Sunday, November 07, 2010

Bunk Lumm of Agnos, Arkansas

Agnos, Arkansas
(Image from

As some readers know, I've been assisting Mr. LeRoy Tucker as he reworks several of his stories about the quasi-fictional Ozark town of Climax, Arkansas, political center of the even more imaginary La Clair County, located on the border of Fulton and Sharp counties, both of which it overlaps, if that might help the cartographically oriented fix the place more securely. Anyway, over at his blog, which he had neglected of late due to time spent reworking old stories, Mr. Tucker has publicly thanked me for my efforts:
I have been seriously remiss. It is not my fault. Blame Dr. Jeffery Hodges who edits some of my work. He has kept me busy on older stuff trying to get it neat and respectable.
Since I'm being so helpful to an appreciative Mr. Tucker, I might as well send interested readers over to his blog, Folk Liar of the Ozarks, to enjoy one of his stories still in process, but which I've already spent considerable time editing, a task that primarily entails my suggesting punctuation, for Mr. Tucker needs no assistance in composing his stories. The story is "Hoops," a fictional tale about the time in 1937 that the Climax Wampus Cats won the State Tournament for high school basketball in Arkansas. Here's a teaser, a radio interview in which Little Rock sportswriter Missioner Cox poses some questions to Wampus Cat supporter and authentic backwoodsman Bunk Lumm, who's not the sharpest tool in the shed but who has a certain charm:
During his pre-game show, Missioner Tox, a sportswriter and radio personality, while asking around for someone from Climax, happened upon Bunk Lumm, who proudly proclaimed that he lived in the Climax area. When asked to comment on the area he complied. "Hit's dusty up home. Cars throws up dust, dust high'ern the trees. Trees up there is red with dust."

"That's interesting. Mr. Lumm. Is that spelled with only one 'm'?" Bunk stood staring blankly into the distance, unconcerned, until at last Tox saw the problem and moved on. "Mr. Lumm -- Climax, the town of Climax -- people out in radio land are eager to know about the town that produced the Wampus Cats. Could you describe Climax for the folks out there in radio land?"

"Hit's ugly, real ugly. Every store built outa rocks, ugly brown rocks," said Bunk.

"A nice town though?" asked Missioner Tox.

"No, I wouldn't hardly go that fer," was the reply.

Then Tox, warming to the task asked, "Bunk, all right if I call you 'Bunk'?"

"Who me?" asked Bunk.

"Yes Bunk, you. May I ask exactly where you live."

"Shore, shore, I'm from Agnos."

Tox was loving it. "Would that be Agnos, Arkansas?"

"Hit shore ain't nowheres else," said Bunk.

"Alright then. Bunk, tell the folks exactly now -- where is Agnos?"

"Why, Agnos is out west of Climax, yon side of Possum Trot 'fore you git to Glencoe. I thought ever body knowed that."

"Bunk, thank you so much for sharing your valuable time with me and a special thank you from the folks in radio land. I thank you, I and all my friends out there appreciate you for just being yourself. Good luck to you and good luck to the Wampus Cats of Climax . . ."

"I'll never find another one," thought Missioner Tox. "Damn, he's a classic, better than Lum and Abner."

Back in Climax, the boys in Ab's barber shop were delighted with Bunk's performance. They told and retold it to all who would listen. Regrettably it lost a lot in the telling but everyone was proud of Bunk.
The very real Ozark town of Agnos, Arkansas exists only a few miles southeast of my hometown, Salem, and one can also find the towns Glencoe and Possum Trot. As for Climax, it might or might not have existed sometime in the past, but it very much exists in the growing tales of Mr. LeRoy Tucker.

Anyway, if the teaser has interested you, then go read all of "Hoops," which gives a starring role to a great big old Huber steam tractor . . .

Labels: , , ,


At 3:58 PM, Anonymous dhr said...

my hometown, Salem

you mean, the one of the "witches"?!

At 5:42 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Not at all. That was Salem, Massachusetts.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 6:35 PM, Anonymous dhr said...

Excuse me, Geography is at the top of my Deep Ignorance List.

Arkansas sounded a bit odd, in fact: it was supposed to be New England, now that you make me think of it...

Which are the most famous Arkansas places / personages / events etc. worldwide? After Horace Jeffery Hodges, I mean

At 9:10 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well . . . there is an obscure character in local Arkansas politics, name of Bill Clinton.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 9:14 PM, Anonymous dhr said...

ha, right!

so, witches had something to do with it, after all

At 9:23 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You think he made a Faustian pact?

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 9:50 PM, Anonymous dhr said...

Oh, no, it was only a joke regarding his wife. In classic / European culture, in fact, a powerful woman is "therefore" seen as dangerous. Like in such myths as Medea. (As well as in the Salem-MA events, most likely.)

At 9:52 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

True, when I look at Ms. Clinton, I turn stone-cold sober.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 10:03 PM, Anonymous dhr said...

That's why you -- they, indeed, happily replaced the First Lady.

In Italy, just a lot of Second(hand) Ladies.

At 6:39 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, I've noticed Mr. Berlusconi's predilections.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have visited Folk Liar of the Ozarks and enjoy it very much. As a former denizen of the area described, La Clair county must also be close to my home county of Izard. I think if we throw in the "towns" of Day and Saddle, we may be able to triangulate, or quadrilate, where Climax might have been. I know there are some old town ruins on the Day to Saddle dirt road, where even a jail once stood. The last time I was on that old dirt road, the Saddle bridge had been washed out thus causing me a long detour. Oh the carefree days of our youth!!


At 3:54 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

In fact, I think that there was once even a Climax, Arkansas, Jay. At least, I managed to find a few references to it.

Mr. Tucker is so good with dialogue that he ought to write a play for you to perform in.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a little late commenting, but since you were discussing Climax...

I found an undergrad agr. student, 1915, named William Troy Martin, whose residence was listed as Climax, Arkansas, for the U of IL-
Different book only with a snippet view has this, which I think would be a picture if you could view it:

American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers - 1946 - Snippet view
Typical homes at Climax; Arkansas Mountain in the background. ...
1912 Post Office listed for Climax, ARK. in the U.S. Postal Guide.


At 3:47 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I just tried Googling these but found nothing -- except for the man's name, William Troy Martin, who was born in 1890 and died in 1956.

How did you find the information?

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 6:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just googled (using the google books mode) "Climax, Arkansas" or "Climax, AR" or "Climax, AR"

FYI if anyone is unsure how to google just the books:

To google the books, select "more" at the top of the google site and click on books. Then search using the words in quotation marks.

If you still have trouble, I can email you the links for each source.


At 6:57 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I'll try your suggestion. But if you have links, you can embed them in a comment. Just see the instruction under "Leave your comment."

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...




ok, let's see if I did this correctly. I used snipurl because all the links were really long.


At 11:09 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You used it correctly, but you need not have snipped the addresses, as you probably now realize.

Thanks for these.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *


Post a Comment

<< Home