Friday, April 22, 2005

SEARCY ’46-‘56 - Part 05

Chapter Two

Tom Pry

First Ruts, Then Path - 3

A couple of footnotes.

What was there consisted of the house, a good-sized two-story shed, and a large barn, all hand-made, amateur built (plus the de rigeur chicken house and equally-essential – and ancient -- outhouse).

Since the shed and barn were probably built after the house (and better), let’s look at the house. Set against the shoulder of the hill, it had four rooms. It was rectangular. On the kitchen (back) side, it was ground level. The front had a porch all across the front, and both the porch and that side of the house were propped up with piles of field rock.

At a guess, the house had been built sometime in the latter 20s or early 30s … of green lumber. Over the next 15 or 20 years, the wood had dried and shrunk. We ended up breaking boxes down flat and nailing them to the wall, just to keep the cold winter wind from blowing through.

My grandparents stayed in that house until they finally built a new one, sometime in the late 50s. It is the home I returned to in 1952, for my freshman year in high school. That house, plus a new outhouse, we described as “Four rooms and a path” to anyone foolish enough to ask.

And, about that road up to the shoulder ….

There not being a lot of farming you can do in the middle of Arkansas in the winter, we’d take a horse-drawn sledge out to the field and fill it with part of that season’s crop of rocks, take them up and put them in that road. Over the years, we continually dumped from one end to the other (breaking the larger ones up with a sledge hammer). In the early 50s, I heard Grandad tell a friend that he estimated “them damn rocks” went down about 12 feet before they stopped sinking. It was rougher than hell going over, but you didn’t have to worry about getting stuck.

Never will have to worry about it, either. I suppose leaving that as a legacy beats leaving no legacy at all .. but you’d think the least they could do is name the street Edwards Drive.

Oh, well …

It was the turn of the 21st Century before North Valley Road was completely paved. Up until then, it was Jeff Foxworthy: “If the directions to your house include the phrase ‘After you leave the paved road ..’ you might be …”

Things don’t always move fast in the valley.

(Series originally published late 2003/early 2004 on the old site).


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