Settling into our campground here in Arkansas, I am watching a tug boat push a barge down the Mississippi River out our front window. The campground is named after Tom Sawyer and the setting here really does bring to mind the wonderful stories of Mark Twain. The vine covered trees growing along the banks of the river as it winds its way slowly down stream. It makes me want to whitewash a fence somewhere. But as I look out at the unusual view, I am struck by how many things I have seen in the state of Arkansas that make me step back and say, “Well, you don’t see that every day.”
I have seen the famous bathhouses lined up along the main streets in Hot Springs, Arkansas where the wealthy would come for natural hot springs baths and massages by the hundreds. These patrons would sit in groups with towels wrapped around them basking in the knowledge that soon a perfect stranger would be washing them down with loofa sponges. You just don’t see people waiting in line to take baths with total strangers every day, but I guess you used to be able to see it quite regularly.
We have seen a woman lying on the ground under a tree in the middle of Hot Springs National Park at 10:00 a.m. Needless to say a woman lying in a fetal position in the middle of a wooded area in a National Park is cause to stop and ponder. After we made sure she was just asleep and not a victim of a crime or someone in need of a better place to sleep, we traveled on our way and shook our heads stating, “Well, you don’t see that every day.”
I have seen bill boards posted along the highway praising the coach of the Razorbacks and letting the world know that this is one rather appreciated man. I’m guessing that the Razorbacks are either doing very well right now, or this place really loves their team. Either way, this type of coach appreciation is not really something you see every day.
I have seen a small farmhouse with an industrial sized, public playground complete with climbing tubes, slides of different sizes and swaying bridges sitting in the farm’s front yard. This in itself would be worthy of notice, but I found it even more interesting to note that right next to this mammoth play structure were several very sharp, very dangerous pieces of farm equipment, including sharp plowing discs and rusted metal. Not a combination you happen to see every day on a child’s playground.
We have passed the car dealership of Josh Duggar, of 19 Kids and Counting fame. Not wanting to be prosecuted for stalking, we decided not to stop and demand autographs, but we did take a picture as we motored past. Again, a semi-celebrity selling used cars is not something you see every day, but there is a pretty good possibility that we will be making a return trip for a newer vehicle once we are done with our travels.
I saw a nice little house with a running refrigerator sitting on the front porch next to the front door. Certainly this would be a handy place to get nice cool refreshment when you are out doing the weekend yard work, but not really something you see every day.
We visited the Old Mill that is featured at the beginning of the movie Gone With the Wind, and were struck by the beauty of the building and its quiet streams and ponds. The mill and the area surrounding it were absolutely breathtaking. It was a photographer’s haven and I kept my camera busy the entire time we were there. It was truly a beautiful setting that you aren’t lucky enough to see every day.
We stopped at the site of the very first Sam Walton Wal-Mart store. Inside we were greeted with some of my favorite candies and toys from my youth. As we walked around and giggled at the sets of wind up chattering teeth and little red radio flyer wagons, I felt that I was transported back into my early childhood. It’s funny, but you just don’t get to see too many stores that still sell candy Wax Lips, Good and Plentys and Slow Pokes anymore.
Oh sure, there are many things in Arkansas that look much like every other state in our great country, but it’s those special little unusual surprises that I really love. It’s the things that you just don’t see every day that makes memories and Arkansas has given me some great ones.