On July 18th, at 8:30 a.m., the phone rings. A businessman- voice tells me a crew from KMOS (Central Missouri State University Public Television Service) will be at Doug Hall’s Log Cabin Gallery at noon.
This is Douglas calling wanting extra bodies to help with the photo shoot that will accompany the interview and to help should any customers see cars parked and come in to shop or visit.
This is the beginning of a 90- to 100-degree week and this morning was probably the coolest 2 hours of daylight for the rest of the week. So I do the needful first, which puts me at the Log Cabin Gallery by eleven.
Coffee cups, extraneous fans, anything white is put behind the counters. Tabletops are dusted, floor swept, windows wiped down, but not by me.
No, the painter, Doug Hall himself, is “readying up the place.”
The crew of three arrive, they are astounded at the framed display in Doug Hall’s unique homebuilt Log Cabin Gallery. They set up the interview: test for the light, test for recording Doug’s voice.
They even ask if Doug can get his head of hair under control, which I thought would detract from his persona but the hair refused to obey so nothing of the Doug Hall temperament was lost.
After photographing Doug working on a miniature painting, the crew chief noticed that there was black powder for sale for the flintlock rifles that shoot out at the Gallery every Sunday.
This led to Doug offering them the chance to shoot his rifle and the two men took the opportunity to do so. You know, you cannot find many places offering such an opportunity and as Doug points out, you cannot buy one at Walmart.
Other talk then led to the crew’s discovery that Doug’s other passion, which he calls an “affliction,” is riding his horses.
Now the crew wants to know if they can get footage of Doug Hall on horseback, which requires driving down to Huckleberry Forest State Park in McDonald County. By now it is 4 o’clock and Doug, who skipped breakfast to put a shoe on his horse, is needing fast food.
This, of course, gives new strength to the day for touring his log cabin home, rounding up the “herd” of two horses, saddling up and shooting more footage.
Now it is seven o’clock and the horse flies are out and the crew is ready to depart but needs being guided out of the forest. We lead them to I-49 and they are off for Joplin with some of the best storytelling they will ever get.
We went back to Log Cabin Gallery, took up our places in rocking chairs around the pot belly stove (which is near the air conditioner), and unwound from a very exciting and gratifying day. KMOS told us they expected to get all this edited and on screen for a documentary on Newton County by September or October.
I will let you know. Springfield might pick it up for November or December.
When I refer to “us,” I mean Bill Becket, a longtime friend and log-stripper for Doug and his wife, Lamelia. Always at the Gallery is Cubby, Doug’s mom whom we know as Rebecca Hall, a former Neosho mayor and Neosho middle school teacher, and myself.
I just held back and took notes and they ignored this obviously simple local columnist. I do love what I do for you readers and I love working for Doug Hall.
He has given public television all they need. Now he needs the rest of the summer to paint. This painter-in-demand has serious deadlines.
I am looking forward to sharing more of Doug Hall with you.
(Judy Haas Smith lives in Neosho.)