From Watermelons to Rocks

Written by Edna Liggin
Submitted by Molly Liggin Rankin

The Gazette
October 28, 1976

Eugene Pearson

The Story of Eugene Pearson

“We don’t know what happened on this earth long ago,” Eugene Pearson told us as we gazed at his collection of varied and unusual rocks and petrified wood. We marveled at the beauty of them, and Mr. Pearson spoke our feelings as he continued, “I just want to share their beauty.”

To share what he has found with others, Eugene Pearson affirms, is to share his deep feeling of reverence for the mighty power of a creative God. It is breath-taking to look at these rocks and pieces of wood now petrified, and think of how many eons it took for them to be what they are today. Rocks are part of a created earth. They have been a part of the crust of the earth for a long time.

The first thing to catch our eye in visiting the home of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Pearson is a slab of petrified log, standing four feet or more, buried upright in their front yard. Mr. Pearson said he found it lying in a ditch half-way between Lillie and Junction City. We marveled at this sign of what time, the weather, the forces of the elements could do!

Only recently we read that petrified palm wood, found in North Louisiana may be 15 million years old! Wood cutters and dirt movers frequently find it, in large or small chunks. What can man make that is so enduring?

“I just like to ramble and search our rocks,” Eugene Pearson told us. He does have many unusual small rocks in his collection, lying around in piles in the shed that houses his old tools and bottles. Everywhere are rocks, of all sizes, shapes, with holes and markings, streaked with different colors. One had a hole so that it could be hung on a nail on a post.

“What made the holes?” we asked Mr. Pearson. He told us it was a combination of weather, water, and minerals in the soil. Iron deposits make little “worm” burrows. These look like thin read or orange seeds, two or three inches long. Some have petrified wood rings, age rings; while others have imprints of mollucks, fossils, and crystals embedded. The shadings and markings of subtle colors are remarkable.

There was a large hunk of blue rock that surely could be polished and cut to make stone jewelry. Many rock hounds have a tumbling machine to polish rocks (about six weeks in the machine), later to cut with a diamond saw, and use in different settings.

Beside the weird rocks, full of odd colors and holes, Mr. Pearson pointed out some very smooth. We surmised they might have been grinding rocks used by the Indians. “Where do you find your rocks?” we asked. He told us he mostly found them in this area. “I just like to ramble and search out rocks”, Mr. Pearson told us again.

Signs of a Not So Long Ago Past

We looked from the rocks to things not nearly so old. These are the tools Mr. Pearson has collected from a pat just a couple of generations removed from us.. The people who used these things have not been gone too long from the living, yet our style of living today has made a very drastic change.

We looked and saw the paddle churn, a vital part of the cow-milk-butter cycle. Here was a shoe last upon which the father mended the shoes of the family. The chickens had been fed chops, made from the old iron corn chopper; this old scythe cut the oats for shocking.

When hog killing time came in the winter, the sausages were stuffed in this old iron sausage stuffer, to hang later in the smokehouse. The lard was cooked out, and the cracklins pressed in the iron lard press. How good was the cracklin bread enjoyed later!

All around were old things, such as school desks, lamps, pot belly stove, old chairs, woven baskets, butter mold, Daisy churn, home made rolling pin, and many more. They have an old bed spring, with slats built in, that belonged to Mrs. Pearson’s Grandmother Mary Beaird.

Mr. Pearson collects, sometimes sells, and with the handling of things used long ago, recaptures a way of life in the past. Also, pointing to the past are his fine collection of insulators, and the many bottles he has.

From Rocks to Watermelons

Are there any connection between the two? Both need the soil for support. When these two are connected up with Mr. Pearson, it means he has gone all out for both of them.

He showed us a picture of himself receiving an award from Mr. Dave Pearce for being the most outstanding watermelon producer. The award was from the Union Parish Farm Bureau, with the occasion being the annual Round-Up and Barbecue on May 28th, 1975. This is a very handsome award, over two feet high.

Mr. Pearson is a retired school bus driver. He now spends 5 or 6 hours a day with his hobby. Some of his bottles and rocks overflow in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Pearson where also on display are some of the many lovely ceramics she has made. Along with their busy activity of crafts and collecting, they still truck farm.

Why not visit the Pearsons and see for yourself what nature can do in the rock making business? You will not only be made welcome, but you will see “curious” rock formations! You will be able to go back into the past for a few hours. However, you will have to visit the right season to sample one of Mr. Pearson’s fine watermelons!





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