Fifty cents 

The Observer's pal Roland had a yard sale the other day, one of those Great American Adventures that mostly goes to show you how cheap your fellow man and woman can be when you're sweating bullets under a tree with a significant amount of your stuff spread out on folding tables.

As you know if you're not one of the mole people who lurk in the sewers of Little Rock, stealing Comcast and high speed Internet by tapping underground cables, you know it's been hot. Like, Venezuela hot. Liquid-inside-of-a-cheese-stuffed-jalapeno-popper-fresh-from-the-deep-fryer-at-Sonic hot. Stick-your-hand-to-a-lightbulb hot. Jamb-your-foot-into-a-bathtub-full-of-molten ... OK, you get it. IT'S HOT.

Because of that, our ol' pal Roland's yard sale was a bust. In three hours, only three people came by. Only one bought anything: two coffee pots for 50 cents, with the woman blessing the sale and telling Roland and his kids to have a blessed day before rushing back out of the sun. Something tells The Observer that Roland and Co. would have gladly paid that 50 cents for somebody to douse them with a bucket of water by then — even tepid water. Water from a bowl a slobbery, large-breed dog had recently drunk out of.

Thoroughly demoralized and not wanting to lug all the knickknacks back inside, Roland and Progeny decided to load up everything and take it all to a thrift store they frequent on Asher Avenue. Diehard junk-store treasure pickers, they often go there to browse. After they'd dropped everything off, they went inside to look around.

They'd only been there a few minutes when Roland's son, Jackson, picked up a hardbound copy of a Star Wars tie-in book. You should know that Roland and Son are just as jazzed about Star Wars as they are about panning for thrift store gold. Roland was about Jackson's age when he saw the originals multiple times as a kid growing up in Hot Springs, and never forgot the thrill of seeing Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader face off. When his son was born, he quickly initiated him into the Church of The Force as well.

Roland recognized the book, because he'd had one like it when he was a kid. His mother — who always called him by his boyhood nickname, Rowdy — had bought it for him for Christmas in 1979, but he'd inexplicably lost it about 15 years ago, probably during one of his umpteen moves in the freewheeling days before kids and responsibility. He knew he and Jackson had to have this copy, and this one just so happened to be priced exactly right: 50 cents.

The dust jacket was off, but Roland soon found it in the same bin where Jackson had found the book. He picked it up, and when he opened the front cover to slip on the jacket, this is what was written inside:

click to enlarge observer1-1.jpg

To Rowdy, From Mother. 1979.

Ah, sweet mystery of life. Sweet, dark-haired Coincidence, and your pale, smiling sister, Serendipity. We don't get to see you often, but when we do, you always give us hope and faith that Something Out There wants good things for all of us. That kind of recharge is hard to come by for The Observer's jaded old heart, but is always welcome when it inevitably comes.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Every secret thing

    The Observer came into the office on Tuesday morning, not quite bright-eyed or bushy tailed thanks to Daylight Savings Time jetlag, to find our colleague Benji Hardy conked out asleep in yet another colleague's office, Benji having pulled an all-nighter to bring you, Dear Reader, this week's cover story.
    • Mar 10, 2015
  • Casting out demons: why Justin Harris got rid of kids he applied pressure to adopt

    Rep. Justin Harris blames DHS for the fallout related to his adoption of three young girls, but sources familiar with the situation contradict his story and paint a troubling picture of the adoption process and the girls' time in the Harris household.
    • Mar 12, 2015
  • Addendum

    he Observer has our regrets, just like everybody else. For example: last week, Yours Truly published a cover story on the increasingly ugly fight over Eureka Springs' Ordinance 2223, which is designed to protect a bunch of groups — including LGBTQ people — from discrimination in housing, employment, accommodations, cake buying, browsing, drinking, gut stuffery, knickknack purchasing, general cavorting, funny postcard mailing and all the other stuff one tends to get up to in the weirdest, friendliest, most magical little town in the Ozarks.
    • Apr 30, 2015

Most Shared

  • Hutchinson administration resists accountability in child rape case

    After a nightmarish revelation about serial rapes by a state-approved foster parent, the Hutchinson administration, from the governor on down, resist talking about how it happened.
  • Little Rock police kill man downtown

    Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
  • From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said
  • Ted Suhl loses another bid for new trial; faces stiff sentencing recommendation

    Ted Suhl, the former operator of residential and out-patient mental health services, has lost a second bid to get a new trial on his conviction for paying bribes to influence state Human Services Department policies. Set for sentencing Thursday, Suhl faces a government request for a sentence up to almost 20 years. He argues for no more than 33 months.
  • Football and foster kids

    It took a football stadium to lay bare Republican budget hypocrisy in Arkansas.

Latest in The Observer

  • Moving

    The Observer will be moving soon. Not out of The Observatory, thank God, as we're sure it will take the wagon from the 20 Mule Team Borax box to get us away from there after 14 years of accumulation, plus a team of seasoned Aussie wildlife wranglers to herd our pair of surly wildcats into a crate. No, just out of the office we've been in at the Fortress of Employment for going on five years, which is bad enough. We're moving to the other side of the building here in a few months.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • Playing catch-up

    What with the big, clear-the-decks Road Trip issue last week — which we're sure you stuffed immediately in your motorcar's glove box, turtle hull or catchall, for when you get a hankerin' to gallivant — The Observer has had two glorious weeks to Observe since the last time we conversed.
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Old Gray Lady rides again

    There was a reunion of Arkansas Gazette employees last Saturday night, nearly 25 years to the day it was shut down.
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Jodi Morris's lifelong ties to the National Park Service

Jodi Morris's lifelong ties to the National Park Service

"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments


© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation