Big Doings In Crawford County, AR

Big Time In A Small Community

I guess it was about the most exciting thing to ever hit Lancaster Township in Crawford County, Arkansas.

It was around the summer of 1981 and my wife and I were living in the Ozark Mountain foothills as caretakers of my late grandparent’s property. Some "pot" had been discovered growing on the bottom slope of our mountain.

It was a typical hot, blistering Arkansas day when the exciting events began to unfold.

Typical Hot Blistering Day

I was in the middle of mowing the four acres comprising our family farm when I heard a familiar noise. I cut the mower engine and listened intently. No doubt about it, that was helicopters, not a common sight over our area. I wiped the sweat from my forehead and squinted up into the brightly lit summer sky.

There they were, two military helicopters circling like buzzards down towards the creek that flowed through our valley.. The helicopters shortly afterwards disappeared. Apparently they realized there was no way of landing their craft in the densely wooded area.

Minutes later, a few sheriffs’ cars, followed by two military Jeeps came barreling down our old country dirt road churning up a massive, choking cloud of dust. It wasn’t long before bonfires began billowing smoke into the sky.. This drew onlookers to the scene…all contributing to what now appeared to be a desert dust storm around my house. I gave up any further attempts at completing my mowing task for the day.

The news shocked our tiny community. Things like that never happened in peaceful Lancaster Township. Nobody had any inkling of who put it down there…at first.

A vision of my older brother Tom flashed across my thoughts and I immediately dismissed it. Not even he would do something like that. But wait a minute. Hadn’t he came by to visit our grandparents a few years ago ? I guess, at that time, Tom could’ve been considered a “pothead”.. But he’s long ago given that up.

Now, memories of a story he had told came to mind. At the time I had not given it much credence since he was prone to tall tales and stretching the truth a mite.

However, now I believed there might be something to the yarn. His story entailed details of how an Army buddy had managed to bring a package of the stuff back from overseas and given him some of it.

A little later, I called my brother, then living in the Seattle area and told him what was going on. Tom denied intentionally planting anything anywhere. However ,he admitted slipping off down to “the bottoms” on his last visit to the farm to smoke a joint. He did not want our grandparents’ to know what he was up to. And it was possible a few of the seeds may have inadvertently fallen into the soil and took root. The story seemed plausible since the top soil down along the creek was very rich.

Of course, the local authorities began questioning local residents as part of their required investigation, me included. Naturally, I could truthfully say I had no knowledge about it.

Needless to say, the event was prominent fare on local news channels for a while and stirred up quite a “buzz” of excitement for the otherwise sleepy community.

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