Archives for posts with tag: Arkansas

My daughter and I were off the highway, driving rural roads in Oklahoma and Arkansas, when we came around a curve and saw this…

DSC_0003I snapped a picture as we were moving by and realized it was the Easter story, so I kept snapping…  I pulled this from the long shot, realizing we have Palm Sunday, The Last Supper, Jesus in the Garden, and the walk with the cross

DSC_0003 - Version 2Then the crucifixion…

DSC_0004And Jesus rising from the tomb, ascending into heaven…

DSC_0005It was so fast that we could barely take it in with cars behind us on the highway.  There wasn’t even room to stop on the two lane road.  But, it will stay with the two of us because of its unexpectedness.  I’ve counted over 50 figures, handmade life-size dolls, that someone or some group made, not to mention the scenes.  There was no signage, the metal building doesn’t appear to be a church.  The scene spoke for itself and the faith and devotion of its creator or creators.

Whatever your faith, you would be touched by such a scene appearing out of nowhere on a rural road.  Our viewing of it took seconds to get the message across.  We saw the familiar story in a flash that triggered all we’ve ever learned or felt about it.

Happy Easter Week!


Driving through Arkansas, we were looking for some catfish. The restaurant we wanted was a few miles from the interstate, but not open for lunch. Nick’s BarBQ & Catfish was ahead in Carlisle, but it seemed too good to be true to have something so good just feet from the interstate. But, the parking lot was full with semis and local cars and you could smell the good smells from outside, all good signs.



No frills, just terrific catfish, fried like it should be. They also served tater babies, wedges of seasoned potatoes. Yummy! I had steamed veggies to cut all the fried food. The whole menu looked great.

The greatest moment was two old men, wrinkled, bent over, who shuffled in together. Old friends out to lunch. We could hear them discussing the situation in Israel. I heard one say, “it’s not in scripture, although I had no idea what that was related to. On they talked, while the tv in the corner covered the news. And then their lunch arrived. I turned around to catch them as they took each other’s hand, bowed their already bent over heads, and said grace amidst the noise of the restaurant.

Precious moment captured in my memory forever. Special lunch on the interstate…



Sometimes I feel like getting out of the city and driving around the countryside.  I get that from my mother.  And my father.  And my husband.

Yesterday was one of those days that I couldn’t sit inside and I’d already walked and it was probably the last day of fall color with the windy & rainy weekend predicted.  All the beautiful leaves will be in piles on the ground in a few days.  So, I took off looking for the hills of color.  I sat a a stop light deciding which way to go and headed east, towards Arkansas, navigating the horrible construction on I-244 to get to Hwy 412, one of the nicest drives anywhere.  At first I thought I’d missed the color, but then I hit the hills and all the colors shining in the glorious sunshine.  Looking at the map, I realized it wasn’t that much further to Bentonville and Crystal Bridges, so I headed that way.  I’d been wanting to do this anyway.

There is something about driving on a beautiful day that clears everything out of your head and floods your brain with fresh thoughts.  That’s easier now that I’m retired and don’t have to push all the work responsibilities aside in order to enjoy what I’m seeing.  Hwy 412 meanders around hills in a leisurely way, even on the turnpike route.

I had seen the pictures of Crystal Bridges, but it still doesn’t prepare you for the first view.  It’s in a neighborhood, a lovely neighborhood built up by the WalMart influence on the community.  It doesn’t have a big entrance and you could miss it if you weren’t looking for it.  You’re in town and in the woods at the same time on this 140 acre gift to the people.  On another note, after doing fundraising for a museum for the past 7 years, it’s a dream to start out with an $800 million endowment.  Admission is free, thanks to WalMart.

I’ll summarize my views quickly with photos, but you can get details at

Coming up to the main entrance, I was stunned by the silver tree, “Yield,” shining in the sun.  Incredibly mesmerizing…

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I was on the top level, so my first view of the museum was looking down and I wasn’t prepared for how beautifully it is situated in the location, down in the valley.  The building itself is a work of art that is appreciated from every angle.




Inside museum

The collection is a fabulous selection of American art from Revolutionary times through today.  I found works by many of my favorites and some new ones that I will be glad to revisit at any time.  You’re sure to love many, many pieces and find your own favorites.  Moran, Norman Rockwell, Mary Cassatt, Calder, Warhol, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Hart Benton, Bierstadt, John Singer Sargent, George Innes, Rothko, and so many others.





I loved the little reading rooms sprinkled in the galleries with stacks and shelves of books so you could sit down and read more as your curiosity made you want to learn more now!


The restaurant is lovely and bar area is beautiful and a nice place to take a rest.  The museum shop is a gem…spoken by someone who owned a gift shop and worked around a museum shop.


But, I was there to enjoy the fall day and took to the Rock Ledge Trail that wound above the museum and the lawn.  There are six trails for over 3 miles.  I didn’t get as far as I would have like because I was losing daylight to get home, but it is stunning.  I would walk there every day if I lived in the area.  You could do a different trail and see something new all the time.  I can’t wait to see it in the other seasons.  Lovely…




Cardinal in the woods


My favorite thing was the frame on the trail.  Isn’t this a simple, great idea?  I bet a million people have posed in that frame, but I love the scene itself.  You feel like you are a painter…or a real photographer…beautiful!




I didn’t get enough time for all I wanted to do, but I’ll be back many times for sure.  Thank you, Alice Walton!  What an incredible gift you have given for all to enjoy.

Yesterday was a trip to Van Buren, Arkansas.  Yes, I am truly a senior when I am traveling to see fall foliage and ride trains!  The historic part of Van Buren is charming and well preserved.  They only messed up a few buildings when the siding salesmen came through trying to modernize it back in the 60s.  It was fun to walk down to the Arkansas River and see the wide water, unlike Tulsa where it is pretty dry right now.  I liked the old Anheuser Busch building with the original eagle logo still intact.

Riding the train up to Winslow, the highest incorporated city (pop 399) in Arkansas, was a trip back in time.  We were on a 1948 car called the Silver Stream and there were other cars from the 1920s.  You could also ride in the caboose.  It took a bit to slow down from the fast paced ways we usually travel, but it was worth it.  The drought has hit all the states, but we still saw beautiful fall colors as we went higher.  After traveling at 8-9,000 feet in the Sierras this summer, it seems funny to think of 1,729 as up in the mountains.  The conductors were train buffs of all ages who volunteer their time and kept it lively with their commentary.  There was a car full of second graders from one of our stops.  On the way back, we stopped to let them out at their school – how fun is that?  That must have been the noisy car, especially going through the tunnel when they tell them to scream!  I tried to imagine traveling across country like this a century ago.  As always, it depended on which kind of car you were able to afford as to whether you were scrunched in with strangers, loud conversations and interesting smells or whether you could ride in style in a private car.  It beat the stage coach or wagon.

Coming home, we detoured north from Vian and took the scenic route past Lake Tenkiller towards Tahlequah.  What a beautiful drive!  Every place has its own beauty and this is one of my favorites in my home state.  It’s pretty wild and wooly in those hills, but it’s gorgeous country. There’s another drive where you go by the lake more, but I loved the trees.  I’m so grateful to get to enjoy a perfect 75 degree, cloudless day without anything pressing….