Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Back to the Homeland

At the DFW airport Sunday afternoon, a TSA lady greets me as I walk through the security scanner. She looks at my shirt and says, “Arkansas Raisinbacks?”

I let it go. “You bet!” I say.

She smiles. “Okay, den, go Raisinbacks.”

I laugh as I pull my x-ray-blasted belongings from four gray plastic bins. In all my years living in Arkansas, that was one alternate pronunciation for “Razorbacks” that I had not heard.

I am on my second work trip of this month, headed back to my homeland. No, not Ireland (Dad’s side). Not Russia (Mom’s side). I’m flying back to the state where Shannon and I were born, and the city where where a wet, screaming Benjamin first shivered into our hearts.

The even better thing about this trip? Shannon’s going to join me and, despite my touching comment about the youngster’s birth, she’s leaving Ben back in Texas. With any luck, my co-worker and I will finish on time each day and Shannon and I will stroll down as many memory lanes as possible.

Yes, it would be fun to show Ben his first house and where he was born. That trip will come later.

The lady sitting next to me on the plane tells me she lives in northwest Arkansas. I give her an, “Oh, really?” look.

“Yeah. I hate it there,” she says.

A few minutes later, she leans over and asks, “So, do you work for Wal-Mart or a Wal-Mart vendor?” Northwest Arkansas is eaten up with Walton influence for about a 40-mile stretch.

I smile and say, “Nope.”

“Thank God.”

So, there’s one to chew on.

5 Responses to Back to the Homeland

  1. You hafta treasure those times when you get away as a married couple without the wee (loved) spawn to weigh you down, eh? Like, srsly… they don’t come very often! (He says with a double entendre up his sleeve.)

    I hadn’t realised that NW Arkansas was Wal-Mart central. Does that sort of make it like Coruscant under the rule of Palpatine? And you’re like Obi-Wan coming to infiltrate the Jedi Temple to secretly get the word out to other surviving Jedi? And Shannon’s this really hot Padme who (in my universe) cottoned on to what a dunce Anakin was and threw in her lot with you?

    Or am I the only one thinking that?

  2. Simon – Indeed, we will treasure it just like… treasure.

    The city of Bentonville, site of Sam Walton’s original Five and Dime store, houses the Wal-Mart headquarters. When we lived there, people who knew and loved Sam Walton swore that his soul must be crying when it looks at what’s become of his company.

    Despite loving the area, I felt like a bit of an outsider because I had nothing to do with Wal-Mart (although the first newspaper I worked for was majority owned by one of Sam’s sons, as was the bank where Shannon worked).

    Another company that started there and still calls NW Arkansas home is Tyson Chicken. JB Hunt trucking, too. It’s quite the successful entrepreneurial area. Depending on your definition of “success,” that is.

    As soon as Shanme arrives, we’re totally going Jedi on all evil empires.

  3. Welby…I got a call from your beloved just as we were exiting the concert here in Dallas. I didn’t know you were Arkansas bound, and I guess you didn’t know we were Texas bound. Come to think of it…how did Shannon know?

    I think you’ll have fun at the old stompin’ grounds. You gotta go eat at Buffalo Wild Wings while you’re there. Good stuff, and great beer. Well…maybe something fruity for you. :-)

    I’ll call if work brings me that way….

  4. Raisenbacks? *LOL*

    Have fun in the ole ‘hood’ Mark and Shan!

    This time, don’t get caught/arrested for trying to relive some of those “moments”… *wink*

  5. Very cool that you are able to combine a work trip and a get-away. I assume Ben is staying with Shannon’s folks. He’s old enough now that such a stay can be exciting for him…I’m looking foward to such days ;)

    Enjoy your time in the old home country, should be a beautiful time to see the Ozarks.

    Si – If only Red Straw and Blue Straw had come along to lend their lightsaber skills, eh? Sadly, they have been redeployed to the far ends of the galaxy, leaving our hero and heroine to face the Evil Economic Empire alone. How thrilling!!


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