The Observer, April 29 

On the way to work this morning, in the parking lot down by the freeway, The Observer found some money among the pigeon poop. It wasn't a lot — two fives and two singles, rolled up tight as a cigarette butt and then flattened into the pavement, as if a car had rolled over them. Pondering life's mysteries as we are wont to do, we dropped our head just in time to spot Mr. Lincoln's warm and gentle eye staring up at us like a kid looking through a knothole in a fence. A second sooner or later, and we would have stepped over or on it and kept on strolling.

The Observer's posture is terrible, and we keep our head down like a man riding a horse into a gale most of the time, which makes it all the more surprising that we haven't found more dropped cash in our time here on earth. Either that, or people tend to hang onto currency way better than we give them credit for. It has happened rarely enough to us that we can remember every time it happened, along with the amount.

The first time was when we were 9 years old, walking home the half-mile from school, down dusty Hammond Road where we lived in those days.

The Still-Percolating Observer kicked over a clod and there, beneath it, was a single rumpled $100 bill. Twenty-five years later, The Observer still lies awake at night sometimes, wondering how that forlorn and dusty Benjamin came to be under that clod. It doesn't seem to make sense – almost as if our 9-year-old mind wished it into existence there.

It's probably a hell of a story, and in the unlikely event we're lucky enough to make it to heaven, the origin of that bill is gonna be one of the first things The Observer inquires about during our time with The Big Guy, right after the formula for Coca-Cola and the whereabouts of Maud Crawford.

I can't quite remember what I did with that hunnert, though I recall there was a lot of candy involved, and a remote controlled boat — along with a trip out to dinner for my family to rid myself of the dreaded curse of found money, which my older brother assured me would surely perch on my head if I didn't share the love. All these years later, as I stooped to pick up the $12 bucks this morning, I heard him again. That didn't mean I was dumb enough to leave it lying there, though.

Went out to Lorance Creek Natural Area, south toward Pine Bluff, last weekend. We don't remember Aprils of years past being this green.

The leaves are big, obscuring the new arrivals at Lorance, the yellow-throated vireos, the yellow-throated war-blers, the prothonotary warblers, the Louisiana waterthrushes. You can hear them, though, loud and clear.

We were on the boardwalk with our yellow mutt when a couple approached, also in the company of their dogs. An older Chesapeake Bay retriever, a young fancy terrier of some sort.

Because dogs allow strangers to strike up a conversation, we did. The gentleman pointed to a spot and said he had shot his first squirrel there in the Lorance Creek swamp.

Skinned and ate it that night. Not his favorite food, he confessed, but a fine moment in a childhood that included walks in woods just where he grew up.

He wasn't unhappy he couldn't hunt there any longer, we were relieved to hear. He was glad the swamp was still there, still wild. He and his wife visit often. It's nice to know it will always be there, still thick with gums and sweetspire and cardinal flowers and royal ferns. Water rippling past the cypress trees. Wood ducks hiding. Birds, even if they are obscured by a spring that comes a little too fast these days.

Sign seen in South Arkansas for a store up ahead: Jehovah Java. There's a lot of Jesus on the billboards in this state, this one suggesting that you stoke, not just save, your soul.


From the ArkTimes store


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
  • 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
  • Yawp

    The Observer has been in a funk lately for a number of reasons: revulsions and slights, both foreign and domestic. We get that way most years as the winter drags on, once the tinsel and colored lights of Christmas drop into the rearview, soon after we come off the New Year's Day hangover.
    • Mar 24, 2016

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in The Observer

  • Dumb and smart, at the same time

    The Observer spent the week at a bar and thought a lot about a joke and its writer.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • -30-

    A newspaper died up in Atkins a few weeks back, not with a bang or a whimper, but with the sound of change jingling in a pocket, just too little of it to keep the printing presses rolling.
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • Does she know?

    Did Kim Walker-Smith, when recording "Throne Room" for her new record "On My Side," truly understand the power of her music? Does she now know that her song was the one that played on the radio as Michael Reed thumped into the Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol grounds and brought it on down?
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


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  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Ruth Coker Burks, the cemetery angel

    • Go Fund Me Page. https://www.gofundme.com/RuthCokerBurks

    • on July 22, 2017
  • Re: The ballad of Fred and Yoko

    • I grew up in Charleston and attended the College of Charleston, right around the corner…

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: A week at Midtown

    • Beautifully & perfectly written. Maggie & Mistown are definitely unique & awesome!!

    • on July 21, 2017

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation