The Lumber that Lasts.
Cotton plants surrounding this old farm house have grown from just under knee-high to chest-high or better since my first visit in June of this year. I have not been able to determine the age or little else of the farm house's history, other than that it is constructed of cypress, which is probably one of the reasons it is still standing. Few woods stand up to the ravages of time and weather better than cypress.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Pine Buff, Arkansas
I first visited this old farm house west of Pickens, Arkansas, on Desha County Road 20, the last of June this year. The light was behind the house and in stormy conditions — less than stellar at best. I resolved to return in better lighting conditions. Today was the day.
Home, School, Church, Family
Just looking at the structure, one almost expects Erskine Caldwell characters to emerge. The reality is it was likely home to more than a few hardworking families who worked hard and saw fit that there was food on the table and the kids went to school and everyone went to church on Sunday. There were probably chickens in the yard and a dog under the front porch.
Though the weather prognostication was good, conditions were milky overcast most of my 45-minute-plus drive from headquarters to the house site, but conditions were afoot of which I had no knowledge. The Almighty was about to hold good on his tradition of taking care of fools and drunks. Within minutes of my arrival the atmosphere cleansed itself of overcast inequities and transmogrified to clean and green. Hallelujah!
A Peek Inside
With more time on my hands, I stuck a lens inside a window opening less window. Take a look at the size of the planks making up the wall. They are at least a foot wide, maybe more. This room has wiring intact. It’s almost certain that electricity was an add-on long after the home was first occupied. There were bricks laying around the south side of the structure, which probably means there was originally a fireplace and chimney that were later removed in favor of a wood stove.
The Home-Place Tree
Back in the day, no home place was complete or respectable without home-place tree. This home was no exception. The tree, a bit the worse for wear, seems to be staying in concert with the structure.
The Church Is Out Back.
Looking south across the cotton field from the front porch, you can see the back of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church and its attendant cemetery.
A Closer Look
Here’s a closer look at the back of the church, depicted over chest high or higher cotton. (That’s chest high to me at 6’3”).
The Old House Is Way Back There.
You are now looking at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church from County Road 20. In the right background, through the trees, you can see the object of our affection.
Just as It Was
Through the longer lens you see the old home through the church cemetery, behind the tall cotton. Now that you have seen all of these pictures, you have stepped back in time to a small well-preserved rural Delta neighborhood — just as it was way back when.
This small Delta area is a living museum. Unlike curated museums, this one makes no effort to show you how it was. What it does do is give you an idea of how it was in the reality of today. The rest is left to research and/or imagination. Whichever comes last.
But wait, there's more!
See designer cotton storage
in Winchester, Arkansas,
plus more looks at the old home,
inside and out, and other snippets
of LA (lower Arkansas)
at Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
You’ll see some of the first cotton bolls to burst open, corn ready for harvest, an old barn I dared not approach, and some other stuff you won’t see anywhere else.
Click and look.