"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
By the time The Observer got to work on Monday morning, the snow was coming down hard — big, wet flakes that dissolved the instant they hit the pavement. Though the weather does seem to be changing as we grow older, with summers too hot and winters not cold enough, we've lived in Arkansas long enough to expect the unexpected from our regional office of Mother Nature, LLC. Last week: springtime in February, with the daffodils by the path to Second Street behind the office pushing green fingers through the damp earth. This week: the world plunked back into the deep freeze, with weathermen making witch-doctor-hands over swirling computer simulations and conjuring up the specter of promised Icemaggeddon. While Little Rock quickly battened down the hatches with a last-minute milk/bread/Oreos raid on the grocery stores, The Great Storm of 2012 fizzled in Central Arkansas, with all the ice oaths swirled away into a dome of gray cloud that hovered expectantly over the city all day, but never really made. Disappointed? Sure. While winter weather is always a pain in The Land That Snowplows Forgot, we've still got enough 10-year-old in us to love seeing the noisy world muffled under snow, turned white and pure.
The Observer teaches a class out at the college on Monday nights, and though the school's Twitter feed danced around the issue of whether it would close all day, by the time dusk rolled around, classes were still on. We dutifully saddled up and rode on out there through a cold drizzle to find exactly what we'd expected: a good bit less than half our class there by the imaginary bell at 6 o'clock, and still less than half there in more than spirit at 15 minutes in.
The Observer couldn't judge the absent too harshly. Yours Truly was a college student once upon a time, and we know from experience: once you get your Snow Day Britches on, it's hard to get 'em off, even if the skies don't deliver. Too, we know some students drive in from up north, which got more snow than we did in Cap City. Others were surely, legitimately scared of braving the roads, too pumped by the days-long drumbeat of "ice" to look at a thermometer and recall that streets don't freeze at 36 degrees. We have our own moments of irrationality and overabundant caution at times, and we are not without compassion. If you slip us, do we not fall down the steps and crack an elbow? Still, that's not going to stop The Prof from starting class next time with: "I have your test grades from last week." Gotta keep 'em on their toes, especially in the bleak midwinter. The Little Rock Horror Picture Show is coming up this weekend at Market Street Cinema: two days of low-budget and indie horror flicks from Arkansas and around the world. It's the creepy little sister festival of the much more high-profile Little Rock Film Festival, and pretty much the perfect Bloody Valentine for someone you love. Though our tolerance for jump-out-and-gitcha scares has decidedly lessened as more snow has crept onto our eaves (it's the fear, we suppose, that one of those shocks is going to be the one that conks our ticker someday), The Observer has long been a fan of horror flicks, and has been eagerly anticipating this weekend since the festival was announced last year. Your Ol' Pal will be there on Friday night, in fact, riding herd over the two Q&A sessions after screenings of the festival's opening film: the Arkansas-made college-kids-in-hillbilly-hell slasher flick "Madison County." Spoiler Alert: Given that The Observer will be among those whose sense of humor likely runs on the dark side of the street like our own, we'll attempt to work in horror writer Stephen King's masterful response to the question of why he writes scary stuff. Answer: "Because I have the heart of a small child," followed by the creepiest smile ever.
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