Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Short Note from a Quick Trip to Arkansas

My mother was recently married in Crossett, Arkansas, just north of Louisiana. It's a spread out town of about 4500 with primary industry of forestry and pulp mills. They have nine full time doctors in a modern medical facility. I was envious as my hometown of 1700 has a hard time retaining one MD. Of course, maybe I wouldn't want a town that needed that many doctors; over half of the prayer requests at each church we attended were for cancer. Many people seemed to have cancer.

The people were sweet as pie. Business takes on a whole new pace, much slower than us hasty northerners are used to. Everyone exchanges at least four sentences, stranger or familiar and even if they did tell you "where to go", the sweetness of their words would have made you anxious to pack and get on your way.

One morning, we had breakfast at "Mama's Cafe". Mama was 71, had just had open heart surgery this past summer and was our waitress. Beatifully coiffed white hair and flowery blouse, she sat a spell to get our order and to know our business. Ever the mother, she had eyes at the back of her head and when one of the "boys" (aged 55-75) got out of line at one of the coffee circles, she's yell across the restaurant, "Shut up, Jimmy!", and he'd sheepishly sip his coffee while his buddies chided in.

People of all ages and walks were wearing varying degrees of camouflage clothing: day wear, outerwear, tough weather wear; I could only imagine about the underwear! I felt out of place with my magenta scarf, blue jeans, and Danskos.

On the food side, a little known fact is that Arkansas is the chicken producing capital. I don't believe I had a taste of beef for the whole of my stay. We had KFC or Popeye's at least once per day (spicy is my favorite). All breakfast food comes with grits or hashbrowns, even if you don't order them or they're not listed on the menu. It was very much a starch and meat sort of place. The first stop out of Arkansas I ate a HUGE salad!

When inquiring about hunting in the area, I learned several things that are different than here in Montana. One, it's called "Game and Fish" not "Fish and Game". Two, one deer tag gets you four animals. Three, you can hunt over bait. In fact it's encouraged. Large gunny sacks of "deer corn" are available everywhere. Finally, most hunters belong to a club where they pool money to get a lease for the year. Hunting on public land takes a special permit for $20.

And finally, for anyone who has tried to traverse the country, it always takes longer to get to the middle than to get to the borders!

No comments:

Post a Comment