Monday, April 26, 2010

"Great Scott!" Expedition

Less than a half hour drive from the busy metropolis of Little Rock, Arkansas, you can step back into what would seem like a time warp, compared to the frenzy of activity in Arkansas's capitol city. I am talking about taking an excursion to Scott, Arkansas. This photo collage shows some of the scenery between Scott and Little Rock. The bottom photo of the collage shows a shady lake where several folks can be seen fishing from the bank. Above that photo, one can see that those with the "need for speed" can crank up the engine on a powerful motorboat, and skip along the surface of the Arkansas River. The highway to Scott will also take you by a restored plantation (upper left photo), as well as a beautiful Corps of Engineer Park called Willow Beach (upper right photo).

It is definitely worth your time to visit the Plantation Agriculture Museum in Scott ( ). It is a popular place for school field trips, as evidenced by the school children playing on the railroad track device in lower right photo. One can also see vintage farm equipment----such as the John Deere tractor in lower left that STILL "runs like a deere"--- or completely "retired" antique equipment, that only harvests more rust each year, as it sits on display adjacent to the museum. There is also a cotton gin and other milling operations to visit, as shown in upper right photo.

And no visit to Scott would be complete without a stop at the world-famous Cotham's General Store (phone 501-961-9284), whose exterior is shown in this photo collage. The dilapidated building sits just inches off the highway, and extends out over a swampy area complete with cypress trees and (I would assume) all other creatures known to inhabit swamps. Who knows, if you sat here long enough, you might even spot an evasive Ivory-billed Woodpecker! Perhaps that is what this Cotham's employee is doing, as he takes a breather between frying up orders of their famous "Hubcap Hamburger".

Although Cotham's is usually so busy at lunchtime that you have to wait in line to be seated, I visited between lunch and supper on a lazy Friday afternoon, so that the place was not crowded, and I was able to photograph at will. This little eatery became famous because politicians like David Pryor and Bill Clinton were known to pass through its doors on occasion. Because of this notoriety (plus shows about it on the Food Network and the Travel Channel), a second location opened up in downtown Little Rock. However, nothing can compare with the AUTHENTIC "shabby sheek" of the original Scott location! So next time you're in the mood for a little history and mystery, boogie on down to Scott! Miles of smiles! Tricia
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"Read My Pins" Expedition

I have written about the Clinton Presidential Library ( on previous posts on this blog, but fortunately for those of us who like to have an excuse to make the beautiful drive down Highway 65 to Little Rock, they rotate new special exhibits through the facility that entice one to make a return trip. This photo collage shows the striking design of the building, which is built to remind us of a bridge----a "bridge to the future", as WJC would say.

The exhibit I wanted to see was the one that featured the various pins in the collection of Madeleine Albright, who was the Secretary of State during Bill Clinton's presidency. I had seen Mrs. Albright interviewed when her book about her pins----Read My Pins---was released. It seems that she developed somewhat of a reputation among various heads of state around the world, that her friends and adversaries could gauge the success of their diplomacy measures, by the pin she wore on her clothing. The title for both the book and the exhibit is based on a popular phrase of the last decade that asked folks what was their "T-shirt" message, i.e. "Read my T-shirt"!

The exhibit made it clear that most of the pins are not made from valuable materials, rather she chose them---or they were given as gifts to her---more for their design and whimsy than for a carrier of precious stones. This collage shows some of her pins that were my personal favorites. One has to wonder, however, if when she was wearing the hot air balloon pins, she was sending some sort of message of diplomacy being about so much "hot air"!

The top photo inside the yellow block shows a very special pin of Mrs. Albright's that was made from pieces of stone and metal that came from the Berlin wall. Seeing that pin reminded me of a photograph I took at a church in California way back in November of 2008 (bottom photo inside yellow block). In the foyer of the church, sitting on a table, was a dilapidated-looking Bible, wrapped up in barbed wire. There was an explanation next to the Bible, telling about some countries where people are forbidden from having a copy of the Bible, and of course, forbidden from reading it. Yet, here in America, where there is an abundance of Bibles, we are mostly ignorant of the vast treasure of wisdom that the Bible contains. As I was driving to Little Rock to see the "Read My Pins" exhibit, I passed a little country church with a sign outside that had words of advise saying that "instead of spending so much time on Facebook, how about if we put our face in THE book?!!" That is advice I am going to heed right now, so I must close! Miles of smiles! Tricia
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David's Trail Expedition

David's Trail is a network of public, multi-use trails built to encourage an active, outdoor lifestyle. The trail makes up a 50+ mile network that surrounds Lake Norfork in north central Arkansas. It was built in memory of a Mountain Home, Arkansas, businessman, David Floyd (1955-2006). David's widow, Cindi Floyd, is shown in the lower right photo of this collage, standing next to one of the trail markers at Panther Bay park.

Although I had been reading about the trail since its beginning, my first visit to it was last week when a group from the "Women Hiking the Ozarks" (see my Tyler Bend blog from last month to learn more about "WHO") met there for one of our weekly outings. The lower left photo shows Kim Pace (with the red baseball hat) giving out sacks of David's Trail gear to the WHO members present that day. Kim is aptly named, as she might be thought of as the "Pace Car" for the David's Trail movement, helping folks in the area become familiar with all it has to offer. The middle right photo in this collage shows four of the WHO ladies standing by a very sturdy picnic table along the trail. These tables not only provide a picnic/resting spot for hikers, but serve as "mile markers" throughout the trail system.

Depending on the time of year one visits the trail, a variety of wildflowers can be seen. The day I hiked, there were Mayapples (top photo) and Fire Pinks (lower right). The lower left photo shows how the trail was adorned with white, fallen dogwood petals, as those trees traded their blooms for green leaves. I felt like I was walking down the aisle of a wedding, where a little "flower girl" had scattered her basket of white flowers in anticipation of a bride following behind her!

In recognition of National Trails Day on Saturday, June 12, there will be a frenzy of activity on David's Trail, complete with gear give-aways and guided hikes. You can email to find out a complete listing of events for that day. Also, David's Trail has a FANTASTIC website ( where you can see a map of the complete area, check the weather, calendar of events, post your own photos, participate in a forum or blog, order gear, and read more about David Floyd. Just as the website can make known to you the path of David Floyd, the Bible can make known to you the path of the psalmist, David: "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16:11---- I am praying that you will have miles of smiles on YOUR path of life! Tricia
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National Historic Site Expedition

Although Central High School was named by the American Institute of Architects as "America's Most Beautiful High School", shortly after its construction was completed in 1927, it was not until 1957 that the majority of Americans heard about the now-famous Little Rock Central High School. Up until that point, the massive structure was known more for its handsome blend of Art Deco and Gothic Revival architectural styles. In addition, the school was celebrated for its size (100 classrooms and capacity for more than 2,000 students; a huge auditorium and stage) and for its academic excellence. This collage shows various views of the front of the building, including the beautiful reflecting pool that is located between the entrance and the street.

In recognition of the 50 year anniversary of the momentous events that occurred there in 1957, the National Park Service opened the newly-constructed Visitor's Center (top and lower left photo) in 2007 ( ). The modern, state of the art facility, includes ample parking, landscaping, clean public restrooms, museum exhibits, a gift shop, and theater. The visitor center is across the street from the Mobil Gas Station (lower right photo), that had previously been the Visitor Center. Although at the the time of the conflict in 1957, the Mobil Gas Station served as the makeshift "media headquarters" for television, radio, and newspaper reporters (afterall, the gas station had the only public telephone, and there were no "cell phones" in 1957!), it nows serves as an educational annex for events sponsored by the National Park Service. As the tour group takes the block-long walk between the Visitor Center and the high school, the Park Ranger asks that you put yourself in the shoes of those first black students who had to made that walk between rows of jeering and spitting spectators. It gives you some idea of the courage those nine black teenagers had, that enabled them to endure the harrassment.

I was somewhat surprised to find out that the free tour (led by an NPS Ranger) actually takes the participants INSIDE the still-operational high school. At the grand entrance, there are enclosed exhibits (top photo) that spell out the history of those troubled times, and a magnificent bronze plaque set into the tile floors of the building (lower right). One also gets to step inside the school's auditoriium that was the location of many Little Rock performances before the days of the current LR Convention Center.

Although I had known for several years that Central High School had the desigination of a National Park Service Historic Site,it was not until the AETN Passport Program dangled the promise of a "reward" or prize for getting all the official site stamps on my passport, that I made the effort to go visit the place! I think that is human nature, but it made me put into perspective the "Girl Scout Badge" mentality that I have had all my life. It's been a case of "Do the activity, get the badge". The promise of the little badge reward seemed all I needed to spur me into action. What I need to concentrate on more than these trivial earthly rewards, is the eternal reward I will receive when my life is over. This is clearly stated in II Chronicles 15:7 "But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded." Praying for miles of rewarding smiles from my Creator! Tricia
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Friday, April 9, 2010

SDC Culinary School Expedition

The Silver Dollar City Culinary School is starting its third year of operation at this popular theme park near Branson, Missouri. I described the school in the April 18, 2009, blogpost, titled "SDC Culinary Class". My class this year was once again during the World-Fest Celebration, which means the classes offered have the theme of celebrating foods from around the world. One almost feels "on top of the world" as you visit the lovely wrap-around porch at the culinary school location. Directly below you is the amphitheater where outdoor concerts are held, and beyond that, the view stretches across mountain after mountain of Ozark scenery. In fact, the school is making the most of that great view by offering on select evenings throughout the year, a special event that consists of a culinary demonstration, a full course meal, and your very own rocking chair to enjoy the special concert going on in the amphitheater below, known as Echo Hollow.

While you are waiting for your class to begin, you can shop at the Culinary school's gift shop that is stocked with specialty kitchen gadgets that might be just the right surprise for your favorite chef back home. This photo collage shows Rose, the "Craft Ambassador" holding up one of the special aprons printed with the school's logo.

Returning as the master craftsman of culinary arts is Debbie Dance Uhrig, shown in this photo. She is shown in this photo as she was demonstrating the creation of a Sicilian-style pizza. She pointed out in the copy of each recipe that she gave the participants that she likes to keep the number of ingredients to a minimum. The reason for this is so as not to discourage someone from attempting to cook something new, because they are "overwhelmed" by how many items they will have to gather up and measure for a particular dish. She said one of her main goals is just to try to get more people to try their hand at cooking.

The knife and fork that are welded into the dinner bell at the entrance of the school (upper right photo),give a clue that one does, indeed, get to sample the items that are being demonstrated. It is no coincidence that I chose a class that involved preparing two of my favorite dishes---pizza and salad---both of which were delicious!! I would definitely agree with the words of the Old Testament prophet, whose question is pondered in Isaiah 55:2 and says "Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare." If you would like to learn more about the classes, log on to Miles of smiles! Tricia
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