Saddle, Arkansas: Fact and Fiction
Pictured above is the old Saddle Store, located in Saddle, Arkansas, a place not far from my hometown of Salem, Arkansas. I assume that the store still stands since it was added to the National Register of Historic Places a little over ten years ago. It ain't much to look at, I reckon, but it's a piece of history. You can read about it and Saddle in a news article by Sherry Pruitt, "Old Store is Saddle landmark," in the Jonesboro Sun from 1999. Or you can go instead to the first installment in Mr. LeRoy Tucker's fictional story, "Cadillac Pie," in which the town of Saddle supplies a place:
By 1937 T-model Fords were common and there were a few A Models. Nobody owned one that was reliable. Electricity and telephones were a distant dream. The people of Saddle, having with no prospect of progress responded with feigned indifference.Well, there it is, in literature, the old Saddle Store. Mr. Tucker is still reworking this story, so expect it to alter in minor ways as he proofreads it (as I have, a bit). What I've posted here is merely a short passage near the beginning, but if you're interested in reading more, just click on the link. You'll notice, if you read Mr. Tucker's story in conjunction with Sherry Pruitt's article, that some of the same family names appear, for Mr. Tucker is fictionalizing a real time and place.
"Jest look yonder" said Saucer. The boys stood looking in amazement almost shock as the big green car approached. "Aye god, what kind is it?" Saucer continued, as in the distance a car approached, slowly and ever so soundlessly.
"Hit's a La Salle is what they call 'em," said Jake. "Actual it's a Cadillacs. Purtiest car they is to my thinkin' and they may be the best. I preferr's Packards myself. What in hell would it be in Saddle fer?"
The big green car crept slowly past the largest and newest store which was prudently perched on the slope of the nearest hill side and out of the flood plain bearing a sign, SADDLE STORE AND U.S. POST OFFICE, and continued on to Erby's store where the boys idled. Just across the narrow dirt road was a flowing spring, boxed on three sides by wide planks, and conveniently upturned on a twig of an overhanging bush was a Prince Albert tobacco can with the folding top removed and can squeezed open to maximum utility, a common dipper.
If you happen to be more interested in nonfiction, and are a nature lover, there's this more up-to-date depiction from Southwest Paddler:
The South Fork of the Spring River forms just northwest of Saddle, Arkansas, then flows southeast through Saddle to its confluence with the mainstream of the Spring River just above the Town of Hardy and the Hardy Beach access off US Highway 62 / SH 175. From Saddle to Hardy Beach the run is about 18.3 miles of generally flatwater flowing over gravel and rocky shoals. The South Fork is an incredibly beautiful and remote river winding through Ozark Mountains foothills, where few signs of civilization will be found. The constantly twisting riverbed is lined with spectacular bluffs and dense stands of hardwood trees indigenous to the Ozarks area. Its waters are cold, and optimum paddling is in the springtime, when northern Arkansas is still shuddering from winter temperatures.This description isn't quite accurate, so I suppose it's also partly fictional. South Fork River forms not "just northwest of Saddle, Arkansas," despite the Southwest Paddler's assertion, but in southern Missouri, and if you read more from this paddler of rivers, you'll see that he's unaware of the springs around Saddle that feed South Fork River and help maintain its flow for the 18.3 miles from Saddle to Hardy.
I've not floated that part of the South Fork, but I might just try it this summer, when I'm scheduled to be back in my hometown for a month.