A Cross tree

This lone tree stands as a memorial to Frank Cross who was murdered in the mid-eignties.

This lone tree stands as a memorial to Frank Cross who was murdered in the mid-eighties.

This story started on the Photo of the Week Page at  corndancer.com Click on the link to see the first part of the story, a very cool thing to do.

Frank Cross, an invalid confined to his bed,  was murdered in the mid-eighties at his home which formerly stood behind the tree. The family had the house demolished, but left the fine cedar tree standing as a memorial to Frank, who was an admired member of his community in southeast Arkansas.

Close inspection of the tree base reveals some artifacts which were probably part and parcel of the old home.

historical artifacts under old tree

Apparently, some items and materials which were not removed during the house demolition were left under the tree.This also included a wire wreath holder.

old farm artifacts under tree

Items left under the tree appear to include part of an andiron, which, we presume, was almost certainly used in a fireplace in the old Cross home.

Note in the picture above how flat the grass is laying. The wind was whipping across the Delta fields in the 15 knot neighborhood. It was December 21, the alleged first day of winter. As if programmed to be true, the  temperature was below 30 degrees in that afternoon. The wind chill factor was polar.

In the picture to the left, you see items left under the tree. For the uninitiated, the piece with the spring attached appears to be part of  a cultivator, a tractor towed implement. The object to the right of the cultivator part is probably part of an andiron set. There are some bricks in the foreground, probably from the house.

Human nature being what it is, there was other detritus, probably not a part of the household leftovers. It seems that we humans have some sort of genetic bent to deposit trash where we find other (perceived) trash. There was an old hydraulic hose, some water valve parts and other bits and pieces, not endemic to a house which was probably 75 or 80 years old, when it met its demise. Also a few wrappers and bottles. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out how those got there. In the hot summer, this tree provides best shade for miles, a good place for working people to take a break.

Information for our original story on corndancer.com was generously provided by Chuck and Pam Taylor and Chuck’s mother. Like a dummy, I did not write her name down. Family operates Taylors, a store and restaurant west of Dumas AR. I visited the bistro later and was not dissapointed. Since our first visit, they have changed their business model and now feature fine steaks. They are open for dinner only Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

Click here to see nine additional pictures of the tree.

a Yellowjacket nest in the tree.

Mother Nature has assigned tree guard duty to some of her pesky critters, to wit: a Yellowjacket nest in the tree. Interlopers beware.

Thanks for dropping by and Merry Christmas,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


A requiem for tunes

If you’ve arrived here from the Corndancer dot com Photo of the Week, this continues the saga. If you’ve arrived here independently of the original story, and your curiosity is piqued, you can check it out here.

An abandonbed building with an abandoned piano

An abandoned building with an abandoned piano

It was hard to miss. A ravished and bedraggled piano in front of an long unoccupied building. You just don’t see that every day. Makes you wonder why the building is boarded and why the now tuneless piano was unceremoniously left in the lurch.

These conditions also give you a good reality check. It seems a shame to abandon what might have been a serviceable piano to the elements and vandals. But it’s done and we saw it too late. End of story. That’s the reality.

This old barn with diagnoal clapboards has a distinctive appearance.

Diagonal clapboards yeid a distinctive appearance.

The joy of met expectations

While we lament the demise of an abandoned and disheveled piano, most of us believe similarly  shopworn old barns are pretty cool. Perhaps it’s because we expect old barns to be in disrepair. And we like it when our expectations are readily met.

If you’ve ever wondered about the notched doors on old barns, I was told once by an old-building aficionado that the additional height achieved by notching the doors was to admit a man on a horse or a wagon full of hay, An engineering buddy added that the triangular structure affords a bit of additional strength.

What we expect. Snaggle-toothed and still standing

What we expect. Snaggle-toothed and still standing

A few miles further down the country road, I happened across another old barn which fully subscribed to our alleged barn expectation criteria. Still standing, showing the ravages of years and untoward weather. The discovery came at a good time. Had I arrived just a few minutes later, the sun would have dropped below the horizon and the barn would have remained as I found it. Unshot. It’s always better to be lucky than good.

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe Dempsey

All pictures © 2008 Joe Dempsey

Speling and signs

If you’ve arrived here from the Corndancer dot com Photo of the Week, this continues the saga. If you’ve arrived here independently of the original story, and your curiosity is piqued, you can check it out here.

With tabuls and chers one would presume

With tabuls and chers one would presume

It seems like, in this day and age, we are swimming in a sea of “mispelt wirds.” This is personified by marker wielding sign makers who dot the landscape with pop art populated by misspelled words. The sign to the left decorates the exit of a Wal-Mart store.

The aspiring merchant posted two of these masterpieces, The other one, probably the second, touts the sale as “whole house.” You can see it here. There seems to be consistency in design and syntax.

What, no Mazola?

What, no Mazola?

Marker signs show up almost everywhere. If not free standing, they are attached to an existing structure. The two-way highway sign near an overpass touts a “Foam Party.” That’s a new one on me. I recall hearing about the legendary “Mazola” parties of the sixties, but a “foam party” leaves me mystified.

Apparently, the party organizers wanted to make certain invitees and the curious could find the festivities. There were five or six other signs staked out along the right-of-way with arrows pointing in the right direction. These signs had fallen victim to the morning dew and were sadly folded and nearly unreadable. But nothing can deter a determined marker sign person from plying his craft. Probably they were OK before the party and served their purpose.

Don't you dare ship or receive on the wrong side!

Don't even think about shipping or receiving on the wrong side. We are watching you.

Signs can give us a grin. We see see a sign and ask ourselves, what were they thinking? In the case of the overhead door sign, perhaps it was a company edict to encourage multi-tasking.

The building is currently not occupied, but placement of the “receiving” and “shipping” signs makes one wonder if there was a supervisor whose job it was to make certain that shipping and recieving were confined to the proper side of the open door. If this policy were violated, was a note of reprimand placed in a personnel file? Inquiring minds want to know.

It had to be on purpose. But what purpose?

It had to be on purpose. But what purpose?

Still in the “what were they thinking” mode, take a look at the Polaris sign. Is this a special accommodation to those few motorists who drive while standing on their heads? Or was it inspired one of the philatelist’s fondest hopes and desires, the inverted airmail stamp?

I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. But it does stimulate conversation on something besides the weather. Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey

Verbiage and all photographs © 2008 Joe Dempsey. Violators of this copyright will be relentlessly tracked down, Immediately upon capture, said miscreants will be summarily tossed to the lions.

Visit our site http://www.joedempseyphoto.com

Behind the scenes

In this new blog, we will step behind the scenes of “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.” We’ll reveal a few more of the gory details behind the pictures. You’ll see some additional pictures taken during the same shoot, or related pictures and be privy to some additional information. We will also post a few pages about some of the other things we do in plying our trade.

To those of you who go directly to the Corndancer dot com photo of the week, and are not familiar with the term, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” this is the subject line of an email I send each week to a coveted list of friends who have expressed an interest in our weekly Photo of the Week posts.

Check out our “About” page to find out how “Weekly Grist: came about.

Thanks for dropping by and keep an eye peeled for new content beginning around September 14, 2008.

Joe Dempsey

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