Faithful ‘soldier’ guards home of county couple

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 28, 2000

Keeping a watch over a home on Enterprise Road has been the taskof a special soldier for 20 years, and the soldier hasn’t budgedsince being assigned the job.

“He’s a good watchman. It’s kind of scary when you come up onhim, especially at night,” said Dot Baker of the tin soldier thatstands tall in her front yard.

The soldier, towering over eight-feet, was given to her husband,Richard, around 20 years ago by his brother, Cecil, who found thesoldier and several other novelties at an auction in Texas.

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The Bakers are uncertain how old the soldier is or where itoriginated before being discovered at a cattle ranch in Texas. Theyestimate the soldier, called the tin man, is at least 30 yearsold.

The soldier, accompanied by two smaller versions, served asguards at Cecil’s home in Philadelphia for many years before comingto Mississippi.

“He had a brick wall all the way around his home, and thesoldiers stood at the entry,” said Mrs. Baker. “They were sort oflike guardians at a gate.”

When Cecil decided to move, he gave the soldiers to the Bakers,who placed the largest one in their front yard, much to the delightof their children, Richard Baker III and Vicki Buie.

“When we first got him, our children were teenagers, and hebecome a mascot to their friends,” said Mrs. Baker. “All the kidsthreatened that they were going to get him, so we cemented him downand tied him to a pole.”

She added that the soldier has since generated quite an interestin younger people, who often stop by to take a look.

“He is like a landmark,” said Baker. “People stop by to see himand bring their kids. The little ones love him, and they just wantto run up and touch him.”

One of the smaller soldiers has been placed beside the tin manrecently. The Bakers hope to repair both of them soon, along withthe other small soldier, with a new paint job.