A Trip to Mississippi

A Trip to Mississippi

I made my annual trip to Pontotoc, Mississippi to pay my land taxes this week. The reason I pay the taxes in person instead of just mailing them in reads like a John Grisham novel. He lives just up the road between Pontotoc and Oxford. It is easy to see where he gets his story ideas from. I have not read any of them but having lived the situations, I know all too well what they must be about.

I took my Jeep Cherokee this trip instead of Dad’s more fuel efficient Mazda so that I could do some exploring. I had also hoped I could drive to the lake on our property.

I arrived in Pontotoc late Monday afternoon and the majestic old courthouse was still open. I paid the land taxes without incident and made sure my receipt was printed from the computer and signed by the clerk. We found a few years ago that is important to have both along with the cancelled check when someone alters the computer data base to make it appear that you have not paid your taxes.

I then made my way down to the farm. It was not as could this trip as it often is in December. The little space heaters warmed the bath room up right away while I went outside and turned on the water.

I considered meeting my cousin at the Masonic Lodge but I decided to go for a drive instead. I drove south to the Chickasaw Wildlife refuge. There is a maze of very well maintained gravel roads in the woods there. I went in across the levee of Davis Lake. I love the way the road comes up on to the levee and then disappears into the woods here.

I enjoyed the roads as it began to get dark. I made a pass by Witch Dance Hill. Supposedly this is where Indian Witch Doctors danced rituals in some distant past. All I saw was a lookout tower and a cell phone tower. I made a big loop and came back out of the woods across the levee.

The next morning, I decided to hike to the lake and see how the road was. I had decided not to bring my canoe since I was not sure the road was passable.

I took a short cut through the woods and intersected the field road about a third of the way in. It was in great shape there. At the bottom of the hill there were two quicksand mud holes. They would have been no problem for Scuffy but I was a little concerned about my street Jeep.

The rest of the road was in great shape. I will defiantly bring the canoe next trip. I hiked out to the edge of the lake and enjoyed the silence and the still water. There were deer, raccoon and beaver signs everywhere. In fact the beavers had cleared a spot on the bluff that made a nice scenic overlook of their expansion of the lake.

I hiked back to the house and took another long look at the big muddy spot. Being alone and with minimal recovery gear I decided not to try it with the Jeep this trip. When I bring the canoe, I will have sufficient reason to tackle it.

Later in the morning, I met with my cousin Millicent who lives next door. She told me about the attempted theft of some equipment down the road.

Luckily for the owner, someone was staying at the farm that night. The caretaker heard a noise and grabbed his shotgun. When he went outside he found that two young men had already moved the goose neck trailer from the farm’s truck to their truck and were attempting to load the skid loader onto it. He held them at gun point until the sheriff’s deputy arrived.

They told the deputy that they were give information about equipment along the road by a truck driver who ran that route daily. He would place his order and they would go pick it up for him. I hope our tractor is not on his list. That is part of why my family makes random visits to the farm to check on things there.

After taking with Millicent, I headed south to see what had changed in Aberdeen. I had not been there in a while. The Tennessee Tombigbee canals have really changed the area from what is was like when I grew up there. And the recent rerouting of the highway made it even more different. I drove around and found most things I remembered.

I stopped by the old shop in Gibson. Most of the equipment abandoned there after my grand father died is long gone. The shop building has collapsed but the welding jigs for the bulldozer blades he built are still visible in the floor.

In the vines and underbrush I found out old winch truck. I called it Rackety Boom as a kid and the name stuck. It was made from a Ford Hay truck. I am not sure what rear axle is in it. It looks larger than the Ford axle. It had road grader wheels on it so it may have come from a grader. It is mounted solid to the frame with no springs. The driver seat and steering wheel are reversed sop that the rear of the truck it the front.

A cable winch was drive off he truck PTO but it looks like some one had scavenged it. The boom was a truss made by my grandfather apparently out of scrap steel since it has some odd shapes in it. The hood and fenders are all that remain of the original truck body work. I would have loved to rescue it but there are trees growing up through the frame and I have no idea who even owns it now.

Back in Pontotoc, I made an attempt to find a WiFi spot. I normally use the one at Hardees. I first tried to connect from the parking lot but I could not get a signal. Next I packed up the laptop and charger since my battery is shot and went in side. I found a table by an outlet but the outlet did not work. There was a Christmas tree there but I was surprised to see the tree was plugged into an outlet in the ceiling.

When my food arrived I asked the girl about the outlets and she suggested that I plug in to the ceiling as well. Rather than climb on the tables, I fished around in the tree for the end of the strand of lights and plugged in my charger there.

I enjoyed my Chicken sandwich as the computer booted up. I had no trouble linking to their router form inside. However I was never able to get on the internet. I just got DNS errors for every site I tried to visit. I gave up and headed back to the farm.

I returned to my study of Napoleon Hill’s success course and enjoyed the quit of the old farm house. Well except for the trucks on the highway outside.

The next morning I headed home. I took a detour through Greenwood Springs, Ms to check on our family’s other piece of property there. I hiked up to where our house trailer had been. I used to find some of my old toys there but all that was left this time was some of the porch rails and some bricks. I explored the woods until I found the old well house and then headed up the road. I stopped at the other end of the property and explored the power line cut that looked freshly trimmed. There is a new fire station that was not there when I lived there.

I slowed to take a look at the old haunted house that we had lived in for a time. I did not see any ghosts so I continued on up the road.

I cut through Hamilton, Alabama drove toward Russellville. I was shocked by the devastation in Hacklelburg due to the spring tornadoes. There were downed trees for miles and plenty of foundations where homes had been. It appeared that the entire Wrangler jeans factory was gone as well. Maybe that was the source of all the new pairs of jeans found downwind.