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Day 7 Arkansas: pickin’ and travelin’

We hit the motherlode!  Arkansas, and it is still a mystery to me why, is loaded with antique and flea market stalls – of all types.  Some with real true antiques, early colonial and turn of the century.  Others just stalls, where you need to dig through the clutter and the dust to find, “the find”.  We saw several pieces of furniture, from the 20s and 30s that were right up our alley!  If only we had a Uhaul truck!  We are already planning our  next trip to include a big ole truck. 

Oh, but, I digress, I realize I did not tell you about our night in Memphis.  You might recall we went from Georgia to Memphis, only to try barbeque in memphis, and perhaps witness an Elvis citing.  We found a highly rated bbq place only two miles from our Hilton hotel, which was hosting a convention of arkansas public works employees (all men, and we will get to that in a minute).  While Robyn and I were chilling in our room and plotting our next several days of flea market picken’, the news flashes with warnings of high winds, storms, lightening, and TORNEDOS!!! The warnings were quite helpful as they described the places in your home where you should run off and hide (the bathtub for example).  As two determined women, not to be deterred from our wet or dry rub mission, we proceeded to shower, dress, and head down to the lobby bar to wait-it-out.  While sipping our cocktails and watching the ballgames, a couple of men engage us in conversation, overhearing our plans to travel to Austin.  Well, within 15 minutes, we were surrounded by the biggest (and nicest) group of rednecks you could ever be priviledged to come by.  Doug, Carl, Jeff (whom I preferred to call Jeb, as I thought it was more befitting). They could not believe that we were over 50, and even called more folks over to ogle the Califiornia women (they even insisted on Robyn taking out her id).  ,  We learned about backhoes, and fly fishing, and coyote tracking.  Enlightening!! It is interesting to note that the men in Tenessee do not age well- maybe the nights spent in bogs shooting ducks, or the days practicing for the backhoe rodeo, not sure, but 45 looked like 60.  In all seriousness, a wonderful group of folks, who were fun, funny and very nice.  The storm, continued, and forbade us from heading out for our bbq.  No worries, the boys kept us entertained.  P.S. Hilary if you are reading this, Carl asked me if I “wanted to go for a walk and talk”.  made me smile.  but I stayed in my seat.

Back to pickin’ and travelin.  We meandered around and landed in Jacksonville, Arkansas another “dry” town (what is up with this anyway??!!, no wonder everyone there had a sour look on their faces!).  In Jacksonville though, we came upon Olivers a very well appointed antiques store,  we chatted it up with the proprietor who gave us several tips on our antiqueing/flea market travels.  She pointed us to Batesville and Hardy (north of LIttle Rock and the complete opposite of where we were headed).  She said the drive was beautiful given the time of year and the changing colors of the (and yes, she said it Ryan) Foliage.  She referred us to Josie’s on the White River for dinner and a B&B in Hardy.  We took her advice (after stopping in Sherwood to get alcohol for our evening cocktails, as Batesville is also dry) and headed up the 63.  More to come, stay tuned.

Today was bittersweet for Robyn:  Happy Birthday David, you are missed, loved, and thought of often.


Day 6 Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee: slooow movin’

Left Alabama this morning early and headed north towards Hartselle – the town that should be featured in the twilight zone!  This place is listed on the antique trail.  First stop was a off the highway, Tin Top- funky looking, patchwork in style – up my alley!  Well, inside it really was a true cornecopia of “stuff”, however, it was the owner – a very dour looking woman that was the most memorable.  Come to find out that Hartselle is a dry town.  that explained it all, she just needed a good shot of some good old fashioned sour mash.  That should lighten her up!  After that we drove to the downtown – a piece of history, the town looked right out of an old western.  So, we park and start walking, it seems almost closed down, like a ghost town.  Every couple of stores were closed.  When we came upon one that was open we chatted it up with the proprietor.  She explained, “you are going to find many of the stores closed on Wed. ” pause.  we looked quizzically.  she continues ” you know, wed.  its typical, from the past”, we continue to look quizzical.  she says ” you know for church and stuff”.  Oh, we reply that explains it!  A dry, christian bible belt town.  Wow!  What a find.  Im looking for a house to rent.  JK.  The folks that were open, were gracious and kind, true southern hospitality! 

Let me tell you about Don, we met him in one of the stores.  Don is a long time resident of Hartselle. I forgot to tell you that there is a ballot measure up on November 6 – a vote to repeal or retain Hartselle’s dry status.  This is a BIG issue in Hartselle, let me tell you.  Anyway, I asked Don what he thought of all of this.  First I need you to picture Don – tall, thin as a weed, dressed neatly in pressed overalls, clean and tidy, wearing a baseball cap, long grey/white beard, kind eyes, a smile that crinkled on the corners (that I only saw when he found out that we were from California – “Oh, I knew you weren’t from around here. out west”).  Don spoke in a drawl so thick, I could have poured it over flapjacks, just like syrup, it was slow and easy.  He explained that Hartselle has always been a dry town, and well, it had served them well that way for many years.  no need to change what worked.  but, each time it comes up for vote it gets closer and closer.  not sure that Don was welcoming the thought of change.

Well, several stores and purchases. later we begin our track to Memphis, Tenessee.  However, on our way we discover that the oldest drug store in Mississippi is on our way!  heck with the world’s largest ball of string, we are going to Corinithe, Mississippi.  Talk about the quaintest town, ever.  Right out of Andy Griffith!  We meander into Borrum’s drug store and soda fountain – established in 1865! it was a REAL soda fountain,  We sat at the fountain and ordered burgers and chocolate malts – outof this world killer good!  The young girl behind the counter was, well, from Mississippi -her drawl was slow and easy.  In fact, I startled her when speaking – I spoke faster than her ears could hear!.  While enjoying our lunch, we were privy to her taking some “lessons” in managing the counter from the apparent manager.  She was learning to fill the syrups.  Robyn says, oh, are you new here?  The girl replies, (ever so slowly), “well, yes, but I started 3 weeks ago.  I just havent learned the syrups yet.”.  Syrup filling and dispensing is very serious work in Corinthe Mississippi.  Askthe fountain girl at Borrum’s

Day 5 Alabama: A Bust and a taste of christinity

We drove from Georgia into Alabama, to Montgomery and up to Birmingham (actually stopped at Jemison and spennding the night at Pelham).  The whole antiquing thing was a bust today.  The many antiques and flea markets we stopped at were big, I give them that; but, they were more like bad thrift stores.  Yech.  We did however, have a true enlightenment as provided by the multitufe of billboards we saw along the way:

“How will you spend eternity?”

Go To Church or the Devil will get you.

But in all honesty, this day was not much.  more fleas than flea markets.  Alabama is not as pretty as Georgia – it seems rather run down.  We did have a nice dinner tonight at a place called the Texas Roadhouse.  BBQ and steak and stuff.  I must admit I do like the way that Southerners make their veggies.  Ummmm. Robyn had baby back ribs and I had a filet smothered in onions, mushrooms, and jack cheese.  Yep, I said it jack cheese.  it was fantastic.  The table came with buckets of peanuts and country western music was playing overhead.  At the end of dinner the waitress came up to offer us dessert: (You must say this in a southern accent): Apple pie, pecan pie, mud pie, peach pie, dessert is a requirement.  I love this woman!  We did pass on dessert however. 

We don’t know quite what to do tomorrow.  go to mississippi or drive right through it and go straight to Arkansas?  not sure.  follow our adventures and find out.

Forget to tel you, i found my long lost Baby Jamima doll in one of the flea market stores.  Brought me to tears.  So happy Mammy is home!!Image


Day 4 cont: Discoveries

On the road from Athens towards Atlanta, have an errand to run.  On the way we are going to find my bulldawg.  First stop Anthens Interiors Markets – an eclectic mixture of used (antiques), crafts, and new.  very cool.  Picked up some christmas presents (so can’t list them here, you might be reading) and saw my dawg!!! However, he looked a bit mangey and was high priced.  We were determined to find it cheaper and cleaner.  On the road we go toward the Loews Stone Mountain. 

the drive was beautiful – leaves turning.  the roads here in Georgia are the cleanest Ive seen, amazing.  The weather was crystal clear (a little damp from an early morning rain) warm, and beautiful.  While hunting for the Loews with the dawg, we still a sign for an antique, fleamarket warehouse.  Bingo!!!!   We did  a sidetrack through historic Monroe.  There was a sign right around the corner – Ian Hendersens’ Antiques and Flea Market – 10,000 square feet of heaven.  The owner is a third generation, with a healthy slow drawl, kind eyes and and very friendly disposition.  Just like in the movies.  We walked away with platters, a coffee grinder, a metal lamp shade to make into a baby’s mobile, seltzer bottle.  We rocked it big time!

Back on the road, we stayed in a small town in Georgia, Robyn took a picture of Instant Grits, posted here for you viewing pleasure.Image

Day 4: Thelma and Louise Hit the Road

Well, this is it.  Where we start our journey back home.  Isn’t it interesting, we leave home just to find a way to get back there.  Hmm.  have to ponder that.  This morning I will take Hil back to the sorority house and return to the hotel to see if her highness sleeping beauty Ms. R has awaken.  Once she has we will depart and stop on the way at our first antique stop, a store in Athens I have had my eye on and yet never been into.

After that we will meander from Athens to Atlanta via Stone Mountain? Lawrenceville? Chattagnoga Valley?  Who knows.  stay tuned.

Day 3 Athens: cont

When I asked Robyn what she wanted to add to this blog, she responded with:

“Go Niners”!

A woman of few words.

Well, we never found the dawg.  Doggoneit! (get it??!!) But we will prevail.  After the niner game and after SF beats the Cardinals. 

Day 3 Athens: Rehabilitation


There are these real cool plaster uga bulldogs all over this hotel; in fact, all over Athens.  I am obssessed with them.  I want one to put by the front door of the house to greet everyone as they approach.  Cool.  Today we will be on a trek to find them.  I don’t think it should be too hard though, given we are in Athens.  would be alot harder if we were in say, France or something.

Last night we watched another Morgan Freeman flick.  Must be Morgan Freeman week.  Anyway, it was Shawshank Redemption; it is the first time that I have seen this film.  Im sure Im the only person left on this planet who had not seen it.  Its not that I don’t like movies, I do.  Its not that I don’t like Morgan Freeman, I do even more.  Its that I cant stand to see people suffer, or mistreated, or put into prison for things they didn’t do- so you see my angst with this film?.  However, I closed my eyes at the parts I didn’t like and watched the movie (closed eyes? watched?).  Anyway, at the end of the film when Red (Morgan) goes up yet again before the parole board, thinking he is once again going to be denied, he talks about “rehabilitation”.  He states that if he could go and talk to that young brash boy of his youth and straighten him out, then this never would have happened.  but he cant go back so he lives with those bad decisions he made every day for the rest of his life. Well, it got me to thinking. 

What have I done with my life that I would change, or more importantly, that I wouldn’t.  What about you?  I must admit, there are several times in my life that I made decisions that were not the smartest.  In fact on a smart scale of 1 to 10, they are probably and negative 5.  I wish I could admit I didn’t repeat them.  But I cant.  I did.  Is it like memorizing the state capitals when you are a kid, you have to repeat it aloud so many times before it sticks? Or like wash, rinse, repeat?  What I can say, is that I can look back at those ‘errors in judgment’ and see through them like tinted glass and see what I really needed to learn.  I lack self-confidence.  Nancy?, you say, lacking in self-confidence??  Hogwash!  Her confidence exudes like that head in the hair of that lady (car commercial – which I hate by the way).  Not really, I would tell you.  its all an act.  Not an act, like in a play or one-man-show. Not done purposefully or with forethought, practice or training.  but rather, as a layer of pancake makeup to coverup my insecurities.  Those past mistakes, bad calls, stupid decisions were done to cover up my fear.  My fear of not knowing, not being part of the crowd, of being seen as inadequate.  Now for the practicality of all of this insight.  At 54, Im pretty comfortable in my own skin.  Or at least Im getting there.  This morning I opened my work email to find that we are issuing a press release on a product coming out of my org and they want to put in a quote from me.  Cool you say.  Yea, I say; however, then I have to take all of the media interviews.  Cool you say.  No, I say, I don’t really like doing them.  I did them in the past, because I thought that it would make me seem more important, fit in better in the mgmt team at Visa.  Well, this time, I said – put in a quote from one of my directs.  Let them have the notority and attention, it will help with their career.  This is kind of a big thing, cause everyone in my biz shoots to be quoted in the press and have their names in print (good for the resume). For the first time, I acknowledged to myself that it isn’t important to me, to defining my selfworth or who I am.  I can be good at what I do without that. 

This physical journey through the south and west, is just as much about a mental and emotional journey.  Its not about finding me.  Its about re-discovering me.  Through new places, people, and experiences.  I just need to keep my mind and my imagination open.

Now, on to finding that dawg.