-Art's Art-
Recollections of a Small Town Boy


On a strip of land which young and adventurous boys thought of as no man’s land, harking to images of the first Great War, an abandoned farm house sat ghostly in the moonlight reflected from windows, the few with a bit of glass left unbroken. When and by whom it was owned and deserted was never known to me. 

We lads knew only that it was strictly forbidden to go near the place. Of course that was all the encouragement needed to do it anyway. It was there! Dangers lurked in the yard. A heel planted on a rusty plow point was sure to produce a bruise. A sliver of glass might slice a toe, in which case a sneak raid on the iodine bottle and good acting kept the folks from asking questions. 

There were few noxious weeds, thanks to flint and quartz ground to sand and resting atop hard red clay. Arrowheads were common, but none better than rejects by an ancient craftsman. 

The house begged to be explored and we did it, scared and curious in equal parts. The house in its time was quite handsome and spacious. A broad hall led to rooms on either side and a kitchen to the rear,  now collapsed. 

Stairs mounted to four upper rooms, all of good size. Successful farming required successful breeding, so bedrooms may house three or more sons and likewise daughters. Three of the rooms above stairs were too dilapidated to chance, but one was solid and worth a look around we believed. 

It was unrewarding and unpleasant. The place seemed to be a hobo stopover, with evidence of canned beans and primitive toilet habits attested by human and canine feces scattered at random. No hidden treasures, no ghostly rapping, just gross squalor. 

Years later I heard the house had either burned or been demolished. No one cared which. An arsonist would be forgiven, a wrecking crew would not have had much to do in flattening the place. Who owned the place and why it simply sat and rotted I never knew. 

Possibly a family dispute over a sliver of land between two working farms. Maybe one of those sad effects of the Civil War: Land that was just left when the family walked to Tennessee for a fresh start. 
Art Darwin
Sept. 1, 2007          

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