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Talking to Nikki Hoskins, one of the first things you realize if you listen closely is that when she speaks about her husband, she doesn't use the past tense. It's as if Ernest is still out there somewhere, waiting to come home to her. When I pointed that out to her, Nikki Hoskins smiled a sad smile, then said that, in her mind, that's the way she feels. She can't convince herself that he is gone.
"In my heart, in my soul, I can't admit to it," she said. "That's why everything is so hard for me: I can't admit to it yet. This was the love of my life. We had just gotten married. We were getting ready for the wedding. We had our dance all planned out. I'm not ready to say: 'He was.' I have to say: 'He is.' "
Arkansans know there is climate change, it gets hot in the summer and cold in…