The stone pit

Behind the one-car, wooden garage where Granny housed the Ford sedan on our farm in southern Georgia was what folks now call a barbecue pit.

It was made of stone and concrete, and it had a narrow chimney that rose about five feet, which tells me the heat came from a real fire, not charcoal briquettes.

The grill area was metal strips, long gone rusty, set into the concrete.

I don’t recall the pit ever in use when I was a child in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The pit predated me, and since the house was built in the 1890s, the Gilded Age, God knows how old it was.

The fascinating thing about that pit was the chimney, which I often peered into from above. That was easy to do.  The pit was shaped like an L with the horizontal part holding the grill, and the vertical part being the chimney.

I would stand on the horizontal and peek down into the vertical. It was narrow, dark and grungy in there — a perfect place for trolls.

Yes, trolls are not restricted to beneath bridges. There is no law to that effect. The more adventurous — and perhaps physically smaller — trolls would sometimes migrate to old barbecue pits. This is not generally known, and trolls like it that way.

To catch children by surprise.

I last passed by the farm in 2001 in a rented car coming up from a beach house in the Panhandle of Florida. The farm had been sold by my parents in the early 1980s before they hightailed it back to Atlanta, bored to death with rural life and country people.

Everything was so different. I parked and started to walk toward the front door. The new owners knew of me because we go way back in those parts. I wanted a look-see. But a big, nasty dog began barking and nobody came out of the house, so I left.

Today I don’t even recall if the garage was there, and I certainly did not think of the old, stone barbecue pit. I regret that, and I wonder now what became of the little troll who might have lived in its chimney shadows. I know what became of the boy.

25 thoughts on “The stone pit”

  1. I know what became of the boy.

    Now that is an interesting question. Just how much do we know of what we have become? That may worth a little pondering down here on the muggy flatlands.


    1. Thanks a bunch, Larry. However, the website in question is Pearls, not Jewels, and a quick visit to the links in the header here will show one titled Sidekicks. And on that page are links to three related websites, one of which is the Pearls of Zapata, alive and well with a relatively new look and culled a bit from a few years ago.

      Thanks for giving me an opening to publicize myself today.


      1. Mea culpa máxima. However pearls are the jewels of the ocean. My pleasure for offering you the opening but you deserve to publicize yourself without any assistance from anyone. We may not always agree with you, but no one can criticize your presentation and beauty with words. It is always worth the cyber journey and accounts for the huge numbers in your “hits” log.

        I do not recall reading the last entry on your Pearls of Zapata. I’m glad you pointed me back in that direction.


        1. Larry: Thanks for the kind words. Regarding the Pearls, if you mean by the “last” entry the top one, that’s just a result of my rearranging things when I gave it a new look a year or so ago. It was there, only farther down the line.


  2. Growing up, the property we owned had been a lakeside resort some time in the past. All of the cottages had had a brick cooker outside their door, that was pretty much all that was left. I think it was the rooting around those old cottages that got me started with looking for old bottles, every one of those cottages also had its own dump. No trolls as far as I know.


  3. No trolls in south Georgia–they cannot tolerate the summer heat, even in a stone pit. Good red wasp habitat, however. I’m surprised the curious boy wasn’t lit up on his young noggin.


  4. I was raised in a turn-of-the-century farmhouse, and it had an above-ground basement. The stair leading down to the basement were steep, dark and numbered about 20. One didn’t go down there after dark. There were ghosts about. If you held your ear to the door, you could hear them, waiting on the dark stairs. Many a night, when my stepdad and mother were out, a butcher knife was lodged in the door jam and a chair stuck hard under the doorknob. Not sure about trolls, but there were fearful creatures down there after dark, waiting.


  5. I don’t remember that barbecue pit at all. Nor can I imagine Dee ever grilling anything, although they had a gas grill in Atlanta (maybe from the house’s previous owner?). I remember the pond though, and who knows what scary creatures lived there amongst the cypress knees.


  6. Well done. Worthy of the Pearls to be sure. We had no trolls in bayouland. However we had alligators who could live undetected in attics or under beds, waiting to snap off your head or toes without provocation.


  7. Another little known fact about trolls is that they migrated to Hawaii around 350 A.D. from the Marquesas and were actually the first inhabitants of the the Islands. They hang out in our forests and caves and are known locally as menehunes. They are night creatures. Although standing only two feet tall, they are reputed to have major strength and known as great builders. Probably not as mischievous as your mainland variety. I’m not sure if they can shape shift. Certainly not into alligators — maybe sharks. We have no alligators. We do have a shark god residing in a waterfall near my house.


  8. We don’t have trolls in the flatlands of south Mississippi. We have the bogeyman. He only gets kids who don’t mind their parents.The bogeyman only comes out after dark though.

    Coming from the red clay region of Georgia you would think you would have heard of gully washers. I think you are just being uppity. Even Babs wrote about gully washers recently. Don’t deny your roots, cracker boy.


    1. Jan: You have found me out. Whatever cracker characteristics I ever had, if I ever had any at all, have long vanished. I do like to pretend I wear overalls at times.

      Though I spent quite a bit of time visiting my maternal grandparents’ farm in my youth, and actually lived there till I was 6, I long ago morphed into a city boy.

      I do not recall ever hearing the term gully-washer anywhere except from my Mississippi girlfriend, and that was when I was in my late 20s.

      I am uppity though. No doubt about it.


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