Wednesday, May 23, 2007
RC Cola: 0
Well, the trip to the Ozarks was a wonderful reprieve from the same-old same-old. Mom and niece rode with me and we headed up there on Friday, with mom offering the occasional tip (speed limit, etc.,) which was mightily appreciated. At one point she said "do you mind my backseat driving?" to which I parried "no, I'm accustomed to a passenger who finds my driving incompetent." Sadly, this was not a lie.
Spent Friday night in Hot Springs. We stayed at a major (reliably clean) hotel chain. Prior to checking in, I drove to an adorable motor court with marvelous neon which I have wanted to check out for yonks. The rooms are arrayed like little duplex casitas, adobe exterior, and they look to have been re-done since I was there 6 or 8 months earlier. Very cute. Just as I was about to call and cancel the reservation with the other place, one of the quaint rooms disgorged an unfortunate pair who aptly fit the description "pimp" and "crackwhore" and so it was off to our reserved room around which no ne'er-do-wells were to be seen. Perhaps I'll check this one out some other time when children are not along for the spectacle. In the meantime, thank goodness for the major chains.
The next morning, we headed north on 7, wending our way through the Ozarks. The weather was exquisite, the road was steep and curvy, but my grippy new tires were up to the challenge.
Along Highway 5 is a mountain called "Old Joe," and Mom mused that in his book about the 19th century Ozarks, John Quincy Wolf mentioned a mountain called "Naked Joe" because trappers/hunters had started a fire which burned all the timber off the mountain. Of course, in the past 100 years, a few trees have grown back, to say the least, but I think this is meant to be the same place.
We stopped by the Strawberry River on Arkansas Highway 56 and went down to the spot where my maternal grandfather would take us swimming when we were kids. It was strange to see again, and kind of bittersweet.
More on that later. One of the best stories I heard all weekend was actually from Texas. Dad has a garage and once someone brought in a souped-up Trans Am which they left overnight for work. Dad had a guard-dog at the shop named Lonzo which was one of the strangest dogs ever. Lonzo had an enormous head and large, powerful body, but the sawed-off legs of a Corgi. He had black hair with grey tips like a wolf-hound. He was very smart, and hilarious to watch. Anyway, Lonzo had a strange fixation on the black Trans Am. They deduced that he had made a run at the hood perhaps hundreds of times, judging by the shredding of the paint. Long, raked trails of toenail-furrows traversed the car from nose to the back of the roof. Lonzo's piece de resistance was when he left his calling card atop: a perfect doo-doo swirl. Inexplicable. Fortunately, the customer was amused by the customization, and said he was about to have it re-painted anyway.
Lonzo would hatch an escape plot occasionally and gad about to visit a circuit of lady dogs in the area, and he clearly impacted the vagrant dog population of Dallas for decades to come. If he were human, Lonzo would have worn a seersucker suit and carried a mint julep and brass knuckles, such style he had with his jaunty, confident gait. Every once in a while, you'll see a sawed-off brute of a dog in that area of town, and you'll know the spirit of Lonzo lives.