The “Wow!” stuff: seek and ye shall find


These falls at Lake Catherine State Park, near Hot Springs, Arkansas are about midway in a relatively easy hiking trail that loops from a camping area along the lake shore. A healthy rain the day before this shot gave the falls a bit more oomph, a plus for the

These falls at Lake Catherine State Park, near Hot Springs, Arkansas are about midway in a relatively easy hiking trail that loops from a camping area along the lake shore. A healthy rain the day before this shot gave the falls a bit more oomph, a plus for the “WOW!” factor.

The “WOW!” stuff we encounter in our lives is analogous to life’s desserts. Sure we can live without ’em, but why? As a dessert, these experiences are non-fattening, low cholesterol and may, as in the case of the waterfall above, offer an opportunity for a tad of exercise. We actually started this “WOW!” exploration on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot Com. To see some more pictures from “WOW!” experiences and get in on the start of the story, click here, a very cool thing to do.

Water rushes over a low water bridge on an abandoned road off Arkansas Highway 171 west of Lake Catherine State Park. When the water is not up, you would probably miss it.

Water rushes over a low water bridge on an abandoned road off Arkansas Highway 171 west of Lake Catherine State Park. When the water is not up, you would probably miss it.

Granted, you do not have to take a trip to a waterfall or other special location to experience a “WOW!”, but for the most part, you exponentially increase the odds of being WOWED, if you put yourself in position to be WOWED. This means that occasionally one must cut the umbilical to daily or even weekend routines and nose about for something new. You may not know where you are going. A discovery is even more delicious if it is uncovered due to a random act of deciding which way to turn. Sally forth in a new direction and see what can be discovered. You never know what you will see. As an example, take a gander at the road sign below:

Lick Skillet Road

Lick Skillet Road off Arkansas Highway 80 east of Waldron, Arkansas.

When I saw the sign, I, in the words of W. C. Fields, ” … was compelled … ” to turn and drive down the road. This was not the first Lick Skillet Road sign I saw, but was the most skewed, so it made the cut to be published. I encountered a friendly young man in a pickup and asked if he knew how the road got its name. He allowed as how he understood that around the turn of the 20th century, a woman operated an eatery on the road. The good ol’ boys of the time observed that the food there was so good, you wanted to lick the skillet. And thus the name.

Further investigation by Googling the term indicated that this appellation, Lick Skillet, at the time, was popular. Turns out there are a bunch of Lick Skillet places and other Lick Skillet roads promiscuously scattered around the nation. There is indeed precious little new under the sun. Sooner or later, someone will claim to be “The Original Lick Skillet.” Or perhaps that claim has already been made.

Mad Dog Road

Abandoned house on Mad Dog Hill Lane near Bluffton, Arkansas on state highway 28.

After having followed Lick Skillet Road until it terminated on Arkansas Highway 80 east of Waldron, I more or less folded the tent with the idea of beating a path back home. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but an abandoned house with some Victorian trappings on the confluence of highway 28 and  “Mad Dog Hill Lane.”  In my time, I’ve known a few people, who will remain unidentified, the address of whom would appropriately contain such a street — you know who you are.

No one came forth with an explanation for the name, so I folded the tent again and headed south. Our imagination can fill in the blanks on Mad Dog Hill Lane until something better comes along.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Advertisements

Btfsplk or Addams?


What was probably a fine home in its time has now taken on the desheveled, creepy, haunted look relished by mystery fans and despised by the squeamish.

What was probably a fine home in its time has now taken on the disheveled, creepy, haunted look relished by mystery fans and despised by the squeamish.

When I saw this old house, now a bit on the mysterious side, I wondered, could this have been occupied by the Li’l Abner character and bad-luck artist,  Joe Btfsplk? Or perhaps by the equally famous champions of dark humor, the Addams Family?  Either would probably feel right at home. Speaking of which, this exploration had its beginnings on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com.  You are looking at the back yard of this house east of Ola, Arkansas on Arkansas Highway 28. To see a couple of front pictures and get in on the start of the story, click here, a very cool thing to do.

This room an addition to the house, is large and had large windows, both conditions unusual for homes of this age.

This room, an addition to the house, is large and had large windows, both conditions unusual for homes of this age.

The right side of the house is an addition and is a large room, unusual by the standards of rural residences of that day and time. I’m guessing it is in the 90-100 year old age, but be advised, “guessing” is the operative word. The room also had large windows, also a bit on the unusual side for a house of this age. The open area to the left of the picture is the back of the breezeway through the middle of the house.

The old "living room" is a repository of evidence.

The old "living room" is a repository of evidence. But who dares to investigate?

Lest you think I have lost what few marbles I have left, I did not enter the house to shoot the picture above. Having a tall tripod, a tall skeletal structure, a short ladder and an open window saved the day for an interior shot. I like to include these when I can because I suspect many people are curious as to what is in the inside of abandoned houses. I suspect that at some time, probably more than once, a transient, not too choosy about accommodations, dragged the bedding into the room and built a small fire. Not at the top of the pecking order, but, any port in a storm I suppose.

Methinks there is some value in almost everything we see or hear. This old house is an example. Most of us should be grateful we do not have a wind tunnel through the middle of our respective residences. We should also be grateful that Al Capp and Charles Addams saw fit to provide us with countless laughs. And in Al Capp’s case, some insights into ourselves and our society.

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe