When I was driving around the Bootheel a few years back, I kept running into what I call “ghost houses.” Those are places where you can tell by the way the trees are spaced or cleared that a house probably lived there long ago.
In the spring, there’s another clue: yellow flowers that someone planted years and years in the past.
I didn’t shoot many of them
I didn’t shoot the ones I encountered in the Bootheel because I was searching for things that were there, not things that were missing. I learned later, that the ghost houses would have been the perfect metaphor for counties that lost as much of 80% of their population when mechanical cotton harvesters came in.
I’ll look harder next spring
I’ll make a broaden my search next spring. These were spotted in one afternoon’s drive in 2018. None of them convey exactly what I wanted to show.
Who planted the flowers?
I have to wonder who planted these flowers so many years ago that they outlived the gardeners and the buildings they surrounded.
The fields in parts of Missouri’s Bootheel look like they are decorated for the holidays. (Click on the images to make them larger.)
Strange looking hay bales
On our way down to Hayti to meet with Bishop Benjamin Armour to talk about the New Madrid baptism project, we saw round bales in the fields. Mother thought it was odd that hay bales would have different colors down there.
When we got closer, we could see the bales were cotton, not hay.
“Loaves” of cotton
Other fields contained what hooked like “loaves” of cotton.
I read recently that cotton farming became big in the Bootheel because boll weevils ruined the crops in Alabama and Mississippi in the 1920s. It gets cold enough in Southeast Missouri to kill them off in the wintertime.
Pulled into the driveway Saturday night after 6,393.8 miles on the road through Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and several side trips through the State of Confusion.