We hit the road Saturday morning to Arkansas. We stopped at Greenville, Texas, roughly 40 miles away, at the covered farmers' market. We got fresh strawberries and blueberries, as well as shelled purple hulled peas, from nice fellows manning the stands. We stopped by Mount Vernon at an antique shop, where we bought my father some arrowheads in a frame. I looked with longing at the ivory chess set, but its four thousand dollar asking price convinced me I could not haggle it to an acceptable price.
As we pulled nearer Texarkana, my sister called me on my cell phone, to ask us to stop by her home and pick up green chili enchiladas to take to our parents' home. We stopped at her yellow house in Stephens, and picked up both enchiladas and eleven year old nephew. Our niece elected to stay behind to bake a cake.
After lunch, my father, my nephew and I went to see the results of some light construction grading activity at Port Dawson, a bit of countryside abutting the Ouachita River which my father owns. My father's dream is that the Ouachita, which once hosted steam boats, will someday again be a center of commercial navigation.
My nephew and I headed next to White Oak Lake, where we fished from the shore. It's a beautiful lake, ringed with pine trees. I inadvertently startled a great blue heron, who gracefully flew away. My nephew caught four small fish. I caught one fish, as well as a tiny, angry snapping turtle. I was glad that the turtle worked his way off the hook prior to my having to cut the line. Snapping turtles are fairly cheerless and emotional about being caught, and they have fierce bites.
We had a nice visit with my folks. I am glad we live nearer Arkansas, so that we can go more often than when we were in California. I am always grateful that they provided me with such a happy childhood, so that a visit home is filled with good memories. I read sci fi stories from a "best of" collection from the 70s. My mother always gets me an annual magazine about high school and college football called "Arkansas Football" each August (and has since was I was 12 or so). I read up on the upcoming doings of the Gurdon Go Devils, Prescott Curley Wolves, Arkansas Razorbacks, Southern Arkansas Muleriders and Smackover Buckaroos.
We set off this morning for home at 11, and stopped for lunch at Burge's, in Lewisville, Arkansas, population 2500 or so. Burge's ships smoked Thanksgiving turkeys, hams and ducks nationwide, and is regionally known as one of the best places to eat around. It's an unimposing little cafe, a kind of a cross between a Daisy Queen and a chicken fried steak roadhouse. But the barbecue chicken was extraordinarily good. We headed back towards Texas. We passed fields of grazing cows and bison.
We tried to stop by Tankersley Garden, the little public garden at Mount Pleasant, but it was closed. The owner came out to cheerily tell us that it was closed on Sundays and Mondays, and that a new owner would soon be starting a bed and breakfast. I did not tell her of my secret distaste for bed and breakfasts,
a product of a curmudgeonly dislike for eating poached unique delicacies with complete and impressively cheerful strangers when I'd rather have the breakfast buffet scrambled eggs at the local motel, and a good newspaper.
We got home around four. Our phone answering machine had a collect call from the Dallas County jail, as to which the caller was unknown to us, but left the message "It's me...y'there?". I suppose if I did criminal work, I would expect answering service calls like this, but fortunately, it was nobody I knew.
I thought to myself that spending my Saturday morning driving to Arkansas past fields of flowers and cattle is better than sitting in the jail cell phoning the wrong number with one's one free call.
My eBay auction is in its last hours, and I had e mails and one call from potential buyers, as well as more "great ad" e mails. Apparently, telling the truth about damaged merchandise is deeply amusing to people, which was my suspicion and intention. The few hundred dollars I will realize will work out well dulcimer-wise.
I took at walk around the little local pond. A father and son were fishing the pond. Their black labrador waded in, longing desperately for something to retrieve.
Now Patton is on. I am always intrigued by the relief of Bastogne. Still, I would rather see a few butterflies now.