As I begin this journey across the country, I can’t help but think about some of the things that I will miss most about my home in Arkansas. I’m not talking about family and friends here – no, they are all dead to me now.* I’m talking about that other stuff, those little things that make a place feel like home, or brighten your day when you are feeling a bit down.
I’ll find new places to fill the void, but – for now – this is my list.
Fort Smith National Historic Site
Visiting Judge Parker’s gallows, complete with the sound recording of the little door opening and a rope tightening as a criminal dropped, was an annual trip when I was a kid. It is likely what set me on the path to becoming a historian. And probably made me a little bit morbid.
The Capitol on Christmas Eve
One of my favorite family traditions is taking the kids in their pajamas to see the lights, exhibit, and Santa’s workshop at the Arkansas State Capitol on Christmas Eve. We would tour the building and take lots of photographs. Someone would make the assertion that the daughter was posing in front of her future office when we make her stand by the door labeled governor. Assuming it was actually cold, we would get hot chocolate on the drive home.
Crystal Bridges Museum of Art
Crystal Bridges is hands-down one of the best things in Arkansas and can compete with pretty much any other museum of its size. I’ve written about a couple of trips there already, read them here and here.
Shopping for Gifts at Ten Thousand Villages
Okay, so it is a chain. It is still something I’m going to miss though. I worked just down the block, so it was an easy to pop down there on a lunch break to pick up something nice for a friend of family member.
Yes, that is in Tennessee. But It still counts as something I will miss about Arkansas because we could just pop up there for a Saturday anytime we wanted. Memphis always felt comfortable and I’ll miss not playing tourist on its streets.
And some food spots, of course
Eating pimento cheese at Capital Bar and Grill, juicy burgers from David’s Burgers, hummus from YaYas Bistro, hushpuppies from the Flying Fish, and cheese dip from Mexico Chiquito . . . just to name a few.
*Kidding. Actually, I left so fast I didn’t get to say goodbye in person to a huge number of people that I’m really going to miss. It is all quite sad.