Tom Hendrix's Wall
You should look so good when you’re 75 years old, however, you’ll have to work very hard and take the “medicines” Tom Hendrix’s great-grandmother taught him about years ago. It’s to her, Te-lah-nay, that the rock wall Tom has built over the past 20 years, is dedicated.
Hendrix’s wall is a memorial to his great-great-grandmother; a Euchee Indian named Te-lah-nay, who was moved along the “Trail of Tears” with the rest of her tribe to the Indian Territories of Oklahoma in the 1830s. The wall represents her gripping journey there and her struggle back to her homeland in North Alabama. Hendrix has recorded her story in his book, “If the Legends Fade.”
“She is the only one to come back on record,” Hendrix says.
The wall is unique in many ways — its lack of cement, its various colors, the way it twists and turns about a quarter of a mile in mimicry of Te-lah-nay’s journey, and the way it seems to rise from the ground like a thick road or the remains of excavated ruins.
A late Lakota medicine man, whose name Hendrix said it is forbidden to mention in accordance with strict Lakota tradition, once walked the length of the wall and afterwards gave it the name it bears today — Wichahpi or “like the stars.”
Lifting about 2,700 pounds a day for 20 years, he placed each stone, taking them first from the ground to one of his 3 old pickup truck beds, to one of the 27 wheelbarrows he wore out, using one of the 1800 pairs of gloves he wore out to place the on the wall, one at a time just like the footsteps of her journey.
To date, he has placed nearly 7.5 million pounds of rocks in the wall. People bring him rocks too, some from every state, 127 countries, one from space, and even one from Mr. Everest. You can make an instant friend if you bring him a rock.
Tom is located on County Road 8 near the Natchez Trace in Lauderdale County, Alabama. Tom loves to talk to anyone that stops by, and his dogs will also greet you. The white one he calls Pavarotti, because he likes to sing, and the black one is Molly. They guard the wall by day, alerting Tom to your arrival, and the “rock faces” guard the wall after dark.
Oh yes, don’t come after 5PM…that’s family time!
Visit Tom’s website: www.ifthelegendsfade.com/author.html