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

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Ogle this store, and more


Ogles store front

Ogles Store at Collins, Arkansas sold its first piece of merchandise in 1874. Doy Ogle, grandson of the original proprietor, John Ogle, owns and operates the store today. The store's inventory includes more than the average person can imagine. Here we see shovels, a wheelbarrow wheel, a cricket box, fishing poles, extension cord, vacuum cleaner, wheel ring, a chain hoist, and other whatchamacallits and doo-dads which defy description.

 Ogles Store in Collins, Arkansas is the only game in town. The closest other stores are 15 miles west and eight miles east. It wasn’t always that way. Not long after Ogles opened its doors in 1874, there were seven other stores in Collins all vying for the same customers. Now 137 years later, Ogles is still at it which tells us that they’ve been doing something right since the git-go. Collins is south of Seven Devils Swamp, west of Dermott, Arkansas, and east of Monticello, Arkansas, just in case you were curious.

Doy Ogle

Click on Doy Ogle for more Ogle Store pictures

Ogle more at Ogles

This story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. Go there to get in on the start of this story and see pictures of the inside of the store. Also get  a bit more store information. We’ll wait here while you visit.

To get into the store, you must stroll through merchandise displayed at the approach to the front door. As you look at what’s offered, you know you are not shopping at the average store. Let’s face it. Where else could you find fuel cans, circular saw blades, antique signs, a trailer hitch, a kitchen canister, a couple of old bug sprayers, an extension cord, a child’s stool, and a sledge hammer all conveniently arranged for immediate inspection? Precious few I suspect.

table of merchandise at country store

The east outdoor shopping display at the entrance to Ogles Store. If you are of a curious nature, Ogles is like a candy store for persons of your ilk.

When you reach the front door, the selections continue. Clothing, fireplace tools, extension cords, a drill press next to a floor lamp and more. You also see a plethora of signs and notifications on the front doors. Do not despair, you will not be tested on the content of these.

See more pictures of Ogles store plus more from this trip on our Weekly Grist Gallery

Front door at Ogles

A whole world lies waiting behind door number one.

Cruising through south Arkansas, my main image hunting grounds, I find subjects to which I will return when the light is better or when I have time to make the shot. The old store at Coleman, Arkansas was high on that list and has now been checked off. The old gas pump, home-made window grids, “coal-oil” pump were too much to resist.

Old store front at Coleman Arkansas

The "coal-oil" pump and the gas pump at Coleman Store at Coleman, Arkansas are easy to explain. The potty, I'm not so sure. At least it is a good place to take a seat out of the 100° sun.

 At the junction of Arkansas Highways 277 and 54, you will find Coleman Store, at Coleman Arkansas. Congratulations. You and I can find it, but Google can’t. They don’t know what they are missing, which is a fine old store.

Home made campaign sign

Several miles further south, less than a quarter of a mile from one of our favorite places, Selma Methodist Church, at Selma Arkansas, the 2012 campaign has kicked off — with Krylon and the side of a barn.

Critters do what they can to beat the heat. This nice looking buckskin is standing in the pond, probably pondering the idea of venturing deeper. His cow friends will have no such trepidations. They will go leg-deep into a pond in a heart beat.

buckskin in a pond

Come on in, the water's fine. Honest. Notice the bare ground at the edge of the pond. Where the grass starts is the normal water line. It's been a while since south Arkansas has had a significant rain. My buddies down in Cleveland County tell me it's so dry they're catching catfish out of the Saline River with ticks on 'em.

See more pictures  from this trip on our Weekly Grist Gallery

Tall cotton

Almost everyone has heard the term "standin' in tall cotton." Well friends, this is real-live tall cotton. The outside rows nearly hit me in the chin and I am 6-3" tall. (Formerly 6-6" tall until the onset of multiple birthdays).

On the way home, sunset started happening at McGehee, Arkansas. The sun had dipped behind the fine cypress trees in Wiley McGehee Memorial park on the west side of U.S. Highway 65.

Sun behind cypress at Wiley McGehee Memorial Park

Sunset behind the cypress at Wiley McGehee Memorial Park, McGehee, Arkansas. Nice.

I arrived just in time to catch the sun behind the trees and sun colors across the deer grass and water in which the cypress stand. The timing was dumb luck and perfect. The Lord continues to take care of fools and drunks.

Selma Methodist Church

Click on the church for more pictures

SEE MORE on our Weekly Grist Gallery.

More store. More of this trip including Selma Methodist Church – 29 pictures in all in a larger format.

See a curious cow, the highway patrol and wreckers at the site of an 18 wheeler breakdown and more in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

Thanks,
Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.

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