rysdam, of Monett, has a full line of soaps, lotions, lip balms and other skin care products for sale at the Monett Area Farmer’s Market each Saturday morning, at the Jerry D. Hall Pavilion on Front Street. While many chain stores offer produce to their customers, it is often harvested from commercial operations that could be located half a continent away, and already be several days old by the time it hits the grocery bin. Shopping at farmer’s markets offers support to local producers working on family farms and offering goods at prices typically not much more expensive than conventionally-grown produce. Farmer’s markets also offer craft items, homemade lotions, soaps, lip balms and other skin care products, seasonal bedding plants, jams, jellies and locally-produced honey and fresh baked items. The local farmer’s market is also a good place to socialize and meet other members of the community. “I have 45 varieties of heirloom tomato plants ready to transfer into garden beds,” said Mark Thompson, of Sweet Springs Gardens. “They are all

8 a.m. to noon, Saturday from May to October On the square in Cassville

non-GMO, heirloom varieties.” Sarah Rysdam, of Monett, has a full line of soaps, lotions, lip balms and other skin care products for sale at the market each Saturday morning. Janet Rosier, of River Bottom Creations, markets her craft items, which includes floral arrangements and home decor. “She even has a line of painted rocks offering tribute to doctors and nurses who have worked the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said her husband, James “Chewy” Vroman, a Cox Monett Hospital employee. Workers at the Amish baked goods stand can vouch for the freshness of the breads, pies, sweet loaves, and cinnamon rolls that can tempt even the most devout carb-hater. “These are all made by Liz Bontreager,” said the cashier working the stand. “She made them yesterday.” n

Pierce City Farmer’s Market

8 a.m. to noon, Saturdays Jct. of Hwys. 97 and 37 in Pierce City

Aurora Local Farmer’s Market

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ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 13


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cutest kid

Three-month-old Yverly Heredia of Monett is the daughter of Melissa and Jose Heredia.

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Email your child’s photo to:

connection@monett-times.com Photos should be sent in the original JPG format at the highest resolution possible. Remember to include your child’s name, parent’s name, age, city and your contact information. The contest is open to children ages 10 and younger. The photos submitted will be used for the sole purpose of this contest.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 15


A Father’s Farm

F

arm life is the way of the world for some families; it is how they learn, grow, teach lessons, understand traditions and see loyalty. This Father’s Day, we celebrate our fathers and our farms and what the two mean together. Pastor Jerry Yarnall, owner and operator of Brown’s Farms in Cassville,

was raised on a farm, then he raised his children on a farm, and his one lasting message to his children — “We were here together.” “The farm I was raised on is nothing like the farm we have today,” Jerry said.

16 | June 2021

“My dad had a 40-acre farm with a couple of chicken houses, with about 6,000 chickens per house. We fed them all by hand.” Jerry’s youngest daughter Julie now lives on the farm he was raised on, and Jerry and his wife live on her family’s farm. “When I was a child, I lived not more than two and a half miles from either of my grandparents, and my uncle lived close by too,” he said. “It was nice to be raised up with my family all around me.” Today, Jerry can remember the way the family farms surrounding him looked when he was a child. “My dad’s farm stayed in the family, but the rest of them were sold,” he said. “It is painful to see them now. No one takes care of it the way a family does.” Driving down the roads near his family’s farm, Jerry is filled with memories of his childhood and life on a farm in the ’50s and ‘60s.

Story by Jordan Troutman


“My father’s farm has been taken care of and that does feel nice to see,” he said. “I was helping Julie load some wood awhile back, and I realized we were in the woods that I played in as a child. I told her there is a grave marker for my pony out there.” Jerry can re-live those moments and memories on his father’s farm, and at home, his father-in-law’s farm has family ties too. “Our farm operates under Brown’s Farms because it was established in

1970 by Debbie’s dad,” Jerry said. “He ran the farm until 1987 when he moved out of the area. That is when Debbie and I took over that Brown’s Farms name. “When we started, I told Debbie, ‘Regardless of how long your father is alive, we will always operate under Brown’s Farms, because he built it.’” Jerry and Debbie were married in November 1977, they moved to Brown’s Farms immediately after that.

Traditions, lessons, childhood on the family farm

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 17


“Chad came along in 1981,” Jerry said. “Being a father and a farmer meant we were always busy. When he was little he would stay with his mom, but then we would put him in the truck cab, then the tractor, and by 9 or 10 years old, he could drive the tractors.” It was busy and hard and it was dirty, but it was farm life. “One lesson I taught my children through life on a farm was, ‘Work doesn’t end at 5 o’clock,’” Jerry said. “In high school, Chad said he would never plant alfalfa. He spent a lot of summers out there hauling alfalfa.” Jerry remembers telling his children, holidays don’t matter on the farm. “We saw a lot of fireworks on the Fourth of July over the field,” he said. “Memorial Day, Fourth of July, we were always bailing alfalfa. “My kids saw me and their mother work a lot. Sometimes two days straight. We all tend to be workaholics; we all see a lot of late nights where we get stuff done.” Jerry said his father-in-law told him once, ‘If you want to get somewhere, you can’t work 8 to 5.’ “Jill was born in 1983, then we had Julie in 1987,” Jerry said. “I always wanted to be a father. Debbie and I talked about having kids from day one. She was so good at it we had Julie at home. That was an experience farm life helped us deal with.” Jerry said he learned to be a father on the farm. “I taught them so much on the farm,” he said. “It gave them an amazing work ethic. All of my kids are unique and have their own skills.” Chad was heavily involved in FFA in school. “He learned a lot,” Jerry said. “I

18 | June 2021

“Father’s Day is about the fathers who are there. A father needs to be the head of the family—step up and take charge. He needs to be there for his children. “Anybody can have children, it takes somebody being present to be a father.”

Pastor Jerry Yarnall, owner and operator of Brown’s Farms still count on him all the time at auctions.” Jill went into the car business. “She knows what she knows,” he said. “She has amazing skill in decision making. If there is ever a question about a car, Jill really knows her stuff.” Julie has management skills. “She watches her p’s and q’s,” Jerry said. “She knows how to manage money and get a bargain. She also understands people. She is a great communicator.” Jerry said he hopes that when he is gone, his children continue to work together to keep the Brown’s Farms together. “I want them to step up and maintain the farms,” he said. “Debbie’s dad passed away in 2007, I still have and use a tractor he bought brand new in 1973.” Chad and his family recently purchased a farm near his father. “I can see his house from mine,” Jerry said. “It brings back the memories of growing up surrounded by family. He has little girls, I always tell

Debbie I wonder how long it will take those girls to figure out they can jump on a four-wheeler and come right over to our house.” At this time, Jerry said Chad has no intentions of planting alfalfa on his farm. “Father’s Day is about the fathers who are there,” Jerry said. “A father needs to be the head of the family— step up and take charge. He needs to be there for his children. “Anybody can have children, it takes somebody being present to be a father.” Jerry said when he was raising his family, there wasn’t a lot of money or time for big extravagant vacations or trips. “We stayed home and we worked,” he said. “But, we were here together. “My message to my kids is, ‘Don’t forget about the right now, and remember we were here together.’” Jerry said as a father, raising children is about being an example. “They need to know there are ups and downs maybe even financially,” he said. “But, they never need to worry about mom and dad splitting up.” n


guest column

By Pam Wormington

Have You Ever Met a Vet?

I

f you live on a ranch or have a pet, you know that your lifeline is your local veterinarian. Rain, snow, sleet or shine they deliver, sometimes literally. After 25 years on the farm, I can’t even begin to count the times I’ve called the veterinarian for assistance and advice. I’m a bit embarrassed at what I have learned in some of those moments. Here are just a few of those times. We typically don’t have cattle with horns, but on occasion we’ve had a few that needed dehorning. If you’ve never experienced that, it’s like a bloody horror movie. I didn’t hear any screeching music, but I could hear my heart beat as I felt my stomach climb up into my throat. I’m sure the vet was not intending to give medical care to the squeeze chute operator. My silly Murph the Labrador was involved in a traffic accident in front of my house. Thanks to a passerby and a good neighbor, they scooped him up and got him off the road. Who do I call …the vet? She’s on vacation but is compassionate enough to calm me

and give instruction. She was probably laying on a beach somewhere soaking up the sun while I was laying in the front yard next to my dog with tears soaking my cheeks. Thanks Erin. And thanks Amber for telling me the truth and giving me options and loving my Lab back to health. Pregnancy checking cows, now there is an up close and personal job. I don’t care how long your plastic sleeve is, you are going to get the wrong end of the stick with this job. And when my little dog Taco was dying of old age, it was the vet that brought me chocolate as I sat in the exam room trying to process the news.

Thanks Sam. Calving trouble in the middle of the night. Who you gonna call? Well, it is not ghostbusters, it’s your vet. When your male dog is behaving in a way that girls can’t comprehend, let your vet explain that ‘dominating’ desire to you. Thanks John. When your miniature mule is sick and you have to make the decision to let her go to greener pastures, who is the one who shoots straight the facts and the best decision? Who is the one who lets you go inside and ugly cry while he lays her to rest? Thanks John, again.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 19


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What’s winter weather without calving issues? The rancher husband calls me while I am preparing supper and asks for help because that is the designated time, ask any farm wife. I call the vet to tell him that we have a cow with a prolapsed uterus. He asked me a few questions to which I failed to answer properly along with my diagnosis as I was about to burn supper over this discussion. Without completing the sex education class, he arrives and stitches the ole girl up. As I have said many times, “I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no babies.” Thanks, John, for explaining the birds and bees or shall I say cows and calves more times than I can count. The list of stories are too many to remember. We don’t call the vet often but when we do, it is usually memorable. And in case you forget, a bill will soon follow to remind you. I know it is the cycle of life, but when the boss is away, it seems to spin out of control at times. When I married my man, I didn’t really understand what animal husbandry was, and that it was a part of the vows too. I’ve learned that as tough as the cowboy is, when he loses an animal it is more than a profit/loss statement. He takes it to heart and thinks he’s failed as a good steward. I’ve learned as a farm wife, that supper can wait and so can sleep. When you said ‘I DO’ it meant that ‘I WILL.’ I will do what it takes to take care of what has been entrusted to us. I’m sure being married to a vet is similar. They are always on call, and even when they aren’t, animal health is their heart. Thank you to all the veterinary staff that have helped us make a good life on the farm. n


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ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 21


Zoey and brother Spencer having magical fun on the Disney cruise. (above) Family fun for the McLeans as they prepare to embark on a Disney cruise in 2019.

Robbie Davis proudly stands with Eva and the first fish she caught and landed all by herself.

22 | June 2021


Instant Dads

T

Photo courtesy of Julie Lee Photography

here are many ways to define a family: those we are blood related to; those we choose to be a part of our lives; and those who show up unexpectedly and a bond is formed. This Father’s Day, it’s important to celebrate all kinds of dads and recognize that sometimes becoming a dad happens more quickly than for others. These “instant dads” are those that marry a woman who already has a child or children. They are thrown into the fires of a family that already has a foundation and a routine. As Robbie Davis and Austin McLean share, there might be challenges, but the joys outweigh them drastically. Davis grew up having a special bond with his dad — one that continues to this day. “I remember being so happy and proud when my mom, Connie Davis, would take me to get a card and a gift for my dad, Bob Davis, for Father’s Day.” For McLean, Father’s Day was much different. “Growing up, Father’s Day wasn’t really one we pursued,” he said. “I grew up around my mom and thus was much more attached to her.” Becoming an instant dad is a different path for each man. They come to the table with their own experiences like Davis and McLean. Some feel very prepared and ready, while others are knocked sideways trying to figure out how they fit into their new family.

Robbie and Erin Davis on their wedding day with daughter Eva. Story by Annie Lisenby Smith

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 23


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This past summer, in July 2020, Robbie Davis married Erin. He had dated Erin for many months and been around her eight-year-old daughter, Eva. It wasn’t a difficult transition, but there were hurdles to overcome as they settled into a new normal. “One of the challenges I faced when becoming Eva’s dad was that her birth dad left when Eva was young, so she never knew what it was like to have a dad,” Davis said. “There was a man in the house now full-time, not just Eva and her mom. It took some adjusting to, but with a lot of patience, it didn’t take long until we blended together.”

...

...

Davis and his family spends their first Christmas together.

For McLean, his journey to dad status was very different. Austin McLean married his “beautiful bride” in 2012 while still enlisted in the Army. His new daughter, Zoey, was only about a year and a half old. Austin and Carissa had dated on and off since before Zoey was born. It wasn’t very long after Zoey’s birth that they re-connected. But after their marriage, Austin had to return to his post in Alaska. “It was tough,” McLean said. “We had to factor in a threehour time zone difference, a poor cell phone signal, and a lack of internet capabilities. I’d commonly fall asleep on the computer while Skyping Carissa. Zoey would often dance on the bed for me giggling away as mommy helped her.” After finishing his duties in the Army, McLean returned to Missouri to live with Carissa and three-year-old Zoey. Like Davis, there were challenges to having a new man in the house. Because Zoey has a medical condition that needs extra attention, McLean had the added challenge of learning to meet

those needs as well as Zoey’s basic daily needs. “We spent hours every night trying to get her to sleep, something I was not used to at all. By the time we were ready for bed ourselves, it was by pure exhaustion.” “Having not been in person as she was learning speech caused a large majority of frustrating moments. Her speech development was less due to her medical situations and having not been there to hear it daily caused a barrier of communication with us. Once, Carissa was out at her late-night shift, I was attempting to feed us both, and Zoey was freaking out wanting some form of food, but I couldn’t understand what she was asking for,” McLean explained. “Tearing apart the kitchen and a halfhour plus of a freaking out red-faced small child we discover it was ‘corn’ she wanted so bad. I felt horrible that this small child got the extreme of my frustration over corn.”

As any newly married couple knows, there are challenges to learning how to live with another person. McLean mentioned common ones like: one person snores, or the other person prefers the thermostat at a higher temperature. These instant dads learn to grow and adapt to their new wives and new children. And through that, they find many joys in their new families. “One of my first joys I had of being a father was teaching Eva to rider her bike without training wheels,” Davis said with pride. “She was so happy and proud of herself that she’d accomplished it and that we did it working together. It took quite a while, but we stuck with it, and she got it.” “I find joy having someone so small look up to me,” McClean said. “She would always snuggle her mom if she were around, so the alone times when she would snuggle me melted my heart. She will always be my little princess no matter how much she grows.” McLean has had many years now to experience fatherhood, and he and Carissa added a son to their family when Spencer, now four-years-old, was born. Through McLean and Davis’ experiences, they have learned some lessons and are happy to share bits of advice. “Patience,” Davis said. “Don’t try to force yourself into their life. Let it come naturally, and let them slowly warm up to you. There’s nothing better than that feeling when they call you Dad for the first time. It’ll bring a tear to your eye. I don’t care how tough a man you are.” “Becoming an ‘instant father’ is a choice,” McLean added. “If you are choosing to be with a woman who has children, you need to understand you

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 25


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are choosing them as well. They may not like you at the start, but be honest and try. If you work together as a team then issues between you and/or your children will dwindle vastly. There should not be a mother and a stepfather. There should be a mother and a father. Blood father can be there and that is fine. If you are respectful toward him then there should be minimal issues there.” Here in the 21st Century, one can ask what it means to be a father. For these instant dads, the answer is simple. “What it means to me to be a father is always being there for my child and having fun with her every chance I can,” Davis said. “Also, teaching her right from wrong and helping her grow up to be a well-mannered, well-respected, and productive adult. All the things my dad instilled in me as I was growing up.” “Being a father means always being there,” McLean agreed. “I am a bit rough around the edges, I mean I am still a young father, but I am here and growing with my children. I am here. More than anything, that makes the biggest difference to a child. Love and being here regardless of if your children have fallen off their path lets them know you will stay there. For every time they fall, you will be there to pick them right back up again. This does not mean enable their bad behavior. Instead, help bring them back to that path of positivity you hope they can stay on as they leave your home to be an adult.” This Father’s Day, I hope we can all celebrate the wide varieties of dads, including instant dads. Some become instant dads when the children are younger, like Davis and McLean. Others, like my stepdad, take on the role when the children are grown and out of college. But, like all fathers, they take pride in their children and are happy to share pictures and tell stories of their adventures with these children that have taken root in their hearts. And as Davis said with a smile, “I look forward to having that private talk with every boy that comes over to take her out on a date as she goes through school.” n


healthy connection

By Callie Rancourt

Callie Rancourt is currently a dietetic intern at Cox College. She is originally from the Twin Cities in Minnesota. When she is not busy studying, she enjoys watching hockey, going on walks, spending time with her friends and family, and cooking.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Nutrition

O

bstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA is a sleep disorder that causes your breathing to start and stop at night while you are sleeping. Your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway while you sleep causing you to snore. Oftentimes, people wake up from the sensation of choking or being short of breath.

Risk Factors

OSA and Nutrition

OSA is often associated with excess weight. Other factors include smoking, stress, nasal congestion, diabetes, a narrowed airway, family history of OSA, gender (more prevalent in males), and asthma.

Weight loss has been shown to improve OSA. There are also certain foods that can make OSA worse. Alcohol has been shown to increase OSA symptoms. Excess consumption of sweets, sugary beverages (sweet tea, lemonade, soda, etc.), and high fat foods can lead to weight gain which can make OSA worse.

Treatment Patients with OSA may use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine at night to assist with their breathing. Other times surgery is needed to correct the air pathway. Surgeries can be in the nose, around the tongue, on your palate, or can involve removing your tonsils. Finally, some people may only need a mouthguard to prop open their airway. Other types of treatments include weight loss, stress management, quitting smoking, and working with a sleep specialist on sleep positions for better management of OSA. Discuss with your doctor what treatment is best for you.

Signs and Symptoms Some include: snoring, morning headaches, excessive daytime sleepiness, observed episodes of stopped breathing, nighttime sweating, dry mouth, sore throat, and high blood pressure.

Tips for Quality Sleep and Weight Loss Having a set schedule for your sleep can help improve the quality and amount of your sleep. Having a set bedtime and wake-up time allows your hormones to regulate, which also helps in metabolism and digestion. Another factor that can negatively influence your metabolism is eating right before you go to bed. After meals, your glucose levels spike causing you to be less insulin sensitive. Having high glucose levels can lead to possible weight gain if consistent for a prolonged time period. For more individualized guidance for weight loss, contact a Registered Dietitian.

ConnectionMO.com/HealthyConnection | Connection Magazine | 27


Artist Spotlight:

Spillwater Drive (above) Spillwater Drive performing at the Silver Dollar City Bluegrass and BBQ Festival.

The band is all smiles as they pluck out an original bluegrass tune.

28 | June 2021


At a celebration in Southwest City in July, 2019, band members are all smiles as they prepare to play for the crowd.

T

he roots of bluegrass music reach back to the migrants who came to America in the 1600s. They brought with them musical styles from Ireland, Scotland and England. As settlers migrated over the centuries, bluegrass music spread across Appalachia, and in the 1930s was recognized for its unique form in the music of the Monroe Brothers. And when Bill Monroe and his band performed at the Grand Ole Opry in 1939, bluegrass was introduced to the world. The love of bluegrass has spread from the Appalachian Mountains to our own Ozark Mountains. It’s recognized for its driving, toe-tapping rhythms and vocal harmonies. When four local friends got together to jam one evening, everything fit so well that they decided they should form their own bluegrass band. And so, Spillwater Drive was born. In the two years since that first jam session, band members Adam Ash of Gateway, Arkansas; Sam Cobb of Rogers, Arkansas; Gary Cook of Monett, Missouri; and Jake Stogdill of Washburn, Missouri, have been blending their

Story by Annie Lisenby Smith

voices and instruments at multiple venues and have released their first album. Like many bands, the friends had to choose a name. “We landed on our name by coming from a couple of different angles, one being geographical,” said Gary Cook. “Spillwater Junction is the almost forgotten name for a location at Roaring River State Park where the water spills over the dam into the river. Additionally, we chose Spillwater Drive because our sound has a lot of drive to it with a lot of energy. Also, Jake’s dad played in a band back in the day called Spillwater Junction, so there is some sentimental value to the name as well.” Music wasn’t new to any of the band members, in fact it’s in their blood. They had all played in numerous bands over the years, having all started playing and singing in their younger years. Sam grew up playing in a family band with his brothers. Gary grew up playing bluegrass in a band with his grandfather, and Jake grew up playing in a band with his dad. They have been strongly influenced by the bluegrass community in the Ozarks, which Cook said played a huge role in

shaping the way the band plays and as individual musicians. Spillwater Drive had their first public performance at the well-known Silver Dollar City Bluegrass and BBQ Festival in May 2019. While restrictions due to COVID put a hold on their public performances for most of 2020, in their relatively short time as a band, they’ve performed at festivals across Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. “We had shows booked in multiple other states in 2020, but COVID led to their cancellation,” Cook said. “The second half of 2021 looks to be very busy for the group as we have several shows booked.” The members of Spillwater Drive work together to write a lot of their own music. Concerts include some classic bluegrass tunes, but the band enjoys playing their original music too. “We weren’t too sure how well an original album would be received, but it has worked out well with lots of radio play across the US and around the world,” Cook said. “It has even led to our nomination in the Arkansas Country Music

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 29


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Association Awards, Bluegrass Artist of the Year category. In bluegrass, it’s important to incorporate a lot of familiar, traditional music in your live shows so we try to strike a healthy balance between both when we perform.” Playing bluegrass together has become about more than just the music to band members. Cook explained, “One of the greatest parts of performing bluegrass are the friendships that you develop. The community is a tightknit group of musicians and fans that have become like family over the years.” The band is staying busy this year. In March, they performed at a twoday festival in Perrin, Texas. Their next show was in Anderson, Missouri, at the Berries and Bluegrass Festival on Saturday, May 22. “We are excited to announce that we have been asked to be one of the performers on Monday, June 7, for the Arkansas Country Music Awards,” Cook said. “Country music star Billy Dean will also be performing that evening, so we are excited to share the stage that evening.” Spillwater Drive has many other dates this summer and fall. To get the latest updates, fans can visit their website at www.spillwaterdrive.com or their Facebook page. If you can’t make it to one of their performances, their music is also available on major streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. Also, their CD can be purchased from at the Banjo Ben General Store in Exeter, Missouri, or online at store.banjobenclark.com. Jake and Adam work at the General Store and enjoy meeting fellow bluegrass fans. Adam, Sam, Gary and Jake shared that they are grateful for all the support from friends, family, and local fans. Having grown up with bluegrass, they take pride in sharing this musical tradition across these Ozark hills and beyond. n


By Christa Stout

rescued, my favorite breed Remember if you can’t donate, foster; if you can’t foster, volunteer.

ENAC Meets Local Need, Extends Invite

H

ave you ever noticed that when you meet animal lovers and they talk about their pets or their experiences, their eyes truly light up? Well, that’s the case with Cathrine, who owns, operates and literally does everything to do with the shelter called ENAC (East Newton County Animal Coalition). The shelter is a fairly recent startup located in Granby and like all shelters I have visited, is a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization (hint, hint, donations are more than welcome and may have some tax advantages). Cathrine rescues animals, fosters, does fund raising and anything else that might come up. When I met up with her, she had just completed walking dogs. Oh, and by the way, she also helps the City with the six pet runs at the City pound. We met at JJ’s Restaurant to grab a bite to eat and talk about shelter life. I should not have been surprised that JJ, the owner of the

restaurant and his wife are pet lovers and have been instrumental in raising funds for the shelter, even donating a quilt and keeping a donation jar on the restaurant counter at all times. Together with Cathrine, they have raised more than $21,000 for animals, and they even help getting other vendors involved. Oh, and last but not least, I can vouch that the food in the restaurant is great as well. Cathrine tells me that she is getting a lot of animals right now, from skin and bones puppies to a large Pyrenees/Great Dane mix found in a tiny crate by the side of the road. She currently has 16 young puppies with two different mommas, one grand senior and 3 adult dogs; as well as several adult cats and kittens. She says it is very hard some days to continually have to watch mistreated or abandoned dogs and cats come into the shelter, but she is very grateful for her support system that keeps her sane when so many pets need help.

Here is how you can contact and/or donate: Facebook.com/ENACRESCUE | EastNewtonAnimalCoalition.org

MARTHA the cute dog with a saucy nose, has a sad past; she was taken to the pound by a person who found her. They managed to track down her owner, who came and picked her up. What they didn’t realize was that the owner promptly took Martha to a remote area and dumped the poor girl there. It was a full month before Cathrine and her people were made aware of her being out there all alone; a whole month that she survived on her own. Luckily, a good Samaritan contacted ENAC. He found her in a civil war graveyard, so skinny the bones protruded, and she covered in ticks and fleas. She had open wounds and was a very sad dog indeed. Fortunately, a great lady agreed to foster Martha. There she has blossomed into a beautiful and happy dog. Martha is now ready to find her forever home and is available through ENAC. Are you interested?

MIRACLE

a lovely kitten, was found under a busy overpass. Sadly, out of 5 tiny kittens, she was the only survivor. Although she had managed to survive on the remains of her siblings, she was very thin and very weak. It took a long time for her to fully recover. Her weight gain was slow, as was her trust for people. But after several weeks, she was ready to shine! She was transferred to a larger shelter and soon found herself starring at Whiskers’ Cat Cafe in Kansas City. Now a loving beauty, her stay was short and she was quickly snapped up for new adventures and a new forever home.

ConnectionMO.com/RescuedMyFavoriteBreed | Connection Magazine | 31


A small shelter cannot afford spay and neuter costs, especially when they are large dogs, so it is absolutely necessary to network with larger shelters such as Joplin Humane Society’s facilities, for these services as well as medical care. Networking is also necessary to find rescues and sanctuaries in metropolitan areas because not all animals can be adopted locally. Giving them transportation to larger shelters allows them a better chance of finding their forever home.

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Also, there are the special needs animals, whether injured or senior pets, that are not as easily adopted and may need a move to special rescues and sanctuaries. Of course, this also means arranging transportation for the dogs and cats so they can get from Southwest Missouri to St. Louis or possibly even beyond. ENAC’s biggest challenge at the moment is finding enough foster parents to allow her to continue rescuing as many animals as possible. Fostering is a wonderful way to get to know an animal, to teach the pet some basic commands or to contribute to the life of a senior dog or cat. All expenses for food and medical care are taken care of by the shelter — you can’t beat having a pet without the expense. Won’t you consider fostering? And everyone loves a foster fail, when fostering actually turns into adoption! Please help, if you can.

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O

Lions Club The Lions Club goes through so much sauce during their traditional chicken barbecue Independence Day weekend that they literally make it by the bucket.

Story by Mike Gervais

BBQ tradition lives on

ne Monett service club is determined to keep tradition alive, despite challenges with COVID-19 and an ever-evolving calendar that has created a conflict among the club’s faithful. The Monett Lions Club has resolved to continue its traditional chicken barbecue this Independence Day weekend – a tradition it has upheld since 1956. In those early days, the Lions rallied together in October to host a massive cook-out for the community and raise money for their various charitable works, namely providing eyeglasses for those in need. The second year of the event, 1957, the Lions built a massive barbecue pit at Monett’s South Park and ramped up their sales. That pit is used to this day. However, one thing that changed is the date. In 1975, the club elected to move the cook-out from its autumn celebration to join in the festivities at South Park on Independence Day. One could say the rest is history, but with a club as long-lived as the Lions, there may be just as much story as there is history behind the chicken dinner. For instance, The Monett Times reported, without too much detail, that the second chicken barbecue hosted by the Lions “was much improved” in just a year’s time. And the improvements keep on coming. Ellie Holle, who has been a steady hand at the barbecue for more than 30 years, said the club learned a valuable lesson not too long ago. “If you’re going to cook for that many people, you’ve got to get the good charcoal,” Ellie said. “One year someone got some on sale, and it was a sale. That stuff wouldn’t heat for nothing. We had people lined up waiting. Now we get the name brand stuff.”

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 33


Grill Master Al Dohmen, a Monett City Councilman and long-time Lion, said it’s Kingsford charcoal under the grill these days. Another valuable lesson that comes with 60-plus years of serving hot chicken to hundreds – even thousands – of residents is the timing. Holle said with that many chickens on the grill at one time, “you’ve got to be sure you get them off in time so you’re not burning them.” Lion Steve Weiss explained that the Lions know how popular their barbecue chicken dinner is, and have made preparations to ensure they can meet the demand. Weiss said the massive barbecue pit at the park can have 640 chicken halves cooking at one time, and the club has become masters of timing, ensuring that there is a system in place to get raw chicken cooked and cooked chicken plated at just the right time. To make that happen, it takes nearly the whole club. Grill Master Al explained that at any given time there are seven or eight Lions manning the grill, three or four looking after the club’s famous barbecue baked beans, two cooking sauce, three racking raw chickens to prep them for the grill and countless others plating and serving the meals. And speaking of the sauce and beans – the famous sides served with the 1,400 to 1,500 meals the Lions cook each year, Lion Bob Davis pointed out that the club uses the same sauce for as long as anyone can remember. “As far as I know, we’ve been using the original sauce,” Davis said. “I know we’ve been using it for over 20 years. We might have tweaked the original recipe a little bit, but not much.” That sauce is used as both a glaze for the chicken, and in the barbecue beans the club serves and each year, club members can be seen transporting it from grill to bean pot via five-gallon buckets. “The only complaint I’ve ever heard 34 | June 2021

July is a fine time for family, and for many area residents, it’s not Independence Day without barbecue chicken from the Lions Club. about the beans is that there aren’t enough beans,” Ralph Scott, a longtime Lion and retired Monett school superintendent said. In his 90s, Lion Ralph has been an instrumental member of the club and the barbecue for as long as anyone can remember, and he knows first-hand how much the traditional cookout has changed – and stayed the same over the years. Because the Fourth of July falls on a Sunday this year, the club will be holding its annual feast on Saturday, July 3 to ensure its members are able to attend their regular church services Sunday morning, something the club has to consider every few years. “This year, like every once in a while, Fourth of July falls on Sunday and this club has consistently voted that we are not cooking chicken on Sunday,” Ralph said. “My grandkids have all hollered at me and want to know if we’re doing the barbecue chicken. We’re doing it. But we’ve never cooked on Sunday. We’re all dedicated Christians.” Another change the club is making is to keep the drive-through op-

tion they instituted last year due to COVID-19. However, this year’s drive-through pick-up is a matter of convenience, not safety. “We are going to keep it this year because everyone liked it last year,” Steve said. “They were able to stay in their cars and not have to wait in the heat,” Though drive through will be an option, the club has voted to bring back its outdoor dining option, giving community members an opportunity to enjoy the park and the company of the Lions. But that invitation comes with a warning: according to club members, if a jovial Lion extends a hand for a handshake at the event, it might be a good idea for community members to check that extended hand for barbecue sauce as at least one club member has been known to glaze more than the chicken during the event. As always, the meal will include a half chicken, the famous beans, a bag of chips and a beverage. Tickets sell out every year, so those hoping to get a taste of what the club is cooking up are encouraged to get their tickets as soon as possible. n


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ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 35


W

e made it! Summer is finally here, and my kids are ready to beat the heat with all things water-related. Going back to school this year was anything but normal with coming off the heels of a global pandemic. Now that things are (sort of ) going back to the way they used to be, my kids and I have come up with 26 summer-approved ideas for a fun and relaxing time together. Check them out!

A to Z,

This is the Summer for Me! Aquarium. Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield, Mo., the Tulsa Aquarium in Tulsa, Okla., and Aquarium at the Boardwalk in Branson, Mo., are all great places to check out under-the-water creatures. Be sure to check ahead and book your tickets online if possible, to avoid long lines.

Beach. If possible, take your kids to the beach! We’re headed to Florida this month, and we can’t wait! If the beach isn’t in the plans this year, or you don’t like the beach, grab one of those fun kiddy pools at your local store and fill it up with playground sand or water and let your kids play away.

Cookout. My kids and I love to cookout in our backyard. Step it up a bit and add s’mores to your menu. You won’t regret it! Bonus tip: My daughter Hannah learned this in Girl Scouts…out of Hershey Bars? No problem. Use Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Cookies and Cream Candy Bars, or Almond Joy Bars in place of your regular chocolate. It adds a fun twist to a camp classic.

36 | June 2021

Day Camps. Check out your local businesses for day camps that are being offered in your area. My girls are going to Imagine Studios to make some fun art for a few days this summer. It’s a win-win. It’ll give your kids something to look forward to, and it’ll give you a few hours of peace and quiet.

Eat something new. I’m always encouraging my kids to try new foods. Elinor just tried asparagus for the first time. She didn’t like it, but she tried it! Make it a goal to try something new once a week for the entire summer. I bet you’ll have some fun stories to look back on some day. Bonus tip: Take your kids to the store and let them take turns each week picking out the item of their choosing that they want to try.

Food trucks. Our town has a lot of cute food trucks. Spend a few hours visiting one and showing your kids that their food can come on wheels. You could even make it a mission to try as many food trucks as possible before the end of the summer. You might just add a few new places to your favorite places to eat.


By Meagan Ruffing

parenting column

Parenting journalist Meagan Ruffing is ready to get her summer started. Use this list to help you and your kids make the most of each day.

closed due to Covid). I’ll never forget the year my friend booked me and my kids a hotel in a neighboring town shortly after my divorce. It was a fun pick-me-up and something I hadn’t thought to do. It’s now become one of my favorite things to do with my kids and has turned into a meaningful tradition.

Ice cream truck. It’s that time of year when the kids are outside playing all day. They’re dirty and sweaty and all need baths but here comes the sound of the ice cream truck! Bonus tip: Include chores throughout the week so the kids can earn their ice cream money.

Jump on the trampoline. I said I’d never get a trampoline for my backyard, but I caved when everything shut down last summer because of Covid. We have one and my kids have jumped on it (almost) every possible day they could get outside. I’m still weary of this injury-prone object in my backyard, and I totally respect those who still choose not to buy them but for my family, it has been a lifesaver!

Gaga ball. My son is the one who introduced this popular school game to me. It’s played in an octagonal pit (usually found on playgrounds) and is similar to dodge ball. The idea is to throw the ball and hit someone below the knees to get them ‘out.’

Hotel. My kids love hotels and I bet yours do too. It seems like all kids do. Take a weekend away or just stay in a hotel in your town for a pretend ‘getaway.’ Make sure to get a hotel that has a pool (and make sure you ask if it’s open because some are still

Kindness challenge. Challenge your kids (and yourself) to do something kind for someone else. Maybe it’s making cookies for a neighbor or bringing dinner to a friend who is going through a hard time. Let each person in your family think of someone that comes to mind and decide what you would like the act of kindness to be. Learn a new skill. Summer is a fun time to try your hand at something new. Hannah wants to learn how to speak Spanish so I’m going to look into some lessons for her. My schedule is a little lighter in the summer so bringing her back and forth won’t be as difficult.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 37


Move things around. Let your kids move their rooms around by rearranging things to create a new vibe. You might even revamp their rooms with a new theme. Naps. We all need more of these. Did you know I have a mandatory quiet time in my home every day during the summer? It’s usually in the afternoon for at least two hours. My kids think I’m crazy but my friends think I’m genius. It’s good for kids to slow down and relax.

Open road. My son came up with this one. Dylan said, “How about…go for a drive on the open road?” What a great idea! When I was a little girl, my dad used to take me on random drives throughout the country. He’d blast the music and zip me around the hills, telling me stories of his childhood.

Pool! How could I not include the pool? We have a neighborhood pool that we like to frequent and we try to go (almost) every day. The kids have fun splashing around, and I get to enjoy some downtime in the sun.

Quality time together. I’m fortunate to have a job right now that allows me the summers off. This has given me the opportunity to spend quality time with my kids that is (if I’m being honest) lacking during the school year. It just seems like we’re always on the go during that time and my mom-guilt kicks in. Having a little bit of breathing room has been so good for my health and for my kids’ well-being. If you are working over the summer, I challenge you to find some wiggle room in your week to spend some quality time with someone important to you.

Ride bikes. All of my kids know how to ride their bikes as of this year! I haven’t ridden a bike in who knows how long, but I’m going to get myself on one this summer. I live in an area where bike riding is very popular so I’m excited to jump on the bandwagon.

38 | June 2021

Sleep in. Can someone tell my kids to do this more often? No really, I need someone to tell them. They still wake up super early during the summer, and I’m trying to convince them that nothing fun happens until after 10 a.m. so it’s okay to snore away.

Takeout. My kids love ordering takeout and bringing it to a park. We try to do this at least once a week to change things up a bit from packing our lunches.

Under the stars. Spend a night star-gazing with your kiddos. Look up some of the constellations and see if you can find any together. If you have a trampoline, try laying on it at night and looking up at the stars. Vacation. Take a vacation together. This can be a stay-cation if money is tight or it can be a vacation that you’ve always wanted to take. Waterslides. This can be an actual park with a waterslide or it can be a slipand-slide you set up in your backyard. Anything with the words water and slide in it are probably going to be a hit with your kids.

eXplore. Take your kids on a hike and explore the great outdoors. Print out a scavenger hunt for your kids and get to it!

Yes day! There is a popular movie out right now with this name and the idea is to say yes to everything your kids ask you to do. I have actually tried this but my twist on it is this…I say yes to everything (within reason). The whole idea has gotten quite funny but we have a good time with it.

Zippity-doo-da! Go on a walk. My kids and I love to take our dogs Tommy and Conner for walks around our neighborhood. It’s fun and also a great way to meet your neighbors.


mental health column

By Brad Ridenour

Exercise Your Way to Good Mental Health

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id you do a double-take when you read the article’s title? Exercise!?! (I hear some reader’s sound like former NFL coach Jim Mora when he reacted to a question from a reporter about playoffs. “Playoffs!?!... you kiddin’ me?”) For some, the mere mention of the word “exercise” induces a stress reaction; those who wonder how it is possible that exercise could be beneficial to mental health. Please read on. The link between physical health functioning and behavioral health is well documented. A sobering fact is individuals with chronic mental health and substance use problems die 25 years younger than the average population. While it is true that some of this difference in life expectancy is

Now, how is it that good physical health improves mental health functioning? Aerobic exercise, the kind of exercise that gets one’s heart rate up for a period of time, does two amazing things for your body.

due to the prevalence of suicide and drug overdoses, these causes of death account for only a fraction of the life-expectancy age discrepancy. So, how is it poor behavioral health is taking so many lives prematurely? Consider these common examples that lead to early death:

1. Chronic anxiety often leads to high blood pressure a factor which contributes to heart disease.

2. Depression is often associated with low energy, reduced/slowed movement and increased appetite. This trifecta of symptoms often leads to being overweight/obese which contributes to Type II Diabetes.

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Exercise causes the release of feel good chemicals that also help reduce pain. Some long-distance runners speak of a “runner’s high.” It is the flow of endorphins and endocannabinoids that bring the runner to this point. Exercise decreases the production of cortisol and other hormones involved in stress reactions. In combination, the increase of the “endos” and decrease of stress hormones helps to elevate overall mood.

YOU ARE VALUABLE. You deserve to give yourself the longest, happiest life possible; exercise is one of many self-help tools you can use to give yourself just that.

CC ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 39


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For the love of learning Local teachers collaborate on resource material development Story by Melonie Roberts

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f the year of COVID has taught us anything, it’s that people will adapt to meet any challenge. This is especially true for educators and parents tackling a variety of remote learning hurdles for their students who are homeschooling. However, thanks to a group of teachers from the Mt. Vernon School District, there are a number of resource materials now available at the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library to help parents and educators bridge the learning gap that may come with remote learning.

The authors, who average 30 years of teaching experience, are: Schyrlet Cameron, a retired elementary and middle school teacher; Suzanne Myers, a school library media specialist; Carolyn Craig, an elementary and middle-school teacher; Janie Doss, who has worked in both private and public elementary and middle schools; and Sherryl Sautee, who has worked as a teacher for grades 1-12. Together, they have collaborated on compiling more than 50 educational resource books covering the topics of mathematics, the sciences, language arts, social studies, history, and government. The books are available for check out, or parents may make copies of the workbook pages. “I work with several parents who homeschool,” Cameron said. “I know the struggle many parents have finding the right teaching materials or ideas. These resource books are ideal for home school and virtual learning.” There are three types of resource books available. Each focuses on a subject in which students are introduced to a skill, shown how to use that skill and then are challenged with a performance task to demonstrate mastery of that skill.

Schyrlet Cameron is one of five educators who have collaborated on more than 50 educational resource books that parents, students and teachers can check out from the library to use.

Interactive notebooks allow students to cut out information on a topic and match it to a graphic on a page. Once completed, the notebook serves as a study guide for testing. “Every subject is covered,” Cameron said. “When we first started writing these books, the first one was accepted by the publisher. That usually doesn’t happen. We continued writing and compiling research and tried to finish a book every two months, for a total of six to 120 books a year. This just took off.” As teaching styles evolve, the co-authors continue to revise and update the resource materials to meet new educational benchmarks.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 41


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“You have to make [education] interesting,” Cameron said. “You have to make it challenging. While they don’t cover every aspect of every topic, these books help teach the big rocks. Students will continue with the little rocks as they continue to learn.” Through the publisher, Carson Dellosa/Mark Twain Media Publishing Group, resource books have been donated to several schools in southwest Missouri, including Joplin, Miller, and Hurley. “We are looking for schools with limited resources,” Cameron said. The project, which is next set to include a series on United States Presidents, is a labor of love for those involved in the creation of the books. “Anything to keep kids loving school,” Cameron said. “Teachers can use the books however they like, adapting it to their lesson plans as they see fit.” At 71, Cameron is winding down her participation in the project, turning her focus to personal interests, and continuing her fiction writing and traveling with her sister. “I am hoping someone will come in and pick up the torch,” she said. “This is a full time job in its own right. This is such a great project, but it is time for me to focus on my own goals.” Resource materials can be found at the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library and are designed to meet the middle and upper-grade school curriculum. n


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Doing the embossable on Date Night

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his month Date Night found Kat and I embossing leather journals that we will be keeping as a new way to communicate and share ideas. After several months of success with a date night subscription service, we decided to change things up and try a new model, the Adventure Challenge Book: Couple’s edition. The book comes with dozens of mystery dates that we can select at random. Here’s how it works: We open a page that has four date ideas hidden behind a scratch-off window — something similar to lotto scratchers. Before deciding on which date to pursue, we are given a little snippet of information: A title for the date, a cost estimate, a time commitment and a timeframe for the date. For example, a date may take between two and three hours, but if it will have us making stops at local retailers, the book will tell us we must do the date before 9 p.m. The book also comes with an option for a date box that will send the supplies you need for random dates once a month, cutting down on the prep time and eliminating

44 | June 2021

the necessary shopping trip that is indicated on many of the dates. Our first box arrived for a date that can be found on page 17 of the book. “Penny for your Thoughts.” The cost estimate was between $5 and $40 (in line with the cost of the subscription box), it could be done at home at any time and would take between one and two hours. We scratched the window to see what we would be doing with our evening.

Part of our task was to create a collage inside our journals that will personalize them and serve as inspiration when we open them up to write to one another. We were fortunate to have copies of our past Date Night articles, which added a personal touch to our collages.

“Go to a store and each of you pick up a journal or notebook of your liking. Use cutouts from magazine, patches, decals, stickers, stamps, pins etc. on the exterior of your notebook to make it your own. Everything you write in this journal is intended for your partner to read any time they want. So fill it weekly with love notes, encouraging messages, date ideas, things you’re learning about them, etc.” Sounds fun. But we don’t have to make the trip to the store, because all our materials were shipped to us in a date box. We open it up to find two leather journals and an embossing set, glue sticks, a couple stock magazines, scissors and a

scrap piece of leather to practice our nonexistent embossing skills. An additional set of instructions explains how to emboss our new journals and suggests we use the provided magazines (and anything else we want) to collage the inside cover. Kat is over the moon. She mentioned a couple weeks earlier that she wanted to get a leather embossing set to see what she could make. I’m smug and excited — I know a guy who’s been chronicling his date night adventures in a local magazine for the past few months, so I know I can get my hands on some sappy, sincere and personalized collage material for my journal.


date night

By Mike Gervais

This month’s date box included an embossing kit that had us stamping passages onto the cover of leather journals. The idea is that our journals are available for the other to read at any time, providing a new way to communicate and share with each other.

Our next step was to go to work gathering the many keepsakes and photos we’ve collected from our various adventures. I collected past editions of the Connection Magazine for my collage and promised Kat I can replace any magazines I cannibalize for my journal. We find boarding passes from Kat’s trips to Missouri; a play-bill from a trip we took to see three different Shakespeare plays in three days long before we started dating; photos; concert ticket stubs and much more. For me, this trip down memory lane was one of the best parts of the evening. It gave us an opportunity to reminisce about all the adventures we’ve had. As I smiled over the pile of collage material we’d conjured from our closets and desk drawers, I couldn’t help but laugh as Kat started, one by

one, putting them all away because she couldn’t bear to see them mutilated and glued into a journal. From there, I began the painstaking process of deciding what to emboss on the cover of my journal while she started selecting what she wanted to use in her collage. I decided to go with a passage from Shakespeare’s 18th Sonnet: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s Day.” Our first Christmas together, I had purchased Kat a copy of a collection of the Bard’s sonnets, highlighting that entry for her. (Kat and I share a love of Shakespeare: our dogs are named Cordelia and Captain Shakespeare.) Kat selected a passage from the first Date Night article I wrote for Connection Magazine, and again made me promise I would replace the magazine if she cut a piece out of it.

We worked side-by-side as she cut, shaped and glued her collage and I used a small hammer and letter stamps to emboss by journal. Once we finished, we switched tools. The passage she selected for her journal’s cover is a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet” that reads: “The love that consists in this that two solitudes protect and border and salute each other.” I found a photo of the two of us and various phrases, quotes and headlines from our Connection articles to use on the inside cover of my journal. As I reached for the scissors, Kat made me promise that I would replace the Connection Magazines I was preparing to desecrate. Because Kat selected a longer passage, I had finished my collage be-

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 45


fore she completed her embossing, so I had an opportunity to make my first journal entry.

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In addition to the instructions on how to emboss the journals, our date box included a challenge, to put pen to paper each day for the first week, following a set of writing prompts to make sure we develop a habit of writing in the journals. The prompts include describing our partner as a three course meal, describing the time we laughed hardest together and describing the first time we met.

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Our plan is to keep our journals on our respective night stands, in plain sight, for the other to pick up whenever they feel the urge.

We feel like we’ve done enough of these mail-order activities to know when we’ve found a winner and this one hit the mark. We had a fun activity to work on together, we were guided into a sentimental moment that didn’t feel heavy-handed or forced as we poured over our old keepsakes looking for collage materials, and we have an ongoing project to continue writing in our journals, finding a new way to communicate and create memories and mementos that we will have with us for the rest of our lives. n


familiar faces

1

2

3

4

6

5 Ridin’ with Mason Lowe

1. Bryliee Icenhower, Shelby Icenhower, Courtney Bowman, Hadliee Icenhower and Coleen Bowman

The annual Ridin’ with Mason Lowe PBR event was held at Bill Hailey Arena in Cassville.

1

2. Skyler Sims, Raylynn Sims, Bailey Simms and Shelby Deornellis 3. Tonya Lunsford, Aleasha Gilmore and Shayla Smith

4. Ethan Couch, Katelynn Couch and Miller Couch 5. Dani Yockey, Colton Yockey, Chris Yockey and Madison Yockey 6. Rykin Duncan, Mike Fugate, Mathias Duncan and Beverly Fugate

3 Eggs and Issues 1. Murlin Bettinger and Kim O’Neill 2. Kevin Jones, Donna Beckett and Amanda Lee

2

3. Brad Hawkins and Randy Henderson

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 47


Jenkins Bridge

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2 1. Catherine Curtis-Hughes and Barry Hughes 2. Danny Gooch, Jr., and his grandmother, Boni Driskill 3. Carla Lester and her sister, Lynn Baker

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4

4. Lynn Brown and Stormy Brown

Area residents gathered May 8 at Jenkins Bridge, in Barry County, for a fundraiser that included duck races, food and music. The effort is to preserve the Jenkins Bridge, one of the few truss bridges remaining in the area. The structure was built in 1909, and has served not only to connect two pieces of land on either side of the river, but to connect generations to generations of families, as well.

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1. Dan and Debbie Wilson 2. Marsha and Sam Jones 3. Daniel and Ruth Linneman, Marilyn Carey, Judy Kitchen


Food Truck Friday held on May 7 on Front Street in Monett

2

1

3 1. Brook and Micah Eiskina.

4

2. Juanita Marbut and Julie Marbut-Kuhnert.

5

3. Teala and Ryan Stinnett. 4. Donna Cardwell and Rita McKinley. 5. Cheyenne Wright and J.J. Wright.

Dog Jog Dog Jog held Saturday, May 8, at the future Monett Dog Park

2

1

5 1. Riley and Bandit. 2. Brittany Barns and Dixie. 3. Karen Standerwick and Sonja. 4. Brandy Shores with her dogs, Girlfriend and Lucy.

3

4

5. Amber Hoeme and Ruthie ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 49


parting shot

Roaring River photo by Toni Boykin

“The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book — a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day.” -Mark Twain, Two Ways of Seeing A River 50 | June 2021


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ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 51


Profile for Connection Magazine

Connection June 2021  

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