Springtime in Dora, Alabama

It’s Springtime here in Dora. On Saturday I found myself with a little time on my hands so I loaded up my dog Buddy in the truck and took a drive. I rode down through old Dora by where the old high school stood. There was a group of kids playing soccer on Watkins Field. Was soccer invented when I went to high school? I’m guessing it was, but I’m sure I’d never heard of it.
I then proceeded through the old downtown area. There are only two buildings that are inhabitable now; the old Methodist Church and the old hotel (I think). The rest of the buildings have either fallen down or they are very close to it.

My mind drifted back in time. I lived in Sloss Holler and on warm spring days, a bunch of us kids would often walk the few miles to Dora to get a fountain CoCola at Watkin’s Drug and to see if there was anybody in the jail.
My dad used to take me to barber Johnson’s to get my hair cut. I know he must have been a good barber when he was younger, but when I went to him, he was old and his eyes had gotten bad. When I’d leave his shop, my hair usually looked like it had been cut with a weed eater.

There was a little grass growing through the cracks in the side walk then, but nothing like today.

I continued with a drive through the old tunnel under the railroad and obviously, I tooted my horn. I know the people who live near the tunnel must get sick of hearing horns, because everyone I know, blows their horn when they drive through. The upside for them I guess is that not many people drive that way anymore.

I drove on by where the old grammar school once stood. The lot is empty now except for an abandoned UHaul truck with weeds and brush growing around it. When I stopped at the stop sign just down from the old school, I realized that I was within a hundred feet of where I was born. My family once lived in the old house that sat at the intersection. I was born on January 15th, a cold winter day in the back bedroom of that old house.

There is something comforting in knowing exactly where you were born.
I took a left and drove by the old Dora Second Baptist Church and the Davis Cemetery where my family is buried….well, the ones that are dead are buried there….and I took a left down towards #11. That’s the area of Dora where the old #11 mines was located. At one time, there was an entire community of old houses and a commissary and other stuff around there. I drove a few miles and parked on a wide spot in the road and walked to the old train trestle. My dog Buddy chased butterflies and drank water from a little creek. The trestle goes over what I’ve always called the Backwater. It’s a huge lake that is formed by water from the Warrior River. When I was young, I spent countless hours there fishing, swimming and laying in the sun.

The Backwater

I went fishing one day with my brother Neil and a bunch of other boys from Sloss. We had fished all day without so much as a nibble. We were about to leave and we stood on the trestle almost exactly where I stood to shoot this picture. Neil saw a big ‘ol bass lazing around near the lily pads. Neil got a glazed look of anger in his eyes and whipped out his pocket knife and cut the end of his cane pole to a very sharp pointed end. He drew back and flung that cane pole like a spear towards that bass. To our amazement (and his) he speared that bass right between the eyes. It flopped around a bit, but he scrambled down the embankment and shed his clothes and and went in after that fish. Neil told that story many times, but most folks didn’t believe it. I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes.

I started out on Saturday on a quest to find a “story” for the website. Although I didn’t find a story, I did have an enjoyable afternoon cruising down memory lane.
Rick Watson

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