A House On Marsh Mountain



Little Red River Journal, March 24, 1982



ff the main highway in the small country town of Pangburn, Arkansas, stood an old weather-worn post.  Nailed to the post were several boards with the names of Marsh families painted on them.  The boards pointed down a rocky, dirty road which led to the top of Marsh Mountain.  To get to the top of Marsh Mountain you followed a winding, steep road for about three miles.  As you traveled up the mountain you could see several country houses scattered across the land, but none of them was quite like the house at the top of the mountain.

          As a little girl looking from the bottom of the driveway to the top of the hill, I saw a little pink, wood-frame house.  The house was built in the early 1930s by Adrain and Myrl Marsh.  The roof over the front porch of the house was supported by wood logs and the floor of the porch was hard, dirt ground.  At one end of the porch was an old swing that swayed back and forth with each gust of wind.

          As I entered the living room of the little four-room house I saw a huge, black, wood-burning stove.   The crackling of the fire and the smell of wood burning gave the room a mystic, warm feeling.  Arranged neatly on an old wood table in the corner of the room was a family Bible and family photo album.

          Around the corner in the kitchen was the smell of fresh apple pies and bread being baked.  I saw a little woman in her early 40s with flour-covered hands and a smudge of flour on her forehead hard at work.  She had a big, pleasing smile on her face as she took the pies and bread from the hot, wood-burning stove. 

          All the floors in the house were hardwood and were covered with braided rugs and throw rugs.  The doors leading into the bedrooms were covered by sheets or curtains. Behind these doors were beds covered with beautiful hand-made quilts.

          In the back yard was an old water well.  Hanging from the top of the well was an old rusty wheel with rope wound around it.  At the end of the rope was a long, round aluminum bucket used for drawing cool, refreshing water.

          A little further beyond this well stood a big oak tree that had a gunnysack swing hanging from one of its limbs.  There were deep marks on the tree limb where the swing had swung back and forth over the years.  When swinging high enough on the swing, I could see much of the land surrounding the little house.

          A huge garden was at one side of the house.  Usually I could see a partially bald, slender man in his late 50s wearing faded blue overalls working in the garden.  Far to the back of the house was a wooded area with a small creek, and on the other side of the house was the dusty dirt road leading back to the main highway.

          Now as a young woman looking from the bottom of the same driveway to the top of the hill I see many trees, but they no longer surround a little pink house.  One of the trees next to the house was struck by lightning.  The lightning bounced off the tree and hit the house, setting it on fire.  When Adrain and Myrl examined what was left of the house they found an open Bible.  When they picked the Bible up, the pages crumbled  in their hands.  All was lost.