An Arkansas Antidote
To Orwellian Sameness

This is the visual epicenter of Taylor Auto Salvage on US Highway 70 at the southern edge of North Little Rock, Arkansas.  Were it similarly assembled in some fabled east-coast gallery, it would probably fetch a price affordable only by those who sport Lear Jets for toys.  On the left-coast, it would probably give rise to a new cult and attract a throng of chanting worshippers.  Here in Arkansas it raises a few eyebrows, but not far.


Sunday, October 13, 2013
Pine Buff, Arkansas

Back in May of 2011, I stumbled across a couple of places which absolutely, positively compel one to stop and gawk — and if anyone was available, ask a few questions.  In this particular case, one does not normally see a 1950 Chevrolet sticking into the side of a garage festooned with all manner of miscellaneous signage.

Similarly, one does not expect to see a giant Elvis perched atop the cab of a retired fire truck.  You’ll find Elvis in our sister web epistle, the May 1, 2011 edition of Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.  If all of this peaks your interest even further, we have published a gallery of pictures featuring what we saw around the old Chevy and the giant Elvis.

In any case, take a gander at these articles and rekindle your appreciation for those among us who, in benevolent and harmless pursuits, save us from boredom.


Joe Dempsey

through the wall

Half In or Half Out?

The old Chevy appears to be making an unauthorized entrance to Taylor's.  It greets your weary eyes as you head south on Highway 70 leaving North Little Rock.  It would take the biggest part of a day to look at everything unique and original on the premises.

Originally published on Sunday, May 1, 2011

Thank goodness for bizarre people, places, thoughts, ideas, and things.  Otherwise, our existence could be an Orwellian, vanilla-flavored, light-beige, cube-shaped, asleep-at-the switch world.

No two places better serve to rescue us from the hovering threat of boredom and nobly protect us from the ordinary than Taylor Auto Salvage on the southern outskirts of North Little Rock, Arkansas, and Dickey Tree Services of Portia, Arkansas.  Taylor's sprinkles everything imaginable around the landscape.  Dickey puts Elvis on top of an old fire truck.  Both are delightfully unexpected.

When I stopped in front of Taylor’s emporium, I had no more stepped out of the truck than a Taylor minion sauntered up to see if he could "help me."  What he was actually doing was making sure I did not throw a few artifacts in the back of my truck and beat a path out of there.  Then he saw the camera and everything became OK.  I asked if this was his place.  He replied, "Naw, it's Johnny's and he's not here," then returned to his observation post.

they're old

Classics All

The car sticking through the building is the tip of the iceberg.  Here on display are an ancient Case rice tractor, a well-used Dodge truck, and an old G model John Deere tractor.  These classic vehicles grace the front of Taylor's cabin facing Highway 70.

Just about every Southern town of any size has one or more of these places, although most are not as artfully decorated as Taylor's.  Back in my past, while wearing Uncle Sam's green in Augusta, Georgia, I found "Shanty's," a store and station with a collection similarly eclectic to Taylor's, but not in size.  "Shanty," the proprietor, knew where everything was and what it was worth.

Closer to home, my friend, the late E. M. "Blondie" Snellgrove, an unapologetic native of Alabama who became displaced in Arkansas, operated a shop not far from the business where I was employed.  Blondie’s shop premises, adjacent to his home, was covered with deep piles of "stuff" — parts and pieces of about anything you could imagine in your wildest dreams.  Blondie made his living by "fixing" things and buying and selling used items, primarily car, truck, and tractor parts.  If you needed something for an older truck, chances are Blondie had it or knew where to get it.

Despite its unkempt appearance, the businesses described here are (or were) run by people slicker than one might think.  They know where to find each and every little treasure, and they know exactly what each part is worth.  As a bonus, they can often share a tidbit or two about the provenance of much of their merchandise.  And if you are selling something, they know what it will "bring" when they eventually resell it.  That is, if you are willing to part with your merchandise after hearing the offer.  Some do.  Some don't.

Photo Notes

Car and signs, Nikon D300, tripod mounted, ISO 200, AF S Nikkor 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 VR, composited, base exposure 1/250@f8; Car through building, Nikon D300, tripod mounted, ISO 200, Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 EX DC HSM, 1/160@f6.3; Tractors and trucks, Nikon Coolpix P7000 hand held, ISO 400, 1/950@f3.5.


see more
See Elvis on a Fire Truck
at Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.
Another entrepreneur has foisted his brand
of promotion on us, "the great unwashed."
We appreciate their visual largess.
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