Slept well. didn't have to get up excessively early today. The Hemingway house closes at 3 and is across the border, so we head out after breakfast. The drive to Arkansas is beautiful and the road is dotted with run down houses, barns, gas stations, etc.. I wish i had my proper camera equipment. Everyone keeps asking about the status of my passport. Kinda funny, but it made me expect Arkansas to be a lot worse. I really couldn't tell the difference between it and Missouri.
(above: Hemingway's first wife's family's house)
The Hemingway house was great. There were some before and after photos of ASU's (not to be confused with ASU) restoration of the building. I didn't know it had to be restored. Apparently it went vacant for quite a spell and ASU got it for very cheap. The restoration, on the other hand, cost a bundle. I kinda wish i could have seen it before. In the pictures it looked like a haunted house.
(above: The barn in which the upstairs was converted to Hemingway's writing space. Also pictured: The Hemingway water fountain)
Our tour guide was informative and managed to get Joy off his seat on the stairs with an "Oh!" at the mention of some kind of wood furniture made by some guy I'd never heard of. He asked a lot of questions about the construction of the place and the restoration process. I liked seeing him get excited about it. He also seemed pretty fixated on Hemingway's relationship with Castro. He had more to say about it than our guide, as well as telling me about it before we left the house that morning.
Pat perked up at the mention of a quilt show they have every year. Apparently Hemingway's mother-in-law was quite a quilt collector. She also explained to all (including our guide) what a "hair receiver" was, as they had one on display in the master bedroom. I didn't know people made crafts out of human hair. Seems kinda creepy to me. From our guide Rachel and I gathered mostly that Hemingway was a bum and a philanderer and reminded us of our friend's deadbeat husband.
After our tour we went to downtown Piggott for lunch. Our guide recommended a diner, so we went there. In the town square some girl's team of some sort was on the street corners begging for money to go to state. No car wash. No bake sale. No raffle tickets. Just begging. Pretty disappointing.
Speaking of disappointing, the diner that was recommended to us was more like a factory cafeteria. The waitress sold us on the buffet so we went to check it out. It didn't seem like the waitress knew much of what was going on, though. Besides looking like the food had been out for a couple days, the items she had sold us on weren't there. Apparently what i thought were chicken wings were actually frog legs. YIKES! Pat and Rachel decided we had to go. I hunted down our waitress and let her know before she served our drinks. Everyone else was already outside.
Luckily there was "Donna's Country Kitchen" next door. This place looked a little more like what i expected: small and homey. It was apparent that everyone knew each other. Our waitress told us about "the special" which was fried chicken (all out of legs) and a variety of sides to choose from. When we asked for a menu, she gave us a puzzled look and went off to see if she could find some. I guess not many people can resist the draw of "the special".
She returned with some menus and everyone decided on "the special", except i thought i'd try the BBQ sandwich. The waitress informed me there was no BBQ so i too went with "the special", fearing the menu was for ceremonial purposes only.
The chicken was fantastic and the "earthquake cake" was equally good. It was like a richer, more dense German chocolate cake with cream cheese in it. I might just have a new favorite dessert.
After lunch we hit some of the local antique shops where Rachel bought a crock. While i was looking around i noticed that on the wall of one of the side streets, someone had spray painted some occult symbols on a wall. They weren't your typical teen angst swastikas and pentagrams either. They looked legit. Made me wonder what kind of Lovecraftian things went on in this town after dark. Come to think of it, our guide did kinda have the Innsmouth look (not joking).
Our shopping complete, we went back to the Hemingway house because there was a second museum there that we didn't go to yet. This one was the house of one of Hemingway's sister-in-laws (I think). She was an avid mineral collector in life and had her house made into a museum to showcase her collection after she died. Joy was getting pretty worn out out so we left after a short time.
On the way out of town we stopped by a convenience store so Joy could get a Mt. Dew. Because we all went in, Pat worried that the clerk thought we looked like a bunch of thieves, which i found humorous. Joy = John Dillinger and we're his gang.
On the way back to Poplar Bluff we drove through peach country so Pat could get some peaches for her Dr. in St. Louis. Unfortunately the place we went to were out of "ripes" so we got some "firms" which, as it turns out, are more expensive. None of us seemed to understand why. Apparently no one else did eather because the cheaper ripe ones were sold out.
We also stopped by an old bridge that used to rotate to let riverboats by. Joy was brave enough to drive across it (twice!), which is more than i could say for myself. It was a neat looking old bridge and it was exciting traversing it, so i'm glad we stopped by.
Back at the house everyone settled in for a quiet evening. Dinner was "grab", which means leftovers. Joy and Pat introduced me to a game called Sequence after dinner. Kinda a cross between cards and connect 4. It was fun. We only played a couple times then retired to the TV room to read, relax, crossword, etc.. Joy turned on the TV long enough to get the weather report and to see that Gov. Palin stepped down! That was unexpected.
Also unexpected was that a mud dauber landed on my leg! I know they don't really attack much, but if angered enough they can give a rather painful sting. Needless to say, I didn't want it on my leg. I coaxed it onto a piece of paper an took it outside without incident. I spent the rest of the night reading "The Man in the High Castle" by Phillip K Dick. It took 2 thirds of the book to get interesting and then it leaves you hanging at the end. It had a lot of very interesting concepts, but the lack of any kind of wrap-up is intolerable. How did this book get a Hugo Award? They must be pretty easy to get... Free with purchase of a Hugo brand typewriter!
I had another run in with the 7-legged spider in the basement. as i was going down to put some clothes in the wash he was waiting for me at the base of the stairs. we froze and stared at each other like 2 gunfighters at high noon. i had no shoes on. he had missing legs. a stalemate? I ran back upstairs and put my shoes in order to put an end to his harassment. This time i finished the job.
Tick count: 0 (although 1 mud dauber)
Vocab: grab - leftovers