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Out On The Mudline

The Wheelbarrow

As Shipp and his son, Parker, went into  the long overdue task of removing the contents and remnants of the old shed at our former home site many almost forgotten items of interest surfaced.   Another one showed up this morning.  

Today it was a wheelbarrow.  After the wheelbarrow was brought to the house its uses and placement had been debated.  Finally Nannette agreed that we should try to clean it and use it as a yard  or maybe a deck ornament.  Tonight it will spend its first night as an accepted and cherished ornament.  I’m very sure that the original owners  are pleased with our decision.  We brought it from “up  home.”

The Original Home

When anyone in Nannette’s family says “up home” they mean one exact spot in the State of Tennessee, The Dark Corner in Fayette County, Oakland, Tennessee.  This was the home place of Monroe Isom and Eula Blanche Jordan (that’s pronounced with a short u for the o [say ur] just as explained in the Methodist Hymnal) Stafford and their eleven children.  The original “Dog Trot,” log house was built on the side of an Indian mound.  Most of the barns were of logs.  The homestead was on the banks of the Hatchie River. There was no bridge—no need—the road ended at “The Dark Corner.”  

These were hardy people.  I never knew Nannette’s  grandfather and grandmother Stafford but the two uncles and  two, oft times three, aunts who still lived there were all somewhat characters by themselves. I can just hear uncle Charlie, when testifying in a road closing petition—the young lawyer asked, “Mr. Stafford where can you go on that?”

Uncle Charlie, very seriously, replied, “Young man you can start on that road and go anywhere in the world.”  He never cracked a smile.  There were eleven children and Nannette only had one maternal first cousin.

The Origin Discovered

As I cleaned on the wheelbarrow I found splotches of green paint on the rusty metal and then some yellow on the wood.  I surmised that Uncle Lewis and Uncle Charlie had painted their wheelbarrow to match their little John Deere tractor. As I went further I noticed several things that didn’t quite add up.  The sides of the hopper would dismount easily—just lift upward on the rear of the board and it came off—easily dumping all or part of a load.  Suddenly a light came on in my mind—they bought this thing from Sears Roebuck—no telling how many years ago.  I called Nannette and passed the thought on. She responded with a shrug and a maybe—but—she went straight to the only Big Sears Catalog we have—a la 1908. “Bill, come here—here it is priced at $2.35.”  So now we have an antique wheelbarrow on our deck to go with our well bucket, cross cut saw, scythe, new ground corn and bean planter, hay saw, bee smoker, corn shellers, etc.—its getting crowded.

Do have a good week—we know that ours will be good for we’re going to see some of our former students Saturday night.

You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606, or 662-563-9879.

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