Favorite

The observer, June 25 

Over the weekend, The Observer got up to the lake — Lake Hamilton, specifically — to a friend's condo. It's just one of the perks of being The Observer's pal: having your new convertible car, gourmet food, cutting edge electronic gizmo or waterfront vacation home evaluated by us, free of charge. As a professional Observer, we feel honor-bound to give back to the community from time to time. No thanks are necessary, citizen.

Being on a large body of water is always a humbling experience for us. The Observer's parents owned a lake cabin when we were but a wee lad, though theirs was on brackish and lily pad-beset Lake Conway. Lake Conway was aces when it came to fishing for perch, bass and bream. Water-skiing and swimming? Not unless you've had a recent tetanus shot. No, Hamilton — clear, wide, cold and deep and ringed with distant mountains — is much better in that regard.

On Saturday morning, before everyone else was up, The Observer rose in the dark and walked down to the lake. Hamilton allows owners to build homes pushed right to the edge of the water, and the condo where we stayed seemed to pitch out over the drink. Before 6 a.m., the longest day of the year coming on strong and already getting muggy, we stood on a dock and looked out over the lake. The water never really stills itself there, the wind coming off the hills making it roll and heave almost contentedly. At one point, a few geese skimmed over the channel, honking back and forth to one another. As we watched, the light discovered the far shore, hazy with distance. Barefoot, alive, and in wonder, The Observer stood. We listened to the stillness of the world, and felt very small.

 

Being on Lake Hamilton, with its big ol' houses perched on fingers of land, always makes us think of “The Great Gatsby.” What F. Scott Fitzgerald calls the great, wet barnyard of Long Island Sound plays an important role in that book. We tend to think it symbolizes time, which divides all men and women from who they used to be and what they left behind. That's as good an explanation as any, we suppose — not to mention a pretty good theory on why people buy lake houses in the first place. Human beings, for whatever reason, enjoy being subtly reminded of the ticking clock that underpins all our lives. 

In the book, Jay Gatsby is in the habit of standing on the roof of his vulgar mansion at night, staring out at the green light far across the water that marks the end of the dock owned by Daisy Buchanan — the love who threw him over in favor of uptight, racist, philandering Trustfundifarian Tom Buchanan. The first time we see Gatsby in the book, he's silhouetted against the velvet dusk, reaching out for the light as if to pull it to him, along with his past.

We've all been there, pal. Well, some of us have.

 

By the way: Did you know that Hot Springs is mentioned in “The Great Gatsby”? Seriously. No fooling. We're not going to tell you where, though. You'll have to read the book to find out.     

 

Father's Day passed without incident for The Observer, a father himself. Our Pa passed into that Good Night some years back, which makes Father's Day something of a bittersweet occasion for us every year. If your father is still with you, do us a favor and give him a call ASAP. God knows that we would be on the phone with our Dad right now if we could. 

For the first time in memory, Junior was apart from us on Father's Day this year, having gone to visit his maternal grandparents in South Arkansas for a week. Coupled with thoughts of our Dad, that laid us low on Sunday. We spent most of the day moping around the house in our staying-in clothes, periodically catching ourselves wondering why Junior was being so quiet. Then we'd remember that he wasn't there.

Around 6 p.m., the phone rang. When we picked up, there was a second's pause, and then Junior said: “Hi, Dad! Happy Father's Day!” The clouds parted. The sun came in, and all was right with the world …

 

 

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

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