Greetings and Happy New Year to All of Our 1999
In keeping with all the hoopla generated by the coming new
millennium, we want to join in the celebratory spirit and wish
you all the best in the year 2000 and beyond. We thank you for
helping us succeed in doing what we love. There is nothing greater
than truly loving your job!
in Review... Trials &
...Big Brother Is Watching
As many of you know, working with any government agency
and its attendant bureaucracy can be a nightmare for small business.
They make nothing easy! Everything is complicated beyond belief.
As all of you taxpayers know.
We had an experience with the Arkansas Department of Pollution
Control and Ecology, which is now changing its name to the Arkansas
Department of Environmental Quality (imagine the cost to taxpayers
to implement that change!). This department operates under the
guidelines as set forth in federal legislation (EPA). So, we
had a double layer of bureaucracy at work.
To be honest, this agency did a pretty fine job in implementing
the regulations. The only problem, was that because of time
deadlines, the final cost to us was probably twice what the
cost should have been.
To explain, we had two underground gas storage tanks when we
bought the resort. We used one for gas for our guests, the other
we leased to the school for their buses. The regulations required
that the tanks be out of the ground by December 22, 1998.
The company removing the tanks had to apply for a time extension
because of the backlog of tanks they had to remove. We were
not allowed to buy gas for our tank or pump gas after this date.
We finally got our tanks removed and an above-ground system
installed in July, 1999. Our cost: Around $9,000.
We'll never recoup this cost in the price we charge for gas.
We use gas mainly for our boats, probably around 3,000 gallons
per year. We figure it'll take us 12 to 15 years just to break
even. Many small gas stations had no choice but to go out of
business last year.
But, looking on the bright side, what if they had found a
leaky gas tank when they pulled them out of the ground (they
had an inspector right there on the scene as they were pulled).
Don't think we didn't hold our breath!
Being the animal lovers that we are, we wound up with too
many kittens and not enough takers these last couple of years.
But what to do! We couldn't take the mothers in to get fixed
because the kittens were too small and they were all outside
cats. By the time the kittens were weaned, the mothers were
We talked to our vet, Dr. Bill Presley, discussing several
options. None seemed workable. Finally Bill came up with a solution:
As soon as the kittens venture out on their own, bring in the
mothers. Bill assured us that the kittens would hide themselves
until the mother returned, and would be none the worse for it.
Although skeptical, we tried it with Gravel Gertie first (she
being the most prolific). And darn if it didn't work fine!
So began the task of getting every mother cat into Dr. Bill.
Next was Cutie Pie, then Igor, then Scaredy Cat, then Whiney
Cat. As far as we know, we didn't lose a kitten. We had two
males (Little Voice and Pinky) neutered also, because they started
battling. By this time, we took a little breather before tackling
the kittens. We were able to get two of the kittens adopted.
One of our young guests, Miss Carmen Conley, adopted one...thanks,
Carmen! As of today, December 10, we've spayed every single
female and neutered several males! The grand total: 17 cats.
By the way, Dr. Bill gave us a break on the cost, throwing in
a few for free, and not charging for anesthesia, antibiotics
or boarding. Dr. Bill is the best!
Of course, that's still too many cats. One of our neighbors
wants to take one or two cats when they return from a trip.
And all of you are welcome to take one or two. They are all
very beautiful, each with its own personality. By the way, we
have no mouse problem at Black Oak!
We feel that if nothing else got done this year, this was
a major accomplishment in itself!
By the way, for all of you who bonded with Jitterbug, he misses
you all; no one to hang out with these days. He's turned out
to be the most beautiful, big, long-legged, tuxedo cat, with
the most personality and smarts of any cat we've seen.
We were half-expecting to lose one of our old dogs, and
it happened this August, when we lost our dear devoted Grant.
He was 13 years old, and had fluid building up around his heart.
There was nothing that could be done. We kept him going on lasix
for awhile, but it soon lost its effectiveness. At the end,
Grant was suffering, and we had to take him in to be put to
sleep. Grant was our junkyard dog, and was such a devoted pet,
always good natured and loving, and he gave us great comfort
after losing Herbie last year. Grant was the kind of dog that
was everyone s favorite, his tail was always high and wagging.
He was such a good dog, and we miss him very, very much.
Now the only dog we have left is Kala, and she's approaching
15 this January. She sleeps most of the day, and paces a lot
in the evening. She's getting senile. We're going to try a new
medication that's supposed to help cognitive dysfunction in
old dogs. It's very sad to see your dog confused and not able
to respond to you as she once did. We hope this medicine helps.
No seriously bad news to report, thankfully, but we all
have some problems crop up now and then.
Michael didn't have the greatest year. He got very sick in
late May. Being a man, he wouldn't go to the doctor, even though
he was very weak and feverish and sweating profusely each night,
and wasn't eating or drinking hardly anything. Betty kept at
him though, telling him if he didn't at least drink, he would
go into kidney failure. Finally, after 3 or 4 days, he started
to feel a little bit better. On that day, he made an appointment
with the doctor. Betty commented that he was really a wuss,
since now that he was feeling better, he was going to the doctor.
Little did she know, but Michael had passed a little blood in
his urine, but didn't tell her!
So, at the doctor's office, Michael tells Betty she can't
go in with him to see the Doctor and to wait outside. Unbelievably,
Betty dumbly agreed. So, Michael comes clean with the doctor
and tells him everything! It doesn't take the doctor long to
make a diagnosis: a urinary tract infection.
Michael is put on medication to clear it up ($90!). He is also
scheduled for more tests at the hospital to confirm the diagnosis.
The doctor also schedules an appointment with a urologist.
That appointment didn't come until mid-July. At the urologist's,
the doctor explains that urinary tract infections are not very
common in males (interestingly because of the length of their
urethras). So he schedules more tests to check the kidneys for
damage, and a PSA test. That's the one to check for prostate
cancer. Michael hadn't had one for 9 years.
He also schedules a test that checks the urethra and bladder.
This one is done after the results come back on the other two
tests. This last test is really something, but Michael got through
it pretty well. As it turns out, the diagnosis is BHP, or an
enlarged prostate. Michael has to go in and be checked every
year now to monitor the situation, but for now $1,000 later,
Betty now makes sure Michael drinks plenty of fluids, and listens
carefully whenever he pees!
Betty had a good year. Her Rheumatoid Arthritis is under control,
and at her last checkup, her Rheumatologist found no evidence
of joint damage. Betty thinks it's due to her taking fish oil
and her running. She also always takes her medicine!
The biggest problem Betty had this year was an ingrown toenail.
This is nothing to sniff at (no pun intended), which you know
if you've ever had one. It started acting up in February and
kept getting worse until she finally went to see a doctor. He
wanted to remove the nail. Betty asked if he could just cut
the skin around it away so she could keep the nail (very important
to a runner). Well, it didn't work. It just made matters worse
until it finally caused the nail to lift up on its own and relieve
the pressure. As of right now, the nail is still slightly deformed,
but no pain or infection. Betty's advice is to attack the ingrown
nail promptly and you'll miss all the agony! Just be sure not
to cut your toenails too short, cause that starts the problem.
We realize that good health is one of our greatest gifts, and
we hope all of you had a healthy year.
Betty was still hard at her running, even finding fellow
runners among our guests. Dave and Robert Nelson (brothers)
were both training for the Chicago Triathlon. Jim Gorman was
to run in the Chicago Marathon. Hopefully they all did better
than Betty did in this year's Chicago Marathon. She did finish,
but not in the time she hoped for. Her time was 6:06:21, which
is her worst time. She was just coming back from a bad chest
cold, and that didn't help. Plus, she knows she needs to lose
a lot of weight! But she finished, and will definitely be back
for more next year.
Also, a huge thank you to our niece, Romaine Gelsomino, and
son Michael for coming to the race and cheering me on!
Michael stays very busy as Fire Chief for our volunteer
fire department. He also is on the board of the Bull Shoals
Chamber of Commerce, and is their treasurer. He is just now
getting involved in trying to develop a community water system
for our area, and is on that steering committee. He still bowls
on a league, and holds a 185 average. He also plays a lot on
the internet, and since we now have a TV satellite, is kept
busy monitoring what's going on on the History Channel, the
Learning Channel, and the Discovery Channel.
Betty stays busy with her running, and is still on the board
of the Ozark Mountain Region, and serves as secretary, as well
as serving on the Marketing Committee. Betty welcomes any of
you to join her for her morning runs on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday,
or Friday on Ozark Isle. It's our own little piece of paradise
out on Ozark Isle, and you'll love it too!
Of course the resort keeps us extremely busy too, but we do
have the best helpers. Mary, Gerry, Janet and Linda are our
excellent housekeepers, who we could not do without! Al handles
the boats, motors and dock, and whatever else Michael needs
help with. Michael is very happy to have Al. We also have added
John, who does a terrific job on all the maintenance around
the place, which is never-ending.
Thank you all again for a very good year. We re looking forward
to the coming year and seeing you all again in '00.
If You're Considering Retiring
We find that many of our guests visit this area with the intention
of looking for a piece of property or a retirement home, or
perhaps even relocating their families to a cleaner, safer,
more hospitable climate. We can give you lots of tips, so don't
hesitate to ask.
We also happen to have a very close friend,
Vicki Jensen, who is also the best realtor in the area. She
works for Larry Black
& Associates, Inc. in Mountain Home, and is the one to
contact if you would like to be shown the area and what it
has to offer. She is very knowledgeable about the real estate
market. She lives right here in our community, but covers the
entire Bull Shoals Lake, Mountain Home area, and we can personally
guarantee that she is the best person to work with. She can
be reached at her office (Toll-free) at 877-425-9898, or at
home at 870-431-8355. (e-mail: email@example.com).
Call or e-mail Vicki for more information or a free brochure.
of Area Restaurants
We are happy to report that one of our favorites, The Top Kat
is again now open!
Hopper's Dinner Club, Mountain Home
178 Club (Potato Skins), Bull Shoals
Gaston's, overlooking the White River
The Lakehouse Restaurant & Lounge, Gamaliel
Hopper's Dinner Club, Mountain Home
The Front Porch (Daily), Yellville
Bamboo Garden (Daily),
178 Club, Bull Shoals
Reel 'Em In Catfish, Mountain Home
The Back Forty, Mountain Home
The Top Kat, Stateline Missouri
Chelsea's, Mountain Home
Dino's, Mountain Home
The Blossom Cafe, Mountain Home
European House, Mountain Home
Th'Barn Cafe, Oakland
Newest (Still) Restaurants
Tressie's Lone Wolf Cafe (Cajun), Mountain Home
Cafe Santa Fe, Mountain Home
Couch's, Mountain Home
Th'Barn Cafe, Oakland
178 Club, Bull Shoals
Best Prime Rib
178 Club (Saturday night), Bull Shoals
Best Cheese Cake
The Lakehouse Restaurant & Lounge, Gamaliel
Sodie's Ice Cream Parlour, Flippin
From Our Guests
These days, no one has much time to cook, and
it seems that the trend is to eat out more and more. We all
have too little time, but we still need to eat our vegetables.
One of the most versatile is the tomato, and it's also one of
the most nutritious (Lycopene, baby)! This year we have two
delicious recipes, both simple, and both using a prepared salsa
as one of the main ingredients.
Our first recipe comes from one of our very favorite
guests, Joanne Logan of Naperville, Illinois. She usually has
us over for dinner whenever she stays with us. Joanne loves
to try new recipes, and both Joanne and her husband Jerry are
Joanne uses more (one cup each) of red bell pepper,
onion and celery. I'd use olive oil instead of margarine. Of
course, you could substitute red or pinto beans easily in this
recipe. Also, to make it more nutritious, you might use brown
rice, adding it before the beans and picante sauce to allow
for the longer cooking time. (I can't seem to resist changing
a recipe!) With bread and a salad, this makes a complete, healthy
cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves chopped garlic
3 tbsp. margarine
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 bay leaf
2 (14-16 oz.) cans chicken broth
2 cans black beans, undrained
3/4 cup Pace Picante Sauce (mild
or hot, to taste)
1 cup instant rice
Saute pepper, onion, celery and garlic in margarine
until soft, about 15 minutes. Add chicken broth, oregano and
bay leaf. Bring to boil; simmer 5-10 minutes. Add beans, picante
sauce and rice. Simmer 5-10 minutes or until done. Remove bay
leaf. Serves 4. Yum!
- Salsa Chicken
Our second recipe is from Richard and Phyliss
Scrima of Mt. Prospect, Illinois. Yes, that's Michael's brother
-- a little nepotism here. It's one of the simplest recipes
to make, and takes very little time to prepare. It uses the
leanest meat and of course, salsa!
Nothing could be simpler, but this dish is so
good! Richard uses a little more chicken, because it seems to
shrink. Although I normally like spicy dishes, I found the hot
salsa a little too hot for this recipe. Abandanza!
4 boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-1/2
1 medium to large jar salsa (mild to hot, depending on taste)
4 cups cooked rice
Brown chicken in non-stick skillet until no longer
pink and lightly browned. Add salsa. Simmer 10 minutes, until
bubbly and chicken is cooked through. Serve over hot rice. Serves
We were greatly saddened to hear of the passing of two of our
very favorite guests over the years.
Donna Letman passed away at her home in Hoffman Estates, Illinois,
on January 18, 1999, losing her long battle with cancer. Donna
and Mike Schroder were our guests every spring for many years.
We used to always tease Donna about whether she and Mike had
married yet. We thought they made a great couple, Donna so neat
all the time, and Mike, always fishing and sweating profusely.
Mike always fished in the mornings by himself, but Donna would
always accompany him every evening. (I don't think she felt
quite the same as Mike did about fishing, but she never ever
complained.) Mike wrote a beautiful tribute to Donna in his
note to us. We know Mike misses her terribly, but Mike was with
her til the end, and that must have meant everything to Donna.
We were very fond of Donna. Our sincere sympathy to Mike.
Bill Klindera of Bixby, Oklahoma, passed away in May, 1999.
Bill and his wife Gisella stayed with us every year, and Bill
had scheduled a visit at the very time he died. Gisella called
to cancel their reservation due to Bill's illness. He had to
have his leg amputated. But then Bill decided he would still
make the trip. But it was not to be. Before he could make the
trip, he passed away suddenly. Bill was a fighter. He was the
only person we ever met that took a vacation that included undergoing
dialysis at our local hospital three days a week. He wanted
to do everything himself, even though his son or Michael would
have willingly helped him. He was fiercely independent. He was
not a well man, but he never complained. Bill and Gisella had
planned to retire in our area. Our deepest sympathy to Gisella
and her family.
- The most important thing that got done this year was finally
paying off our mortgage on Black Oak Resort. Our last payment
was made on July 28th -- Betty's birthday. We had a double
celebration! We still have our mortgage on Black Oak Inn to
pay off, but that's not near as much. This positions us perfectly
to go back to our friendly banker and borrow for the lodge
now. They have already indicated that there would be no problem
in us getting another loan.
- We did have quite an unusual expense this year with removing
our gasoline storage tanks and installing an above ground
fuel storage system (see related story).
- We also have contracted the services of an architect to
design our lodge. We are coming along nicely, and have finished
the basic floor plan design phase (see
- We purchased a new 60 HP motor for our Mag-17 Bass Tracker.
- We purchased a new queen sleeper sofa and Lazy Boy recliner
for the deluxe 1-bedroom cabin (#4).
- We installed new sliding glass doors in Cabins 6 and 7.
- We purchased new 25-in. color TVs with remote for Cabins
3 and 5.
- We installed a new water heater in Cabin 6.
- We installed a water softener and chlorinator at Black Oak
Inn. We also installed vertical blinds in all units at Black
Coming in 2000
lodge plans are well underway. We've hired an architect, and
are making good progress. We've finished the initial design
development phase. The main floor plans are pictured here, and
we'll be bringing them to the Chicago Show in January. The lodge
will be three levels:
- Reservation check-in
- Gift shop
- Dining/Conference Room (seats 60 with round tables; more
with long tables)
- Food Service area
- Fireplace, Big Screen TV
- Deck with BBQ (lakeside)
- Manager's Apartment
- Laundry facility (open to guests)
- Workout facility (free weights, bench, exercise videos,
treadmill, universal gym equipment)
- Vending machines
- Tornado shelter
- Four-Bedroom Penthouse: Panoramic lake view, Deck, BBQ,
Master bedroom with whirlpool bath and shower, 3 additional
bedrooms, Second bath with tub and shower, Greatroom (includes
living room and kitchen and dining area). King-size bed in
each bedroom. Two sleeper sofas in living room. Sleeps up
- Two-Bedroom Penthouse: Lake view, Deck, BBQ, Master bedroom
with whirlpool bath and shower, Second bedroom, Second bath
with tub and shower, Greatroom. Sleeps up to 8.
The entire facility will be smoke-free. We are looking into
a TV satellite resort package to provide each cabin with at
least one movie channel. The lodge will definitely be hooked
up to satellite. We are also looking at a phone system for the
resort. With the Internet, the demand for phone services has
changed considerably, and just a phone at the reservation desk
won't be sufficient anymore. The total square footage is around
9,000. We were going to put in a bar, but we had to cut something
to keep the project costs down. Maybe later.
We're finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Hopefully, we'll be far enough along when you visit so you can
see it being built. We can't begin taking reservations until
we have a firm completion date. When we do, we'll be letting
you all know. We are hoping to have it started this spring,
or even sooner. We are very excited, and we didn't even fight
that much during the design phase. We're sure that will still
happen when we get down to the details.
Wish us luck!
Each year my customers introduce me to some great
new food products. There were two this year that really stood
The first is Betty Crocker's Roasted Garlic Mashed
Potatoes. Betty used to always add garlic to her mashed potatoes,
but these are extremely good, and taste like fresh. No more peeling
potatoes for Betty.
The second product Betty found at the Chicago Marathon
Sports Expo. It's called Fantasia, and they make fresh fruit juices
or smoothies, and it comes in lots of flavors and is all natural.
Betty tried two, and they were really outstanding. One was a soy
cafe mocha flavor (4 stars) and one was called Berry Amazing,
a mix of raspberries, blueberries, and other berries. So good!
Don't know if they're available outside the area, but their number
is 847-671-3990 ext. 45. Try them!
April and October were our hottest months for fishing
this year! But our springtime fishing was one of the best years
ever! Most of our guests that come year after year had big smiles
on their faces, and told us the fishing was great this year. The
conditions were right. We didn't have many spring cold fronts
move thru, so the fishing just got better and better.
The husband and wife team of John and Connie North
both won this year for Smallmouth and Kentucky bass. We also had
three women winners. More winners were from Illinois (again).
As usual, most of the winners have fished Bull Shoals Lake many
times. Carol Vinson and Connie North won two years in a row! The
largemouth and smallmouth were larger than last year's winners.
Michael caught a 5-1/2 pound smallmouth this spring, which he
released. Michael did well this year on a smoke with black flake
grub. The lake is very low at this time, around 640. Normal pool
is 654. We are way behind in rainfall for the second half of the
year. But to look on the bright side, that means more fish concentrated
in a smaller area!
All our winners will receive 10% discount on their
cabin, plus a Black Oak cap or T-shirt.