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Return to Pack Rat AlleyPosted Monday, March 21, 2011, at 7:43 AM
Doyle and Pat Holyfield stand beside the gazebo and bridge at their Pollard, Arkansas home, where Doyle, as local justice of the peace, has married dozens of couples. Their beautiful saucer magnolia (tulip tree) was in full bloom yesterday.
On January 13 of this year, I posted a travel blog item about an unexpected stop in Pollard, Arkansas at a fun little flea market called Pat's Pack Rat Alley. A quaint, hand-scrawled sign declared the ecclectic collection of miscellaneous treasures as "the bigest flea market in town." It was such an off-the-wall site that my friend and I just had to stop.
We were rewarded by meeting a big-hearted, colorful couple who operate a lively place that turns out to be a heck of a lot more than the normal, run-of-the-mill rummage sale.
Since that time, Pat and Doyle Holyfield are on my facebook page, keeping up with my blogs and welcoming visitors from the Dexter and Bloomfield area.
"Four ladies from Dexter came down here a while back," Pat said. "They were so excited! Two more showed up a little later!"
On this return visit, we learned that Doyle Holyfield is, in fact, a justice of the peace! He charges nothing for his services and, judging from their scrapbook, he has a lively spring and summer business of outdoor weddings. A white gazebo and arched bridge furnish the backdrop for weddings as large as a dozen people and as small as the one between an Arkansas State Trooper and his bride-to-be, a driver's license examiner.
"They both arrived in separate state vehicles, got married, and left separately," Doyle said. The picture in the scrapbook showed them, standing in front of the gazebo in their uniforms. Very impressive!
"The neighbors called and asked, 'What are the police doing at your house???'" Doyle said.
In another wedding, the bride and groom, clothed traditionally, kicked off their shoes for the ceremony. Their attendants did the same. It was a large group, and the parking lot was full. This time, the neighbors assumed that the Holyfields were having a "really big sale"!
The wedding of one couple was particularly touching. They were older and had been married and divorced at some distant time in the past. Much water had gone under the bridge of life for these two, and their second marriage was obviously the result of lessons learned the hard way. The bride's veil fit over her white hair and simple suit.
Doyle and Pat are a second marriage themselves, and they confess that they had misgivings about getting married again, after suffering through the agonies of their previous, unsuccessful attempts at matrimony.
Today, they seem perfect for one another, content to recycle the colorful odds and ends left over from the lives of others.
From the gradually-warming hills of Tillman, where no saucer magnolias are blooming, this is your rural reporter Madeline, soon to be back on the job in her lonely Advance outpost in the far reaches of North Stoddard County.
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.