Thursday, September 1, 2016

Back Roads

September is here and it's a great time to get out and enjoy the cooler weather, autumn color and the quirky places that are down country roads no matter where you live. "The Pig Trail'... that's what the locals call the road that many use to go to and from Razorback games, is a breathtaking drive. Curvy roads twist and turn, around every bend the historic road passes waterfalls, rock formations and scenic mountain views! The Oark General Store sets off highway 215 in Johnson County waiting for customers to take a step back in time. Listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings, the oldest store in Arkansas has been there since 1890. It serves the community with everything they might need as well as being a great place to get a bite to eat.

Sometimes you just have to turn off the main road and see where life takes you. You might just be missing out on a great place to fish or maybe a farmer who sells fresh eggs or extra veges from his garden. In Arkansas they still do that, you'll see a handmade sign nailed to a fence out front!

Daddy, his brother Walton and cousins Luster and Herman
(deer hunting season, 1949)

I inherited the love of backroads from my Dad. He knew every dirt road in Boone County and people all along those roads that he hunted with. It's almost deer season in Arkansas and hunters are getting out in the woods, placing their deer stand and feeders in anticipation of November opening day. It was my Dad's favorite time of the year and he looked forward to being in the "deer woods." There's a sereneness to the woods, just the sound of your footsteps. You are alone with your thoughts, it's a time to reflect on what's really important in your life. 

I love to take short cuts, the backroads that cut off miles or time to my trips. No matter where we have lived, I have found an easier path to the places I go most often. My trip to town now is mostly country. It takes 5-10 minutes tops to get into Rogers and then maybe another 5 minutes to the grocery store. If I go 2nd Street to Walnut there are six stoplights. If I go the back way...there is only one. I save time and gas. I like that way best!

When we lived in Springdale, it was twice that many lights if I went the path that all the other "rabbits" followed. But I didn't go that way. If I went down Silent Grove Road, by the old pump station I got to see a pretty little creek and the trees hung over the road like a lane in Merry Old England. I've never been to England, but I have seen pictures and they look just like the back way!

It won't be long and the leaves will begin their big show. The Sumacs first, turning a brilliant red. The Dogwoods follow suit shortly after, they already are covered with the red berries that will provide food for the birds and deer this winter. It's been so hot and dry, we don't really know how much color we'll see out of the oaks, maples and poplars. Normally, you can look across our mountain and see all shades of red, gold and orange. I have my fingers crossed that the recent rains will make a difference!

 No matter where you live, get the map out and plan some little day trips to the pretty parts of your state. Go down some country roads that you haven't traveled. The things you see and the people you meet add that something special that makes life interesting!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Loved Life And All Challenges

About the time I think I've told you everything that's stored in my memory bank,

I realize there's more! A trip back "home" to Springfield, Missouri yesterday was like walking down memory lane. 

It was filled with family and food,

really good Mexican food!

We drove by a million place where we've had coffee,

or spent nickles when I was a kid.

Places where I was spelling bee champion,

and places that inspired me to dream about what my life could be.

I walked these halls as a freshman feeling very small and unprepared for what life held for me. Yesterday when I stood in front of Central, somehow I felt 14 again. It was 1966, I had yet to meet the love of life, ahead of me was motherhood and travel, elation and despair, growth and loss.

I miss my brother. I miss talking to him on the phone and email. We never had the chance to text each other, he would have taken to that like a duck to water...he was like that!

He was the kind of person who loved to learn new things. He loved cool cars, pressed jeans and once he ate 8 hot dogs, one after the other!

Marble pyramid made by Hobert Sheldon Risley February 1960, age 13.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Happy Birthday Stephanie!

Today is our daughter Stephanie's birthday and she may be feeling like, "How can I possibly be 45?" I can't help but give a little motherly advice, after all I can see the big picture now! Somewhere in my 40's was when the insecurities of my youth began to melt away. I wasn't a perfect size 10 but I realized that being a good person made me far more happy than how I looked in my jeans. I grew up.

I had a new found confidence from the things that I had learned, experience is a valuable thing in life. I could draw from a bank of wisdom to help me with the problems that came with  raising kids and facing the daily grind. My coping skills improved.

It's hard to imagine that there will ever be a day when you can do what you want to do, but with each decade there is more "me time." One day it will just happen and you can go for a pedicure... and not feel a bit guilty!

Your 40's are when you realize that there is going to be a time when it's just the two of you again. Not exactly like when you were in your 20's, but even better! Ahead of you are sunrises and sunsets, whole days with nothing to do but read or nap! Hang on, it's comin'....

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