When I was a child, my mom would pop me in the car and go driving into the Ozark foothills along twisting, up-and-down roads to check on my great-grandmother. We took various routes, depending on how much time we had, but sometimes we drove through a tiny spot in the road called Powhatan. High on a hill overlooking Black River, the Powhatan courthouse loomed against the sky. And every time I saw it, I felt a shiver of desire for this big, abandoned building. My childhood dream was to live in it one day.
Last week, I was traveling back in that area of Arkansas. We drove through Powhatan, only this time it was in my car, with me driving and my mom as the passenger. The old courthouse is still standing tall and proud against the sky on that craggy old limestone hill. It doesn’t look as large as it used to, but it’s still a fine old Victorian brick building – restored now and available for tours. To my regret, there wasn’t time to take the tour, but I did step inside its quiet old hallway for the first time. I saw its staircase, its soaring ceilings, the fresh soft green paint on its wainscoting, and I felt the calmness of the place. It has good vibrations. It is serene, and whatever history it’s seen since it was built in 1886, it has kept only the good and none of the bad.
I am glad.