When one makes a trip from LA (lower Arkansas) to NWA (northwest Arkansas), the ‘most shortest’ and most convenient route puts you through this tunnel on I-540 north of Alma. I've negotiated the tunnel a number of times, but never before as a passenger. My friend Barry Noll was steering the truck. Being afforded the opportunity of this shot, I jumped on it. Unfortunately, we had driven through a thunderstorm a few miles back from the tunnel, so the windshield was partially fouled. Not the best set of circumstances for a shoot-through, but I suppose it does give the picture a bit of authenticity.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
My good friend Barry Noll called a few days ago and announced that he and his wife Barbara had bought a house just outside Rogers, Arkansas. He further asked if I would photograph said domicile and I agreed to the task.
The distance from my normal sphere of operations to the new house is in the neighborhood of 267 miles, 90 per cent of which is interstate highway — not a short trip, but not a long excursion either. Barry would accompany me and stick my nose into what was to be shot. That made the trip easier since he and I enjoy regaling each other with the bull that passes between friends. Since he will soon be moving, opportunities such as this are about to dwindle.
The new house sits on the military crest of a hill on the shores of Beaver Lake in the Runnymede neighborhood. There is not a level lot in the neighborhood. Virtually all of the homes have two or more stories, two of which can be accessed from ground level. Probably not a lot of push mowers in the neighborhood.
As we were driving, it occurred to me that I have photographed and written stories about a plethora of Arkansas residences that have seen better days. Conversely, I have revealed precious little about homes at the top of their game. So this is an attempt to mend my ways. With the old ones, the mystery is, "What happened?" With the new ones, the mystery is, "What's going to happen?" The latter being scarier than the first.
Barry Noll proudly shows off a model depicting the energy efficient construction of the new Chez Noll-Freeman. "It's tighter than Dick's hatband," he says, all of which makes one curious. Just exactly who was Dick and — his hatband was how tight? How was this tightness measured? How was the tightness expressed?
According to Barry Noll, the house is energy efficient, with a reported heat loss factor somewhere around that of a thermos bottle. The house is so tight, Noll says, that "you have to open a lower external intake vent to the fireplace when it is fired up or you will lower the oxygen supply in the house." That's serious sealing. It has all of the other bells, whistles, and network wiring found in today's newer homes, a far cry from our normal subjects which feature "three rooms and a path."
N O T E S:
Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog. — J. D.