APRIL 10, 2011

I am an anthropologist. It has never been clearer to me than during this part of my trip   through the south. Starting at my night at Reelfoot Lake I noticed everything changing subtly. I started noticing lots of small towns that looked abandoned. I set out that morning trying to find a place to get breakfast and had to drive 60 miles; I was not on a major highway but going through the small towns. I could not tell if many of the closed businesses were recent or if the decay was long term. There were many objects abandoned along the road, the arm of a front-end loader, cars, and 14 washing machines in a field. This scenery brought to mind some post apocalyptic landscape from a bad sci-fi- film.   I finally found a McDonald’s at some cross road and went in to use the wi-fi and eat a salad. I sat back in a corner so I could plug my computer in. I was so involved in my writing that I had not been paying attention to what was going on around me. Suddenly a woman started yelling. I stood up to see what was going on. She screamed,”B 3”. I than saw that the restaurant was filled with people and they were all playing bingo. It was so loud I had to put my ear buds in. About ten minutes pass and a group of people came in, five young men in their twenties, a young woman with a baby and a man in his late thirties. They all gathered in the corner next to me, and when the trays of food were brought to the table the older man stood up and in a voice that overrode the bingo yeller he shouted, “Dear lord bless this food and all the people here at McDonald’s in what ever they do today. May they pursue the path of righteousness… Amen.” I thought the game players would all be annoyed at the disruption, but many of them replied,”Amen”, and the game continued. This was fascinating to me. I imagined this happening in Boston and wondered what the reply would be. That night I camped in Mammoth Springs right on the most beautiful spring fed river, it cost seven dollars a night and you just put money in an envelope and slipped it into a box, I was the only one there. The next day I went to breakfast at The State Line Restaurant. I sat down, ordered my food and when it came I began eating. The café started to fill up and I realized that everyone was smoking while they ate. I had to get my food to go. The ride from Mammoth Springs to Mountain Home, through Harrison, ending at Eureka Springs was beautiful. Arkansas is one of the most beautiful places I have been so far.



About turningaroundamerica

Collaborative Team of Jenn Moller and Beth Ireland
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