Friday, June 10, 2011

Tywhappity, Two Mile, and Bark Camp

My cousin, Terry Joe, is the most charming country boy you'll ever meet.  I still think of him that way, even if he is 68 years old.  He sounds like Johnny Cash when he sings (even Johnny Cash said so) and was a member of Mike Huckabee's band for a while.  He's now retired from Arkansas state government and has a knack for storytelling.  He grew up on the family farm at Bark Camp, not far from my hometown of Kennett, Missouri.  I've recently learned of a place called Tywhappity from Terry Joe and I'll admit that I thought he was pulling my leg.  Tywhappity sounds mythical, doesn't it?  Like Glocca Morra or Yoknapatawpha County.  It turns out that Tywhappity is a real place and is also not far from Kennett.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of the tiny community of Tywhappity.

It happened because of Facebook.  I had recently become Facebook friends with Chris Kimbrow.  I had known Chris as a child and had lived next door to her in Kennett.  Chris made the connection and sent me an invitation to become Facebook friends. Terry Joe noticed that I had added Chris to my friends list and sent me an e-mail:  "Was Chris one of the Tywhappity Kimbrows?"

I wrote him back and told him that I didn't think Chris was a Tywhappity Kimbrow, but I wasn't sure since I didn't know what that meant.  Terry responded that Tywhappity was a place and shared this story: 

I remember a presentation I gave to the Rotary Club in Fort Smith in which I mentioned where I was born.  I told them the best way to find Bark Camp was to look on the map. We were four miles from Poole's Chapel, eight miles from Tywhappity and two miles from a place called Two Mile. The president of the club asked if that statement met the 4-Way Rotary Test, the first question of which is "is it the truth?"

I invited him to come with me to do some quail hunting.  After breakfast at Bark Camp and hunting at Poole's Chapel, we were driving down the road and I saw the Two Mile Church in the distance.  My brother, Tony, was with us and I asked him what the building was. He replied, "The Two Mile Church." I asked if anything significant had happened to him there and he answered ,"I was married there." Then I asked where his wife grew up and when he replied "Tywhappity".  My friend the Rotary President nearly fell out of the truck.

Back to Terry's original question:  Is my friend Chris one of the Tywhappity Kimbrows?  It turns out that she is, by marriage.  Her husband and his brother went to school with Terry Joe and Tony, after they moved from Tywhappity and Bark Camp Schools to a rural consolidated school.  Both Bark Camp and Tywhappity Schools closed years ago.

It's a small world -- made even smaller by Facebook, blogs and other tools that bring us together through technology.  But it's hard to imagine a place (in the real world) any smaller than Tywhappity or Two Mile or Bark Camp.  The only thing harder would be to imagine a world without such places.



Mollianne said...

Well, I lived in Kennett for six years and spent a lot of time roaming the surrounding areas once I could drive and I don't recall Twyhappity, either. Now I'm quite curious and may have to try to find it when we return.

Stacey said...

That sounds just like a conversation that would take place with my father in law. He loves to keep track of cousins and "who their people" are. I think it's very neat because my family just hasn't ever been that way. Isn't Facebook fun?


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