"That's all I got left of the farm"

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    Photo: William Arnett, 1999

Humor leavens sorrow in Arnold's yard. In some ways, it is a shrine to what he has lost: a place, a way of life, a network of connections. His siblings, he says, "are scattered all around, from Seattle to Illinois to Florida." A son died by drowning in 1975, two weeks before graduating from high school—though Arnold has a surviving son and three daughters. His link to the family place in Arkansas is weakening: He inherited part of the farm, but he has since passed it on to his brother's children. Pointing to some rocks in a bed of white gravel, he says, "That's all I got left of the farm." It looks like the decoration you might see on an old grave.