In its heyday, this old service station building in Kingsland, Arkansas, was probably called a fillin' station. The attendant would fill your tank, check your oil and tires, and last, but not least, clean your windshield. The building has long outlasted this desirable concept of service. So, back in the day, they called a service station a fillin' station. Now they call a fillin' station a service station — and nothing could be further from the truth.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
The line which separates the Delta from the Gulf Coastal Plain runs roughly down Main Street in my hometown of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Not many places can claim that distinction, though we have yet to figure out how to "take it to the bank."
To the east of the line is the flat, fertile Delta, stretching all the way to the Mississippi River and beyond.
To the west are great stands of pine trees, which love the nurturing soils of the Coastal Plain. Millions of Arkansas acres are covered with these hardy conifers. Hence, "The Piney Woods."
In the aforementioned Kingsland, Arkansas, in the aforementioned Piney Woods, next door to the aforementioned fillin' station, you'll see a long-abandoned home. Now in its old age, the home is beginning to lean. What's left of a red paint job clings — just barely — to the surface of the weathered wood.
I've watched these two buildings for a long time, patiently waiting for the correct light. The buildings face north, and in this part of the country, north facing structures never get really good and definitive sunlight. But this time I was in the neighborhood just after the sun had dipped below the horizon, making for favorable conditions.
The old house next to the fillin' station is yielding to gravitational demands. It is an interesting old home and piques one's curiosity as to how its abandonment came to be. The funny looking little blue signs on white stakes say "Water Valve." Better that than "Achtung! Minen!
Kingsland, at last report, was home to 449 good Americans. While I was shooting these pictures, I believe upwards to 10 per cent of the population drove by in cars, trucks, and four-wheelers. I'm thinking it had something to do with the day of the week and the time of the day rather than my presence. In Kingsland, there is nothing unusual about a guy wearing Carhartts and driving an old pickup.
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.