Thursday, July 17, 2008

Adventure in Arkansas

My life whistled and skipped at an easy pace last week, acting like it didn't have a care in the world. It threw a stone across a pond, then sat and watched the ripples jiggle. Sometimes you have to slow down and dance under the occasional blue moon. That's what I did when I embarked on #31 of my Bucket List.

I had the opportunity to hop on a plane and fly down to Sarge's folks' hometown of Hampton, Arkansas to see the ancestral home which sits on 110 acres in a one-horse town that doesn't have a horse now, but does have one stoplight.

To say it's the simple life doesn't do justice to the pace of the south. It lulls you into stopping to smell the roses and the papershell pecan trees. As we drove the dirt roads, I got a real feel for country living. The more wide open spaces I saw, the more my breathing slowed until my heart beat in sync with the unhurried rhythm of the town. At the same time, though, my mind was alert and ponderous. The schools are integrated, but the churches are not. Most of the businesses are white-owned. In 2008, there's still a white cemetery and a black one. But the people are polite to one another. I get the sense that everyone knows their place, and they stay in it, so they all just get along.

We visited elderly relatives, (it seems all the young folk leave for big city life) and ate at Mama's Kitchen where everything is fried in lard, even my salad. We visited two family cemeteries and one County Courthouse so I could do the research to finish their family tree.

All that in just a couple of days. You see, Sarge spent the better half of his youthful summers in Calhoun County, and hasn't looked back in over 30 years, by choice. He would only devote two days to this endeavor of mine, so I had to pack a whollop into 48 hours.

Still in all, I'm thankful to God for the chance to enjoy myself while I learn new things and cross another escapade off my Bucket List all in one fell swoop.

No comments: