Barbara looks out the picture window of her comfortable frame home, pointing to the spot between the house and workshop where her husband took his last steps in 2001.
"He died while working on the farm, just the way he wanted it. He loved his life here, all the hard work, the plentiful hunting and fishing."
Her only other home was in Chicago when she and Kenneth, a native of Missouri, were wed. More than 41 of her 59 years have been spent in Fulton County, including the last 31 at her Kentucky home in what the locals call "Bessie Bend."
Having a home in Kentucky with a Tennessee address has some disadvantages, but they're overcome via cooperation from officials in the Volunteer state. Barbara's three grandchildren are taken by their parents to the Kentucky-Tennessee state line, some five miles from their home, where they meet a school bus which transports them to Tiptonville, Tenn. They are following in the tradition of their parents, all graduates of schools in Lake County, Tenn.
"I consider myself a Kentuckian, but my children will tell you they don't," says Barbara, lamenting the fact they even prefer to do their shopping in Tennessee.
"I go to Hickman to shop because prices are cheaper there, and there's no sales tax on food. My friends and I love our little dollar store in Hickman. I do go to church in Lake County, because it's so far to drive to Hickman."
Emergency medical services are also provided out of Tennessee. Bookmobile service was provided out of Kentucky until Barbara decided to discontinue it.
"Who has time to read?" she asks. "Some people come out here and just can't understand why we want to live so far from everything, but we can't imagine living anywhere else," says Barbara.
Although Eckman and Sylvia have heard similar sentiments expressed by people visiting their remote residence, the two homesteads at each end of the state couldn't be more different.
Thick-forested mountains seemingly reach for the sky all around the Blankenship home, while the Lynns' house is surrounded by endless green flatlands.
The area around Barbara's home goes by several different names, including Kentucky Bend, New Madrid Bend and Bessie. It is a piece of land at a hairpin turn of the Mississippi, containing about 17 square miles. The peninsula is surrounded by Missouri and Tennessee. The only highway into the area is Route 22 out of Tennessee.
The exclave caused by the shift in the course of the Mississippi following the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811 and 1812. These same quakes were responsible for the creation of nearby Reel Foot Lake in Tennessee.
Once a major cotton-producing area because of extremely fertile soil, Kentucky Bend had 300 residents around 1870. The number had fallen to 17 as of the 2000 census.
Barbara's son, Donald, taps his boot against the ground he has farmed for years and declares it is solid, but he's not so sure the folks upriver will be safe in the event of a future quake. "The ground up from here is a lot looser," he declares.
Shaky ground is something Eckman and Sylvia take for granted.
Sometimes the blasts from nearby strip mines provide all the stirring her beans require.
Familiar sounds and sights, living a healthy lifestyle, and having family and friends nearby are important to the parents of 10 children, two of whom are deceased and resting in a family plot nearby, as is typical in the mountains.
They miss the days when their sloping yard was filled with youngsters playing marbles and pitching horseshoes.
"We played hard, worked hard, and when it got dark, everybody went to bed, then got up at daylight and went to the corn field," she comments.
The couple is looking forward to spring and planting their garden, something they've never been without.
"Life was better when everybody had a garden," she says.
The nearest grocery is 14 miles away in the community of Phelps.