Sunday, October 02, 2005

Crosby and Other Places – II

(Run originally 4/1/04 on our old site)

(A short lesson on how to get to Echo Dell from Crosby in Eight Years)

Ernie Simpson

Getting Closer

We moved to Searcy out on what was highway 67 about a year later. The property sits across the road from what is now the White County Fairgrounds. Dad had a job with the Searcy Dairy, located on the corner of North Bypass Road and old highway 67. I’m not clear on this, but I believe there was a man named Bunn Benton who owned the dairy, and I remember another name, Marion Moye. The pasture for that dairy was just to the west of the highway. It’s strange now to think that highway was the main thoroughfare from St. Louis to Little Rock. It’s not much wider than a sidewalk, by today’s standards.

The dairy had a rock wall parallel to the road, and this rock wall was the star of Larry Maness’ famous debacle with his father, Pecks’, new Buick, around 1954. One night late, Larry turned back off old highway 67 towards the west, on North Bypass Road, but the Buick couldn’t make the corner at the high rate of speed, and he impaled the underside of the car on the wall. (More about that in “The Life and Times of Larry and Ernest”, Chapter Two).

Dan Randle mentions the Poor Farm, and the flooding that took place in the late ‘40’s. Well, we were living in the little white frame house at the top of that hill, and the Little Red River flooded over the bridge and highway. That ceased all travel on that road till the water went down. Dad, of course, couldn’t drive to work, so he just devised another way. He pulled a boat up on the side of the hill, and each morning he got in the boat and was able to reach overhead and use the telephone lines to pull himself along in the boat from the house to the dairy.

The water was quite a sight; people came from miles around to see the flooding.

Dad had a white collie/part German shepherd that he dearly loved. Each day the dog helped him herd the cows to the dairy at the early morning milking time. I don’t recall her name but, at some point, she was somehow struck and killed on the busy highway 67. Dad was heartbroken.

He told me later, as I was growing up, and years after the dog was gone, that there were some days he thought he saw in the darkness of the early dawn, an apparition of the white collie running across the field, herding the cows. It seemed the ghostly image appeared and disappeared in just an instant. It was an image for him that he never forgot.

South toward town from where we lived, on the east side of the road was the county “Poor Farm.” As a child, I never knew what the poor farm was all about, except a lot of old folks sat in rockers on the porch that surrounded the building.

Somehow, mom and dad became acquainted with a little old gent from the home, called Uncle Tom, Mason, Mitchell, Mose or something. He was a quiet, dignified grandfather type, and we had him in our house often for meals. He walked to our house, and dad generally drove him back to the Home after dinner.

He loved to sit in our living room after dinner chatting with mom and dad, and during the conversation tapped his walking cane on the floor.

Between taps, he spun the cane between his thumb and middle finger. Tap, spin, tap, tap, and spin. I guess he could do that for hours, because the whole time he sat, he was tapping and spinning. Nobody ever said, ‘that gets on my nerves’, and he visited with us until we moved out on Route 5, closer to Echo Dell.


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