Monthly Archives: August 2009

A Damn Near Perfect Few Days, Part 2


Bargains Galore, Continued. .

So, I wrote about my junking adventures on Facebook.  My friend Steve, antiques dealer and  junker extraordinaire, wrote back that I had missed the best part, from Lamar/Clarksville to Ozark.

I thought about this.  I stewed.  I thought some more.  Then, sold my soul for a free day and completely rearranged my schedule so that I could take off for Shangrilas Friday morning. Steve described it as Christmas three times over.  I’d call it heaven.  Same thing,  to some.   There was some major junking to be had; besides the sales every fifty or so feet on either side of the road (hit or miss, but fortunately you can usually tell without getting out of the car) there were three town-square markets and a pocket of paradise put together by a retired teacher in Coal Hill (Country Living, are you reading this?).  BJ Thomas serenaded me at one point; at another I pulled into the driveway of a grand old gothic mansion in Clarksville (columns everywhere, two story wrap around porch) to the Gunsmoke theme or was it Bonanza? (it was Western themes day on the local NPR station).

Oh, and did I mention the Route 44 Diet Dr. Pepper from Sonic?  I drink these all the time, but somehow it tasted even more perfect during the hunt.  I swear it’s the crushed ice from Sonic. They have a patent on it, you know.

I got some cool stuff, but that’s not really the point.  Highlights, though, included a Holly Hobbie in near perfect condition for $2.  Just for me.  Totally frivolous and I don’t care. Anyone who is anywhere close to my age and gender will understand the significance of this.  In the mid-to- late seventies, just about every girl in America had a Holly Hobbie rag doll like this one:

 Work with me here, it was the bicentennial, Little House on the Prairie was riding high in the Nielsens, all that.  Americana was big.  Anyway, my nine-year-old self had one, of course, but today  I have no idea what became of her. 

Recently they “redesigned” Holly for the 21st century.  
Of course, she pales in comparison.  No matter.  I have the real Holly back now.

Something else to ponder:  Twice along this route, I saw single, brand-new tricked out caskets being sold on the side of the road.  Shiny new caskets tend to stand out among the requisite junk.  Anyway, here’s what I want to know:  how do you end up with an extra casket just lying around?

It’s easier, albeit just slightly, to explain why someone might want to buy a casket from the amongst the faded, flourescent Little Tikes toys in front of a baking hot trailer on the side of the road.  Conversation piece and all that.  Heck, in her (much) later years Katherine Anne Porter , one of my favorite authors, liked to keep one in her living room to shock visitors. Check out her biography, there’s a picture of her standing in it.

But how do you end up with an extra. . .casket to sell?  Ordered one too many?  Last minute miracle?  Suggestions are welcome; I’ve been around it and around it and I just can’t come up with a plausible explanation.

Then there was the white bureau, around Clarksville, labeled:

“White Chester Drawers $10.”

If spelling was that much of an issue (obviously it wasn’t) $10 on the (white) bureau itself would have been clear enough to me.

When I got home,  everyone was looking spiffy with their back-to-school haircuts.   Friday’s groceries had already been  purchased and put away; pizza was in the oven, a nice glass of Yellow Tail white sat on the counter with my name on it and family movie night was on tap.

October Sky.  One of my all-time favorites.

I’m not sure it can get better than this. Really. 

 Bye y’all.



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A Damn Near Perfect Few Days, Part 1

Man, it’s been a really looong summer.  But the last few days have pretty much made up for it.

1.  I write about my friend Monda, writer, blogger, sometime knitter, on this blog all the time.  That’s because she’s special.  Anyhow, Thursday, the rest of the world discovered just how special she was when named her the Blog of Note for Thursday August 13.  Folks,  in the blogosphere, this is like being chosen for Oprah’s book club.  It is that big of a deal.  Her address, There’s Just No Telling,  is directly to the right,  on my blogroll.  Check it out. Not because she needs any hits; currently, she’s gotten several thousand in the last few days.  But because you need to know about the coolest blog out there. And I knew her when.  Just sayin.

2. Yesterday, my younger son, the only family member who occasionally deigns to go junking with me, and I shared a morning exploring bargainsgaloreon64, a ten year old local tradition with flea markets and yard sales as far as the eye can see, from Central Arkansas (Beebe) to Fort Smith, in the Northwest Corner of the state.  We covered from Conway to Atkins and it was some great mother and son bonding time;  i.e. we had a deep philosophical conversation about past, present and future selves.  He’s thought about it and has reasoned there can only be a past and future self–the present self is just out of luck (because he wouldn’t like me to swear, that’s how I’m phrasing it, though I’d like to be more colorful).  It would take too long to explain but I have to admit it makes perfect sense. Needless to say, he’s always been my philsopher.   Then, he scored a millenium falcon (retails for around $80 new) for $5.   Nuf said.  I believe he’ll be motivated to join me on one of these jaunts again.

3.  I had lunch with a good friend I hadn’t really seen in 2 months.  We went to the tail end of Bargains Galore in nearby Vilonia.  Not as good but I scored some almost brand-new back to school clothes for the kids (boys are so easy to dress for back to school).  Then my friend saw some retro Christmas holly glasses.  “Those are nice, but I already have them,” she said, ” what I really want is the mugs to go with them.” 

Next to the glasses was a box.  I lifted the top.  “You mean these?”

4.  Last evening, I had training for teaching at a local Arts Academy that was just a glimmer in the eye of a former student of mine last summer.  And now it’s real.  And beautiful.  Nuf said 2.

Coming up, “A Damn Near Perfect Few Days, Part 2.”   Keep your eye out; you’ll want to read it.  Part 1 won’t make any sense unless you do.


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Time Marches On. . .

You know you’re getting older when. . .

The signs at the university  fitness center start to look blurry. . .again, even after you got new lenses last year. I know–most people become more far sighted as they get older. (BTW–My favorite fitness center sign? No Handstands!)

You’re excited to receive your first pair of Birkenstocks in the mail. Well, they’re not officially your first, but the first to be considered for daily use, at work no less (I searched and searched until I found something reasonably professional–these patent leather mary janes). Yes, Birkenstocks. Turned to when I figured out, this summer, that the only footwear I owned that didn’t result in serious foot pain even on an only moderately active day, were hot pink Birkis slides. Problem is, hot pink doesn’t exactly go with most of my teaching clothes. Now, apparently Birkenstocks are not necessarily a gift reserved for age, but rather for those with high arches (guilty). But I’d never suffered to such an extent before. . .

And finally, drumroll please. . . celebrate your son’s 13th birthday! Sure, this is nothing compared to having a college student or a granchild, all hopefullly in the distant future, but it’s still pretty jarring.

In writing news, I recently returned the contract for an article appearing in Teaching Creative Writing in Higher Education, from Palgrave Macmillan, which has been several years in the works, and discovered other contributors include DeWitt Henry, DG Myers, Graham Mort, and Joseph Moxely, among a host of the usual suspects.   My first thought: yikes–those are some heavy hitters.  What did I write?  It’s been awhile; I’m not even sure I can find the file again.  I just hope I didn’t embarass myself. 

Bye y’all,


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Today’s Post

can be found over at the wondrously useful group blog I’ve joined, Recession Fabulous.

See ya there,

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Discovering Mira’s List

Thanks to Erika Dreifus’ wonderful blog, The Practicing Writer (see my blogroll–Dreifus’ blog is one of the best resources for writers out there) I’ve recently discovered Mira’s List, another fantastic resource for writers and artists of all kinds. Another must read folks, and while you’re there, you might even want to donate a little support. Dreifus and Mira’s List are providing absolutely essential services for us all and these kinds of services are very time consuming, as in time away from writing, consuming.

I’ve been reading the Program Era, the history of creative writing programs, the past week. What a book. I’ll post a review when I finish it.

In other news,, has recently posted the results of a taste test that confirms what I knew all along. Dunkin Donuts makes the best coffee out there. Whenever I tell the uninitiated that I must make daily DD stops whenever I’m near one (closest to me is Jackson TN, which is fortunately on the way to Nashville and points east) they usually mumble something like, “yeah, I like donuts too.”

Folks, how many times do I have to say it. It’s not about the donuts. I don’t even particularly like donuts and besides there’s nothing special, imho, about Dunkin Donuts donuts. It’s about that delicious, delicious brew. Read about the taste test here.

Bye y’all,


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