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Metal memorial serves as unique city landmark

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Since 2000, those who happen to pass through North Avenue in Jonesboro have been greeted by curious metal objects, displayed on the front lawn of the house once owned by deceased, former Jonesboro Mayor Donna Meadows.

It all started with an eight-and-a-half-foot metallic rooster. Some time later, the rooster was joined by a large Tyrannosaurus Rex, a cow fashioned out of an oil drum, a pig made out of a propane tank, a small army of metal ants, and a garden full of metal flowers.

For Melly Meadows-McCutcheon, an actor and native of Jonesboro, the collection of metal objects serves as a reminder of the humorous and gentle side of her mother.

"The insanity of the yard started in 2000," said Meadows-McCutcheon. Around that time, she was diagnosed with a cyst on her pituitary gland and required brain surgery to remove it. The Meadows family traveled to Houston, Texas, so Meadows-McCutcheon could be treated by the world's premiere brain surgeon specializing in issues of the pituitary gland.

During the month that Meadows-McCutcheon was in Houston for surgery, Donna Meadows and her other daughter, Marti Garmon, discovered a large, garish, metal rooster on the side of a Houston road.

The family purchased the rooster and transported it back to Jonesboro on top of a mini van. Soon after the rooster became a permanent fixture on the Meadows family lawn, other creations began to follow.

"Every time she went somewhere, she would come back with more of this stuff," said Meadows-McCutcheon. Eventually, the rooster was joined by interesting metal objects from as far away as Florida and Oklahoma, each with its own unique story of how it got there.

Donna Meadows, who became Jonesboro's first female mayor in 1991, eventually lost a long battle with liver disease and passed away on July 25, 2006. While Meadows-McCutcheon originally thought of her mother's yard creations as strange, they "became beloved members of the family" upon Meadow's passing.

Bill Lindsey, a Jonesboro electrician and long-time family friend of the Meadows, said the Meadows yard has become somewhat of a local attraction.

"People give directions by those things," said Lindsey. "They have the 'Big Chicken' on the north side ... we have the Big Chicken in Jonesboro.

"In the spring and summer, it's not uncommon to see a couple of people staring in the driveway," Lindsey continued. "People stop all the time, take pictures, and ask if we sell them."

Meadows-McCutcheon said she isn't planning on liquidating her mother's collection of "yard art" anytime soon.

"She did a lot for Jonesboro ... she did a lot for people," said Meadows-McCutcheon. "It's a sentimental reminder of what a fun person my mom was."