Sunday, March 20, 2016

State Project: Arkansas

Arkansas is missing the turn at Little Rock and convincing Bixby to just go on to Fort Smith and we'll take a shortcut through the Ouachita Mountains in Oklahoma.

That was a mistake.

Arkansas is a train in the middle of the night on my way to visit my brother, whose girlfriend just had a baby and damn it, I was going to visit.

That was not a mistake.

Arkansas is coming home from a family get-together in those Ouachita Mountains, stopping on Tontitown and finding the general store Bixby's Italian great-grandfather's family used to run, now an "antique" shop.

Walking through the cemetery. Seeing the vineyards.

Arkansas is home to Niles' namesake (Niles' real name, of course), Bixby's great-uncle with a sharp white van dyke and sharper words shared over red, red wine.

Arkansas, though, is also my father telling about visiting his cousins on his mom's side who still had dirt floors in their house. In the 50s.

Have I been to Arkansas? Yes.


  1. Fort Smith. Tontitown. I grew up with those places in all of the family stories. Visited both. The picture of Maddellina's marker touched me. Some of her things are here at my house. Wonderful memories. I need to go get out some of those pictures......

  2. I love that antique shop. It looks like it could be in any rural NZ town too.