Great fun : A trip back in time at the Gantt Shack

Published 12:40 am Saturday, October 25, 2014

By G. Sidney Waits

William Gantt invited Polly and me along with others to go down to the Gantt Shack on the banks of the Conecuh River recently.

He was inviting several friends to come for a “picking and grinning” session along with lunch at the old landmark.

Our visit brought back memories of his grandmother and granddad, having square dances with the fiddle picking by Henry Paulk.

We recalled stories of the one-eyed Indian that Mr. Gantt told all the new comers.

Some of us witnessed the reflection of Andalusia.

Others recall Mrs. Gantt’s mother, Pinkie Benson, around the kitchen area directing and overseeing the food preparation.

Those of us about Davis’ age recalled the dances and proms that we enjoyed under the moonlight night.

Sometimes it was just boys camping out over a weekend.

Many enjoyable times were experienced at the Shack.

It was a significantly pleasant place when we were growing up.

At 90 years of age and Polly just 89, we decided we would accept the invitation so off we went in the pick-up truck to the event. When we arrived there was a small group already assembled. Among those we could see from our pick-up truck were Bubba Jones and his wife, Rachel; Jimmy and Sue Wilson; Harriet Hubbard and her husband, Professor Steve, along with two of Harriet’s grandchildren. They were children of Kyle Boatwright, a little boy and a dainty little girl.

William Merrill was among the guests that I did not recognize because he was dressed for the event and did not have his work clothes on like at his welding shop. He was accompanied by his friend David Gohagan. William’s mother, Jackie, at age 89 was there too along with her sitter, Ms. Martha.

Tom Gerlach, the former restauranteur manager, was present. We never got out of the truck so it was difficult to see all in attendance. Phillip Rawls, the outstanding news reporter for Associated Press was present but I did not see him.

Grayson Gantt, a student at Alabama was there with his date, Miss Emma Sachs.

There might have been others that we missed seeing also.

Music for the event was provided by Bubba Jones and Sue Wilson. Both are accomplished musicians and played several popular tunes and in many cases Bubba would sing along. While both are enjoyable entertainers Bubba is perhaps the more versatile. He plays almost any string instrument and played several tunes on the guitar and banjo. I really enjoyed his banjo music and he did it well. Sue played the guitar and she also is a very talented piano artist. She teaches music at AHS, as a volunteer teacher.

William is an excellent cook and he enjoys cooking and having parties or entertaining guests. The jambalaya he served was excellent along with a delicious salad and hot cheese buttered bread along with it. Everyone commented on how tasty the lunch was.

The old Shack is in a remarkable state of preservation. The original tin roof was a great protector from the weather. A new tin roof has just recently been put on the top. The front porch is still in good condition and inviting as usual. The windows and doors are missing having been burned by some campers in the past. Only brick remembrances tell of the outdoor kitchen where all the good food was prepared in years past. Other than that it is much like it was years ago. As we drove back to the highway, we enjoyed the beauty of the forest. Tall great pines were like a sentinel overlooking the area. We could hear the rapids near the shack as we passed by that area. It was like a walk back in time for us to attend this festivity. We hope we will be invited back again soon to enjoy the Gantt’s Shack.