The Cross Tree Revisited


The Cross Tree

Click on the tree for the original Weekly Grist story and pictures.

The Cross Tree revisited

A story worth retelling
at Christmas

In cold blustery Delta winds on Saturday, December 21, 2008, I stumbled across a lone cedar tree standing at the edge of a cultivated farm field west of Dumas, Arkansas. At the foot of the tree I found artifacts which appear to be remnants from a former home place. Knowing that Delta farmers are not prone to waste a square foot of arable land, I figured there had to be a story behind the tree.

After a bit of exploration, I barged in on and was welcomed to a Christmas party, the host of which graciously solved the mystery. Though the story has its tragic components, it clearly demonstrates that the milk of human kindness is alive and well.

Read the story and see the full picture of the Cross Tree at Corndancer-dot-com. Click here to see the rest of the story and more pictures.

Click here for a picture-only gallery of The Cross Tree.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Christmas at Margland


Margland Bed and Breakfast

Margland Bed and Breakfast is decked out in its Christmas finest. The structure was finished originally in 1903. Ed Thompson and Wanda Bateman restored it in 1985 and started the bed and breakfast. The bed and breakfast now includes four additional similar structures all in the same block on West Second Avenue in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Doing things “half-way,” is not an option for Wanda Bateman and Ed Thompson, owners and operators of Margland Bed and Breakfast Inns of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. They started their enterprise in 1985 when they restored the old home above. Now they own the whole block and have converted four additional Victorian era structures to house bed and breakfast guests.

Margland fireplace

Click on the fireplace for more pictures

The faithfully restored exterior seems to make a promise that when you enter the premises, you will continue to see furnishings and decor reminiscent of the early 20th century. When you step inside, particularly during the Christmas Season, you immediately see that Wanda and Ed made good on their promise. The house is full of period furniture, decor and artifacts. And you are looking for Christmas decorations which stick to traditional practices, this one is it. You’ll see plenty of red and green.

Speaking of which, you can see two more pictures of the exterior and one picture of the interior on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. We’ll wait here while you look.

Two room view of Margland Bed and breakfast

This is the big 'front-room." You know this was a highfalutin' house because it has two "front rooms," as opposed to the more pedestrian one "front room" arrangement. The other "front room" is out of the picture to the right. It features the fireplace and huge Christmas tree. In the south, or at least the part where I grew up, the term "living room," was not widely used. That room was commonly referred to as the "front room," which could have been a throwback to the old shotgun houses where the rooms were "house wide." This house has two "front rooms," which puts it high in the pecking order.

See more Margland and Christmas light pictures
in our Weekly Grist gallery.

Margland dining room

The dining room at Margland features a large dining table of the same era as the house. As I was shooting the room, the kitchen staff was filling the table with sweets and Hors d'oeuvres in preparation for a church Christmas party.

Sliver cabinet and side board in Margland

The sideboard and silver cabinet are part and parcel of the period furnishings. The straw-bearded Santa adds a bit of contemporary whimsy in the spirit of the season.

See more Margland and Christmas light pictures
in our Weekly Grist gallery.

Nativity scene at the top of the stairs

This finely crafted nativity scene is at the first-landing in the stairs to the residence of the building, a reminder that Jesus is the reason for the season.

 As we enter the Christmas season and look to the promise of a new year, we pause to give thanks for what we have and take a look at where we’ve been, what we’ve done, or not done. For some of us, we’ll even wonder why we got a bundle of switches for Christmas.

Christmas elf

Click on the elf for more pictures

SEE MORE PICTURES OF MARGLAND

See more pictures of Margland plus some additional Christmas light pictures and a nice nativity scene in our  Weekly Grist Gallery. You see the Weekly Grist and Corndancer pictures plus more not shown any where else in larger better format. Click and go.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

The canines of Christmas


Santa with German Shepherd

"Good dog," we all said as this fine German Shepherd was on his best behavior for his portrait with the Jolly Olde Elf. This calm demeanor came after a requisite round of investigatory sniffing to become familiar with his temporary surroundings.

Girl and dog in Santa's lap

Click on the pic to see more dogs

Shortly before I left to set up and photograph a number of dogs and to some extent, their two-legged companions, I advised my friends on Facebook that I was headed to Margland Bed and Breakfast to “shoot dogs.” About a half-dozen of my smart-aleck friends took me to task for my choice of verbiage.

Being a smart-aleck myself (I am eschewing another, more descriptive and colorful phrase, to preserve my G-Rating), I would have not let the opportunity slide either. Nevertheless, as a photographer I was indeed shooting dogs, several of who seemed to enjoy the process.

The event was the annual get-your-dog-photographed-with-Santa-benefit sponsored by the Humane Society of Jefferson County (Arkansas). The procedure was simple, I shoot the dogs, Humane Society volunteers print the pictures and collect ten bucks from the dog’s two-legged escort. The 501 c3 non-profit organization is completely dependent on donations and operates with a 100% volunteer staff. Before we go much further, we invite you to visit the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where this story started. We’ll wait here.

Santa and Patagonian Water Dog

Dogs of all sizes and stripes came to the event. I guess you could call this girl a medium. She shows definitive evidence of one or more fence-jumping Labrador Retrievers in her ancestral history.

 See more dog pictures in our Weekly Grist Gallery

Santa, woman, and dogs

No family is complete without one or more dogs. I should know. We have four. And two cats.

While this event is fun and smiles abound, the job at hand for the Humane Society of Jefferson County is serious. For every happy dog you see on these pages, dozens are confined to shelters from which there is no good ending unless they are adopted. The money raised from events like this and from generous donors keeps the work going on for local Humane Society organizations. The need never stops or takes a break.

Santa and Yorkies

Click on the pic for more dog pictures

SEE MORE DOG PICTURES

In our Weekly Grist gallery. You’ll see 21 high-resolution pictures from the get-your-dog-photographed-with-Santa-benefit. The cute factor in a couple of cases is off the chart.

The gallery includes the Corndancer and pictures on this page plus 15 others in a larger, high-resolution format. Nuther-words, they’re “clearer.” Click here.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Meandering through the mountains, again


Barn below the highway grade

This old barn at the crook of a right angle turn sits well below the grade of Arkansas Highway 9 south of Mountain View, Arkansas. A slight telephoto effect sucks it a little closer to the road for your eyes only. This barn is a “been-gone,” as in: “I been-gone shoot this booger for a long time.” Now I finally have. Another “been-gone” bites the dust.

Though 48 years of residence in L.A., (lower Arkansas), has revamped my genetic code to become an altered denizen of the Delta, there is a nagging sub-dominant gene, implanted at birth in the shadow of the Ozarks, which still floats around in my little pea brain. Occasionally, that gene can take no more of the beloved flat lands and seizes control of the behavior module.

Large cat

Click on the kitty to see the Country cathouse

A country cathouse

When that happens, I find myself in the midst of the Ozarks, the nearest and coolest mountains to L.A. — preferably on a remote gravel road. Such was the case when I discovered the “Country cathouse.”

If this peaks your interest, go to the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com to see the cathouse and nearby barn. You’ll get in on the start of the story as we meander through the mountains one more time. We’ll wait here.

The big kitty at the cathouse seemed to be well fed. I could not figure whether she was playing hooky from home or was fattened by the rodent grazing through what has to be a rodent smörgåsbord in the old barn across the road from the cathouse.

Big country cat

I was shooting the windows in the uninhabited house under which this cat resides when she decided to become the center of attention. Just like a cat! She patiently watched me shoot and scurried under the house when I got too close for her comfort.

See more of the cat in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

 Bluffs on County Road 22 in Stone County, Arkansas.

County Road 22 is not without other natural aesthetics. As you leave the cat neighborhood and head east to Highway 9 on the left you will find these rugged bluffs. On the right, for a good part of the way,Turkey Creek, a fine mountain stream gurgles by. It’s a good idea to stop and look lest you become an accidental part of the landscape while attempting to look both ways.

A cluster of photo opportunities

Occasionally, you stumble across a wad of things to shoot nicely clustered and in plain sight. This old barn was the first in the lucky cluster on highway 9.

Barn with corrugated roofing sides

This old barn on Arkansas Highway 9 south of Mountain View is sided with corrugated roofing metal, better known in these parts and other American environs, as “roofin arn.” The original zinc galvanized coating has long since faded.  Note to the candidate: The election is over.

Cows in pasture

As I was photographing the barn, a bevy of bovines gathered across the highway to observe the shoot. These were the first two on the scene.

See more shots from the cluster in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

old log cabin on Arkansas Highway 9

Just past the cow pasture is this nicely preserved log cabin. On this one, the builders squared the logs. I reckon this was the “uptown” cabin in the neighborhood.

 We shot a few more mountain scenes and then began to head south with more serious intent. As the land flattened the truck velocity increased. We were headed home to four dogs with their legs crossed. The errant gene was temporarily satiated again. In a month or so, it will stir again. The mountain mystique will well, mount, with predictable results. May you answer your own siren call as well.

crumbling wall

Click the wall for our Weekly Grtist Gallery

SEE MORE of the cat, the cows, the cluster and this old house where the wall came tumblin’ down in our Weekly Grist Gallery. You will also find an old country church and a closeup of the church belfry, a low water bridge crossing and some other stuff.

You’ll also see all of the Corndancer and Weekly Grist pictures in a larger format. Click and see. All natural content. May contain nuts. Non fattening. Shoes and shirt not required to view.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.