Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Arkansas Memories

I flew to Arkansas this past week with my mom so we could visit some of my father's relatives. He won't fly and he didn't feel able enough to go by car, due to his back surgery in April. My mom had not flown since 1999, mainly because of my dad, and when I booked this trip, she surprised me by asking to go with me. She absolutely loved it! She spent the entire time looking out the window and marveling at the view. She even loved the Atlanta airport!

Despite having been to Arkansas many, many times while growing up, I had never been to Little Rock, so I enjoyed seeing some new sights.
I wish I had had time to go through the Clinton Presidential Library, but maybe I'll plan better next time.

The riverfront area was lovely and we particularly enjoyed the farmers' market. Here, my mom is listening intently to the man explaining how to cook the purple-hulled beans she bought for my dad.

Hogs are very important to Arkansas; in fact, the mascot of the University of Arkansas is a hog (pronounciation: hawg).

My aunt, an avid photographer, absolutely hates having her picture taken, so I had to trick her to get this one. She thought I was trying to take a picture of something in front of us, not realizing I was taking a selfie!

This photo was taken during lunch at a catfish restaurant in Little Rock, hence all the fish trophies on the wall. The shirt my uncle is wearing lists their great-grandchildren's names, and you can see the hog reference.

My mom is getting used to our selfies.

The picture below shows my aunt doing what she loves: taking pictures. She had a small stroke a few years ago, and while it has interfered with her speech (she often has trouble with the names of things) and she lost her ability to read, she can still take pictures. The small town of Hope often prints her photos of local events in the paper, which makes her happy. Before her stroke, my aunt was the public relations person for the school district, worked with the local newspaper and radio station, and even published a cookbook that included information about Bill and Hillary Clinton. Because of that cookbook and her very active role in Hope, she visited the White House a number of times as the guest of President Clinton.

The two of us were taking pictures of an old building in Patmos that used to be a train depot. What made it so interesting to us is that my grandmother used to hang a mail pouch for the daily train to pick up back in the sixties, and I remember how exciting that was to me when I visited her in the summers when I was growing up.

The building was moved to a community park in order to preserve it, but even though it's in a different location, I still remember her hanging the big canvas bag from an old metal hook, and watching the man on the train snag it as the train went by.


Apparently, a love of picture taking runs in the family.

I took the baby animal pictures while visiting a general store in Hope, which is primarily a farming community.




The same store also sold a lot of other things, including clothes and boots; I almost bought these boots, but I chickened out. Not sure they'd get much use here on the East Coast, although I did love the color!

I am so glad I had the chance to squeeze in this trip before I return to work tomorrow, and I'm especially thankful I had the experience with my mom. She is 75 and while she's still in great health, these opportunities will only be around for so long, and I cherish the memories we made.

Have a great week, my friends. I hope to be here again soon.



  1. I was so excited to read you were going to Arkansas! I loved seeing your pictures. I grew up in Arkansas. I live in Leesburg, VA now. I really like VA but I can't help scouring photos of AR looking for anything I might recognize. I know that must sound strange. It looked like you had a wonderful trip. Any yarn shops to be found?

    1. I wanted to visit yarn shops, but my uncle and aunt are in their 80's and since I was dependent on them for transportation , I didn't even try. I was in Hope and Little Rock; where did you live?

    2. We lived north of Little Rock in Jacksonville, by the Air Force Base. My Dad now lives by Lake Millwood at Paraloma Landing. It's not too far from Hope. Hope would hold a big watermelon festival at one time. Their water tower was painted like a big watermelon. I wonder if it is still a big event? I've lived in VA for 19 years. It is such a beautiful place. But every now and then I have to yell a big Woo Pig Sooie!! An Arkie has to call those hawgs! ha ha ha Lisa

    3. Yes, Hope still has the Watermelon Festival! I used to have a festival tee shirt, but probably gave it to one of my girls. And I remember the hog calling for Arkansas too! Hope you enjoyed the hog photos!

  2. Your aunt is a Celebrity! And I liked those boots too. I'd have worn them plenty in NEO. Your mom looks like such a sweetie.

    I can't believe how much travel you're squeezing into your Summer. Good for you!

  3. Looks like a great trip. It's so nice that you and your mom enjoyed traveling together.
    I have wanted to go to Little Rock years. I wrote my master's thesis about the integration crisis there in 1957!