2002 Newsletter Produced By Black Oak Resort
P.O. Box 100 - Oakland, AR 72661 - (870) 431-8363
www.blackoakresort.com - e-mail: vacation@blackoakresort.com

Greetings and Happy New Year
To All Of Our 2001 Guests

Table of Contents:

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Dear Friends,

Welcome to Black Oak Resort!

This has been a very difficult year for us all, and I could not write this newsletter without first commenting on the horrific events of September 11th. The day started for me as it usually does at that time of year, when things are a little slower, by watching the Today Show. I remember that very early in the broadcast, Katie or Matt informed us of breaking news that a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center. The information they had didn't specify what kind of plane, but there was speculation that it may have been a small plane.

At this point, I don't think anyone could even fathom that this was a big jet plane, or that it was anything but an accident. As we sat watching the burning tower, Katie was reporting at the moment, and she said something like, "Oh, here comes another one!" There was a moment of stunned silence, and then, of course we all knew the worst.

I will never forget that moment, or the moment the first tower, and then the second tower collapsed. I felt sick to my stomach, but watched transfixed as they played the tapes of the plane hitting the tower, the subsequent inferno, the collapsing towers, the people running through thick, dark smoke trying to escape with their lives. I finally couldn't watch anymore, and by this time it was about 11 a.m. or so, and I had to do something right then, because the anxiety had built to a point that I could no longer sit still.

The first thing I did was try to reach my son Nick, because he has traveled to Boston on business, and the way your mind works at a time like this is that you HAVE to know that your loved one is safe. I could not get a call through, although I tried countless times. I was also concerned about my nephew Scott, who flies all the time.

Finally, I gave up and got in my car and went to the laundromat. I simply had to keep busy. Somehow, I was able to function. Then, while I was at the laundromat, the strangest thing happened. Connected with the laundromat is a gas station and convenience center. One of the guys who worked there came in and asked me if I needed any gas, because he was going outside to change the pump price. I said, thanks, but I had gas. The next thing I know, every pump is going, and there are lines. Then the police are there directing traffic. It seemed like the end of the world as we know it (which it was). People were reacting in fear, trying to take care of their immediate needs just in case, because none of us knew what would happen next. I later found out that the same thing was happening at local grocery stores, and also banks, where people were withdrawing cash.

The next day, after trying until late into the night, I did reach my son, and he was fine. My nephew happened to be in Sweden when this happened, so he couldn't return home until flights were restored. Over the course of the next few weeks and months, I watched a lot of news.

It takes a while to sort out how you are feeling at a time like this. In the beginning, of course I was anxious. Then I was just terribly sad for everyone that this tragedy touched, and for our country that will never be the same. And for the rescue workers, especially the firemen, who lost so many of their own, and had to face the horror every day. And for New York and our capital.

Then I was angry at the evil that would spawn such an act on innocent citizens of our country. I also found that I loved my country, and felt a surge of patriotism. I had always tried to be a good citizen and vote, and keep up with current events as much as possible, but it now seems that I did all this without really feeling. Now, that's all changed.

We now face a new threat from an army without uniforms and a war without boundaries, fought not only by the military, but by all Americans on American soil. Our sense of security is gone. Although we will resume living our normal lives, somehow we will be kinder to each other, and we will live more in the moment, and we will spend more time with our loved ones. And we will survive even this.

Michael and I hope that all of you are well, and that we will see you this year, and continue to try to get our lives back to as normal as possible in these trying times.

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Come see us in 2001!Reservations for 2002

If you have an unconfirmed reservation for 2002, please confirm your reservation with a deposit by January 31. All tentative reservations must be confirmed by January 31 so that we know what openings we have when people contact us for reservations. We can confirm your reservation by phone with a charge card. Please call us (870-431-8363). Or, if you like you may contact us via e-mail.

VERY IMPORTANT: IF WE HAVEN'T HEARD FROM YOU BY JANUARY 31 REGARDING YOUR RESERVATION, WE WILL NOT HOLD THE RESERVATION BEYOND THIS DATE.

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Our Year In Review

We had a great year going for us. That, of course changed after September 11. The phone calls stopped. We were very fortunate that we did not have any cancellations. However, our fall business is very dependent on spur of the moment getaway vacations, which just didn't happen. So, business was very slow in the fall of 2001. We're not complaining. Lots of others have a lot more serious problems than that, so we're keeping our perspective. We feel that people will be getting back to their normal lives this year, so we are optimistic about 2002.

Weather. We had a fairly normal year as far as weather goes. Rainfall was just about right, the lake level is right around normal for this time of year. Right now the lake level is 653.6, which is right about normal pool (654). We have had a pretty mild winter so far, with little snowfall and no ice!

Betty with Sam, Abby in the background
Sam and Betty

Dogs. Our dog count is now up to two. We acquired Sam, a 7-year old (about) mixed breed (possibly lab mixed with chow). Anyway, he's yellow and fluffy, fat (80 pounds), a slug dog who doesn't care for cats. He also loves Betty so much, Michael has a hard time getting him out to do his business. Sam just looks over his shoulder to Betty, as if to say "But I want her to take me!" If Betty gets up and walks to the door, Michael can sometimes trick Sam into going out for him.

We got Sam from the Humane Society. A real sad story: He was abandoned in an apartment when his first family moved. He was an older dog, but we were told he was about two. When we took him to our vet, he told us we were scammed, that this dog was at least seven. Sure enough, we looked at his teeth, and they were yellowed and quite worn down. (We kept him anyway, naturally.) Betty almost did take him back because when we first got him, he would go after the cats.

The dogs and cats get along well
Little-Little, Sam, and Abby

Betty called the Humane Society and talked to someone about the problem. They suggested we first try a soft muzzle, and if that didn't work, they would of course take the dog back. (You know what that would mean!) So, Betty got a soft muzzle, and whenever Sam growled or tried to go after a cat, she muzzled him. He hated that muzzle so much (he would immediately hit the floor, all splayed out with his head on the floor, looking so petulant). After awhile, Betty would remove the muzzle. Sam was a very quick study. Now, although he hates the cats still, he won't make a move towards them. He usually just moves far away from any cat that perches near him.

We now love Sam. He's not much of an exerciser (being so old and fat, we guess), but he loves to go on walks with Betty. He just lays down when he gets tired, so Betty can't take him as far as Abby. He's up to about two miles, just don't try to run with him.

Betty and Mike with Abigail

Of course we still have Abby, who is a complete joy. She's our two year old miniature black lab. She hasn't gained an ounce of weight since last year, and is probably about 5 pounds lighter this year due to the fact that she's on the same light diet as our fat Sam, only she gets more!

She also gets a tremendous amount of exercise with Betty this time of year. When Betty does her two miles with Sam, Abby runs free on Ozark Isle. She probably does at least 12 to 15 miles a day. She runs into the woods, but checks back every couple of minutes. She also races up and down the side of the causeway, and that's high! She has also never caught anything! (With the exception of a deer part, usually a hoof or a leg left by the hunters.)

She is also the most affectionate dog we've ever owned. She likes to sleep with us and actually wraps her front paws around us in an embrace, or puts her face right up into our face, and breathes on us. She will French kiss you if you aren't vigilant. You haven't lived until you've slept with Abby!

Cats. Our cat population has dropped by one or two. Little Bit was killed on the road outside our resort last year. It was in the late spring, when the car population really starts picking up, and my cats have been lulled into complacency about cars, since there are normally so few. He was my second oldest cat (after Bat Ears). He was the one who once took a trip to town under the hood of my car, and survived. He was a very sweet, mild-mannered male cat, and we miss him.

We may have also lost Baby-Cakes, another male, who disappeared this fall after another male came around and started fighting with my cats. He may have just been run off. Hopefully we'll see him again.

Jitterbug
Jitterbug

We still have all the others. Jitterbug is our guests favorite, having paid a visit to most every cabin without a dog this year. He tolerates us, but loves all our guests. Little-Little is not so little anymore, as a matter of fact she is my fattest cat. Bat-Ears is getting old, and it looks like we may not have her with us much longer. We also still have Cutie-Pie, Fluffy, Little Cutie, Whiny-Cat, Handsome, Igor, Pinky, Scaredy-Cat, Miss Lily and Blackie. Then there's that stray male cat that comes by and fights with my cats. We're still trying to run him off. Betty's thinking of capturing him and bringing him in and having him neutered. That should solve that problem!

Health Update. So far, so good on the health front (almost). There have been a few things to report.

Betty finally talked Michael into seeing a doctor for a full exam. Michael is basically healthy, so this took some time getting him in. Everything was OK until we got the results of his cholesterol. His total cholesterol was 314! The doctor suggested that he start on Lipitor. Betty thought Michael should first start with a diet and exercise program. The doctor agreed. Well, after a couple of months, the tests were repeated, and sure enough, Michael's cholesterol had gone down, but only to 282, and his good cholesterol had dropped like a rock, so his risk factor was now higher. So, Michael is now on Lipitor!

Michael's polyp
Katie Couric's got nothin' on Michael!

Betty also talked Michael into having a colonoscopy. The experience was not as bad as we'd heard. The worst part is the day before! They did find one polyp, but they removed it and did a biopsy. The result was that it was not malignant, nor was it the type that would normally turn malignant. What a relief! Now, Michael won't have to repeat the test for another 10 years. We encourage everyone who needs to have this test to do it. It's one of the few tests that can actually prevent cancer before it starts. The stool sample test will only detect cancer after you already have it. So, it seems a no-brainer as to which is the best test.

Warning: The final costs with hospital, doctor and lab was about $1,600, which we had to pay ourselves out of pocket, since tests are not covered under our wonderful insurance policy, which now is up to $11,200. We are shopping around, but nobody wants to insure people our age, so we're stuck for now!

Betty had a near perfect year as far as health. That's because she did not have her cholesterol or bowel checked. (Hers is coming this year!) She also just rejoined Weight Watchers. This is good healthy way of eating, and hopefully it'll do some good.

She did have one very scary incident this summer. While driving to town to do laundry, Betty noticed some large raindrops all over her windshield. So she turned on her wipers, but the spots didn't go away! Then it appeared that the rain was coming in sheets, and there seemed to be a fly buzzing by the side of her eye. These visual disturbances continued all day. The next day, she called her eye doctor and reported her symptoms.

He saw her right away, and administered a test that dilates both eyes, and he then checked inside the eye with some very intense light. He couldn't seem to find anything right off the bat, but eventually he spotted something. He then turned off the light and said that he wouldn't have to send Betty to the surgeon. Betty asked him what he found.

He said that it was a vitreous detachment with floaters. It would not go away, but after time, the brain adapts and no longer "sees" these spots and bright flashes. It is just something that can happen in the aging eye, where the connective tissue shrinks, and the vitreous part of the eye pops loose from the back of the eye.

However, Betty suggests that if the same thing should occur with any of you, that you go straight to the emergency room, since these symptoms are the same for some far more serious eye problems that can lead to blindness. Betty was lucky, and she realizes she shouldn't have waited even a day.

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Betty's News

Betty, Herbie and Tub
Betty with her beloved Herbie and Tubalub

Book Reviews, Etc. Betty didn't do much reading this year, much to her dismay. Just a couple of pulp novels, nothing worth mentioning, or maybe she's just too ashamed to say. Anyway, she's currently reading "The Corrections" by Jonathan Franzen. Although not finished, this is one great book, and it's very interesting to a woman about how men think (and act!) about sex. She can't say anymore, you'll just have to read the book.

Basically, Betty has been rediscovering music, since she now has that nice CD player in her car. She is making herself deaf, though. Just some of the stuff Betty's listening to is Russell Watson "The Voice," Neil Young, Billy Joel, Marc Anthony, Santana, Leonard Cohen, Frank Sinatra (the very best), Linda Ronstadt, and a couple of new groups: Dave Matthews Band, Beck, The Cranberries (the lead singer, whoever she is, has a great voice), and even Limp Bizkit's "Chocolate Starfish." Pretty much all of these are very good, except for one (guess which!).

Chicago Marathon. This year, Betty had to travel to Chicago less than one month following the September 11 terrorist attack, so she did so with some anxiety. After all, more than 37,000 runners are gathered in Grant Park, most of them with family or friends at the start area, so with a crowd of probably 60 or 70,000 people, she was concerned about her safety.

But she was not about to let terrorists stop her from the goal she had worked towards all year, especially after dropping out of the race last year. She was determined she would finish, and had done her training and was prepared.

Security was very tight, with every street along the course blocked off, and with huge construction equipment blocking those roads at the start and finish area for extra security. Police were everywhere along the course.

Betty began her run on a very cool morning, so cool that she did not throw off her sweat shirt as she normally does, but tied it around her waist, and then when she got chilly, put it back on. The temperature stayed very cool, and Betty had a very good run. At least up until around 20 miles.

Then she really started to hurt bad in her legs and feet. Her energy was still fine, and she was not out of breath, but the pain just got worse and worse. Though she was not about to quit, she did have to slow down a lot.

One other thing that kept her going was that around the 22 mile mark, she heard on a police car radio that the U.S. was dropping bombs on Afghanistan. (The race was on October 7, the day that we began our attack on Afghanistan.) So that both thrilled and scared her, and gave her an adrenaline boost she sorely needed.

She did finally cross the finish line in a time of 6:17:18, which is her slowest time ever. She was pleased that she could finish, but has vowed that she will not run next year unless she is at least 20 pounds lighter than she was this year. Too much weight is just too hard on her aging body! Plus, she hopes to run in a better time too.

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Mike's News

Michael lost his brother Len (Bob) to cancer on April 25. He didn't have much time. He had been diagnosed only last year. Michael made a trip up to Chicago to see him, hearing that he would not last long. The very day that Michael came home, we got the call that Len had died. He was 66 years old. He had retired from the Air Force after 30 years. He leaves his wife, Judith, three grown daughters, Catherine, Sandy and Corine, and a young son, Joe, who will be 17 on January 28th. We did make the trip once more to his funeral. He is buried in Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois.

Betty has been telling Michael that he needs to stop and smell the roses, since he is getting older, and boy has he taken her advice! He has taken up golf, and regularly golfs once a week. He also bowls, but he said this will be his last year, mainly because he would rather golf (or fish), but also because it is so smoky in the bowling alley during league play.

Now his newest interest is shooting guns (he calls it sporting clays or skeet). The only thing Betty objects to is the cost of his toys, not to mention memberships in gun clubs, golf course fees, shooting fees, etc. Michael tells Betty that these are necessary business expenses, so he can take our guests along on these outings. So bring your golf clubs, and maybe even your guns, and go out and play with Michael.

Michael was just reelected as fire chief for our Oakland Volunteer Fire Department for another four years. This term marks his third term. Last year, our department reduced its fire rating (ISO) to a Class 6. This year, Michael plans on lowering that rating to a Class 5.

Thank you all again for a very good year. We're looking forward to the coming year and seeing you all again in '02!

Signature - Mike and Betty Scrima

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In Memory

In MemoryWe lost a good friend this year, Jerry Logan of Naperville, Illinois. Jerry and his wife Joanne came to stay with us every year for the past 10 plus years. Last year was the first time they didn't make it. Jerry had non-Hodgkins lymphoma since 1997, and he was getting ready for a bone marrow transplant. He was not able to travel. Jerry passed away October 11, 2001, after a brave and valiant fight to live. He was 55. He had just retired in June of 2000.

Jerry Logan
Jerry, his scotch, and his cigar, looking very relaxed in our tub!

Jerry loved life. He was a gentle, patient man, who very much reminded Betty of her father. He loved his wife, his animals, his job as a public policy specialist for Ameritech. He loved fine cigars (or any cigar, for that matter!), and good Scotch. Jerry and Joanne never had any children, but they had many, many animals, and took in strays. As a matter of fact, they took in a stray dog from right here in Oakland that they named Gypsy, who was a particular favorite of Jerry's. They also had Jack, a big lovable Golden Retriever, and their newest dog, Patches, a Blue Merle Australian Shepherd. They also had cats too numerous to mention. I think they had 6 at last count, one named Braveheart from our own Gravel Gerty's litter here at the resort, and his special soulmate cat, Socrates.

He also loved to write. His story about his encounter with a duck here on Bull Shoals Lake gives us a glimpse of the man, so we've included it, along with a great shot of Jerry relaxing in one of our hot tubs with his beloved cigar and scotch.

He also loved fishing and golf, and planned to retire here in Arkansas. He never got to realize his dream. He taught many of our customers the finer points of fishing with downriggers, and could cook those fish as well as catch them. He made a fantastic coating for fried fish.

Many of our guests got to know and love Jerry and I know they will miss him, especially his sense of humor, his willingness to help others, and his love of life.

Jerry's ashes will be scattered over Bull Shoals Lake at a future date.

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2001 Fishing Contest Results

Last year more contest winners (four) caught their fish in June, which is a switch from May the previous year. Following June, April and May each had three winners; then July, August and September each had one. How's that for a nice spread?

As always most of our contest winners (seven) are from our home state of Illinois. Do you think we're feeding them classified fishing secrets? No way, they're just that good! Missouri is moving up on Illinois with three winners, and Arkansas had two winners. And Nebraska had a showing this year with one winner.

Tasha and Carol on the lake
Tasha Forrester and Carol Vinson are winners!

The women continue to win, this year with three winners. And we had three young winners: Travis Bewley (a mere 13), Jason Saager and Eric Immke. Both Jason and Eric are grown up now, but we still think of them as young since we've known them since they were boys.

And lots of repeat winners: Mike Purifoy is back! As well as Mike Philipps (in two categories), Todd Eckert, and Carol Vinson. And Tasha Forrester, as well. (Oh, cancel that, I don't think Tasha ever actually won until now. But now she did, and she didn't even have to tie with anyone!)

We also have our catch and release fishermen who we appreciate all the more: Mike Philipps, Carol Vinson and Tasha Forrester.

What our contest doesn't show is how many fish we're catching. The smallmouth fishing continues to be excellent to super, especially in April and May. Also our walleye fishing was the best ever this year. What's happening is the walleye being caught in May and June is getting as good as the smallmouth fishing in April and May. In June and July walleye were still being caught in abundance by trolling and downrigger fishing. The rainbow trout has fallen off simply because the stocking program has changed to favor the walleye. To be honest, we really prefer the walleye. Again this year, these hybrid stripers keep popping up in our contest, even though they've never actually been stocked. (Go figure!) No records this year, maybe next year. Don't forget about downrigger fishing either. It is very successful all summer long, and you get a nice cooling breeze at the same time. Talk to Michael before you come down if you'd like to give it a try.

Our contest winners will receive a 10% discount off their cabin this year. Congratulations!

Walleye
8.2 pounds
Mike Purifoy
Marion, AR

June 6, 2 a.m.
Calm, Full Moon, Clear, Warm
Casting
Pumpkin Seed Gitzit

White Bass
2.7 pounds (tie)
Travis Bewley
Atkins, AR

July 2, 6 a.m.
Calm, Warm, Sunrise
Downrigger 50 ft.
Blue & Silver Pro Spoon

Heather Klein
St. Charles, MO

Sept 17, afternoon
Jigging (spooning)
1/2 oz. Chrome Spoon

Crappie
1.8 pounds
Alex Kazmerczak
Oak Lawn, IL

May 8, 10:30 a.m.
Clear, Sunny, Hot
Live Bait 40 feet
Nightcrawler

Rainbow Trout
1.9 pounds
Jeff Cheuvront
Lincoln, NE

June 11, 8 a.m.
Clear, Calm, Warm
Downrigger 45 ft.
Blue & Chrome Pro King

Bluegill
0.7 pounds (tie)
Jim Griffiths
Joliet, IL

April 20, 10 a.m.
Very Windy, Overcast, Mild
Green Grub/Black & Red Flake
15 feet off the bottom

Mike Philipps
Davis Junction, IL

May 18, at dawn
Calm, Overcast, Warm
Minnow
Catch and Release

Hybrid Striper
9.3 pounds
Todd Eckert
Buffalo Grove, IL

April 18, 7 p.m.
Calm
Casting 10 feet
Black & Pink Jig-n-Minnow

Largemouth Bass
4.2 pounds
Mike Philipps
Davis Junction, IL

May 16, Dawn
Calm, Warm
Casting
Green Chug Bug
Catch and Release

Smallmouth
3.3 pounds
Tasha Forrester
St Charles, MO

June 7, 12:15 a.m.
Calm, Full Moon, Cloudy, Warm
Casting
Green/Purple Flake Gitzit
Catch and Release

Kentucky Bass
2.7 pounds (tie)
Jason Saager
Ottawa, IL

April 9
Casting On Bank
White Rattle-Trap

Carol Vinson
St Charles, MO

June 7, 3 a.m.
Calm, Full Moon,
Cloudy, Warm
Casting
Smoke/Purple&Red
Flake Gitzit
Catch and Release

Catfish
5 pounds
Eric Immke
Pontiac, IL

August 17, 9:30 p.m.
Clear Night
Magic Bait Beef Blood


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"Best" Area Restaurants

New Restaurants:

  • NY Steamers, Mountain Home: "Hot" subs, open lunch and dinner, 7 days

"Best" List of Area Restaurants

PLEASE CHECK WITH US BEFORE YOU GO OUT TO ANY OF THESE RESTAURANTS. Find out in advance if we still stand behind these recommendations, and be sure to find out the days and times the restaurants are open, and whether or not reservations are recommended. Also, find out if they serve liquor and if a membership is required. Things could be mighty different than what you're used to.

Best Appetizer: 178 Club (Potato Skins), Bull Shoals

Best Atmosphere: Chelsea's, Mountain Home

Best Bar-B-Que: Couch's

Best Breakfast: Th'Barn Café (by far!), Oakland
Couch's Bar-B-Que, Mountain Home

Best Buffet: The Front Porch (Daily), Yellville
Bodo's Italian and Seafood Restaurant, Mountain Home (lunch only)

Best Entertainment: Hopper's Dinner Club, Mountain Home (dancing and drinks)

Best Hamburger: The Top Kat, Stateline, Missouri
The Back Forty, Lee's on the Mountain Home Square (lunch Mon. - Fri. only), Mountain Home

Best Italian: Dino's, Bodo's, Mountain Home

Best Lunch: Eclectic Eggplant, NY Steamers, Mountain Home
Sodie's, Flippin

Best No Smoking: Couch's Bar-B-Que (lunch, dinner, and the best breakfasts too!)

Best Oriental: Blossom Cafe -- all fresh ingredients and not overcooked! Vegetarian dishes plus Oriental and American beer and wine

Best Prime Rib: 178 Club (Saturdays), Bull Shoals

Best Ribs: Hopper's Dinner Club

Best Salad: Eclectic Eggplant, Dino's, Chelsea's, Mountain Home

Best Seafood: 178 Club, Bull Shoals
Bodo's, Fred's Fish House, Mountain Home

Best Steaks: 178 Club, Bull Shoals
Hopper's Dinner Club, Mountain Home

Best Value: European House, Lee's on the Mountain Home Square (lunch Mon. - Fri. only), Mountain Home
Th'Barn Café, Oakland

Best View: Gastons, overlooking the White River, Lakeview

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Our Plans for the Lodge, or Nevermind

Lodge in ProgressAs many of you know, we have always envisioned having a huge lodge that would serve as our living quarters, plus lots of space for entertaining our guests. Well, each year we have modified our plans somewhat. It now seems that we have just plumb run out of time. Michael is going to be 62 in March and may even start collecting his social security. The rules on this when you have a business may not work, but we're certainly going to look into it. Betty will turn 60 this year (can you believe it?).

We have decided that the lodge is a bad idea at this stage in our lives, even though it is very hard to let go of your dreams. What we will be doing is adding on to the back of our cabin to give us a nice place to live that we will be satisfied with. That's in case we stay here for good.

The other matter is we now are planning for our retirement. Our plan is to retire either when Michael or Betty turn 65. So, that would be in 2005 or later. We do so love our life here at the resort, but we never can tell what the future may bring. One day we may not be able to do all the work (it does get harder as you get older), so we must prepare now.

There are three ways we can accomplish this:

1. Sell the resort as a whole.

2. Sell each cabin individually. This would be a gradual retirement (we are kind of favoring this option, but there is a lot we need to investigate to set this up).

3. Keep the resort, but gradually slow down by not accepting any new guests, or accept only those that were referrals from our existing guests. (We probably would only consider this option if we had a hard time selling the resort to begin with.)

We purchased the land just to the west of the resort (10 acres on Hwy. 202 with lake view) with the idea to keep this land for our retirement, or as part of the resort package if we sell. We also purchased another piece of land (2.5 acres m/l) just up the road on 202, past the round house that we probably will sell (see related article).

Well, that's where we stand as of now. We will be looking for ideas and advice from some of you this year. We will also have a three year plan to make some necessary cosmetic changes to the resort, to make the resort more attractive for potential buyers.

This first year, our primary focus will be to get our fence completely repaired and put back up in some areas. This is a costly undertaking, but after much discussion, most of our guests really want the fence and don't want it torn down. It does greatly add to the feeling of privacy and seclusion.

The second year we will concentrate on the road through our resort. We want to either pave it in blacktop or concrete, and replace some of the sidewalk.

The third year we are going to add some landscaping around the cabins, pool area, and entrances.

We will also be clearing out some of the scrub trees that are impeding our view. We'll probably start this project this winter.

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Improvements in 2001

Resort Improvements.

  • Living roomNew Air Conditioner/Heat Pump in Cabin 7
  • New Water Heater in Cabin 7
  • New Recliners for Cabins 3, 5, and 9
  • New Refrigerators in Cabins 4, 5, and 9
  • New Sleeper Sofa in Cabin 4
  • New Skylights in Cabin 8
  • We put vacuum cleaners in all the cabins
  • We installed new fence around the electric metering equipment coming into the resort

Personal Improvements. Michael got a new used car: a 1992 Honda Civic that he traded a boat for with our nephew Scott. Michael also got a new CD player for his new car, and of course Betty got one for her car too.

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New Fun Things To Do On Vacation

Big Creek Golf and Country Club
Big Creek Golf & Country Club

Michael has been golfing at all three of our 18-hole golf courses: Big Creek Golf & Country Club, Twin Lakes Golf Course and Rivercliff. Both Big Creek and Twin Lakes are in Mountain Home, while Rivercliff is on the White River in Bull Shoals. We are arranging special pricing for our guests. Check with us before you go golfing, but by all means bring your clubs, or better yet, go golfing with Michael, since he is going once a week now anyway.

Rivercliff Golf Course offers golf in the shadow of Bull Shoals Dam
Rivercliff is on the White
River in Bull Shoals.

Twin Lakes Golf Course offers 18 holes in Mountain Home
Twin Lakes Golf Course offers
18-hole golfing in Mountain Home.

Michael has two gun clubs (Twin Lakes Gun Club in Midway and Rockbridge Gun Club in Missouri) that you could go sporting clay and skeet shooting with him, so bring your guns! Both clubs have one loaner gun to use if you don't have your own.

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New Products & Foods You Should Try

Have you tried the pre-moistened toilet paper? We were guests of our friends Rich and Jeanette Lee in Florida, and we gave it a try. Wow! This is a great idea, but expensive, so save it for your final swipe!

Our guests Tasha Forrester and Carol Vinson always have us over for dinner. This time they had some crunchy salad topper, aptly named "Salad Toppins" (Garden Vegetable variety) by Mc Cormick. They really jazz up your salad, and add a nice crunch too. They contain sunflower seeds, soybeans, rice, plus some nicely seasoned dried vegetables. You gotta try them.

While perusing the selections for a vegetarian burger at our Harps grocery, a gentleman standing nearby suggested that I try the Morningstar Farms Oven Roasted Veggie Burgers. He said they were far superior to that other brand. I tried ‘em and liked ‘em! Only 120 calories a burger.

The last amazing product is something we're having fun with this winter. It's an indoor/outdoor thermometer with remote sensor placed outside that transmits the outdoor temperature. Both the current indoor and outdoor readings are digitally displayed on the inside unit. It also will give you the minimum and maximum temperatures for the preceding period. You can clear it out every day if you are obsessed. I haven't had time to clear it out, so my readout is maximum 61.7 outside and 71.8 inside, minimum 23.0 outside and 66.0 inside. That's probably for the last couple of days. Notice the huge variation in maximum and minimum outside temperatures! We love this gadget! (More than likely, everybody already has this, and we're the last to get it.)

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Black Oak Resort Policies, Special Customer Discounts & Incentives

We thought that some of you may not know that we have several special discounts available:

10% Repeat Customer Discount. After you have stayed with us once, anytime you return, you are entitled to a 10% discount off your cost of your cabin. Stipulations:

1. Discount applies if we have received your deposit by the end of January of the year in which you have reservations.

2. Discount applies on stays of three days or longer.

3. Discount applies on stays between May and August. Other off-season rates apply for September through April.

4. Discount applies to the cost of your cabin rental only -- not to equipment rentals, merchandise, or licenses.

10% Referral Discount. If you refer a new customer to our resort, you are entitled to a discount on your cabin equal to 10% off the cost of their cabin. This is the most inexpensive way to advertise our resort: word of mouth. This discount applies to any length stay for anytime of year. The only stipulations are that the new guest must have completed their stay at the time we apply your discount to the cost of your cabin. If not, then you will have a credit off on your next stay. Only one discount can be given on any new customer. Also, this discount applies to repeat customers only.

Note: In order to qualify for these discounts, we must have you on record as a repeat customer. If we have no way to verify that, then you would be required to provide proof. Of course, we know most of our repeat customers, but if you are part of a large group in one cabin, then we may not have your name recorded. Make sure that we get everyone's name when your group arrives.

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Food Ideas/Recipes

Try making garlic mashed potatoes with the skins on. Our guests Tasha Forrester and Carol Vinson served these when we had dinner with them. They recommend the red potatoes for this. Very good!

Betty has a food tip for you. Try adding cole slaw mix or broccoli slaw mix to your regular salad as an addition. It adds a nice crunchy texture, plus it ensures that you get your cruciferous vegetables, which nutritionists recommend highly.

Recipe of the Year. This was served by our new friend Aileen Cochrane for an Italian dinner she fixed for us this summer. She's a wonderful cook, and a delight to know. Plan this for a wintry day. Serve this as a first course or even as a main course, it's that hearty.

Tuscan Sausage and Bean Soup

1 1/4 cup dry great northern beans
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
4 cups cold water
1/3 cup dry red wine or water
1 14-1/2 oz. can whole Italian-style tomatoes, cut up
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1 14-1/2 oz. can beef broth
1/2 of a 10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach
1 medium yellow summer squash or zucchini, sliced (2 cups)
Grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 lb. Italian sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch slices

The night before: Rinse beans. Soak beans in water in a covered container overnight. In a 3 1/2 or 4-qt. crockery cooker combine the undrained tomatoes, beef broth, summer squash or zucchini, Italian sausage, onion, wine or water, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Cover and chill overnight. Place the package of spinach in a bowl and chill overnight to thaw.

The next morning: Drain beans and rinse thoroughly. Add to the tomato mixture in the crockery cooker. Cook, covered, on high-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or low-heat setting for 11 to 12 hours or 'til beans are tender.

To serve: Squeeze excess liquid from spinach. Stir spinach into soup before serving. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Makes 4 or 5 main-dish servings.

This is a great soup. I would make a meal out of it with some garlic bread, a glass of cold milk and a salad. I'm sure you could make this without a crock pot; you could just get to eat it sooner.

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Lakefront Property for Sale

Lakefront property for sale in Oakland, ArkansasWe are selling a piece of property that is located about 1/4 mile west of Black Oak Resort on the north side of Hwy 202. Those of you who have been here, that's between us and Th'Barn Café on the same side of the road as the resort. The property is next to the round house, and has a year-round lake view. It adjoins the Government Strip (lake frontage). It is approximately 2 1/2 acres that slopes gradually downward from the road. The land is partially cleared (enough for a home site with lake view) and has passed a perc test for putting in a septic system. The rest of the property is wooded. If you are interested, come down and take a look. We think it's going to make someone a perfect site for their future home. Priced at $29,500. Call us for more info.

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Antique Car For Sale

1965 Ford Mustang for sale1965 Ford Mustang, V8, Poppy Red with White Vinyl Top, 2-door Automatic, Excellent Condition, Can Be Driven Home. Start the bidding at $12,000. Owner has right to refuse bid.

This car is owned by Junior and Geraldine Queary (Gerry works here). You know cars in the South hold up much better than in the North. No salt on the highways here! And Gerry is a clean freak, so you know that the car has been meticulously cared for.

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The Saga of Daisy

By Jerry Logan

It had been an unusually hot day and I was glad to see the sun on the down hill side of noon. I had been trolling most of the day for White Bass on the western end of Bull Shoals Lake. Bull Shoals is located in northwestern Arkansas, just north of Mountain Home, Arkansas. This is in the heart of the Ozark Mountains and just about my favorite place on earth.

Bass boatAs I was saying, I was looking forward to the sun getting lower in the sky and cooling things off a little bit. The fishing had been slow that day and I was taking advantage of the lull to observe the beautiful scenery which is so much a part of the Ozark Region. As my mind was wandering, I noticed a patch of bright white floating on the water about a half mile ahead. My first thought was that it belonged to some fisherman who had been "jug fishing." (For the uninitiated, jug fishing is a method used by some cat fisherman that involves a plastic jug, hook and line, and cut bait. These are released at night and picked up the next morning. It's fairly successful but not much on the thrill of the catch, although it can be fun to watch someone trying to catch a plastic jug racing across the water. The fish are usually a little more maneuverable than the "john boat" chasing it.) I didn't pay too much attention to the white patch but it did keep popping into my line of sight because the color didn't fit in with the colors of the landscape.

As I got closer I noticed it was a domestic duck, large and white, you know, the ones who can't fly. I mentioned to my wife that she should take a look at the big white duck. We both wondered how the duck had gotten so lost. I was about eight miles from my home base (resort) at that time. Just as I was about to continue on my way, the duck spotted my boat. Well, you would have thought the duck was being chased by the devil himself the way that duck took off. He was quacking and going so fast he was actually walking on top of the water. Now I've seen this kind of behavior before but the ducks were wild and going the other way. This duck was heading straight for my boat.

The duck kept coming and I was becoming somewhat concerned since I was fishing, to be more specific, trolling. I had my down riggers out with two lures on each, the planer boards were out with two lines and there were two dipsy divers (don't ask) out with two lines. Needless to say, it was quite an obstacle course for anyone, much less a duck. Well my yelling didn't slow him down any because he kept right on paddling furiously right through the maze. Now I don't know how a duck screams for help but I bet it sounds a lot like the sounds that duck was making as he negotiated the course. He paddled right to where I sat and wanted me to pick him up. I resisted but when he nearly became entangled in the down rigger I reached over and lifted him into the boat. Well, talk about relieved, that duck settled right down between my legs under the steering wheel and started to cuddle. As it turned out he was a she (no wonder she didn't listen when I yelled). She was shivering so I covered her with my fishing towel and she nearly went to sleep.

I continued to troll and she was no trouble as she continued to huddle under the steering console. I don't know how many of you are familiar with ducks but they are known for the speed of their digestive tract, consequently she left several deposits under the console that I found later.

A couple of hours later, I decided to call it a day and pulled in all my lines and headed back to the resort. Now I know what you are thinking, but there was no way I was going to adopt that duck and her digestive tract, period. But I did have a plan.

When I got back to the resort and docked the boat, one of my buddies asked how I did that day. I said "I caught six bass and a duck." He said "What"! I repeated "six bass and a duck." He came over to my boat and said "I thought you said a duck" and then he noticed the duck and said "Holy S---!!!, you have a duck in your boat." I said, "That's what I've been trying to tell you." So I lifted the duck onto the dock and she stood there while I grabbed my gear. As I went to the van she flapped along behind, hurrying to keep up. I loaded the van and went back to clean the bass. She followed along behind quacking quietly. My buddies thought this was pretty funny. I laughed too and took one of their beers. I could keep that trade up as long as they could, i.e., laughs for beers.

As I was cleaning the fish, my wife took Daisy (my wife named her; I suggested Matilda . . . the duck's name is Daisy) up to the resort to tell the owner of the resort we had found a duck. The owner was skeptical that we had found a white duck and went out to the van to see for himself. Meanwhile, Daisy had moved from the floor to sitting behind the steering wheel. The owner, Mike, yelled back to his wife that not only had we found a white duck but she was driving the van. Mike said that it would be all right to leave the duck down at the boat dock. Mike said he would call her his dock duck.

By the time my wife had returned to the van any thoughts she may have had about keeping the duck had faded considerably due to the active digestive tract I told you about earlier.

She decided then to find some food for Daisy and get her back down to the dock as soon as possible. Daisy ate some leftover grits I had made earlier that morning. She loved them almost as much as I do. Well, Daisy then settled in for the night, warm and no longer hungry. She slept on the dock that night.

We went to bed that night and was surprised to find that Daisy had not only survived the night (coyotes in the area) but was hungry again. We cleaned off the dock (remember), fed her some dry bread and prepared to go fishing.

As we pulled away from the dock, Daisy jumped into the water and began paddling furiously to keep up with the boat. As I picked up speed she turned back to the dock. She was waiting when we returned later in the day. She maintained this routine for the rest of the week. The only thing I can figure is that she recognized the sound of the boat because she would even meet the boat late at night.

I talked with Mike a few days ago and Daisy is doing just fine. She is making lots of new friends and everyone is bringing her snacks on a daily basis. She is adjusting to her new home and learning to survive just fine.

I told this story to my cat Socrates and he said I should have brought the duck . . er . . Daisy back to live with us. Then he got a certain yearning look in his eye. I wonder what that could mean?

More, later.

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If You're Considering Retiring or Relocating

Bull Shoals Lake in the Arkansas OzarksWe know that many of you love this area so much, you move in! Jim and Vicki Jensen, both realtors with Larry Black & Associates, Inc. in Mountain Home, are your best real estate contacts! Jim and Vicki live in Oakland, so they know all there is to know about the area, and would be glad to talk to you. They can be reached at the office (877) 425-9898, or at home (870) 431-8355. Or you can visit their Web site: www.larryblackandassoc.com.

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Our Web Site

Our Web site is updated often, so if you haven't checked it out lately, you might want to take a look at it.

It has every fishing contest result going back to 1991, and shows the biggest fish ever caught at Black Oak in each category. It also has all the recipes published in past years' newsletters, as well as the complete newsletter from every year. So it's loaded with information.

It has a section on subscribing to our e-newsletter. It also has a section for inquiring about available dates for reservations.

Also, please visit our Favorite Links page, where you'll find restaurants and things to do in our area, as well as informative Web sites such as the Arkansas Web site. You may also set up a reciprocal link with our Web site.

We also encourage you to send us your photos for inclusion in our e-newsletters. Please provide caption information in detail!

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Black Oak Resort
P.O. Box 100
Oakland, Arkansas 72661
(870) 431-8363
E-mail: vacation@blackoakresort.com

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