Last night we drove to my father's home in Arkansas, stopping at Red Lobster in Texarkana to get fish along the way. My wife, as ever, impressed me by her gift of turning something as simple as the imprisoned live lobsters into a way to forge a conversational bond with our waitperson. My conversational gifts are less oriented towards universal communication links, and more a specialist enterprise. I am more like the community radio station with low ratings. We both lamented, though, failing to get our friend G., a local, to join us. We miss him.
I went this morning to get a haircut. The barbershop was swamped with men at 8 a.m.--the best kind of men, in overalls. I did not want to wait for them, so I tried a beauty shop in another part of town, without success. I resigned myself to being in need of a haircut, at least for another day.
I drove past the pond my grandfather built, and noted the large new house which now sits on its shores. I thought of the time my grandfather, then in his 80s, went with friends to Tennessee, so that a truly elderly friend could witness a "must see" spectacle, the National Mule Convention.
My wife and I went to White Oak Lake State Park and hiked the Spring Branch and Beech Ridge trails. We stode on beds of pine needles past twenty foot high holly trees, while birds sang and chirped everywhere.
My brother, also in town for the weekend, my wife, and I went to the local bookstore, where I got a very good book about the Caddo Indians. This proved a nice juxtaposition/diversion from the Edna O'Brien trilogy of novels I am also tackling. The Caddo, local to this and the surrounding area, are a richly detailed yet almost unknown-at-large culture.
We all went to the local catfish house with my father and his friend. My father drove his new/used Mustang convertible, in 40th anniversary red. I
ordered the smoked turkey instead of the catfish, and the imaginary orchestra played "The World Turned Upside Down".
The new Japanese maple, planted in honor of a departed nephew, is taking root and thriving. The new dogwood, planted in honor of my mother, is growing with vigour. My mother's stone is a dark black, with white lettering. The dirt still has that upturn of fresh burials, but only a bit.
I turned away, after a moment, and went back to the car.