By Crystal Burns
Sixteen years ago, Bud and Carol Tobin left the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville headed for Arkansas.
Bud wanted to avoid Memphis, so he found a route that took the couple through Trenton where he spied something unusual.
Most visitors and newcomers notice Trenton’s unique 31-mph speed limit signs, but 31 loomed large in Bud’s memory.
“I never got it out of my mind,” Tobin said last Friday while visiting with his new friends Bud and Carolyn Cranfield at Carol’s Antique Mall in the Davy Crockett Shopping Center.
Tobin contacted Carolyn six months ago when he and his wife learned they would be traveling from their home in Long Island, New York, to Jonesboro, Arkansas. He asked his daughter to help him find antique shops in or near Trenton because he wanted a 31 mph sign. When she gave him the number for Carol’s, he promptly gave Carolyn a call.
“I felt like I knew him,” Carolyn said.
She didn’t have a sign, but she had a good contact. Mayor Ricky Jackson rummaged in the city’s maintenance shop and found a well worn sign the city didn’t need anymore. He met the Tobins at Carol’s last Friday to give them the sign and a 31-mph T-shirt, which is available for sale at City Hall. The mayor gave the couple their Trenton treasures on the exact date–October 13–of their first trip through Trenton.
Bubba Abbott, one half of the city’s volunteer welcome committee, also stopped by to say hello and give the couple a bag of goodies.
The Tobins brought a gift too–a meter out of a railroad station in Long Island. Carolyn treasures it but said having two new friends is the greater reward.
“We feel honored to be part of their story,” Bud Cranfield added.
After a tour of the Teapot Museum and a long visit at the Cranfield’s home, the couple hit the road for Jonesboro. From there, they were headed to Mobile, Alabama, for their grandson’s beach wedding with visits to Gulfport, Mississippi, and Smyrna, Georgia, also planned.
“We’re just having fun for a month,” Carol Tobin said.