Last Saturday my friend Joy, (the transplant from New York who knows more about Arkansas than I do) asked me to go for lunch at the Grapevine Restaurant in Paris. It was a beautiful day for a drive especially as I have been in most of the time for awhile. When we got to Charleston she asked if I would like to go visit Nana’s Iris Gardens. When I said, “Oh, yes” she turned north at the stop light. I may have been out that road before but I did not remember it. It was a beautiful drive, so many green pastures all well mowed or were being mowed. I think it was mowing day for a lot of the farmers. On the way back we saw the sign Cherokee Heritage Prairie. It is a restricted area where you cannot drive on it or pick any of the flowers. I have never seen so many wild flowers blooming in one place at one time. Joy said, “I have been looking for this place but couldn’t find it.” See I told you she knows more about Arkansas than I do. I didn’t know about it and she did. I just couldn’t believe there was such beautiful country side just outside of Charleston.
After our nice lunch at the Grapevine in Paris (if you leave there hungry it is your own fault) we stopped at Cowe’s Winery. Surrounding the winery are bells of all sizes. I am talking about big, big bells. I would like to know the story behind the bells. Located right next to the main building is a small chapel. It is beautiful inside. It is really a place of worship. At the alter is a small glass area, that is even with the floor, that contains a small box of what appears to be cremains and several mementos. I would bet the chapel was built to honor a loved one. As no one answered the door when we rang the bell I would like to go back again as I have a lot of questions I would like to ask. Between the chapel and the other building was a banner that said WELCOME HOME MAMA. I think the chapel must have been built to honor the Mother of the family who must have died recently. Of course I don’t know.
So many interesting places within a short distance. I guess as we get older we have time to remember happy times and happy places of the years of our growing up. The most enjoyable day of the week for the Bolin family was the Sunday afternoon drives through the country side. Daddy would show us where he had been working that week. Each week when we passed a run down dilapidated old house Daddy would tell us that was where Maggie Lou lived. (His imaginary girl friend) It seemed to me that Maggie Lou moved around a lot because each week she lived in a different place. I think Daddy knew everyone in Sebastian County because he knew who lived where. One time Mama asked Jane where her daddy went and she said, “To see Maggie Lou and what of it?” I don’t want her to know this but I thought she was mighty cute. I didn’t have near the resentment when she was born that I had when brother Jim came upon the scene. I guess by the time she came along I was used to being the low man on the Totem Pole as people used to say when they felt lower than someone else especially in the work places. How much fun just driving down a dusty road on a Sunday afternoon in an old Model A car with our Daddy driving and all of us kids piled in the back seat.