My grandparents left home when I was 19. They were ‘of age’, I couldn’t stop them. They sold their farm and moved to Cabool, Mizzurah.
I never saw them again. Unfortunately, they died shortly after moving there. I always thought they were buried in Cabool until I did some research on the web and talked to my cousin while visiting Back East recently.
It appeared that the graves were actually in Bado, Missouri. Since my trip on The Mother Road would be taking me through Rolla, Mizzurah, I decided to see if I could find the cemetery. Bado, while practically a ghost town, is actually on the map issued by MoDOT. My GPS did not have a listing for Bado so I punched in Houston, MO and rolled out of Rolla on down US63.
US63 is a pretty good road. Most of it is posted at 65 mph and the surface is smooth. There are passing lanes and not too many towns. My plan was to go through Houston, hit MO Z and head west to Bado. Z, YY to M and there is Bado. At least, that was the plan. I blew through Bado without so much as a by-your-leave, then came up like a beached whale at Fairview.
Where’s Bado? Like ‘Where’s Waldo’, they musta moved it when I wuzn’t lookin’.
A quick u-ey, a roar of the powerful 3.4 and I’m headed back toward where Bado should be but wasn’t.
Fade back to the Summer of 1965 …
Back in ’65, when we were on Our Own Grapes of Wrath Tour (c), we all came through here in our ’52 Chevy DeLuxe. Five people living in a 2-door car. We were looking for my uncle’s place. He had just recently left the environs of OK City for Mizzurah. Dad stopped at the Post Office ( now the USPS, We Deliver For YOU! ) and got directions to my uncle’s place. Of course, my aunt & uncle had no idea we were just going to crash at their place, no idea we were coming, so we had no real directions. They didn’t have a phone. Come to think of it, it seems like they didn’t have electricity either. This was long before the ‘web, Sonny Boy.
Anyway, this was back in the era when the gas stations gave out road maps. First, though, before they would give you a road map, you had to pass the test by demonstrating that you could fold it back up. You think that’s easy, try doing that with your new-fangled GPS.
Mizzurah completely flummoxed my Dad. Why? State routes in MO do not have a number. The MO state routes are lettered, not numbered. This really threw my Dad. I think he was ready to straighten Missouri out by getting a can of black paint and traveling the entire state, replacing the letters with numbers. Repaint every sign with road NUMBERS, just like every other state used.
Here’s another Buzze Tip – Missouri led the vanguard, even back in ’65 they were into recycling. What did they recycle? The letters that roads were known by! They still do it today!
So you may have a couple of miles of a MO Road known as “H” in the southeast part of the state. A few miles, or 200 miles away, is another MO Road “H” but they have absolutely nothing to do with each other. This really threw Dad. We knew my uncle’s place was off, or should I say on, MO YY. Dad, of course, couldn’t find it. I can see him yet, stopping at every farmhouse in the “Show Me State”, unfurling that MO map and arguing with anyone who would listen. He just wanted to know how “YY” was here, now “YY” appears over there and demanding to know why “YY” wasn’t where. ( That was alliteration, for those of you who are not reading this out loud). After that map was in tatters, our bellies were growling and nightfall had fallen, we finally drove up the washed-out driveway to my uncle’s place.
When he came out and shined a flashlight in the car at us five disheveled, unemployed, hungry Grape-o-Wrath’ers – all my uncle could say was “Dad Gum”.
… Sorry about that, I just got to writing and couldn’t stop. Where was I?
Oh yeah, I had turned the Mystery Montana back toward where Bado was supposed to be.
Unlike Dad, I plan to be out of Mizzurah before nightfall. Learning from Dad’s travels back in ’65, I stopped at a prosperous-looking brick home. Knocked on the door which set the dogs off. It’s Sunday afternoon, they were probably having a nap. The people in the house, I mean, not the dogs. Well, probably everyone, dogs included, was having a nap and I set them ALL off.
“I’m from out-of-state and looking for Bado Cemetery. Hoping you know where it is”.
“Sure do. Just head east, down over the hill. There’s a little crick, Piney or Little Piney. After you cross it, take the little dirt road on the left. Watch out, that little dirt road comes up on you pretty quick after you cross the bridge”.
“Thanks! Sorry I woke you”.
Well, I meant to add “Sorry I woke you”, but it’s too late to go back & wake him up again.
Then, there it was, just like he said. Left on a dirt road. But now what? I’m in the middle of a barnyard and the road forks. I don’t know which fork to take, or if there will be a shotgun poking out of a winder soon.
Then there he is. The Old Guy Working On A Tractor. Every farm has at least one. This one did NOT have a shotgun. Heart drops out of throat, back to more or less where it belongs…
I roll down the passenger winder.
Me: “I’m looking for the cemetery”.
Old Guy: “It’s right up there to the right. Whooya lookin’ fer?”
I tell him.
OG: “I noo’em. Helped dig the graves fer ’em too. That was back before they had the machine ferrit”.
Me: “What about Uncle? Is he buried here too?”
OG: “I noo’im, too. Helped dig the grave fer ‘im too. That was back before they had the machine ferrit”.
Now I’m getting somewhere. Two pitches, two hits.
“G’won up there to the right. I’m airin’ up this tire, then I’ll come up and make sure yuh found it”.
I go up to the right, open the gate and find the graves I’m after; Grandma, Grandpap; an Uncle, Aunt and Cousin.
Just standing there looking down at them. Getting some pictures.
I usually talk to the people I go to see in cemeteries. The words haven’t come yet. Putt putt putt. It’s TOGWOAT coming up on his four-wheeler.
“I see you found ’em. You can drive right in here if you want. Gotta get back to airin’ up that tire”. He putt-putts away, leaving me alone with my family. The words are coming now. “Grandma, Grandpap, sorry it took so long to get here”.
A couple more shots of the graves for location, store the lat/long in the GPS and get a few shots of the church.
Then back through the barnyard. TOGWOAT is there, waiting on the air compressor. “It never shuts off”. I surmise he means the air compressor.
Me: “Mine did the same thing. It’s gotta be from Harbor Freight. Twenty minutes and my new one from Harbor Freight quit working”.
OG: ” I bought it at a sale”.
Me: “I’ll show you what’s wrong with it. We can fix it. It’s the o-ring. Got a Phillips screwdriver?”
OG: “Well, I’d hafta …. go …. look … fer one”.
Me: “Got one right in the back of my car. Gotta crescent wrench?”
OG: “Well, I’d hafta …. go …”
Me: “Nevermind – I’ve got a crescent wrench too”.
I’m pulling the head off the air compressor.
OG: “Can we move over there, outta the sun?”. OG must think I’m slow.
I move. Outta the sun.
Me: “This might be guaranteed for life. If this don’t fix it, try taking it back to Harbor Freight”.
OG: “I bought it at a sale”.
He probably paid more at the sale than a new one would cost.
Me: “Don’t tell them you bought it at a sale. Tell them you don’t have a receipt”.
The o-ring is OK. The reed valve on top of the piston is OK. I’m hoping that it’s just the fact that all the screws were loose on the head. I want to be a hero to TOGWOAT this Sunday afternoon.
The compressor goes back together. I carry it back out into the sun and turn it on.
“He was a good Mason”.
“I didn’t know he was in the Blue Lodge”.
“No, a concrete guy”. OG is talking about my other uncle. “Those people could do anything. They moved in here from, well, I don’t know where and they could do anything. They were always working, they knew how to do anything. Always had work, they could do anything”.
“My uncle was in the Marines, that’s why he could do anything”. I’m waiting for the air compressor to shut off – 40, 50, 60….
…. 100. It’s quiet now. My work here is done. I’m carrying on the family tradition. NOW, I can do anything. I’m a hero. And TOGWOAT knows it too.
I give TOGWOAT a twenty to help with the cemetery upkeep.
“Is it OK to take some pictures of the old general store and the gas station?”
“Ever’body who comes back in here asks to do that”.
Here they are.
Bado survived a flood and a tornado, but not modern times…
Grandma & Grandpap, rest in peace in quiet Bado, Mizzurah.
Thanks for ridin’ along with ol’ Buzze