Arkansas (Are-Can-Saw): Squirrels, Big Bugs, Civil Rights, and Mom

Alright, I know I haven’t posted in a long time. I am sorry. Luckily though, I do have lots to catch up on. So, let’s go.


During my trip to America I spent two weeks visiting my mom in Arkansas. I was raised in Washington state, but after my parents divorce my mom moved to Arkansas, which is why I went there. Arkansas is one of those states that when you tell someone you are going there, they give you a strange look and ask “why would you go there?” And now I’m only inferring, but here are my guesses at why:

  1. Arkansas is in the bible belt, 86% of its population is Christian, 78% of those are Protestants. To my understanding they are the least fun branch of Christianity. They are the soggiest shredded wheat in the cereal bowl of religion.
  2. The state is pretty rural (read as poor). Unemployment for Arkansas is currently 8.9% and its average household income is $35,000.
  3. It is the corporate headquarters for Wal-Mart.
  4. They helped Texas become independent from Mexico (I hate Texas).

Arkansas does have some redeeming qualities though:

  1. It is where Bill Clinton is from.
  2. It is a mostly Democratic state, which is significant because it is in the south.
  3. It has been a location to significant civil rights events.
  4. It’s state beverage is milk.

Arkansas is known in my head as the location of the Little Rock Nine incident which was in 1957 and related to the supreme court case Brown vs. Board of Education. Basically in 1954 the supreme court ruled it unconstitutional for schools to be segregated, so the Little Rock school district implemented a plan to integrate students gradually, and that the students would attend the school in fall of 1957. This plan was approved by the school board. When the time came for integration, several groups were threatening to protest the integration of schools, the Governor of Arkansas deployed the National Guard to support the segregationist. There was a wall of soldiers blocking 9 black students from attending the school. President Eisenhower had to step in and tell the Governor to not defy the supreme court’s ruling. The president also had to send Army troops to escort the students through the school, and federalized the National Guard, taking it out of the Governors hands.


The state flag has several historical component. The diamond shape is because it is the only place in the USA with natural diamonds. Twenty five stars represent it’s being the 25th state in the union. The three stars in the bottom represents Arkansas’s three rulers, Spain, France and the USA. The fourth star though represents it being a confederate state, because that would be awful to forget.

While I am near the subject of civil rights, when we were in Memphis, we visited the motel where Martin Luther King Jr was shot. There isn’t much to say about the event, but the motel has since been turned into a civil rights museum.


While I was in Arkansas I spent a weekend at Lake Dardanelle, we took the RV and the boat and went out to enjoy the great outdoors. It was really hot in Arkansas during this week, which was really hard for me to deal with. The hottest weather I had been in was 104F/40C, and that was the heat record for the city of Seattle, and I felt badass for surviving that. Now I know that the weekend of the camping trip was at least that, but the week after camping Little Rock had set it’s own heat record which was 109F/43c and a heat index of 120f/48c. This information alone makes me never want to visit in the summer again. Anyway, about camping, I really enjoyed it. The days were spent relaxing by the lake reading Game of Thrones, going out on the boat to go inner-tubing, trying to take the dog on runs, and chatting with my Nanny, Mom, Ray and Whitney. The lake is completely beautiful, though one bank is also home to Arkansas’s only nuclear plant, and the sunsets were serene.



Ray, Whitney (in the tube), and Jordan making sure the boat was safe.
 Hidden blue jay…
In case you mistook it for a puddle…?
On our first night, we notice a squirrel eyeing us from a nearby tree. We tossed it some bread, and eventually I was feeding it bread from my hand. The next day though, we found Mr.squirrel on our picnic table eating some watermelon rind we had left out over night. This lead us to putting out 4 pieces of rind at various trees and enjoying the show of 4 squirells eat watermelon, try to steal watermelon, and chase eachother away from their watermelons.



And then they got tired of the watermelon…
One time while I was at the camp alone reading my book, a rogue squirrel tried to steal our garbage. I thought it was cute, so I let him stay, he wasn’t wrecking the bag yet, so I figured why not.
Another thing about Arkansas… they have the biggest bugs I have ever seen in my life. Really weird looking bugs too. I hate bugs. Bugs are the only thing (I feel) that will really make me hike up my metaphorical skirt and metaphorically squeal. These things are so weird, that I did a little research as to what the hell they were.
This is a Cicada. Known for it’s distinctive sound. They are eaten in some Asian countries. They can get up to 5cm long, and in some tropical areas, 15cm. And they have five eyes. Five.
This is a European Hornet, the largest of the yellow jacket family at 3.8cm long. They came from Europe. Thanks a lot.
I’ve spend about 30 minutes trying to figure out what this is. I have no idea. It’s big, and I don’t like it.
After the camping trip, I spent the remaining week indoors (I deemed 120f unsafe) and worked on a t-shirt quilt for Jeff. My lovely Nanny helped me with it, which was invaluable. She makes clothes for an Elvis impersonator in Memphis where she lives, so she knows a thing or two about sewing. Ray helped me with the bits in between the squares, which are embroidered fabric with names of European countries on them. It took about 5 days to make, but I messed up a few times so it could maybe be done in 4. This is the 3rd quilt like this I’ve made.
Me and my Nanny, outside her home in Memphis. She loves Elvis.
Everyday at about 14:00, the heavens would cry about how freaking hot it was and cause a torrential storm here on earth. I just realized, as I am typing this, the irony of making a blanket during a record setting heat wave…
Also while I was in Arkansas, I was reacquainted with American television. There are such gems as: Billy the Exterminator, a reality show about a gothic dressed yet friendly and humane exterminator; Storage Wars, a reality show about people who bid for foreclosed storage units; and Renovation Rick, another reality show about a man whose company refurbishes old antiques. While Billy the Exterminator astounded me (you can buy a bobble head of him!) I did honestly enjoy Renovation Rick. It did definitely confirm though that I don’t need anything more than hulu and netflix, and even that is too much TV.
I had a really good trip to Arkansas, and I thank my mom and Ray for hosting me and feeding me delicious food. I couldn’t of asked for anything more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *