I don’t get back to my hometown very often. It’s Monette, Arkansas – population 1,000 and change.
Old friends have scattered but a few remain. I still pass through occasionally to check on our family’s farm land.
My education came to pass at Monette High School. Because of consolidation, the school no longer exists. It used to be the Home of the Buffalos. Any time I pass through Monette, it reminds me of a lot of things that used to be.
This used to be my high school letterman’s jacket. At least I wore one just like it. It now hangs on the wall at a local restaurant in a nearby town. The restaurant is called Big Butt’s BBQ. That’s right.
This site used to be the farm headquarters for a man named Aubrey Crump. It used to be the most pristine farmsite in the country. Now, it’s practically desolate. The Crumps used to be the closest thing we had to next-door neighbors. They once shared their stormhouse with us during a tornado outbreak in 1984.
This used to be the land Mr. Crump farmed. It used to be beautifully farmed land without a weed in sight. It makes me sad now.
This used to be the pickup truck of a man named Lavelle Spikes. I’m not sure, but it must have been at least 20 years since Lavelle died. The truck, a Chevy Silverado, probably a late 70s model, still sits where he last parked it before his death. I doubt it’s ever moved.
This used to be the biggest employer in town. It was called Frolic Footwear, but it now sits vacant. Many days I would drive by and see the workers having lunch on this bench, and as a kid I’d wonder what it was like to work there.
This used to be the place where my daddy loafed, had coffee, and traded tall tales with other farmers. It was called Ball-Hout Implement. We used to have some really good times there.
This used to be the home of my seventh-grade social studies teacher, Delores Miller. I loved that woman. Might have even had a childhood crush on her. A few weeks before going into the seventh grade, Mrs. Miller lost a young son in a tragic accident. She was strong, but she did cry the first day in class and I hurt for her so much.