kensmith

About Ken Smith

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6 03, 2019

Orphea’s Fence

By | 2019-06-03T12:08:36-05:00 March 6th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2019|

by Ken Smith via Luke Parsch, Ozark Society Vice President In 1959 when driving along the upper Buffalo River at Boxley, I spied an unusual fence—horizontal boards, but also, between its posts, cross-boards making distinctive “Xs”. And with artistic flair, the fence turned a right angle past a big, spreading tree. From roadside, I made a photograph. Years later, I met the person who must have designed that fence--Orphea Duty, the landowner. “Orphey,” as friends called her, knew her place in this world. Her father, Ben McFerrin--teacher, advocate for public schools, state legislator, lieutenant governor--had acquired this land with its two-story house facing Highway 43. And Orphea inherited the property. After her husband, Fred Duty, had died she remained there--Boxley’s postmistress, community leader, pillar of its Baptist church. Orphea had a definite sense of style. Only she could have designed that pretty fence at rural Boxley. Orphey and Fred were married on horseback; a photograph shows her in a nice riding habit. Her dress for social occasions was always tasteful, at times elegant. And anyone visiting her home for a meal, or even for coffee, found her table already set with china, crystal, and silver. Orphea Duty had enjoyed opportunities [...]