Thursday, October 13, 2005


Cliff Wiggs

That's an interesting piece about the cracklin bread (from Don Thompson). However, being an old farm boy, it's news to me that the cracklins are made from the small intestines of the hog. Maybe we "misscalled' our cracklins. What we called cracklins were this: You cut the pieces of fat up and put them into a large washpot, under which there is a rip roaring hot fire. It was my job to keep the pot filled and stirred, which I did with an ax handle. When all of the lard was rendered out of the pieces, they would be sorta brown and curled up, and crackled. Thus, cracklins.

It made the best aroma when you first started rendering the lard but. after a couple of hours, it began to not smell so good.

Anyway, that's what we called cracklins. We never saved the intestines, and I never tasted chitterlings in my life. (And don't intend to).

Tom Pry

When I first received the crackling bread piece Don Thompson sent, I shared it with my wife (who’s from Nebraska), Karen, whose response was the same as Cliff’s: cracklins are a byproduct of lard-making, not chitterling cooking.

Obviously, as there is more than one way to skin a cat, there is also more than one way to get cracklins.

For those of you who occasionally indulge yourself at fish & chip joints (a la Captain D’s, Arthur Treacher’s, etc.), one could wonder where they get THEIR cracklins. Myself, I’m afraid to ask.

Now, other miscellany from my basket …

Got an e-mail the other day from a fellow named Jim Shelton, now living in Henderson, Tennessee, who said, “I just found your site and it is very interesting. My hometown is Kensett. Yes, the story about how Kensett got its name is one I have heard many times. However, I don't believe it is true. It may be in Ray Muncy's book on the history of Searcy (or another book, I'm not sure) where it tells that Kensett was actually named for a railroad man named Kensett.”

When I asked Jim for a little info on himself, he replied: “My dad is Glenn Shelton and he still lives in Kensett. He is 83 and would probably remember much of what you write about. He has lived in and around Kensett and the Searcy area most of his life.”

I invited Jim in to play with us.

Now ….

After 22 years, I’m going back on stage (“There’s one leaving in half and hour; be on it”). I’ll be doing a bit part in “Arsenic and Old Lace,” opening 10/21/05 at Center on the Square in Searcy.

I find it’s just something else to do. After some of the productions in which I’ve been privileged to participate over the years, the “zing” just ain’t there any more. Sorry if that sounds like egotism run amuck, but this’ll probably be my last stage appearance, too.

Actually, you should’ve seen me a few weeks ago when we did an arts weekend on the Square. Representing The Crooked Man, they had me telling stories to children. There were a number of us scattered around the Courthouse grounds. My “next door neighbor” on the square was Mayor Belinda LaForce, playing The Queen of Hearts. She shouted “Off with their heads!” very convincingly. Probably a job qualification.

This Saturday, a group of us from the SHS Class of ’56 will be gathering at Dr. Robert Miller’s house to discuss next year’s 50th Class Reunion. I’ll fill you in. Under the heading of “What the …?” in my entire roll of readers to this blog, I only have TWO members of the Class of ’56. That’s rather discouraging.

And speaking of that …. When we hold our 50th sometime next June or so, I will have concocted/edited between 250 and 300 distinct columns for this blog, not to mention my personal site. I think that, sometime shortly after that reunion, and I get things from it posted, it should be time to move out into the sixties, and find a new editor for this site. Those interested please inquire within (Billy Fuller, where are you?).

And, finally, folks … you can watch for me to start appearing in the pages of the Searcy Sun, White County Record, etc. A certain amount of what will appear you will have already read someplace in this site, but publisher Barth Grayson wants me to share memories with his readers and, since my unemployment just ran out, I was happy to say yes.

But Barth says I have to go over to Georgetown with him sometime and get “redemption.” This is vis-à-vis, Ernie, regarding my remarks about the Georgetown Café. It always comes back to haunt you, doesn’t it?

In parting, here’s another train picture for you. Taken at Bald Knob yesterday, I call it “Inbound from Memphis #2.”

Have a good day.


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