Turning onto Highway 78, we left the city behind but continued reminiscing. TOR and I discovered that, forty years!! before we met, we’d both taken our young children to the summertime weekday movie series at a theater in Roebuck. TOR was living out that way while her husband managed the new Penney’s store at Century Plaza, which opened in 1975. I lived in Bluff Park, but there were literally no major theaters with summer specials for kids out our way at that time. “Susan, my youngest, had her special blanket with her one time,” said TOR. “It was so cold in that theater that all three of my daughters and I tried to cuddle up under her tiny blanket to keep warm.”
The “town” of Barney appears on the atlas page for northern Alabama, but getting there took some doing, even with GPS. Once we got there, there wasn’t much “there there” except a volunteer fire and rescue unit, a few houses, and a beautiful roadside cemetery, nicely maintained by the Union Grove Baptist church in the Barney community (not to be confused with the numerous other Union Grove Baptist churches around Alabama).The centerpiece of this cemetery is an imposing granite memorial to all Barney coal miners. The Barney Mine, in operation until about 1930, may have been named for a civil engineer, Major A. E. Barney, who was involved with several Alabama and Tennessee mining ventures. My first reaction, when I saw the monument, was that all these many men listed there must have died in some horrible mine disaster, but no, only one death is on record as having occurred in the Barney Mine—a motorman who was pinned by a mine car in 1929. The monument simply honors all those who worked at the Barney mine in the early 1900s.