Favorite

Graffiti 

One of the greatest gifts bestowed upon The Observer during our secretive, moonlit coronation at La Petite Roche down below the Junction Bridge some years back — with the mayor and the governor and a certain magical, wish-granting catfish in attendance — was the power and right to eavesdrop on any citizen of Central Arkansas within our earshot, anywhere, at any time. You'd be surprised what you can hear when part of your job description requires you to stick your big ears into other peoples' conversations. People are a lot more interesting than they give themselves credit for, especially when taken out of context.

For example, we were at a local Wendy's the other day grabbing lunch when we heard the following gem passed between two fellas: "These pickles," one said to the other, "taste like cucumbers!" Try the raisins next, dude. They remind me a lot of grapes.

Speaking of grabbing a bite, The Observer and the lovely war bride went out for lunch on Sunday, just the two of us for the first time in too long. One of the things you quickly learn when you have kids is that unless you've got a convenient grandmother or enough money to blow on a trusted babysitter every few weekends, the Together Time can get few and far between over the long haul. Luckily, Junior is finally getting old enough that not only can he be left home alone for short periods, he's pushing for that nibble at independence. While his mother was reluctant to leave him there sans parentis, The Observer — who saw Ma and Pa only at dawn and after dusk in the summertime at his age — is fine with it. Eventually, The Kid and his Old Man convinced her to see it our way.

Given that, The Observer is now dating this girl we once knew in college: a beautiful, charming young lass, who happens to be the woman we've been married to for dang near 15 years. A bit of caution and advice, young wedded folk, from one old married fart: Even if everything else goes great, it's all too easy to forget who the person you're married to really is, what with the duties attached to being Dad and Mom, and both busy besides at winning that bread Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. Rage against that forgetfulness together. Your hearts and the hearts of others depend on it.

We wound up at Vino's on Sunday afternoon, storied bar and sometime haunt of The Observer's troubled youth. Sure, we got the veggie pie instead of the Artery Clogger we both might have ordered at 22, but Yours Truly couldn't resist a beer. Some things stubbornly refuse to change.

We picked a corner table in the nearly empty restaurant, turned off the nearby TV, then sat there and waited on our pizza and just chatted about things. Not the bills or the funny noise the car is making or whether we need cat litter. Just things. We smiled a lot.

Over in the corner of the restaurant were a few parental units and a couple of kids, none of the children more than 6 years old. The Observer, having done our time in the gravel pile of fatherhood, isn't one of those restaurant snobs who look askance at parents who bring their children out to eat, even to a place with a microbrewery in the next room and old beer cans for decoration. Being a parent for awhile teaches you something else, thank God: the uncanny ability to put any voice created by a human being below the age of 8 on the Background Noise channel.

The Observer didn't notice the kids again until one of them came back from the bathroom with Mom. Vino's — being a beloved music venue and bar of some age and renown — has the prerequisite collection of bathroom graffiti, much painted-over and scribbled out and re-inked, some of it near-Sphinxian in its mystery. The men's room door, for example, is currently emblazoned with the word "Dongs" in magic marker, whether for reasons of instruction or sheer, gleeful vulgarity, we can't decide.

On the way back to the table, Mom was patiently noting to junior that though the restroom graffiti is part of the restaurant's decor, we should never, ever, under any circumstances, write on the walls at home. That would be a bad thing.

Ah, the joys of parenthood. Half instruction, half joy, half hoping for the best — or thereabouts. Honestly, we're a little fussy on the math. Whatever it all adds up to, though, two old married types over in the corner looked at each other and passed a knowing smile between us.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Snake stories

    The Observer's boss, Uncle Alan, is something of a gentleman farmer on his spread up in Cabot, growing heirloom tomatoes and watermelons and crops of chiggers on property that looks like the perfect farmstead Lenny and George often fantasized about in "Of Mice and Men."
    • Aug 27, 2015
  • Show and tell

    The Observer is an advocate of the A+ method of integrating the arts and using creativity to teach across the curriculum, an approach that the Thea Foundation, with help from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, is offering to schools across the state.
    • Feb 25, 2016

Most Shared

  • UPDATE: Retired Arkansas Arts Center director Townsend Wolfe dies at 81

    Townsend Durant Wolfe, III, retired director and chief curator of the Arkansas Arts Center, has died at 81.
  • Subpoenas identify names of federal interest in kickback probe

    The Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District today provided me with the subpoena it received from federal investigators in a probe that led to former Republican Rep. Micah Neal's guilty plea to taking kickbacks from money he guided to a nonprofit agency and a private college in Springdale, apparently Ecclesia College.
  • Human Services says it's eliminated Medicaid application backlog

    The state Human Services Department has informed Gov. Asa Hutchinson that it has all but eliminated a backlog in applications for Medicaid coverage.
  • Praising Asa

    Let us now praise the governor for a starkly moderate record, at least in comparison with other red-state executives.
  • Glass houses

    Having gotten a deep security briefing and probably a confidential glimpse of our own vast cyberspying operation, Donald Trump is no longer pretty sure that the Kremlin didn't hack Democratic computers or employ other tactics to help his election.

Latest in The Observer

  • Weird trivia

    When completed, the Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol lawn will be the exact size, shape and weight of the vaguely humming black monolith that appeared at the foot of Conway Sen. Jason Rapert's bed in June 2010 and later elevated his consciousness from apelike semi-sentience to incrementally less apelike semi-sentience.
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • Resolutions

    No more clinging to material things, unless those material things are life preservers tossed as I go down for the third and final time, the few remaining strands of my once-majestic locks, or the skids of the last helicopter out before the fall of Little Rock.
    • Jan 5, 2017
  • Dear Santa

    All I want for Christmas is a wooden boat with a sail. A cozy cabin cruiser with saucer-sized portholes and a hotplate for heating up the grog and a little spoked wheel for The Cap'n to grimly lash himself to when it comes up a blow.
    • Dec 22, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Indian Rock House at Fairfield Bay

Indian Rock House at Fairfield Bay

Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 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  
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation