Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Another super week!

I love birthdays! This was #75 for me!
In fact, when I turned 65, I declared that I would now celebrate the entire month of May! I received many birthday email messages and a few cards found me.

Here is the birthday poem my sister Elaine sent

For Carol’s birthday on May 3, 2013

Where, oh where, can Carol Anderson be?
Oh where, oh where can she be?
Consult her blog, look at her map,
And her location -- nearly -- you’ll see.

Driving her portable, temporary dwelling she is free
Traveling desert, hills, mountains on the way to the sea 
Friends here and there across the USA she’ll be stopping to see
And connect via Internet and smartphone with you and me.

Why, oh why, is Carol Anderson going?
Because there’s more places out there to see 
While she’s healthy and able she wants to be
Appreciating God’s blessings from sea to sea.  

By Elaine ©2013

Elaine &  Don
See my latest writing in my blog:

Just who is Bucky?
For my new friends who don’t know Bucky, here he is!

This cute guy is a ventriloquist “doll” that I bought at an antique mall in Lancaster, Ohio, several years ago. When I saw him and turned to walk away, I’m sure I heard him say, “Please take me with you; it’s boring here!” Bucky is my front seat companion and he is never bored! Kids and adults like him; he’s a real conversation starte

Little Ducky Duddle…Went Swimming in a Puddle
This was my theme song as I drove to Cane Creek State Park in Arkansas. And it continued as my theme most of the time I was here. It was mostly an occasional gentle rain. At times when the rain stopped, it was hard to tell because the tall, tall leafy trees continued to drip. We had front row parking overlooking the lake. I stayed here two days.

 Exploring the park’s Delta View Trail
The first half of the 3+ mile up-and-down loop was in the Gulf Coastal Plain forest. I heard many more birds than I saw – leaves were blocking the view – also saw the tail end of four while-tailed deer. The predominant trees here are oak, hickory and pine.

Squirrels’ playground, and a dog, too
Site #18 where I’m parked has squirrels galore! Up and down the trees – and they are fast – and scurrying here and there. The other “local” four footed creature is the “camp dog”. Rangers say it was left or dropped off a few years ago and it has made the park its summer home. The rangers have tried to trap it and campers have volunteered to take it, but the dog just doesn’t want to associate with humans. However, he is happy to accept food handouts that are left on the ground. When winter arrives, the dog heads for town. Guess he is somewhat of a “snowbird”.

Campers’ courtesy boat dock
I waked to the boat dock just before dusk and found a large stand of blooming dogwood! This park, like many lake parks, is where locals spend their weekends camping. Since the regular dock is not real near, this dock makes it convenient for boater/campers.

 Great campground neighbors
There are less than 10 campers here (Wednesday and Thursday). One camper I met brought over their dinner leftovers! Pork chops smothered with Vidalia onions, wild rice pilaf, fresh cooked green beans, salad with home-grown spinach and fresh strawberries and home-made dressing, and a delicious dessert. Felt like I had hit the jackpot. The portions were huge and I had plenty enough for another day.

Good Grief! Winter came back!
A super short driving day – Cane Creek is less than 20 miles to my next stop – visiting Brenda and Ralph Branch in Cornerville, Arkansas. A cold front is headed our way; just when I had hoped summer would arrive so I appreciated the offer to stay in their guest room

Brenda is what I call a “shirt-tail” relative. She was married to my cousin until he passed away – would that be a ‘cousin-in-law’? Brenda returned to Cornerville where she has lived nearly all her life. She is now married to Ralph Branch who could pass for an identical twin of my former dance partner Pete Durst – same eyes, face, stature, hair – and an all-around super man.

Cornerville is a tiny place. The only store is Newton Store that her family has been running for years. Brenda’s Mom ran it and now Brenda does. It is the only obvious business in Cornerville. The store has a small selection of groceries, cigarettes, snuff, sodas, and unleaded gas. No alcohol because this is a “dry county”. People buy on “credit” and pay off the balance as they can.

I met plenty of Brenda and Ralph’s relatives. The big event while I was here was the newborn calf that arrived. Mom cow ‘dropped’ the calf prematurely in a water puddle and walked away. They are now bottle feeding it because Mom cow doesn’t seem to be interested.

And I learned more about Arkansas cuisine. For instance, people add butter and granulated sugar to their steamed white rice. I also got to enjoy a mostly-fried dinner at a nearby restaurant. I chose the buffet in order to sample several different things. When my plate was full, the only thing not the color of brown it was my green salad! All the rest had been rolled in cornmeal and fried. Here’s what I had – and all fried – okra, mushrooms, corn, dill pickle, French fries, catfish, frog legs, shrimp and hush puppies!

Jeremiah Junior was due for service
Brenda recommended and set up an appointment for me – at the wood chipping plant. Here huge branchless trees are fed into chipping equipment; the resulting chips (mostly pine) go to one of the huge paper-making facilities.

 Chicot Lake State Park
When I left Cornerville, my next stop was Chicot (pronounced chee-co) Lake State Park along the Mississippi (southerners pronounce it Mess-ipie). This lake is Arkansas’ largest one and it is an “oxbow” lake (sort of C-shaped) that once was the main channel of the river.

Jeremiah Junior is one of few RVs here so it feels like my private grassy lawn in a grove of tall, wild pecan and oak trees. The lake is ringed with cypress trees standing literally “up to their knees” in water.

Local fish include bream, crappie, bass and catfish. I’ve seen lots of squirrels and a variety of birds. Farmlands are on both sides of the river; and next to the park is a field just planted with soybeans. I wandered down to the dock.

Tomorrow we move into Louisiana and stay three days at Lake Bruin State Park to sit out the rain that is headed this way. The park is also along the Mississippi River. From there, I’ll drive the short distance to Natchez, MS, and spend some time touring the city before starting on the 444-mile-long Natchez Trace Parkway.

Here is your Food for Thought
When facing a difficult task, act as though it is impossible to fail. If you’re going after Moby Dick, take along the tartar sauce.  This is from Father’s Instructions for Life, H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


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