May 14, 2008 Edition

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A trip to the 'big city'

DC Rowlett
Guest Writer

In the early 50s we canned all of our vegetables. Even when the cattle herd was developed and we could have butchered our own beef, there was no way to preserve it ~ a deep freeze was unheard of in our neck of the woods. We did have a small freezer at the top of the refrigerator.

My uncle, Mr. Roy Doyle, who was living in Walnut Ridge was discussing "putting vittles on the table," and the conversation of butchering beef and preserving it for long periods produced an idea that created two trips to the "big city" each month for several years to come.

There was a frozen food locker that would slaughter, butcher, wrap and store your beef. I think the only charge was a portion of the beef. It was located in Walnut Ridge at the four-way stop ~ jog to the right and continue north. Could be the building is still there; it was so long ago I am not sure of the exact spot.

It was important to me to go with my dad to get a couple weeks' supply of beef because Walnut Ridge was the place to be on a Saturday afternoon. My cousin, Linda Doyle, showed me things I didn't know existed ~ wow!

This drug store on Main Street had fountain Cherry Coke. This was something a boy from Possum Trot, down near Swifton, had never tasted before.

I doubt the citizens of Hoxie and Walnut Ridge realized what an experience it was for a little wide-eyed country boy to come to their hustling and bustling big city.

Dewitt Rowlett of Vilonia is a native of Possum Trot Community, five miles west of Swifton. He writes of his life in rural Arkansas and is gaining quite a fan club of people who are of the nostalgic persuasion. Comments can be sent to him through e-mail at

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