Hatteberg's People - They Live Their Life, Their Way: Art And LaRea Cravens

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

On Hatteberg's People, sometimes life gets more interesting as you age. That would be the case for Great Bend resident Art Cravens and his wife LaRea. You'll find Art during the summer months in front of a little place in Great Bend, known as The Locker.

It was a decade ago Art and his wife LaRea began this little vegetable stand in front of an old building that used to be a meat locker.

"I had no idea, even the slightest inkling that it would turn out to what it is today," said Art Cravens.

Many customers come for the vegetables while others come just to see Aussie, that's Craven's Australian Shepherd. He goes everywhere. But what some folks come to see is the old meat locker because it isn't what you think.

"I take them inside, but I can't tell them all the stories that LaRea knows, but I tell them what I know." said Art Cravens.

"Art calls it 'Antiques and Stuff,' mostly 'stuff,'" said LaRea Cravens.

The old meat locker is full of that "stuff" that Art's wife LaRea has collected. Each is room a different theme.

"It's our place and we like it and we like to have other people enjoy it and like what we have and they can come in and say, "Oh my mom had that. I remember that. Did you see that?' That's the best part," said LaRea Cravens.

"Then she said we have to have a bedroom, and I said, Honey, we've got a bedroom at home," said Art Cravens.

That didn't matter, because LaRea wanted a bedroom in what was the meat cooler. So a bedroom it was - probably the only former meat locker with a bedroom.

"I don't know, we don't think a thing about it, we just enjoy it and go on," said Art Cravens.

"If there is anything somebody wants to get rid of, I don't want it to go to the dump. This is the dump. This is Craven's dump and I take it and we find places for it," said LaRea Cravens.

In this room, the machinery to hang meat is still visible in the ceiling.

"Yes, it was DuPree's Meat Locker for years," said LaRea Cravens.

So Art and LaRea have a good life. With LaRea's stuff, Art's vegetables and Aussie the dog as a constant companion, Art says to remember, you just have to keep going.

"I've told a lot of people it's all right to retire, but don't quit. Do something," said Art Cravens.

They do, every day, along this gravel road in Barton County.

"I've always got something to do," said Art Cravens.

The garden is about done for the season, but Art will be finding other projects. His wife will search for more objects for the locker and life will continue on that little gravel road in Great Bend.

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