Miss Universe 

The Observer has been watching with some interest the goings-on in Colorado since they legalized marijuana for recreational usage. We're not planning on packing up the VW bus and heading out there any time soon, but we're keeping an eye on it, just because we know it could potentially be a similar boon someday to this state we love. There's a lot of black dirt in East Arkansas, and a lot of sunshine.

While The Observer isn't personally a fan of marijuana — we never liked that cloudy, woozy, staring-through-a-hole-in-the-back-of-your-own-head feeling — we are all about some logic. And it has never quite seemed logical to us that while a plant that could grow in any roadside ditch is banned for fear it might harm the populace, anybody with 20 bucks and a valid I.D. can head to the corner liquor store and buy enough cheap, perfectly legal goof juice to float a sizeable toy battleship. We happen to know quite a few potheads, even long-term potheads, and though marijuana has clearly led to the senseless destruction of many a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, we don't know of a single life ol' Mary Jane, in and of herself, has destroyed to the point of being unlivable. Meanwhile, the amount of blood and tears we've personally seen spilled by and over people under the influence of corn likker could fill a hell of a lot of empty whiskey bottles.

The Observer's experience with pot isn't deep, but it is 40 years broad now. Back in high school, living way out in the sticks of Saline County, we had a friend whose father was rumored to be the Marijuana King of the little patch of dirt we all called home. Word was he was a dangerous man. Word was he had big fields of the stuff. Word was he had cops on the payroll — cops who'd drive right up the house in their uniforms and squad cars to pick up their envelopes. It was Saline County in the 1980s. What do you expect?

Given that Prince Pot was a pal, the stuff was plentiful in that neck of the woods, not great but decent, and much easier to get in dry Saline County than a bottle of green label Evan Williams. The Observer was never much of a fan, for the reasons outlined above, but our best friends were, and we had to take the occasional toke to keep from feeling like a narc.

The Observer remembers one whole winter, maybe 1990, when we got on a kick where every Saturday night was spent with those friends — one now a truck driver, the other drowned and in his grave — tromping Pa's mown and frosty field with a single-barrel shotgun and two shells, following a flashlight beam as it sought out the gleaming eyes of a rabbit or deer. Don't bother coming to collect The Observer for spotlighting at this late date, Mr. Game Warden, as we confess that we never seemed to kill anything, probably because our thoroughly-stoned friends tromped around like hippopotami, stage-whispering through their titters.

There was a magic to those nights, even without the recreational pharmaceuticals: the curl of frozen breath and smoke in the flashlight beam; the wheel of diamond chips overhead; the way The Observer's friend, having inherited his father's nervousness around Johnny Law, would switch off the light and squat with the shotgun across his knees whenever the rare truck would rumble by on the distant road; the feeling of being young and warm in a heavy coat on a dark, cold night in the wintertime. In that field one night, The Observer looked up and told those two country boys who rarely left the county that outer space went on forever and ever — that it was all as limitless as the sight of God, no "Posted: No Trespassing" sign stapled to a tomato stake out there somewhere at the end of it, just more and more nothing. After a minute of incredulous argument, the thought blew their addled minds so thoroughly that they had to take a few minutes of silence to consider — a lovely silence, full of the infinite, there in the dark.

Afterward, all our eyes red as the pit of hell, we tromped back to the white house on the hill, were Ma and Pa were in the living room before the blazing fireplace, watching, for some reason, the Miss Universe pageant on TV. The three of us sat on the couch like See No, Hear No and Speak No, and giggled at the contestants' funny names. Meanwhile Pa, who had been everywhere and seen everything, cut his eyes at The Three Stooges. And to think that we honestly believed we had him fooled.


Speaking of Marijuana


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

  • Welfare for the wealthy: More reasons to VOTE NO on ISSUE 3

    Voices on the left and right are lifted against Issue 3, the corporate welfare amendment to send tax money to private business and corporate lobbyists.
  • 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

Latest in The Observer

  • 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
  • Thrifty

    The Observer is a known and incorrigible haunter of thrift stores. Some weekends, with Spouse in tow, we'll make the rounds of every Goodwill store in three counties, driving them on a carefully pre-planned circuit so we can stop midway and get coffee at our favorite little place.
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Searching for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Searching for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park

A venture to this state park is on the must-do list for many, the park being the only spot in North America where you can dig for diamonds and other gemstones and keep your finds.

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 Recent Comments

  • Re: Road Trip Arkansas

    • Hunter . I see what you mean... Charles `s comment is unimaginable... I just got…

    • on October 25, 2016
  • Re: The Arkansas ale trail

    • just before I saw the draft that said $7003 , I didn't believe that...my... friend…

    • on October 25, 2016
  • Re: Youth movement

    • Best of luck. Will look forward to watching the results with high hopes for him.

    • on October 24, 2016

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