Another year has come to an end, and it's time to take stock of
the year just passed. We first want to say thank you to all of our
guests of this year. Without you, we would not be doing what we
love so much. That is, looking forward to seeing those guests that
return year after year to Black Oak, who have now become friends.
And then there's the anticipation of meeting all of our new guests
each year; each of which adds something unique to our year's memories.
Some will share our love of this area and what our resort tries
to provide, and they will also become permanent guests of Black
Oak. What other job could be so satisfying? We want to thank all
of you for providing us with such a rich life here at Black Oak
Year in Review... Trials &
We had a somewhat calm year as far as car troubles go. As some of
you know, this has not been the case for some time.
Our 93 Dodge Grand Caravan performed much better than on previous
trips to Chicago. This January we made it ALL THE WAY to Chicago
for the Sports Show without incident...except that just as we were
arriving at our hotel, Michael noticed that the temperature dropped
down lower than it had been all through the trip. It fluttered there,
and then corrected itself to its previous reading. This worried
Michael so much, that later in the week, he took the car in to the
Dodge dealer in Des Plaines (where we always take it). After checking
it out, they replaced the water pump. Can you believe this? We think
we just might have an all-new car by now!
Betty took the Dodge up to Chicago again in October for the Chicago
Marathon. This time without incident. Right now, it's running about
perfect. We hope these aren't famous last words! Michael is talking
about trading it in for next year, but Betty isn't ready to give
it up just yet.
We still have the three old clunkers, which we don't consider road-worthy
for long trips, so naturally we have had zero problems with them.
We hooked up to the Internet in late 1996 and entered cyberspace
for good. Although we are really thrilled to be surfing the net,
we did have a very bad experience. This spring, during a storm,
our phone line was struck by lightning. The results were devastating!
We lost everything but the hard drive and monitor. We lost our tape
drive, zip drive, modem, communications board, motherboard, and
printer. Our phone was fine, but we also lost our charge card modem.
It took us about a month before we replaced it all and got up and
running again. So, take our advice, and disconnect BOTH your modem
and electric during storms. Basically, we want everyone to avoid
our dumb mistakes.
One Saturday night, with 100% occupancy, we left Mary in charge
and went off to a party. Of course, with a full house, we never
stay out late. We arrived home around 10 p.m. and saw a lot of people
outside standing around. We stopped by Cabin 1 and asked our guests
if everything was ok. They said everything was fine, except there
was no water. We then hurried over to the wellhouse, where we met
Al Ing (Mary's husband), and Wendell Barnes. They were trying to
figure out the problem. They had no luck, so we called our trusty
well-man, Bud Bryant. He said he'd be out first thing in the morning.
In the meantime, we had our guests go to Black Oak Inn to get water
and take showers (luckily we had that place)! And luckily we had
such patient, understanding guests, because at a time like this,
there's nothing you can do!
The next morning, true to his word, Bud Bryant showed up and went
right to work. In less than an hour, we had water. The problem:
A little piss ant had wedged his body between two electrical contacts
inside the pump switch, and shorted out the switch, and gave his
life in the process. Bud replaced the switch and left us with the
evidence, which we will save to have as a backup (minus the piss
ant, of course)!
Betty continued running this year and once again ran the Chicago
Marathon in October. This was Betty's third attempt, and having
successfully completed her first marathon the year before, she knew
what she was up against.
Betty was more nervous going out this time, with the foreknowledge
of what lay ahead. Also, the weather was warmer and more humid...not
good for a marathon. So Betty was very happy just to finish, which
she did in a time of 5:59:27, or a pace per mile of 13:42.5. This
was very close to her time last year (6:00:40), but still a slight
improvement. Betty ran with her brother Bill, her training partner,
who finished in 5:12:09. Betty plans to run again next year, and
hopes to keep improving her time.
We still have our two old dogs. Kala will be 14 in January, and
has a little arthritis. Grant will be 13 in April. Both dogs are
about totally deaf, but otherwise doing pretty good, with no major
health problems. Herbie is gone, and cannot
be replaced. We will miss him always.
Michael is still Oakland's Fire Chief, and doesn't seem to be slowing
down. He is also on the board of the Bull Shoals/White River Chamber
of Commerce. He is lending his expertise on the Internet feasibility
study for the chamber.
Betty is a board of director on the Ozark Mountain Region Tourism
Association, serving as Secretary, and also serves on the Marketing
Betty is still running on Ozark Isle four days a week. Michael
walks with her three days a week. She is still hopeful he may someday
want to take up running. And she always welcomes company on her
runs if any of you would like to join her.
Thank you all again for a very good year. We re looking forward
to the coming year and seeing you all again in 99.
In Memory of Herbie
It was fated that Herbie would become my dog.
I first saw Herbie in the newspaper. He was bounding
through grass with a look of sheer joy, and he was a work of art.
The local Humane Society was trying to find him a home, after being
abandoned along a roadside with his mother and litter mate. I showed
the picture to Michael, and asked if he would mind if I called to
see if he was taken yet. I phoned and talked to the director of the
Humane Society. I asked about the dog and she said she still had him.
We must have talked for an hour, just talking about our mutual love
of animals. I didn't realize it at the time, but she was screening
me. At the conclusion of our long conversation, she told me she had
decided to give me the dog, and that she had received more than a
hundred calls about the dog. He was a yellow lab-golden retriever
quickly fell in love with each other. Herbie came along at a time
in my life when I most needed him. He filled a void left in my life
when I moved away from my family and friends in Chicago to our new
home in Arkansas. Michael made the adjustment quickly, but it was
difficult for me. I was lonely for what I'd left behind. I missed
the way our marriage used to be, and I missed feeling important. Herbie
filled that void. Here he was ready to be loved, and to love me back
unconditionally. He was my sidekick, my constant companion. I hated
to leave him, even for a trip to town. And it was the same with Herbie.
When I would return, he would fly at me, kissing me, and even biting
my hand, not hard, but hard enough to let me know that he meant business.
Michael told me Herbie would pout when I left.
Herbie was most happy when he had both Michael and I
around. He loved us both. But he loved me more. He was very possessive
of me, and wouldn't let anyone invade my space. He would place himself
between me and Michael if we hugged. He was so protective, that when
we were in bed, if Michael even started to breathe heavy, Herbie would
jump up on the bed and stand over Michael and growl. We had a cage
next to the bed for Herbie. After awhile, as Herbie got older (and
wiser), at the slightest sign, even before we knew, Herbie would just
go into that cage, and give a big sigh of resignation!
Herbie always accompanied me on my walks and runs on
Ozark Isle. I felt totally at peace and secure with him at my side.
As he got old, he started to have problems with his hind legs. One
day, his back legs started collapsing. It got progressively worse,
until he was finally in a canine cart. The cart was a blessing to
us because it gave us more time with Herbie. He adjusted to the cart
so well, that he would forget it was back there, and try to roll over
and scratch his back, or take off running to chase some dog. At no
time did Herbie lose his dominance over our other two dogs. He was
still the same dog, except he was dependent on us now.
We would have done anything to save our dog. When it
happened, it was so sudden. In a moment, our world changed. We rushed
him to our vet, not knowing if he would make it. The vet sadly told
us that there was nothing he could do now to help Herbie any more.
We stayed with Herbie while our vet gave him his final injection.
We took him home and buried him along our fence in front of our cabin.
How I long to touch him again, to feel his velvety ears, his warmth,
to see the love in his eyes. I am so lucky to have had a loving, devoted,
friend and companion like Herbie. I wish he could have remained by
my side forever.
Fame Has Found Us!
This year Black Oak Resort was featured in an article
on fishing Bull Shoals Lake in the July issue of Midwest Outdoors.
Sportswriter Bob Hendricks and his son Eric spent the better part
of a week with us in early May. We fixed him up with some of Oakland's
best fishermen to show him a variety of springtime fishing available.
Michael also took Bob and Eric fishing, and of course they had their
best day of fishing with him. We also showed Bob around town a bit,
and we believe he had a great time. We thank him for the mention in
his excellent article, which was very flattering, and justly deserved!
For All You Animal Lovers...
And Then There Were Twenty...
Several fertile female cats have been added to our menagerie.
It's not that we don't want to have them neutered. It's just that
you can't take them away from their kittens, and by the time the kittens
are on their own, the mommy cat is already well along on another pregnancy.
And if you feed cats outside, others show up. This year, we had several
litters of kittens born, and not enough takers. However, we did manage
to talk several of our guests into taking some of them home.
Jerry and Joanne Logan, of Naperville, Illinois, took
one of Gravel Gertie's black and white kittens. They have named it
Braveheart, and sent pictures. This cat lucked out, because Joanne
and Jerry love their animals very much, and had already taken in a
stray dog (Gypsy) from Black Oak Resort several years back.
Randall and Tawana Hughes, of Hartville, Missouri, took
a yellow kitten (2nd litter) from Sweet Cakes.
Janice and Mike Maxa from our old hometown of Hanover
Park, Illinois also took a yellow kitten from Sweet Cakes' litter.
Josh and Joanna Johnson of Tulsa took one of Gravel
Gertie s white and grey kittens (2nd litter).
One beautiful chocolate lab puppy was brought to us
by one of our guests. They found him abandoned along the roadside.
We weren't ready to add another dog, so Mary took it home to try and
find it a home. Then, our guests Michael and Carole Wolfe, of Safety
Harbor, Florida, saw the dog and wanted it. We were delighted to find
it a good home.
We are grateful that there are people like you who will
save the life of a stray animal. Our thanks to you all. We hope all
are doing well.
In the last month, we added a grey male older cat, who was just
skin and bones and very sick. He's turning really pretty now and is
starting to put on some weight. He looks like he might be a Russian
Jitterbug is the kitten we took inside when he was
found inside one of our guest's boat hull attached to the end of a
fishing line, complete with hook. We don't know how long he was trapped
inside, but we know the boat was on the lake for 24 hours with him
inside before anyone heard him. His mother disappeared, never to return.
He was very dehydrated and hungry, and we had to keep him indoors
to give him antibiotics after the fish hook was removed. He has mellowed
somewhat, but he was a devil cat at first. We were covered with bites
and scratches, and were ready to give up on him and throw him out.
The dogs were constantly dodging him. He's calmed down
now, and is a very handsome black and white cat. He has turned out
to be quite a cat, with a dynamite personality. Our guests all want
to take him home, but he's one cat we cannot part with. He loves people
and dogs, but hasn't developed any love for the other cats. We especially
want to thank Sarah, Kelsey, and Hannah Wilson, who, through their
constant attention playing with Jitterbug, helped socialize him from
the wild beast he started out to be.
of Area Restaurants
We are sorry to report that one of our favorites, The Top Kat is
now closed. It had great burgers and steaks, as well as lots of
other good food (and drink). We are hoping that in the new year
someone will come along and bring it back to life for us all. Meanwhile,
we still have much to offer, most notably Th'Barn Cafe, which is
only a short walk away from your door. Our guests love this place,
not only for the great food at reasonable prices, but for the friendliest
service you'll find.
We also highly recommend a trip to Hopper's for some of the best
ribs you'll ever find. Being from Chicago, where great food can
be found everywhere, we were surprised to find ribs that surpass
any we have had. Hopper's ribs are the best we've tasted; lean and
meaty, tender baby back ribs, with a sauce with just the right amount
of spice and sweetness. Give them a try during your stay. They also
have a full menu of other stuff, we just never get past the ribs.
Moreover, Jerry Hopper provides great music every night (Tues. -
Sat.) from 5 pm - 10 PM! He has one of the finest voices around
and burns up those piano keys!
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),
Bel Arco (Sunday Brunch), Bull Shoals
178 Club, Bull Shoals
Reel 'Em In Catfish, Mountain Home
Bel Arco (Fri. night buffet), Bull Shoals
The Back Forty, Mountain Home
Chelsea's, Mountain Home
Dino's, Mountain Home
The Blossom Cafe, Mountain Home
European House, Mountain Home
Th'Barn Cafe, Oakland
Tressie's Lone Wolf Cafe (Cajun), Mountain Home
Cafe Santa Fe, Mountain Home
Roberta's Back Street Cafe, Mountain Home
Th'Barn Cafe, Oakland
Chelsea's, Mountain Home
Best Prime Rib
178 Club (Saturday night), Bull Shoals
Best Cheese Cake
The Lakehouse Restaurant & Lounge, Gamaliel
From Our Guests
I always have a hard time picking a recipe from all
those I sample from our guests each year. This year is no exception,
but I finally decided on this one from a long-time guest of ours,
Lisa Bristow, who hails from Braidwood, Illinois. I also found out
that green beans, which are the featured vegetable in this recipe,
are very, very good for you. It seems they contain one of those non-vitamin
substances (maybe an antioxidant?) that are so good for your health.
So, everyone eat your vegetables, and I know you'll enjoy this recipe.
Sweet-Sour Green Beans
slices bacon, diced
1/2 med. onion, chopped
1/3 c. vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 1-lb. cans tiny whole green beans
may also use fresh or frozen)
1/2 tsp. garlic (fresh or powder)
Fry bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving
1 tbsp. fat. Sauté onion in fat. Mix vinegar and cornstarch. Blend
in sugar, salt, garlic. Add to onion. Stir 'til thickened. Drain
beans, add with bacon to onion mixture and heat.
This was another year of high maintenance projects.
We painted the pool and fixed the final leak(s).
It looks beautiful!
We built a brand new 20x32 storage barn. It's
a two story, big enough to hold just about all our junk, and allowed
us to get rid of the old red barn, which was way too small.
We replaced all the rusty steel cable on our dock
with stainless steel. Now it won't be blown away.
We installed new vertical blinds in Cabin 4.
We installed a new heat pump/air conditioner in
We put a new wood deck on Cabin 9 and put stairs
on the deck of our duplex (Cabins 1 and 2).
We re-roofed the office. Now all the roofs match!
We put a new 25' Color TV with Remote in Cabin
We also made our final payment on our Dodge van!
Coming in 1999
Every year we promise you all that we will get our lodge
completed. This year we are going to make it happen. We have of course,
changed our mind about the design once again.
Here's the latest plan. The lodge will consist of three
Main Level/Guest Area:
Gift and tackle shop
Dining area/meeting room. Tables and chairs, seating
60 persons at round tables. We will probably seat a lot more with
Food Service Area. This is not going to be a restaurant,
but rather a food staging area with refrigeration, dishwasher,
warming ovens, microwaves, coffeepot, storage. We can use this
area for our potluck or catered meals.
Fireplace and Big Screen TV.
Personal computer for our guest's use
Private Club (Adults Only) with pool table
Deck with BBQ on lakeside
Manager's apartment. We will live here for now.
It'll be much roomier than our present arrangement!
- Laundry facilities for our guests
- Work-out room with free weights, exercise videos, perhaps some
exercise machines, probably a treadmill for sure
This will depend on how much square footage we have for our main
floor, but we plan to have at least one rentable unit (called the
penthouse). Right now, we are thinking about a three-bedroom, two-bath
unit. We will probably take this over in the off-season for ourselves,
and rent it out April through October.
The entire building will be No Smoking, but we plan to have a
nicely appointed smoking area outside for you die-hards.
We will not begin taking reservations until we have a firm completion
date. We expect to complete construction mid-1999 at this point.
We are still finalizing our design, and plan to bring it with us
to the Chicago Show for you to see.
Coffee, Tea, Or...
If you like your beer, a cocktail before dinner, or
a glass of wine with dinner, you need to be forewarned about Arkansas'
Some counties are dry here; some are wet. Some restaurants
serve beer and wine, a lot don't. Some restaurants allow you to provide
your own liquor and will furnish the setups. You can't buy liquor
in the grocery stores, but there are liquor stores. Liquor stores
are not open on Sunday. Some restaurants require that you purchase
a membership ($5) in their private club before they will serve you
For those of you who don't drink, this doesn't concern
you. For those of you who do, we have all the answers to your questions.
Bring your own liquor with you to start. This
avoids the problem until you run out, or want a drink out somewhere.
Ask us about each restaurant's policy, or ask
when making reservations.
When eating out, remember that only one person
in your party has to be a member in the private club for all of
your group to be served.
If you just drink beer and wine, some restaurants
serve no hard liquor, and you don't need any membership.
Remember that this is one of those laws that doesn't
apply to drinking the stuff, only to selling it.
So, you needn't concern yourself with all of this.
However, a little knowledge ahead of time will prevent any unpleasant
surprises on your vacation with us.
1998 Results: Annual Black
Oak Fishing Contest
The month of May was once again the hottest time of
year for fishing, with three winners in our fishing contest. A close
second with two winners each were the months of April and October.
We also had a surprise winner in January!
Illinois was the leader in wins as usual, with Missouri
coming in second. We were happy to have Mike Purifoy back as a winner
for our adopted state of Arkansas.
Lots of women winners (four out of nine!) this year.
Congratulations, girls! You better watch out, guys.
We also had virtually all repeat winners. This proves
once again that persistence is the quality that most produces good
fishing. All our winning fishermen have fished Bull Shoals Lake many
Fish were bigger this year in 6 out of 9 categories:
White Bass, Walleye, Crappie, Kentucky Bass, Rainbow Trout, and Channel
Catfish. We also had a lot more Catch and Release winners. Our special
salute to you! Although we wonder if Mike Philipps was able to release
that 3-inch bluegill!
All our winners will receive an additional 10% discount
on their cabin, plus a Black Oak cap or T-shirt.
1998 Fishing Contest Results
April 6, 10:30 a.m.
Sunny, SE Wind
Blue Rapala, Broken Tail
Deep Diver, 15 ft
May 28, 8 p.m.
Clear, Calm, Warm
Lime Green Pro Spoon
Downrigger, 40 ft
St. Louis, Missouri
June 4, 8 a.m
Black & Gold Pro King
Downrigger, 35 ft.
Park Ridge, Illinois
April 29, 1 p.m.
Lure Jensen Hot Shot
Pink & White
"Catch & Release"
Oak Forest, Illinois
October 4, a.m.
Overcast, Windy, Mild
Silver Mr. Twister with
1/4 oz leadhead jig
Hoffman Estates, Illinois
May 21, Late Afternoon
"Catch & Release"
October 4 at Night
7 lbs 7 oz
St. Charles, Missouri
Crippled Herring Spoon
Blue & Chrome
"Catch & Release"
Davis Junction, Illinois
May 14, 9 a.m.
Hazy, Calm, 75 degrees F
"Catch & Release"
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