Thursday, April 16, 2015

Main Street Cafe- Hackett, Arkansas

The noon crowd that gathers at the Main Street Cafe in Hackett, Arkansas are hungry, hardworking folks. I looked around the room and saw the faces of middle America. The ones who live simple lives and like it, the ones who struggle to pay taxes and most likely the ones that Congressman Steve Womack talked about last week at the Town Hall meetings held for District 3.

We can't help but worry our future, it's apparent that Washington is clueless to what we face with higher prices for gas, groceries, utilities... the list goes on. Unlike government, these folks would be in sad shape if they didn't have the money to cover their debts. Miss a few payments to the bank and the farm that pays your bills is in jeopardy. Lord help us if we get sick, because health care plans are hard to pay for when your work is your cattle.

The cafe was full the day we visited. Friends and neighbors of the small community of Hackett, a town of roughly 800 people gather at the Main Street Cafe to talk politics, to exhange the news and share their worries and their joys. 

Most of them ordered the Blue Plate Special of fried catfish, fries and brown beans. Table by table, they left... off to an afternoon of hard work. Another day, another dollar.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Local Flavor

Daddy called it "Local Flavor," the Mom and Pop places that hide away in small towns along your trip. The one's that you might drive right by and miss out on a life experience if you judge the book by it's cover. I heard him say it over and over throughout my childhood. We visited many places just like the Main Street Cafe as we traveled to and from my Grandparents in another state.

Aunt B. and Uncle George had just such a place in mind to take us to when we visited last week. The town of Hackett, Arkansas had so much to offer that it's going to be a week of blogs! We got there early, just a few minutes before noon. The hometown hangout had a few tables taken, the choice tables were near the window air unit that was struggling in the River Valley heat. It was near 100 that day and we were glad to be inside with our head in the shade!

I started taking pictures and it wasn't long until a nice young man struck up a conversation. Come to find out he had just moved back to Hackett from Rogers, our stomping grounds. He had worked up here for a while and missed home.

Rural Hackett is farms and stone quarries, Fort Smith and Van Buren are close-by if you need to run to Target. It's not the middle of the boondocks, in fact it's only a few miles from "civilization." But for those who choose to live there, it's all about lifestyle. These are the people who choose to march to a different drum.

They go to high school ball games and church potlucks. They bake cakes and cookies to raise money for the senior class trip and they carry covered dishes when someone loses a loved one.

Hugs and Biscuits, the local convenience store sets right across the street from the cafe and if you live in Hackett, it's where you fill your tank and get your morning sausage biscuit. It's where you talk politics and no one gets their nose out of joint cause you're friends, in some cases you're lifetime friends. All those "Local Flavor" experiences taught me a valuable lesson in life. It taught me to never pass by the small places, or miss out on the simple pleasures in life. He didn't know that he taught me to never judge a book by it's cover, whether it was a place or a person.
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