Pat Shingleton: "Pig Weed, The Chicago Fire and Bobo..."
We’re getting closer to harvest time in South Louisiana including sugar cane and soy beans. Farmers in Arkansas and other locales often struggle with a menacing weed that compromises the cotton crop. In years past the “pig weed” has dominated the fields and pesticides that originally controlled the weed weren't effective. It reached a point that experts declared it uncontrollable as it choked more than a million acres of cotton and soybeans. Some farmers spent more than $500,000 fighting a plant that won’t die. Pig weed grows three inches a day and is as big as a baseball bat at its base. It not only kills crops but destroys the blades on combines and cotton pickers. An engineered herbicide currently combats pig weed. Professor Increase A. Lapham was instrumental in creating the National Weather Service in 1870. As an assistant to the chief signal officer under the U.S. Army Signal Service, Lapham chronicled an extremely dry weather pattern in Chicago. He noted, “Unusual dryness has pervaded the atmosphere during the past two months; …rainfall has been less than the average and evaporation considerably more. Very little rain has fallen upon the extended region since August.” Due to these conditions a great fire started on this date at 9:30 p.m. in or near a barn behind the home of Patrick and Catherine O’Leary at 137 DeKoven Street in southwest Chicago. Legend suggests it was Mrs. O’Leary’s cow that caused the inferno when it kicked over a lantern later proven to be a fabrication however the song was a catchy tune noting a "Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight..." In closing, a hoedown is a dance or traditional fiddle tunes. Octobers in high school included the Varsity “R” Hoedown, a fundraiser for the athletic teams that included food, music and cider drinking competitions. One contestant spilled a mug of cider. As my brother Mike cleaned the mess, Bobo Tincani stepped into the cider puddle. Mike told him to move and Bobo made the mistake of saying, “Make me!” With Jim Richards as Mike’s top second, Bobo was directed to Locust Grove School to settle the disagreement. On a clear, chilly, October evening Mike, Jim, Bobo and his entourage poured out of their cars. Before Bobo could get his coat off, Mike landed two rights and a left, knocked him out and settled the cider dispute.