Tarry at Tarry for a while


Thomas Grocery, Tarry, Arkansas

Probably knocking on the door of a hundred years old, give or take a few, Thomas Grocery still stands in tiny Tarry, Arkansas. It has a plethora of nostalgia appeal and is a local favorite for old-store-oglers. More than a few look at it with ideas for gentrification.

Clowers Gin, Tarry Arkansas

Click on the old gin to see more of Tarry

Thomas Grocery was one of four fully operational stores in Tarry, a small but once bustling community between Pine Bluff and Star City, Arkansas. One other of the original stores is still standing, West Grocery, about a quarter mile from Thomas Grocery.

See an earlier Weekly Grist story relating to West Grocery here. While you are in the mood to click around, may we suggest that you go to the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where this story started and see some additional pictures of the store and other Tarry scenes.

For many years, Thomas Grocery housed the U.S. Post Office for the community. It was also a school bus stop. Few if any general stores of  that era were without a bench of some sort on the front porch. And a couple of dogs under the porch.  Thomas Grocery fits nicely into that genre.

The store was an important part of the social and economic fabric of the community, a nice way of saying that probably millions of juicy tidbits of gossip and rumors floated in and around the premises. Especially in election years.

I featured the store with a couple of winter pictures in our June 17 Weekly Grist post. I shot those pictures in 2009, so the old store is holding up nicely. We have high hopes this is a continuing trend.

Gills Barn, Tarry Arkansas

Looking at the hay barn from the east during midday sunlight. There is a chair in the loft at this end of the barn which I suspect is a deer stand.

An old barn and corn crib, off the beaten track, behind the store a few hundred yards offered some unusual photo ops not available without an invitation. The owner and I are friends and he graciously steered me in the right direction. The old barn was built to store hay, tack, and feed. It was completely floored. The floor stands off ground level more than a foot. It does, however, have large overhangs which could offer shelter to livestock.

The hay barn from the west end

The west end of the hay barn in late afternoon light. The angular device under the overhang is a hay feeder for cattle with the munchies. And they always have the munchies.

interior of old hay barn

The barn is tall and gives one the feeling of a rustic open air cathedral. All we need is a boom-box holding forth with “A Mighty Fortress is our God,” and/or some Purcell trumpet voluntaries.

Just a few yards from the old barn is an old corn crib. It is bigger than a lot of barns I have photographed. The north end is reasonably clear of weeds and trees, but the south end is cluttered with interloping trees and saplings. We have visited the subject of the hardy Bois D, Arc tree before on these pages. And now we have seen another one with a penchant for survival. Another reclining Bois D’ Arc.

Old corn crib at Tarry Arkansas

The north end of the corn crib is intact for the most part.

Bois D' Arc tree under corn crib

The hardy Bois D’ Arc tree, I believe, is genetically programmed with a superior survivability gene. The Bois D’ Arc is the Dick Butkus of trees. This one decided to take root in the moist, fertile soil under the corn crib, then stretch its branches to the sun to turbocharge its photosynthesis. While laying on its back. This is the south end of the corn crib which is in the process of collapsing. The corrugated metal roofing (aka “roofin’ arn”), leaning on the tree was deposited where it is by a tornado which whistled through a few years back.

While age and the elements have beaten away the the Tarry infrastructure, the great spring-fed fishing pond which has been in its back yard for no-tellin’ how long is alive well and producing “slab crappies” in the spring. Looks like the really good part is holding up well.

fishing pond at Tarry Arkansas

The pond is like it was decades ago, except for the cypress elegantly aging. While I was on this shoot, something big broke water in the pond. A good sign.

SEE MORE PICTURES OF TARRY  Visit our Weekly Grist Galley to see more of Thomas Grocery, the tree, the corn crib, and the barn, plus a couple of others. Guaranteed enjoyment.

Thanks for dropping by,

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

Cypress and relocation


This cypress story got started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer.com. To see another cypress picture and discover these beginnings, click here. Well, in fact, most of this story is there.

These trees showing their massive bases are just inches of water. The normal waterline about 3/4 up the visible trunk from the current water level.

These Lake Enterprise trees showing their massive bases are standing in just inches of water. The normal waterline, barely visible, is  near the top of the picture. Waterlines at the bottom of the trunks show that low water is nothing new to these trees.

Cypress trees are ornery critters. For the most part, (unless the lake goes dry), their feet are never dry and they thrive in non-hospitable environments. That being said, to some of us, they are a thing of beauty.  All of these trees are in Enterprise Lake at Wilmot AR. Wilmot is just a few miles north of the Arkansas-Louisiana state line.

Not far from a lakeside residence, this view gives you an idea of the width of the lake. It is long and skinny. Cypress trees line the shores. In certain parts of the lake, such as what is seen in our Corndancer article, are thickly concenterated.

Not far from a lakeside residence, this view gives you an idea of the width of the lake. It is long and skinny. Cypress trees line the shores. In certain parts of the lake, such as what is seen in our Corndancer article, the trees are are thickly concentrated.

Lake Enterprise is a backward question-mark shaped oxbow lake, a remnant of eons of geological shifts. There are a lot of similar lakes in this part of the country, but none quite as well populated with cypress as this one.

These trees are in just a few inches of water.

These trees are in just a few inches of water. Evidence of previous low water conditions is clearly evident with the pronounced waterlines. Cypress trees have a knack for survival.

What the ??????

A few miles north of Wilmot you see a smoke stack, jutting like an asparagas spear from a plowed field. It is what's left of the Jerome Relocation Center.

A few miles north of Wilmot and Lake Enterprise  you cannot miss a smoke stack, jutting like an asparagus spear from a plowed field. You can see it for miles. It is what’s left of the Jerome Relocation Center.

The Jerome Relocation Center was a camp where 16,000 Japanese Americans (most were US Citizens) were incarcerated from October 1942 until June 1944. Named for the now virtually depleted town of Jerome, Arkansas, the relocation center was established as a result of executive order 9066, signed in February 1942 by then President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

As a result of that order more than 120,000 persons of Japanese descent were relocated from the west coast and Hawaii to similar camps. There was another relocation camp in Arkansas 27 miles north at Rowher. There is a memorial to Japanese American WWII veterans and a cemetery holding the remains of internees who died while residents of that camp.

In the mid-70s, I had the privilege of meeting a man about my age who had spent part of his childhood in the Rowher Camp. He was in the nearby town of McGehee AR helping make arrangements for a memorial service to be held at the Rowher site. Also in the 70s, I talked to several residents of the Rowher area who were adults at the time. They told me that, for the most part, local residents sympathized with the internees. The internees also gave a good accounting of themselves and were polite, responsible people.

A quarter mile or so north of the smoke stack, is a memorial to the Jerome Relocation Camp internees. Being in the Delta, in a farm area, no space is wasted. An irrigation pump sits close by. In the background, you can see a cropduster winging his way home.

A quarter mile or so north of the smoke stack, is a memorial to the Jerome Relocation Camp internees. Being in the Delta, in a farm area, no space is wasted. An irrigation pump sits close by. In the background, you can see a crop duster winging his way home.

I talked to a woman whose family operated a store adjacent to the Rowher Camp. She was very complimentary of the internees and admired their ability to create outstanding vegetable gardens, a skill universally admired here in the south. She also said that after the initial settlement, some of the internees could come and go as they pleased and became customers of her store. She fondly remembered some individuals by name.

Down the road at Wilmot, the trees were there all the time, not paying attention to the personal dramas unfolding to the north. While we humans scurry about learning from our mistakes, the trees await our visit. If we never see them they, the ornery cypress,  don’t care. If we do happen to set foot on their turf, their quiet dignity and infinite resilience give us pause to marvel at inexplicable wonders.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe

More Jerome Relocation Center links: Click here and/or here

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