TatTuesday, May 17, 2011
The day that I went up to Huntsville to visit Wade Wharton, we drove together down to Arab to visit his friend Tat. Wade told me that I would *love* Tat, and how special and creative and just one-of-a-kind he is. I asked how he met him and he told me that several years ago, the Huntsville paper had written this nice long article about him, and when Wade read it he just knew that he and Tat would be friends. Well, sure enough.
And not only had Wade called Tat after the article, Kathryn Tucker Windham had too. She sent him a letter and a signed photograph. She and Tat already had something in common. But more about that later.
Tat built his place all himself -- he has a thing for rocks (yes)...and Sacred Harp (he named his place 'Singing Hills')...from the home with the pillars out front to the arches over the driveway:
...he built onto a log cabin that's been in the family since it was first built in 1860:
...and a wishing well:
...has a rock in the shape of Alabama:
...and if you're wondering how this can get any better, he built his own covered bridge:
...which he purposefully built listing a bit to one side because he wanted it to look as though it were man-made (which it is) rather than perfect-perfect. Wabi-sabi.
Well, we hit it right off. And here we have two of my favorite men, Wade on the left and Tat on the right:
Tat's niece and caretaker took me all around the house and I saw all of Tat's masonry work, the beautiful floors he's laid, the furniture he's made, all kinds of amazing things. She said I *had* to see what everybody is always so interested in downstairs. I had no idea...okay...so...
Right. Essentially he's built everything. Those clothes hanging up to the left is what he'll be dressed in. And those six hammers on top will be used for the final nailing of the lid, and each person that does that task will have his own hammer to keep. He's even recorded certain songs for the funeral from a Sacred Harp singing - Saints Bound for Heaven, this one that begins with Amazing Grace, and Journey Home.
The article that ran in the H'ville Times mentioned his preparations, and KTW read it and sent him a letter about the fact that she also already has her coffin made too:
Oh, and Tat is known by that name, but his real first and second name are -- well, his daddy was a baseball fan -- Tyrus Cobb. So on Tat's front door:
After the tornadoes of last month, Tat was without power for a while, so I came up again, and brought him groceries and visited (he also got a new walker from the VA that I picked up for him from the hospital) for a while. He was so tickled with the walker that he insisted we go out to the front of the house and have our pictures taken looking through the small arches. So we did: