The Observer was just 17 when the photograph of Bob Dylan accompanying this column was taken. But we didn’t get to see him in the now not so solid flesh until last week, when he and Willie Nelson gave a concert at Ray Winder Field. (Maybe Ray Winder has a future in rock and roll.)
We decided if those old guys, who’ve been playing music longer than most of the people in The Observer’s office have been alive, could stand up there for hours and give it their all, we could stand down on the field for hours and give them ours, even fight the crowd to get a closer look. So we did, stood there on the field at Ray Winder with you name it — the tattoed and ear-plugged, the polo-shirted and moccasin-shod, the bald and the hairy, hats cowboy and garden party, with the slender-bellied and hip-hugged and the muumuu’d middle-aged. We stood with our always ladylike childhood friend, danced with her 13-year-old son, and generally behaved the way we did in our pre-jowl and varicose vein days, to the embarrassment, no doubt, of some folks, and the delight, in one instance, of a 20-something who rose from her beer-can lined blanket to say, essentially, You go, geezer!
Dylan was tremendous, even if he does have to sing from some out-of-the way place in the back of his throat these days that allows but one cadence (da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-DA). We were thrilled to get so close (turns out beer drinkers don’t last long up front), wondered what it would have been like 40 years ago. But 40 years ago was all around us. A long-haired, bare-chested teen-aged boy with hips so slim his shorts threatened to fall off danced freestyle all by himself for the whole set, the son of Woodstock. A young woman in front of us had on a full-length Indian print skirt that had mirrors sewn into it; she could have gotten it out of our closet in 1968. The scent of patchouli oil and marijuana smoke filled the air. You know how we felt? Forever young, that’s how!
We saw one thing we wouldn’t have 40 years ago: In the middle of a raucous hard-rock riff, a guy squatted on the ground in front of us, amid hundreds of screaming people, with a finger stuck in one ear so he could hear in the other whoever he was conversing with on his cell phone. It beat all stupid cell phone sightings we’ve had to date. We wanted to ask, what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
The Observer bets everybody knows someone who’d love to be presented with these available avians, sighted in last week’s daily paper’s classifieds:
“Cock-A-Tiels, whistle Andy Griffith theme song, 1 gray male, 1 pied male, 1 lutino female, plus large wrought iron cage with dome top. $100 cash for all.”
There is drama in the classifieds, as well. We sometimes find ourselves tearing up as we read about missing pets. Fancy dogs, mutts, cats, the occasional ferret. We find ourselves wondering if they’ve been stolen, or met up with the wheels, so to speak, of misfortune. Do they ever come home again?
We didn’t know what to think, however, when we read in last week’s missing column that someone in North Pulaski County is minus one black and white cow. Has cattle rustling returned in these difficult times? Do they ever run off with a local bull? Would she, left to her own devices, take a long time coming home, hence the expression “till the cows come home?” How bad should The Observer feel?
The Observer notes that as the Declaration of Independence was read from the top of a fire truck at the end of our neighborhood’s Fourth of July parade, references to King George were booed with greater gusto than in the past. That stuff about perfidy and barbarous ages, plundering seas and ravaging coasts, about depriving folks of the benefits of trial by jury — seemed very fresh.
It had to happen. Donald Trump's debate interjection that Hillary Clinton was a "nasty woman" has become a battle cry among women; a Twitter meme; a Facebook favorite, and, naturally, a marketing opportunity for T-shirt, button and bumper sticker makers.
It became apparent this morning that at least some money would be spent in opposition to Issue 3, a massive corporate welfare proposal to allow the state to pledge unlimited tax money to private projects and to allow local governments to also give money to private business and chamber of commerce lobbyists, a practice that has been ruled unconstitutional currently.
Hmm. Nice ol' Republican Sen. John Boozman goes negative on upstart Democratic challenger Conner Eldridge? Feeling maybe a tiny bit of heat from Eldridge's attacks on Boozman as a nice guy, underachieving nonentity more interested in globe trotting than leading, not to mention a devoted supporter of Donald Trump?
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.
Before we get started, a request: The Observer got a press release earlier this week that said the office of Gov. Asa Hutchinson is asking Arkansans to send in their photos that shout Arkansas! — anything from the great outdoors to festivals to picturesque town squares — for possible use on the gov's new website.
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.
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.
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.
Considering how many appeals Arkansas's Republican leaders have made to the religion of Christianity over the years, how can they justify continued support of the least Christian person in the presidential race?