The weekend after Thanksgiving, my partner Harris and I were remodeling the cabins of the Buffalo River Tourist Court in Jasper, Arkansas, one of those old spreads that reminded me of the roadsides along Route 66 in The Grapes of Wrath. the identical cabins were log, stained dark as railroad ties, with chinking discolored by weather and mildew. Inside, the walls were covered with old v-notch knotty pine. Real paneling—interlocking three-quarter-inch tongue-and-groove pieces of various widths—not the sheets of fake crap you buy at the builders' supply store.
She was in number five. I accidentally walked in on her, thinking I was heading into number four, which we'd been working on. The door was unlocked. My tool belt around my waist, I carried a crowbar in one hand, a stepladder in the other. That day we were to begin tearing out the ceiling tiles and replacing them with sheets of bead board to make the units look more authentically 1920s.
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Published by Texas Review Press