For whom the bell doesn’t toll

No new post this week, but a link to a

neat archive post with critters

swimming bears

Click on the bears and go to "You belong in a zoo."

This week instead of a new post, we are redirecting to an archive post, “You belong in a zoo I.”  The pictures and story are from the Memphis Zoo during the time they had panda exhibit. You will find a link to the panda story when you go to that post, or you may click here and see the pandas.

Bell and steeple at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Lincoln County AR

There's no rope on the lever of this bell at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Lincoln County Arkansas. And it appears that it is frozen in the upswing for a "ring." I wonder why? On the other hand, a storm is brewing, the sun is setting and the king of the skies, a "turkey buzzard," is making a beeline for his home base, all of which are not to bad to observe.

 If “Googling” is any indication, “Macedonia” has to be one of the most popular names for a Missionary Baptist Church in the lower 48. As I was Googling to capture some information on Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Lincoln County, Arkansas — and its bell  — I was presented with hundreds of Macedonia Churches, none of which were the one I was seeking. Maybe thousands if I followed the Google pages to infinity. Thus rebuffed, I decided to wing it. According to the plaque on the church, it was organized by Elders B. Dabney, M. Nelson, and Deacon C. P. Powell in 1886 and rebuilt in 1980. Past that, I’m in the dark.

abandoned 1955 pink ford fairlane

Click on the old Ford to see more about it

Before I got to the church and it’s fine but silent bell, I ran across an abandoned and sadly deteriorating 1955 four-door Ford Fairlane. It is “Elvis Pink,” a popular color option of the day — and is on it’s last legs. The car has been sitting there since 1966 and looks it.

See this rotting relic on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot com, where this adventure started. We will wait here for your return. The bell ain’t going anywhere.

Stopped in mid ring

bell frozen in mid swing

As you can see, the lever to ring the bell was cut from what appears to be 3/8 steel plate and was not original equipment which would probably have been bronze. The lever is peppered with a predictable patina of ferrous oxide, AKA rust.

See a great sunset, another picture of the bell and more in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

In the absence of sounds from the bell, we can only but imagine the joy and sorrow accompanied by it’s clarion tone in better days — announcing to church goers that it is time to stop visiting and start worshiping,  ringing in a happy life for newly weds, the last toll for lives fulfilled — and perhaps neighbors rang it to notify the community of a fire, other emergency or a community gathering. It was probably the only mass communication device for miles.

Macedonia MIssionary Baptist Church LIncoln County AR

Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, Lincoln County, Arkansas, organized in 1886 has weathered many a storm and in this picture is right before weathering another.

Going, going, gone

Flowers wilting as summer ends

These flowers are folding their tents as summer winds down and fall rolls in. Already, we've started to feel a tad of a chill in the air. In a month or so, we'll be chattering.

Changing seasons are a good time to pause for introspection. To look inward and see what needs to be fixed. Besides the rope on the bell.


Click the picture to see the sunset

SEE A DRAMATIC SUNSET in our Weekly Grist Gallery

A late summer thunderstorm right before sunset created some favorable circumstances. See the sunset here. Also an old truck, three pictures of an forlorn old 55 Ford, the bell and more in our Weekly Grist Gallery. Thirteen pictures in all.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

Greeting, eating, and sweetening the pot

Inside of Selma Methodist Church

Most of the inside trim, pews, room partitions, and balcony were removed from the Selma Methodist Church building when work started to rebuild the foundation. The church was jacked up eight feet in the air to facilitate foundation reconstruction. Fortunately for us, the pulpit appurtenances were spared the ignominy of storage. What you see was hand carved and is in very good condition. The patina of the floor comes from more than 130 years foot traffic. Most people believe it was never painted or shellacked.

The inside of Selma Methodist Church at Selma, Arkansas looks a bit disheveled right now. So would you if you had your innards nearly turned inside out by the back sides blows of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Church picnic serving line

See more Selma pictures at Corndancer dot-com.

The church building, completed and first used in 1874 and narrowly escaping that disaster, has undergone some serious work for stabilization since that fateful March in 2008 when the storms nearly pounded it into the ground. You can get more details on the start of this story at the Corndancer dot-com Photo of the Week page. We’ll wait here while you look.

We were there for the first official fundraiser held by the Selma Methodist Church Preservation Society, a group of dedicated Selma Church fans whose sole purpose is to return the church to its like-new condition. They are in the first phase which is to stabilize the structure and bring further deterioration to a halt. See more Selma event pictures in our Weekly Grist gallery

You  can see pictures of the complete church interior and read a recent article detailing the church history were published in the December 2010 issue of Rural Arkansas, the official magazine of Arkansas Electrical Cooperatives.

Picnic serving line

The fine southern cuisine prepared on the grounds before your very eyes went fast. The cooks were efficient and nary a soul went hungry. Gets one in a generous mood.

 The storm damage to the church was so severe that it was declared unsafe for any events and/or any entry for other than maintenance, and then at extreme risk. This fundraiser was the first event held in the church since the storm damage in 2008. Previously, it was frequently used for weddings, funerals, and other events. Even attendees took turns ringing the church bell, a welcome sound to the community. It is said the bell was cast with 100 silver dollars melted into the metal before the pour to improve the sound. To my ears, it worked.

Selma Methodist Church

Selma Methodist Church, May 21, 2011, the first day it was open to the public since the storm damage in March 2008.

See more pictures of the Church and the fundraiser event in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

 Part of the fund raiser was an auction of donated items. The auction was conducted by guest auctioneer, Mark McElroy, County Judge of neighboring Desha County, Arkansas. For non-Arkansans, the title “County Judge,” in Arkansas is an executive title rather than a jurist title. The position is roughly equivalent to what folks in other states would call a county mayor. Judge McElroy, a man of many talents is one of those individuals who has never met a stranger. He kept the crowd entertained.


Judge Mark McElroy works to pry extra dollars from a bidder, while his "Vanna White, Mr. Riggins (sunglasses), watches the action.

The trip to Selma took me through the Coleman community where you will find the  “Look-See Tree,”  a fine White Oak on the premises of Olin Tucker. The tree is designated as an  Arkansas Historic Tree.

Arkansas Look-See tree

Olin Tucker's Look-see tree with full summer foliage.

Parting shot(s)

Meandering around, we find stuff that makes us smile. We presume this is the right stuff to make you smile as well. Driving north on Hwy. 70 after our junk yard adventure a couple of weeks ago, we saw a home-made sign promoting fig sales. Being curious, we followed the area to discover that not only could one purchase figs, you could also drive away with a new dog house.

figs for sale

If you are looking for figs, this is the place. The sign appears to be a recycled day-glo highway warning sign of some sort. Adaptive re-use, I believe, is the term.

Figs and dog houses

Once you cross the railroad and levee which comprises the 90 feet between the first sign and entrance to the fig emporium, you discover that, as a bonus, you can buy a dog house as well. Diversification is a good thing in business these days.


Click on the dog to see more Selma pictures in our Weekly Grist gallery

See our Weekly Grist Gallery, this week with 55 pictures of the Selma Church Fundraiser event.

See Pepper the Schnauzer in this gallery the one and only Schnauzer to attend the Selma Methodist Church fundraiser. Well socialized, he fit right in. There you will also see more pictures of the church, the auction and the musicians as well as the cooks and attendees.

This collection is a glimpse at a southern on-the-grounds “git-together” as one should see such an event. Even if you are not an anthropologist you will probably see something you like.

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind