Sunday, November 06, 2011

Well, that was weird.

After all my WOE IS ME I HATE AIR TRAVEL griping, our air travel to and from Arkansas was the smoothest trip of my life.

And we connected through Dallas and everything. WEIRD.

No one snaked my arm rests (unless you count the 100 times Bubba did it to be funny HA HA HA.), no one smelled like a three day old deli sandwich, no one even kicked my chair.

I'm starting to think no one likes me anymore. Am I not part of the Flying Sucks So Do You Want To Fight Me club?

Whatever - there was some mad fishing in Arkansas and that's what you all really care about so why am I filling the screen with rambling about an uneventful flight halfway across the country?  WHO GIVES A FUCK.

This is me giving zero fucks.

And this is The White River being all, IT'S FALL SO LOOK AT ME.

I swear, this is the prettiest time of year to stand out on a river and haul in fish. Although I will say that I was constantly finding myself distracted by the scenery, which normally wouldn't be a problem except that the pesky trout kept jumping on my olive woolly bugger and making the staring difficult to concentrate on.

I seem pissed don't I?

I mean, the friggen place was so IT'S FALL the whole time that I got exhausted looking back and forth from the leaves and trees to my indicator.

Oh fall, you're the cutest.
Oh trout, you're the squishiest. Sorry about that buddy, you were too big for my puny lady hands.

So, yeah, it was a rough time. The weather was perfect (60s, sunny), the river was slow moving (except when they were generating at the dam - bastards) and the trout were plentiful, hungry and in some cases laughably enormous.

Yer a big fucker ain't ye?

As close to catching a 20#er on a #20 fly as I've seen.

I shall name him Bruiser.


And because no fishing in Arkansas story is complete without my recounting the local culture for your personal horror, please allow me to tell you another brief story about "Only in Arkansas".

As you can figure based on the name of this trip, it occurs over Halloween. Which is great for a lot of reasons that I outline in this post, the most important of which being the fact that we get to dodge out of all Halloween bullshittery to instead stand on a river and fish for trout.

But, sometimes, we have to abandon the safe and secluded confines of our rustic accommodations and quiet river to avail ourselves of the local amenities and fill in the gaps of our pantry which means that, in this case, the avoiding of All Things Halloween fell a little short.

Specifically, we needed more tonic. And limes. And beers because we killed three kegs (5 gallon ones, people! We're not alcoholics.)

So, because we had to go into town for beer, that meant that we got to come into close and scary contact with the local townsfolk. Now, I don't remember exactly which town we were in when this occurred, but it's somewhere in Northwest Arkansas and WHOA.

See, we traipsed into some hillbilly grocery store with a name I've never heard before, notable only because it has to be the only grocery store in all of Arkansas that's not a Wal-Mart, grabbed the few items on our short but crucially important list, and headed up to the cashier's stand.

And there I stood, mouth probably agape, staring unbelieving at the cashier.

The woman was large, but that's barely notable in the grand scheme of things. She was wearing her hair tied in a bun and tucked under a cotton bonnet, a printed cotton dress like you might see on the many wives of a polygamist, a cotton apron and an obscene amount of very poorly applied pancake makeup.

Like, there was a flesh to makeup line running from ear along jaw to ear that was so dramatic that the first moments of my incredulity were simply dedicated to how the fuck someone could apply so much poorly matched makeup (it was a good four shades darker than her actual doughy pale complexion) and then spend so little time trying to blend it in.

Looked like the woman had drawn that line from ear to ear and then just colored it in like a four year old might color in the face of Mickey Mouse in a coloring book.

But before I frittered away my wonderings and awe on the makeup's application, I happened to let my eyes fall on her handmade nametag (not corporate issued, although that would have been a nice touch), which brought a whole new level of disbelief to the situation.

Her nametag said, "Aunt Jemima".

The woman was in black face.

A giant white woman in Arkansas dressed up as Aunt Jemima for Halloween, painted herself in (an albeit poorly executed) black face and came to work.


I was floored. But then I tossed my eyeballs around the bustling grocery store and realized that all of the faces in there (even hers with its odd coloring) were white, or some sun-abused shade of white, and that we were in Arkansas where apparently this is not a big deal. I also realized that she'd probably gone to the makeup aisle of said all-white grocery store and purchased the darkest shade of foundation they had in stock to complete her Halloween ensemble.

So, yeah. Wow. I mean, the other cashiers were dressed up for Halloween, too, and some in scandalously not big enough for their old sagging asses costumes, so it's not like this woman was there against the store's rules dressing up for Halloween in such a fashion to make a crude point, but still.

Black face.

So wrong.

And then we returned to our cabin and the river, vowing to never speak to anyone else outside of our closed group.


Let's never speak of it again and instead just focus on the pretty pictures.

Ah, pretty fall. Nothing bad could happen in a place this pretty.

Innocent yellow leaves.

Angelic wooly bugger

Delicious trout.

Bacon, onion and potato hash stuffing. There's nothing wrong with that.

Hardly offensive.

Perfectly delicious.

Please stop squeezing the fish, ma'am.

Stranger danger.

Another one for the books.

Like I was saying.

Safe in the pretty wilderness where no one is in black face. Ah. Oh! Sorry. Never speak of it again.
Still, we'll be back. But we will not be going shopping. Ever.


  1. Thems definitely not from California. They'd be dragged in the street and beat down!!

    The scenery is absolutely beautiful!! Oh wait was that a banjo??

    Got my package! Thanks so much for the goodies!!

  2. Nice fish lady! Looks like fun!

  3. Oh. My. God.

    What the ever-loving hell was she thinking?! She would have been drug out into the street and shot if she tried that around here (southern Wisconsin).

    But, it's also extremely hilarious. It's so wrong that I'd actually consider doing it. I don't know that I'd leave the house though...

  4. While I do think these are some of the best and most beautiful photos you've ever taken, and omg how I want one of those stuffed trout for dinner right now, i equally want to find that cashier and give her a piece of my mind.

  5. Great photos!

    The stuffed trout make my mouth make me miss my fishing times in Montana as a kid!


  6. If it makes you feel better, some ASU students went in blackface to a football game. You know, it was a blackout and all, so why not?

    We're classy round these parts.


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