The locals tell us that northern Arkansas was enjoying a heat wave this time last year. All that rain and cold we’re seeing now will pass, they say, assuring us that a fleeting “second summer” in The Ozarks is right around the corner.
Regardless, we’re ready for this week’s forecast freeze. Yesterday I disconnected and drained our fair-weather fresh-water hose, hooked up the heated one and plugged it into the pedestal. The inline water filter we use, ordinarily attached at the hydrant, is now inside the wet bay at the inlet.
While rummaging around in Ernie’s basement I pulled out a small electric space heater. Until we get the rear furnace running, we may need it to raise the temp inside the bathroom at the back of the coach. When the mercury goes low and stays low — which it will sooner or later — we’ll also make use of the Reflectix® we bought in Bandera. In June we applied it to the windows to hold the Texas heat at bay, and in these colder months it should help keep the warmth inside.
I’ve mentioned a couple of times that the stocking hat I picked up at Devils Tower has come in handy on cold mornings. Another item that’s proved useful is the lightweight insulated vest I bought while we were camped at Flathead Lake. Deb got one, too, and we’ve worn them at some point almost every day since.
Rain pattered on the roof last night, light but steady. Temperatures didn’t drop quite as far as originally predicted — 37°F when I got up with the dogs. We’d switched on the coach’s “System Heat” before going to bed, and when I checked the temperature sensor this morning the wet bay was a toasty 74°F. That’s exactly what I wanted to see.
The weather service advised that “higher elevations of The Ozarks” had a chance to see the season’s first snow overnight. We sit at about 1,100 feet here, and the advisory called for a blink-and-miss-it dusting above 1,800 feet. That’d be in the Boston Mountains south of the Buffalo River, where some of the terrain rises to almost 2,700 feet.
I love this time of year anyway, and now I get to experience it in Arkansas. Somebody pinch me.
Once Deb and I finished our Tuesday chores, we hopped in the Jeep and drove over to the dealer where we bought it in June. We’d promised the salesman we’d stop by when we got back into town, and since we’ve been here three weeks our visit was overdue.
The young man, who treated us very well a few months ago, clearly was tickled to see us. We shared photos and videos of where we’d taken the Wrangler he sold us, and honestly I think he got a real kick out of what a couple of gray-haired flatlanders had managed to do with it.
From there we went to the local Tractor Supply, where we picked up a short outdoor extension cord (to connect our space heater directly to the pedestal) and a flannel shirt for me — and I mean real flannel, heavy and soft the way it used to be made.
Every trip to a Tractor Supply store takes me back to the feed mills of my farm-country upbringing. Browsing the practical wares, inhaling the smells of grain and fertilizer, absorbing the honest Americana is like boarding a time machine.
We’ve driven by a number of those independent farm-and-feed stores in this area of Arkansas, and now I’m thinking that we should drop in on a couple of them.
We ended our errands at Hudson’s Supermarket. Deb has a couple of new recipes she wants to try, which put us on a mission to find ingredients we don’t usually have in the motorhome, plus a handful of staple items.
And it wasn’t a Wednesday, so bananas were priced at 69 cents a pound. Today, “Banana Day,” they’ll be 19 cents, limit five pounds.
At the cash register we were greeted with the southern hospitality we’ve come to expect at Hudson’s. A polite young man bagged our groceries and offered to carry them out for us. I felt almost guilty for declining, but I’m quite sure he knew that I was grateful for the offer.
Almost all of the vehicles in the parking lot when we left were pickup trucks. Most were mud-splattered or showed other signs that they’d been driven there by hard-working Americans. Many had a toolbox in the bed. One was towing a log splitter.
The time was 7pm. Get it?
Yesterday was Election Day in America. It wasn’t a “mid-term” — it was kind of a mid-mid-term, a so-called “off-year election.” For months we’ve heard Republican candidates try to turn local and state races into a referendum on the “reimagined” Democrat Party in general and the current occupant of the Oval Office in particular.
That’s a pretty standard approach. In most elections it becomes little more than a post-game crutch for pundits trying to explain what happened.
This time, it looks like the strategy worked.
In Virginia, Republicans won the three top spots — reportedly the first Republicans to win commonwealth-wide office in 12 years. Meanwhile, ‘Jersey is still trying to decide if it still wants to be “led” by a governor who said — out loud, on national TV — that the Bill of Rights is above his pay grade, but that race shouldn’t’ve been close. And those are only the highest-profile examples.
Much is being made (probably too much) of the effect that those results will have on the mid-terms a year from now. But while the degree of impact is up for debate, the reasons for it are not.
See, there’s no way that yesterday’s election could’ve turned out the way it did, in the places it did, without millions of citizens who reliably vote Democrat having a colossal Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment and pulling the lever for Republican candidates. It issued an unmistakable rebuke to a party that’s been seized by the worst among us.
That’s cause for optimism, right?
No — not now. Not yet.
Democrats in Congress know their days in the majority probably are numbered. They know they have a compliant leftist tool in The White House. Between now and the mid-terms, expect them to advance their anti-American agenda at Ludicrous Speed.
Fasten all seat belts, seal all entrances and exits, close all shops in the mall! Cancel the three-ring circus!
Don’t kid yourself — this could get very ugly.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.