The first time I laid eyes on the house – well, let’s just say, I was not overwhelmed with joy.
We had lived in Northwest Arkansas for a couple of years and had gotten into the habit of taking a drive each weekend. After having a big brunch on Sunday morning, we would drive for hours and take every dirt and gravel road we could find in Benton County. We saw lots of great things and learned a lot about our new area.
One fall afternoon, on the western side of the county, we saw a bunch of cars and trucks on the edge of the road. Everyone was looking at something in a field where there were several chicken houses. We pulled off onto the farm road to see what everyone was watching and as we came along side the houses, we saw ….. eagles!
Eagles, bald eagles! There were male and female and juvenile birds sitting in these big old oak trees. They were such large birds and so beautiful – the feathers on their heads were just sparkling white. It was amazing! We sat in the car and watched them feed on the chicken carcasses thrown out of the houses ( this was before farmers were required to incinerate the dead birds). They would fly up and out across the field and call to one another. The sound of the wings and the talons as they hit the tree branches was thrilling. We sat there for the longest time and it is an afternoon that I will never forget.
It was on one of those Sundays, on a gray, cloudy February day, that we pulled onto another gravel road. This looked like it was heading to yet another of the ubiquitous chicken houses in the county. Bob headed up the road, saying that we could always turn around if it went into someone’s yard.
Instead, the road continued up past the little farm with its well house and along a WPA wall built to contain the narrow creek. Around a bend, appeared a white house, sitting halfway up the ridge on the east side of the road. My first thought was that it was a very sad looking house. It sat forlornly, its shoulders sagging. It was very apparent that it was derelict with no inhabitants. (or so we thought)
The drive was rutted and a mess. But my husband tried driving up until the car almost fell into a large ditch.
We walked the rest of the way. The front door stood above the ground by several feet and the only steps were three concrete blocks standing on top of one another. But it didn’t matter – the door was shot up and we were unable to budge it. So we went around to the side door. As my husband turned the doorknob, the door fell completely inside the house.
Grinning, Bob looked at me and laughed – ” We’re home!”
To be continued….