Favorite

The Observer Dec. 29 

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. That’s what they say. But The Observer says otherwise.

While visiting Sin City last week, The Observer cheated. Not at poker, not at craps, but on her husband.

It all went down at the Flamingo Hilton. The setting: “The Wayne Newton Holiday Show.” Who knows why we did it. Perhaps it was the way he looked in his tuxedo pants, hiked way up above his bulging belly, like Santa Claus in the midst of a mid-life crisis. His hair was dark and his skin was tanned, and those eyes … that’s when the trouble started.

Our eyes met during the chorus of “Jingle Bell Rock.” From the top of an Arabian Stallion he sang, only to us. With that sparkle in his eyes begging us to give in, he asked for our hand, and we timidly gave in and rose to our feet. The Observer giggled as he sang (and provided an unwelcome spit shower on us).

Finally, the end of the song — we knew what was coming. Or maybe we didn’t. Either way, it came. Mr. Las Vegas himself planted a big ole smooch right there on our extremely chapped lips. Still giggling from the embarrassment, The Observer quickly spun around to evaluate husband’s reaction. He seemed amused, and perhaps even a little bit proud. He even agreed when Wayne pleaded for him not to punch him in his face.

With each kiss Wayne Newton granted that evening — mostly to senior citizens — The Observer felt a little more used. But proud hubby would not let us forget that we were the youngest and the prettiest. Oh, and we were also the first. Nothing could top that. Not the ice skater or the penguins.

Danke Schoen, Mr. Newton. Danke Schoen.



The Observer was sight-observing in Washington when the season’s first snowfall struck the nation’s capital. He learned that in one respect, at least, Washington is just like Little Rock. When the air fills with snowflakes, it also fills with criticism of one’s neighbors.

“This town goes crazy when it snows,” The Observer heard again and again from the natives. “Schools close. People rush home from work. They raid the supermarkets. They don’t know how to drive.” He knew that if he’d been back home in Little Rock, he would have heard the same things, with the same conviction. “Run around like chickens with their heads cut off,” that’s what people do when it snows. Other people, that is.

Northern pundits used to announce periodically that though Washington had been the capital of the North during the Civil War, it was really a Southern city at heart, possessed of Southern ways. They eventually piped down when somebody pointed out that real Southerners never thought of Washington as Southern. But The Observer’s experience suggests that Washington does indeed become Southern in the snow. Or could it be that people everywhere complain of the masses going nuts when it snows. Do residents of Buffalo, where there’s eight feet of snow on the ground eight months of the year, accuse their fellow Buffalonians of over-reaction? The Observer is not curious enough to do the Buffalo field trip himself.



Don’t think ill of The Observer when you learn that we like headstone art. It’s not death, but life that interests us, and what the style of art on the stones tells us about it.

Like broken columns, a symbol for the end of life favored by 19th-century Americans. The column is stately and dignified, suggesting that life was viewed the same way. It’s a far cry from the winged death’s heads of the 17th century, those skulls that say, told you so, you can’t escape, ready or not here death comes. Or even the later pointing finger, the reminder that heaven awaits.

In the 20th century, headstone artists decided to get to the point. Just the facts, thank you, inscribed in marble that is so hard it will never look charmingly old.

On a late Sunday afternoon at a Lonoke cemetery, we saw headstones engraved with symbols of what those at eternal rest enjoyed doing when they were up and about. One person chose to have a picture of a horse engraved above his name. Another, a tractor and a chicken. And Eugene Buford Lamb has just driven a golf ball all the way to the green, where we know it landed, as P.G. Wodehouse would say, squarely on the meat.

Judging by the headstones in Lonoke, what we choose to memorialize these days is what made us unique in life, rather than what eventually makes us all the same.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • One dead, two wounded in early morning shooting

    KARK's Susanne Brunner reports that one person has been killed and two wounded in a shooting shortly after 1 a.m. this morning near Roosevelt Road and Cross Street.
    • Apr 17, 2019
  • Reality bites at Little Rock City Hall; spending must be cut

    A followup to Rebekah Hall's earlier report on Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.'s announcement that cuts will be necessary in the city budget in part to pay for "priorities," such as his desire to expand the police force, but also to deal with the reality often mentioned here of stagnant to decling city sales tax revenue. Some quick ideas on that:
    • Apr 17, 2019
  • Speaking of hard times in newspapers: Democrat-Gazette's move to digital

    Word continues to filter in of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's pullback from statewide circulation of a print daily edition of the newspaper — the latest from the Hot Springs area, just 50 or so miles down the road from Little Rock. Subscribers there were told home delivery of a print paper would end in May.
    • Apr 16, 2019
  • More »

More by Arkansas Times Staff

  • New episode of Rock The Culture: "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is"

    In this week’s episode, Antwan Phillips and Rep. Charles Blake provide perspective and conversation on the City’s study to change the form of government, bond issues to improve quality of life, and Rep. Blake’s breakdown on the close of the legislative session. In addition, they provide rapid fire perspective on RockTopics. They also speak with Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. to discuss the first 100 days of his administration and his Little Rock 2020 Education Roadmap.
    • Apr 16, 2019
  • New episode of Rock The Culture: "You Want That Testimony"

    In this week’s episode, Antwan Phillips and Rep. Charles Blake provide perspective and conversation on the Central Arkansas Water’s efforts to secure additional fresh water sources, the Legislature’s attempt to extend the time that the State Board of Education can control the LRSD, and the location of LRPD’s license plate readers and security cameras.
    • Apr 8, 2019
  • New episode of Rock the Culture podcast: 'Comfortable Being Uncomfortable'

    In this week’s episode, Antwan and Charles provide perspective and conversation on the cancellation of Riverfest 2019 and the Arkansas Legislature’s new attempt to pass legislation to implement a voucher program.
    • Apr 1, 2019
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • On Walmart and state money

    No they don't need state help. Any conservative legislator who is true to their tea party principles will crow on about crony capitalism. I look forward to deafening silence.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • On shitholes

    The Observer is at home today in our kitty cat socks, weathering a combination sick day and snow day. Way down in Stifft Station, we live at the top of a hill that slopes away in all directions. That's good in a flood, but piss poor other than for sledding during snow and ice, especially when you only have access to a two-wheel drive car.
    • Jan 18, 2018
  • The job

    The Observer and Mr. Photographer were headed across town on our way to another press conference the other day when we got to talking about The Job. Newspaperin'.
    • Mar 15, 2018

Latest in The Observer

  • Belief

    I believe there is no better smell in all the world than old books, a lifelong addiction that keeps The Observer rifling through pages at pretty much every moment when we're not rifling through old bookstores and haunting book sales, even though our shelves back home in the parlor and study and specially constructed Reading Toilet of The Observatory are already groaning with enough tomes that I'll never get 'em all read unless I live to a well-seasoned 306.
    • Apr 1, 2019
  • Beginnings

    • Feb 1, 2019
  • The Getaway

    It's been 10 months since The Observer hung up our cleats after 15 years as a reporter and took a job with a little more pay, a little less stress and a lot better insurance to take care of our various health bugaboos.
    • Jan 31, 2019
  • More »

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation