Thursday, November 24, 2011


Gasoline:  $350.00

Hotels:  $150.00

Pain from 2,200 mile round trip:  off the scale

Living life to the fullest?  PRICELESS!!!



So, last Friday after work, I blazed a trail out of Houston (I managed to beat the worst of the traffic, just the slowdown around IAH) and headed northeast.  I figured I’d drive till I was tired, then find a side-of-the-interstate motel. 

I ate a Corn Dog on the way (more on that later in the week; the smell of Corn Dogs will become overpowering as we approach Baton Rouge tonight…).

As I got to Texarkana, I felt surprisingly good, so kept going, and wound up in my old home area, Little Rock.  Spent the night, got up the next morning, and had a facebook comment from my buddy Rich.  Rich had adopted one of my rescue Border Collies, a very shy girl named Bonnie, and he’d been bugging me for some time to come see her—so I thought, “I’ll take this opportunity to do that, I’ve got a little time to give.” 

Bon Bon has come nicely out of her shell.  She’s a happy dog, and obviously devoted to Rich (and he’s crazy about her, a success story!).  She is NOT fond of cameras, even when they’re disguised as cell phones, and this is the best we could do (Geebus, I guess I really AM that fat.  Oh, well, the camera adds 10 lbs. and I’m big boned; yeah, that’s the ticket!):



Anyone who knows me knows of my fondness for the Arkansas Razorbacks.  Since I had such a long trip (INDIANA!?!) ahead, I had planned to skip the Mississippi State game and keep driving.  All morning, on the way to Rich’s, I kept seeing the flags and magnets, people decked out for the game, heard one or two Hog Calls.  MUST…MAINTAIN…FOCUS…

So, I left Rich’s and sadly made my way to the interstate.  I called Nathan and he said, “Are you NUTS?  You LOVE this stuff, and it’ll only add about 6-8 hours to your trip!” 


You know what’s coming next…



Malvern’s Own Madre Hill






My phone ran out of juice (freaking blackberry…they have lousy cameras, too) and that was “it” for the pics. 


Before the game, had several fun things.

Went by my old house on Hillcrest:


Enjoyed the walk up Monroe St. to see the Old Gray Pile; bunch of kids playing football in front:


Ran into my dear and wonderful friends Kyle Gregory and her son, Cameron, and their bunch from Monroe.  They had brought some exchange kids up for not only their first Razorback game, but their first American Football game!



Left to right, Monroe, Brazil, Netherlands, Monroe (and that’s Kyle’s FRIEND on the left, not Cameron, I don’t know why I didn’t get a pic with him).


Left Little Rock after OUR GLORIOUS VICTORY, then drove to Marion, Illinois (that night).  Next morning, got up and drove to Palmyra, Indiana, to pick up my Magnavox.  It was GREAT, as advertised!  Loaded it, then immediately started back.

On the way, back, couldn’t resist (in a driving downpour with heavy traffic) snapping (one-handed) a picture of Louisville’s Stadium, where Bobby Petrino worked his magic.


Drove the rest of the day to Birmingham, Alabama and stayed with my wonderful friends Kathy and Larry Beaumont.  Next morning, got up and headed home, past Tuscaloosa (Home of the #2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide), through Mississippi to Louisiana, then past Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, where tomorrow the #3 ranked ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS take on the #1 ranked LSU Tigers.  I couldn’t resist a risky one-handed snap there, either, in heavy traffic crossing the mighty Mississippi:

District 10-20111121-00433

So, in one trip, I went to the “Home Away From Home” of the #3 team in the country, then passed the home of the #2 team in the country, then passed the home of the #1 team in the country.


Got the Magnavox home, Nathan helped me unload it, and we placed it in the room and plugged it in.  I pushed the “power” button and held my breath.  The old Maggie roared to life---that deep, full-throated wonderfulness I remember so very well---and the tuner, which was exactly where it was when I bought it in Palmyra, was tuned to 99.5—which, in Houston, is Sunny 99.5---and they were playing Bing Crosby singing “I’m Dreamin’ of a White Christmas”.  (They next played Alvin and the Chipmunks, and then Santa Baby, but I digress).


Other people are “normal”.  They grow up, got to college, get married, make babies, raise them, have grandkids, grow old, and die.  If that’s your thing, good for you and power to you.

Me, I’d rather mix in a little adventure.  It’s what makes life worth living.

I have to end this blog post right now…it’s Thanksgiving Day, H-E-B is open (but only till 2), and I have to pick up 2 bottles of Zing Zang, some limes, an extra bottle Worchestershire Sauce, some red plastic cups—we’re headed to Baton Rouge at 4 to see our #3 Razorbacks beat #1 LSU for a possible berth in the National Championship game.  I’ll worry about the money and the time off from work later…for now, the tailgating foolishness RIDES AGAIN!


Uncle Malvie, proudly keeping up the Tarkington and Jones families’ tradition of craziness eccentricity since 1957!