Today I found you don’t need an interview to report. Some of the most compelling stops of the trip so far took place at sites where no one came to meet us, because no one was there. The vacant house off of Hwy 102 and the town of Pinhook, which has seen its population drop from 52 people to two, are reporting moments that I think will stay with me for a long, long time. Certainly listening to people talk about the lives they had to leave behind after the river flooded would have been affecting, but to see the lives that residents of Mississippi County left behind, with no one around to speak for them, was haunting. It told the story to us in an unexpected and very sad way.
The afternoon and evening may have been gut wrenching, but the morning was fun, playing on Charles Parker’s cotton farming machines. But it would have been more fun if he had let us drive them. I asked, but he seemed to think I was joking. I didn’t even want to drive his half million dollar behemoth cotton picker—though that would have been rad. No, I had my eyes on the cotton spear. My idea was to get two of us driving a cotton spear so we could play a game of chicken with them out in the field. It would have been the modern day equivalent of jousting, and it would have been awesome. Unfortunately nobody but me thought it worthy of risking hundreds of thousands of dollars in farm machinery. But the photo J people would have eaten it up.
Ben Unglesbee; edited by Emily Garnett