Meandering through Louisiana and Arkansas (north and south respectively)


It's best days behind it, this old service station in Stephens, Arkansas reminds us that time stands still for no one.

Its best days behind it, this old service station at First and Onyx streets in Stephens, Arkansas reminds us that time stands still for no one.

Regular or ethyl?

If you are long of tooth, you can remember this genre of service station. If you are not long of tooth, this is a part of your forebearers’ culture. The station had only two pumps, one for regular, one for ethyl gasoline. The concrete floors were permanently lubricated with years of ground-in grease and oil. The odor was of oil and anti-freeze. The operators filled your vehicle with gas, checked your oil and coolant and wiped your windshield. The only snacks available were allegedly cold Cokes and nickel sacks of Tom’s peanuts. This old station has apparently seen a few attempts at re-birth only to arrive at this state of affairs. That it has survived this long is a testimonial to its sturdy beginnings. It served well.

This tale of a trip started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com, the subject of which is the town of Athens, Louisiana. While Athens, like a lot of small towns has taken its licks, the people are resilient. See the pictures and read the story, a cool thing to do.

Remembering what’s important

Remembrance and respect knows no geographic limitations. Spring Hill Community Cemetery can be found only after a trip on a gravel road. That does not diminish the sacrifices here represented.

Remembrance and respect know no geographic limitations. Spring Hill Community Cemetery can be found only after a trip on a gravel road. That does not diminish the sacrifices here represented. Only less noticed by the crowds.

Spring Hill Community Cemetery is well cared for and well decked out with flags commemorating Memorial Day. This cemetery in Ouachita County, Arkansas will never make the six o’clock news or the front page above the fold. The families of those here interred could care less. They continue to accept and keep their responsibilities, just as their parents and grandparents before them because it is the right thing to do.

Barn with tartan

This barner is a head-scratcher until you see the sign at the field entrance.

This barn is a head-scratcher until you see the sign at the field entrance.

Somehow, you simply do not expect to see a barn with a tartan designed roof. Even less so in north Louisiana. East of Minden LA, the barn is at the entrance to Scotland Farms of Louisiana, breeders of registered highland cattle according to the entrance sign.

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe

PS: As you can see, I don’t make this stuff up. :o))

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5 Responses

  1. What a beautiful image of the Athens United Methodist Church! Simply stunning! Many times when we travel, we enjoy going into old churches – many thanks for those reminders.

    All of us from small towns remember that style of filling stations. Although gone, they are a sign of a simpler time, yet a time when small towns thrived.

    About that barn’s roof, do you have a friend with a plane so you can get an aerial shot?

    Thanks again for the journey.

  2. Frank, glad you enjoyed these images and memories. I had traveled to north Louisiana to observe my oldest granddaughters high school graduation and took the road less traveled on the way back. And I do have a couple of friends with aircraft, but at today’s gas prices, the barn, in old southern parlance is, ” … too far and snakey.”
    Thanks,
    Joe

  3. Ahhh. . . this gas station in Stephens! One of several. . . and yes, the man who ran it did stock cold Cokes – – only if you remember that all soft drinks were called “Coke” in the South in those days. . . “What kinda Coke ya want?” I remember that he also had Grapette and arnge drink!

    A member of my daddy’s church had a gas station a block away, so most of our gasoline was bought at the other location. However, I do hold a gentle memory of the man who ran THIS station, of his generosity. I recall him giving cold “Cokes” (of some kind!) to a friend and me when we were passing by on a hot summer day. We might even have been in there shaking him down for a contribution to some school project – –

    These were the days of apartheid, and much was wrong in Stephens. But much was also right, with kindness and consideration, and great caring and support of what the kids were doing.

    One of the biggest nights of the year was the Christmas Parade, which marched (and floated) right by this station. It was the only time the white kids and black kids saw each other in any kind of organized way. How well I remember how the Carver High School band out-played and out-marched the Stephens High School band. It always struck me that the Stephens High band went first, and the Carver High band was farther back. For a long time, I just thought it was because the Stephens High band didn’t want to be shown up by Carver! ! Along the way, integration finally happened, and Carver is no longer a high school. I was amazed – – and very pleased – – to discover in recent years, that Mr. Nygaard had been the band director at BOTH high schools! ! ! In-te-res-ting! ! ! . . . I’m supposing that finally, at last, and now, the black kids get to march in front, too – – where they certainly always belonged! ! ! !

    Thanks, Joe!
    Carol

  4. Last thought from me – – for the day, at least – –

    The two gasoline pumps – –

    The high school boys liked nothing better than to pull into the station and say, “Give me a dollar’s worth of ethyl, and tell her to hurry – – .”

    Oh, for the high school wit ! !

    Carol

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