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Near the English village of Wiltshire sits the ruins of Stonehenge, an ancient ritual site featuring giant stone pillars that rise up out of the ground, obviously built by humans, but with a purpose that still isn’t entirely clear. There are lots of theories, of course. Some claim it was a burial site, while others say it was a pagan temple.
I don’t buy any of that. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was a hunting camp that never quite got finished.
Now I’m no student of ancient British history (or prehistory as the case may be.) However, there was once a creation in southern Calhoun County that we dubbed “Polehenge” because of the striking similarities. I refuse to believe the two aren’t related somehow.
As with its English counterpart, some of the details of the construction of Polehenge have been lost to time. The consensus among the experts – mostly my brothers, family friends and me – is that sometime in the mid-‘80s, my father ran into a crew replacing telephone poles along Hugh Creek Road. Somehow, he convinced the foreman to give him several of the used ones, then follow him down to our camp and dig an equal number of holes in a roughly square pattern near the bank of the slough.
Who these people were and how Daddy was able to press them into service remains a mystery. What we do know is that, a little while later, my brother Bill and his friend Chuck Reed showed up at the camp and were soon put to work setting the poles in the ground.
When they were done, Polehenge was born: Nine telephone poles rising from the mud bank (to different heights) and reaching for the sky (at odd angles). It was a sight to behold.
My brother Hentz was so moved that he shared an eerily accurate prophecy:
“I guarantee you’ll come back here in 20 years and those poles will still be sitting there just like that.”
He was right, mainly because Daddy had counted on this being a multi-generation project, one that would culminate with a camp atop the poles he planted. The rest of us just had to build it.
What he failed to take into account, however, is that his sons all remembered long nights with rats and snakes at the old camp. We weren’t going to spend time and money just to give them a room with a view (not to mention the high ground if a fight broke out).
We were perfectly happy to keep on sleeping in our tents, so Polehenge remained unfinished and mostly untouched until it was finally torn down a few years ago. Sadly, it disappeared having never become a world heritage site, a national park or even a meeting place for drug-addled cult members.
But because of Polehenge, pictures of its forerunner across the Atlantic always leave me wondering what Stonehenge would have looked like if the ancients had ever gotten done with it.