Once upon a time in a southern land not too far from here -- beside a lane near an old school house and cemetery -- stood what some city dwellers might call a cabin.
The posts on the wide front porch -- where lots of "visiting" took place -- were cut from local timber and still boasted the original bark and small bits of limbs left behind that held bridles, ropes, and other useful things. There was probably an old hand-carved Wooden Indian there as well.
I can't remember how many rooms were there, only that the "front room" led straight into the kitchen which also doubled as a dining area for the folks who called it home -- and for the many visitors who found it to be a place of refuge, laughter, and good-natured Ozark hospitality.
The place was in a valley - sometimes called a "holler" -- and the winter winds weren't too bad down there under the hill. The summers, as I recall, were hot and sticky and as humid as a rain forest. Air conditioners were not in use by many back then, so you either dealt with it, or you left.
A little bit south of the "old house" stood an old weathered one-room building the locals called the Case School House. My dad's father once lived further up the lane to the north, and he went to school there for awhile when he was but a barefoot country boy. When I was a kid visiting the area, most Sundays you could find a group of worshippers, folks from the East Richwoods Missionary Baptist Church, gathered there. The cemetery a little further south and across the road carried the Case name as well, and many of my relatives were laid to rest there.
I remember times when the land around the old house looked like a menagerie, hosting everything from horses to donkeys and goats to chickens. Coon dogs and squirrel dogs could be found -- and sometimes purchased - there as well.
There's a newer home on the hill above the old house now, and one further up the lane if memory serves me right. And I believe descendants of the original owners have settled there and are busy raising quality cattle and garden products. If you look for the place, you'll know it by its name -- Star Gap.
When my mind takes me back to the Tomahawk, back to where my ancestors worked small homesteads and wished for more bottom land, my route takes me past the old lane where the cabin stood; past the lane leading up to Star Gap; past the restored one-room school house and the nearby cemetery; and through the rich and wonderful memories made so many years ago alongside that long, sweeping curve on what used to be the clay and gravel road that that led to Hanover and Luber.
It's a fabulous trip.