Monday, June 14, 2021


So, the past week or so I've been in Arkansas (and nearby parts of Louisiana and Texas) enjoying a string of get-togethers with family.

And as usual these visits south also include connecting with touchtones like visiting my father's grave and going by the vacant lot where the family home used to be. 

I met some wary but ultimately friendly cats, including at last making the acquaintance of my sister's cat Kashmir (which just goes to show that I'm not the only one in this family to give a cat a name from classic rock, in this case Led Zeppelin). 

Among things I was on the lookout for were mimosas (one of my favorite trees) and magnolias (which do); I saw these but I had forgotten how beautiful the pecan trees were.

I was on the lookout for locusts (cicadas) but was there a bit too early. Didn't see any June bugs, or lightning bugs, though my mother saw one of the latter.

Birds were in fine feather: mockingbirds, blue jays, cardinals, mourning doves, of course. But also buzzards (I'd forgotten how big they are, any they're much less shy than they used to be, calmly sitting by the side of the road doing their scavenging while a foot or two away the cars whiz by). And once again I noted but failed to identify those loquacious birds who hang out at the Love's truckstop at Prescott: blackbirds, certainly, but too large and agile for grackles and too small for a crow; not red-winged blackbirds or startlings. 

And then there was the unexpected, like the Dallas Model A car fanciers who happened to be holding their convention at our hotel. It was great fun walking around the parking lot and taking in the labor-of-love restoration on twenty to thirty antique cars (All Model As). 

We missed the hot air balloons we heard about (suspect their launches had been early in the morning, on a day we didn't do early morning). 

And I can report that the Longview, Texas frozen custard stand we visited one night had the authentic Leon's  machines (most of Leon's revenue stream came from their supplying the machines other frozen custard stands use).

And finally home, to be welcomed by two cats who had been well cared for in our absence but had clearly been lonely. It was a good trip, but it's good to be back in our own place with our own stuff.

--John R.

reading on the trip: DOROTHY & JACK, Steinbeck (restarted), THE LONG WEEKEND (but not the one I was looking for). 

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