Meeting LeRoy Tucker: Ozark Raconteur
You see above a photo of LeRoy Tucker and his wife Patsy from their visit yesterday with us at the home of my brother John. Regular readers of Gypsy Scholar will know that LeRoy, who goes by the nickname "Tuck," is the writer at Folk Liar of the Ozarks, a blog with stories real and fictional from earlier days in the Ozarks. If you're unfamiliar with his tales, click over to his blog and look around, especially if you enjoy regional stories with backwoods dialect, but he offers far more than that for the dedicated reader, for he writes with sharp humor and deep insight into human nature, so he's actually far more than an 'Ozark Raconteur'. I recommend "Cadillac Pie" for a poignant story illustrative of the truth that you really can't go home again.
Here you see Tuck and me deep in conversation. If I recall, he was explaining about the land scam story behind Cherokee Village, a local land-development community. I'd not heard the details before because I was a very tender age when the place was getting started over in eastern Fulton County. I suppose that Tuck was already in his late twenties at that time. We knew some of the same people because my maternal grandparents had been into politics at the local and state level, and nothing is more political than land development in Arkansas, given the money involved. Moreover, my grandmother worked in the Tax Assessor's Office down at the Fulton County Courthouse some time later, so she knew all about the monetary value of the land on the Spring River where Cherokee Village was located. But my grandparents hadn't told me all the details, so having Tuck over to relate the concrete facts was enthralling. I won't retell them all here since I prefer to let sleeping dogs lie, but I did learn that the scam started with a bait-and-switch gambit. A lot of folks on a mailing list in Memphis received letters implying that they had won deeds to property on the Spring River near Hardy, Arkansas. A couple of days later, the gravel road to Hardy saw a line of cars driving up from Memphis. People arrived only to discover that they'd 'won' nothing more than an opportunity to purchase deeds to property lots for various sorts of downpayments -- even the gold watch off their wrists! If they had a gold watch. I reckon folks were embarrassed to leave without title to the property that they'd 'won', so a great many lots got sold. That's the dishonorable way in which the entire business got off the ground.
At this point, our conversation was interrupted for a more posed photo. My wife looked at this photograph later and remarked that one can readily see that Mr. Tucker is a great, impressive person. She's right. He may be nearly eighty and reliant on a cane, but he's got lively eyes, a very sharp mind, and an articulate, loquacious tongue. I was sorry that our visit was so short, only about four hours.
You see in this last photograph another friend, Herschel, who was also present because his father and Tuck were good buddies way back in the 1960s. Also an excellent raconteur, he and Tuck had a great time trading stories of people whom they'd both known. I mostly listened, though I knew the same people and could occasionally toss in a name.
I wish that I had more photographs from the meeting yesterday, but my wife and I were both deep in conversation with Tuck and his wife almost the entire time, so we had little opportunity for taking pictures.
Once again, let me urge you to go over and familiarize yourself with LeRoy Tucker's blog: Folk Liar of the Ozarks.