Posts Tagged ‘Arkadelphia’


This Land Is My Land

Little White House w Red Brick House Next Door NLinda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – Napoleon once claimed this land, and sold it to Thomas Jefferson, but guess what, it’s mine now. I’m talking about my little half-acre of the world here in Arkadelphia; take note, I’m a homeowner now. There is a document dated March 31, 2016 recorded in the Clark County courthouse that affirms title to a particular piece of land in my name; ah, land, the bottom-line definition of commitment. For land is our most basic resource; from land comes security. Explorers have roved the world for land, wars have been fought over it, treaties governing its use have been signed, and sometimes, ignored. Surveyors sectioned newly-claimed land into measurable pieces, and realtors make a pretty good living to this day as people trade those pieces, back and forth.

01 My Front DoorAs for me, I just wanted to hunker down in peace and quiet, to paint-up fix-up as I please; even the vagabond in me needs a place to call home. But who, I wanted to know, lived here before me? Our Clark County Historical Museum has fragments of Caddo Indian pottery on display from earlier times; the path to the Ouachita River bluff has interpretive markers that tell of Caddoan life here a long, long time ago. Before, well, you know, before they had to leave. » read more


An Invite From CRAG

24 P Linda Sliding 4Linda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas — I was invited to speak at the September 24 meeting of the Caddo River Art Guild (CRAG), an avid group whose mission is promoting art and artists in south central Arkansas,  My mission of course is capital cities, so I talked about “art in the capital cities,” that is, the community’s support of the arts. How Art Thrives was my topic, leading with the question: What does it take to have a thriving arts community?

It takes four things, I proposed, to nods of agreement from around the room:

• Money
• Artists
• Volunteers
• Attitude

I selected five uniquely different cities to illustrate:
Santa Fe, New Mexico, Population 67, 947 (about 6 Arkadelphias) because it supports and focuses on the artist more than any other capital city.

Montpelier, Vermont, Population 7,855 (about 3/4 of 1 Arkadelphia!) because it’s the smallest capital city and has the 2nd most artists per capita and the biggest group of volunteers.

And Helena, Montana, Population 28,190 (about 3 Arkadelphias), Lincoln, Nebraska, Population 258,379 (about 24 Arkadelphias), and Indianapolis, Indiana, Population 820,444 (about 77 Arkadelphias) to show it’s not the size of the city that matters, it’s the attitude of its residents. » read more


It’s Not Even Past

30 50 foot board bLinda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – A fifty-foot board? Have you ever heard of such a thing? Old timbers from old trees, from back in the days before pines were harvested from quick-grow pine plantations. Trees grew tall and unmolested, till it was time to build a barn, or a house. The fibers were dense, impervious to the ravages of time. That is why Tim Kaufman’s barn may be one of the sturdiest structures in all of Clark County today. I’m standing at the end of those fifty-foot lengths of board in absolute awe, listening to murmurs from my picnic-mates, who are walking inside the barn, and climbing up into the loft, equally awed. Charlotte Jeffers wangled the invitation for the Clark County Historical Association to come out to Tim’s property on Old Military Road for a summer-evening picnic and a lesson in historic preservation. We’re at the Rosedale Plantation Barn, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. It’s a “historic barn” all right, coming from a plantation that was established in 1860.

30 Barn and PeopleThe preservation part is this: Tim Kaufman, a dentist by profession in Arkadelphia, was interested in barns. He and his wife bought some acreage on Old Military Road a few years back, set up housekeeping in a trailer, and began looking around for old log structures that nobody seemed to care about any more. The Rosedale barn, located elsewhere in the state, was about to be demolished. Tim bought it, carefully disassembled it, tagging each board with a tiny metal marker in a sophisticated numbering system; and moved it to a sweet little hill at the edge of the woods on his land. Leggos, take note. Each board originally was notched and fitted together with the precision of a Roman building an aqueduct; it was meant to last. Tim and his crew painstakingly reassembled the barn exactly as it was before and I’ve no doubt it will stand another 150 years. The barn is 35 by 50 feet, believed to be the largest log barn in the state, a hand-hewn nailless beauty, a marvel preserved. What Tim did was a testament to visionary thinking. But that’s not all Tim-with-a-vision has done. » read more


April Makes May

02 Little Hummer HummingLinda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – “I’m glad you were born in April,” Mother used to say. “That way I wasn’t pregnant in the hot summertime.” I’m glad too, April is such a promising month. Showers and flowers and Easter parades and (when I was a little girl) dotted-swiss pinafores. This year I was gifted with birthday cupcakes on April 4, and new bird feeders, and the return of the hummingbirds, apparently none the worse for that long flight back from wherever they wintered. The good news for April is – I met my March 31 deadline and managed to get 51 new Pages set up on this website. The bad news is – it cost me my right arm. Seriously, all those computer hours shut down my arm muscles. I knew I was in a hurt, but the disaster element sunk in when I was unable to lift my arm high enough to put away a glass on the second shelf of the cupboard.

I whined my way into the doctor’s office who promptly sent me across the street to the hospital and the therapy unit. A cheerful but unrelenting Kevin pulled and tugged my shoulder, slapped on a hot pack, and coerced me into a promise to do every exercise on the instruction sheet at least three times a day and to come back three times a week till I could move again. So, I did. And now, I can. But I didn’t write a lick for a month. I guess “behind” is my middle name. On top of that, I had some unwelcome visitors. » read more


An Invite From DAR

1 DAR Presentation ArkadelphiaLinda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – I was invited by Charlotte Jeffers, Regent of the Arkadelphia Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, to speak at their April 14 meeting. “Do you want me to talk about the history of the capital cities, or my travel experiences?” I asked. “What will everyone be most interested in?” “We are interested in everything,” was the reply, so I decided to focus on our likeminded objectives, which sent me to the DAR national website.

I learned that DAR was founded October 11, 1890 and incorporated in 1896 by an Act of Congress. Objectives are listed as Historical, Educational, and Patriotic, so I honed in on the “educational” factor, since that is a primary objective of Capital Cities USA. For DAR, “to promote…institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge, thus developing an enlightened public opinion.” For Capital Cities USA, “to build community, character and citizenship through humanities education.” From Objectives to Methodology explains the Journey Across America: Item 1 – to assess civic, community and historic resources in the 50 capital cities of the United States and their capitol buildings by gathering data through on-site visits to each capitol and capital city. In a nutshell!

I began my talk with bottom-line statistics – departed February 28, 2012 and concluded December 18, 2013 for a total of 659 days. Traveled 31,710 miles and spent time in 50 state capitols and the national capitol in DC. Shared neighborhoods with 12,947,450 people as I lived two weeks in each capital city. (With my two cats, no less.) I shared a map showing the 75 overnight stops I made before settling down in Arkadelphia, and then moved into story telling.

“What learning opportunities did I find in the capitols?” I focused on five that were exceptional:
• Austin, Texas – Most Extensive Visitor Services
• Boise, Idaho – Most Inspiring Kids Tour
• Atlanta, Georgia – Tie With Springfield, Illinois as Most Welcoming
• Springfield, Illinois – Tie with Atlanta, Georgia as Most Welcoming
• Montpelier, Vermont – Most Intimate & Inviting, Best Volunteer Program, Most Meticulous Restoration

» read more


A Joyce Kilmer Angst

04 iciclesLinda Burton Posting From Arkadelphia, Arkansas – Joyce Kilmer loved trees, and so do I. Remember that line “I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree…”? I’ve been worrying about my trees way too much of late, at complete odds with Mother Nature. She might as well have been an axman, sending all those February ice storms and breaking limbs all over town. What the ice didn’t get, the power company finished, whacking away every straggling branch that dared come anywhere near a power line and forevermore ruining the shape of every hackberry and pine tree that was unfortunate enough to get planted along the Entergy right of way.

I started back in January trying to clear off those choking “exotics” (meaning, non-native plants that will take over a yard if you aren’t careful) that some quick-grow gardener planted long ago. Turn the house into a rental and neglect the yard for a few years and you’ve got a mess on your hands. A mess of privet hedge ten feet tall and as scraggly as a witch’s hideaway, wrapped with wisteria vines that would support both Tarzan and Jane, all underpinned with sneaky English ivy, which is strong enough to grow right through a windowsill. It just wedges 01 Clearing Brushitself through the tiniest crack! You know what I mean. Back down in the ravine, a totally wild and woolly spot at the end of 9th Street, the wisteria has shimmied its way to the top of 60-foot oaks, with no plans to stop twisting and vining and taking over the world.

But not in my yard! Not with White’s Manicured Lawns in town. Quincy White and his brother Dante have chain saws and other devices designed to “stop the madness” and after a few hours in January managed to get a ten-foot area all around the house cleared away. After the February ice storms, their work tripled, this time sawing downed limbs and making huge stacks out front for the city pickup.

My greatest fear during the ice storm was for the giant camellia at the side of the house. » read more


My El Grande Lovebug

22 jack musicLinda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – Today is the first day of autumn, normally a happy time, but today, it’s not. Jack died this morning at 9:01. This may be the hardest post I’ve ever written. It was a sad day when Alex died in March, but I didn’t write about it till more than a week had passed. “I didn’t expect to have my heart broken twice in the same year,” I told the family, as I explained the events that caught us all by surprise. Yes, he was too fat. And no, he didn’t exercise much any more. All visitors this summer were charged with getting Jack to “roll over.” Dangle the play-strings across his back, count how many times he’d respond with enthusiasm. Not many; he much preferred putting his 22 jack ellis lindahead in your lap while you stroked him. He was diagnosed with onset kidney disease in June, and we changed his diet, though his numbers weren’t that far out of line. He remained a people cat, snuggling against anyone who’d allow it. He followed me from room to room; cozy on the office sofa while I worked; taking one end of the living-room sofa while I took the other as we watched our favorite TV shows in the evening. When I got into 22 eyesbed at night, I’d call his name, and soon I’d hear his toenails clicking on the hardwood floor. He’d jump on the bed and start circling round, then suddenly he’d jump down again. Just like old folks. “Darn, I forgot to go to the bathroom.” He’d trot off to his litterbox and then jump up again, this time for the night. Jack never demanded anything; for the ten years of his life he was simply lovebug sweet. My big fat black cat, El Grande, someone called him once. » read more


A New Pencil Box

25 Linda schoolLinda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – A new pencil box and the first day of school. Who is old enough to remember the fresh wood smell of newly sharpened pencils? I’m thinking about that as I put on my hat and head out the door for my first day of classes at Henderson. The American West and Arkansas History; that’s my course of study this semester. Why? On the Journey I explored almost every inch of the “western” states but was left with more questions than answers by the end of it. I want to learn more about the legislation that opened those vast lands for settlement, the many treaties with the natives who were already living there, the creation of the new states; in other words, the expansion of our country throughout the 19th century. All to make this site more useful for everyone who accesses it. The Arkansas History class will help with that too, and additionally will provide insights about the emigration of my ancestors who died here in 1849 on their move from Alabama to Texas. Ancestors. A little family talk now. And “how I spent my summer 25 group at pianovacation.” Since I’m settled in one place with plenty of room for visitors, I invited, and they came! Grandson Andrew arrived June 21; grandson Sam July 12. Andrew left July 16; son Mike, and his Brenda, and her grandson Michael arrived July 31. Granddaughter Kayla and son Rick arrived August 2. Mike and Brenda and Michael left August 3; Sam left August 6. Rick and Kayla left August 16. Did you notice? There was a perfect alignment of planets on August 2. » read more


No Ignoramus Here

21 Genius puzzle at Cracker BarrelLinda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – Today is the first day of winter. And I was blessed with two good omens. Have you ever tried to work one of those little Peg Puzzles that sit on every table in the Cracker Barrel? The goal is to end up with only one peg remaining, but it’s possible to back yourself into a corner and wind up with four pegs staring at you. Four! That means you are an ignoramus, on a level with pond scum. If you get it down to one however, you are a Certified Genius. Guess what. I got it down to ONE today, the first time ever in my life; I’ve tried to solve the darned thing in Cracker Barrels all across the land. I called my server over to see. “I take this as a positive sign,” I beamed. “This means I have made the right choice in moving to 20 ArkansasArkadelphia. I’m a genius!” She gave me a high five and told me my biscuits were coming up. The other good omen was a rainbow, but that was later, after I’d spent the day exploring my new environs. We arrived in a storyteller’s cliché yesterday; it was a dark and stormy night. There was a thunderstorm of such fearful proportions I didn’t even unload the car, I just grabbed the cats and their basic stuff. We’d had a long drive across Mississippi past all those catfish farms and cotton fields, till finally we made it to the defining line that splits the country’s drainage system, that muddy old Mississippi River. And 20 Exit 73 Arkadelphiathen, at last, Arkansas. So much water in this state! We crossed Bayou Bartholomew, and then the Ouachita River. At El Dorado we left Hwy 82 and followed the river north. An eerie fog crept across the darkening fields, rising off the waters of the Little Missouri. By the time we hit I-30 the visibility plummeted to near zero. “Don’t let me mess up now,” I prayed to the rain gods, “we’re so close.” My guardian angel intervened, the Arkadelphia exit appeared, and that was that. The cats and I slept sprawled in a pile across the bed; exhausted, but no worries, no more long-distance driving to do. » read more