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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Larkinsville Again

    
    Larkinsville, a tired, old southern town nestled in the foothills of Northeast Alabama, lost its glory after the War Between the States.  She curled up and slept through the next hundred years.  Scottsboro, a neighboring town, took advantage of the tired old farmers and the worn out cotton pickers who had once fought on one side of the war or the other, and wrestled the county seat right from under their noses.  Once the county seat was gone, Larkinsville withered away and the elementary school where boys and girls played on worn out see-saws and some played other games in the darkness of the outside toilets became a stockyard.  The only post office closed after the passenger trains eluded Larkinsville for good.  The bank and the jail were long gone. The Rolling Store stopped rolling and Latham’s Grocery was the only thing left in town.
The only hotel that once stood so proudly with its stately white columns and wrap around porch sold at auction to the highest bidder.  It is said that the new owner’s wife died and as her body lay in state in the main parlor, the player piano that was left over from the days of the hotel’s feisty saloon, kicked into gear and began playing a tune reminiscent from the days of the war, for all of the mourners.  The new owner swore that he saw his wife breathing as she lay in the open casket.  The coroner was called and assured him that she was indeed dead. Afterwards, the owner swore that his nights were filled with the sounds of creaking boards, cigar smoke swirling throughout the rooms and voices that whispered as if trying to relay the secrets that were pent up in the walls of the old hotel. 
Yes, Larkinsville watched its sons shed their overalls and slip into Johnny Reb uniforms  marching off to fight for the Confederate army, only to face discouragement and ruin.  Some of those same men had enough of the doom and gloom and came back home and joined the Union Army.
  Larkinsville sent its men to fight in during WWI and WWII and the Korean Conflict.  The Vietnam War was no different.  Always a war to fight.  However, the little town never grew again.  Nothing changed.  Until one day, Ruby moved into the little shack near the railroad tracks.  Yes, that shook things up a little.  Woke some of the men folk up.  And, if that wasn’t enough to raise the dead, Dr. Martin Luther King marched on Selma and woke the entire State of Alabama up.  Yep, times, they were a changing.  But not so much in Larkinsville.  Wasn’t anything there to change anymore.   But, I reckon as long as my friend and I were there, we kept things stirred up as much as we could.

Check out this book:  Loyalty and Loss:  Alabama's Unionists in The Civil War and Reconstruction by Margaret M. Storey

2 comments:

  1. Well now...hold on. I remember you and I kept the streets/roads pretty hot walking them all hours of the night. Actualy, until around 8:00 p.m. when we were called home. And, when I say "called home,"I don't mean by phone, I literally mean one of our mother's yelling from the back door "yall better get on in here - now!" Yep, that's about how big Larkinsville was when we were growing up. But somehow, we made it fun - it was fun!

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  2. We didn't have a care in the world. We were so young, so innocent and the best of friends. I wish we could go back in time. We would be keeping those roads hot again.

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