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The Observer, June 26 

Call it pop art.

Debra Wood, who owns River Market ArtSpace gallery, reports that a second proposal of marriage has taken place in her gallery. A Little Rock artist slipped a canvas painted with the words “Monica Will You Marry Me” among the masterpieces hanging in the gallery and invited his girlfriend to peruse the art there.

As events unfolded, Wood was surreptitiously typing play-by-play e-mail to all her gallery artists in on the proposal.

Monica passed the masterpiece twice before her suitor was able to get down on one knee and pop the question. The answer, Wood was able to relay, was yes.

The gallery is now 2 and 0 for successful proposals, Wood says. The first was one winter a couple of years ago, to satisfy a woman who'd told her beau that the manner in which someone was asked to wed was more important to getting a yes than the lure of a big diamond.

 

The Observer was on the receiving end of a proposal about six years ago, and it ended with a surprise for both proposer and proposee: The nice older couple at a nearby table, who'd discreetly watched from behind their napkins and then warmly congratulated us on their way out of the restaurant, also picked up the check for our dinner. We didn't get to say thanks — they were long gone by the time we knew what they'd done, we didn't get their names, and we were only in town for the night. But it was such a lovely gesture — it made us feel almost like the cosmos itself was signaling its approval — that The Observer and Spouse-to-Be decided right then that if we ever had the opportunity, we'd do the same for someone else. Since then we've not eaten dinner at a fancy restaurant without keeping at least half an eye out for a young man (or woman — hey, this is 2008) on bended knee and listening for the telltale yelp of a young woman (or man) who's just spied a diamond at the bottom of a champagne flute. So far, though, no dice. We'd start hanging out at art galleries, but The Observer married for love, not money. Get engaged over a steak dinner and it's on us; pop the question in front of a Picasso, and you're on your own.

 

The Observer is always on duty, but we didn't see much out of the ordinary when we were out and about over the weekend. You know: the back end of the lawnmower in our yard, the vacuum cleaner in our house, a butterfly in the garden, Olympic pre-trials on television. We would have been utterly steeped in the commonplace had it not been for the 9,000-year-old dart point in a deep, square hole in Malvern.

The hole had been dug by a member of the Arkansas Archeological Society.  The society's amateurs have held a summer field school with the state's professionals in the Archeological Survey every year for 45 years. That seems like a long time, but just think how long people have been fighting off chiggers at Jones Mill — since 7,000 BCE, apparently. There was no evidence to suggest the dart point had actually been used against chiggers, though animals were bigger back then.

The archeologist in the hole we were staring into handed over the dart point, a Big Sandy. It and other artifacts had been lying flat, which means the diggers were kneeling on the same ground surface that the natives of prehistory walked on.

There was a nice breeze and the folks were happily scrape-scrape-scraping away with their trowels. Back at camp, in town behind the school, tumbler pigeons were the breakfast entertainment, ladder golf the evening. Much better than mowing, vacuuming and watching the tube. Only the butterflies were the same.

 

The Observer was stopped in Cammack Village on Sunday as we drove past the tornado-flattened park. We knew it was coming: We'd driven 26 miles per hour and were going to pay for it.

But instead, the very friendly police officer wanted to see if our car registration was up to date. We said, Oh! We put the year sticker on upside down. It looks like '80, but it's really '08.

Yes, he'd noticed that, but actually it was that our month sticker was missing. So we got out and looked, and, as requested, handed over our license.

Uh, ma'am, he said, this is your Barnes and Noble card.

Just then a man drove by and asked if we were going to jail and needed a lawyer. He was The Observer's brother.

The officer said it was the most enjoyable stop he'd had all day.

 

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