We first started “picturing” our Home on The Mountain last November, the day we hacked and chopped our way through the woods and used flagging tape to mark where we wanted what. We still do that every time we’re on the homesite, imagining how it’ll look when it’s done.
Sometimes it can be hard to visualize, to look at a woodsy canvas and see a masterpiece that’s yet to be painted. That’s kind of where we are these days.
After posting to this blog yesterday afternoon I hatched an idea. I grabbed a couple of photos we’d taken last week — a shot through a window in Deb’s cousin’s garage, and the image of The Amphitheater from yesterday’s post — and I put ’em together. That’s the result, below.
It’s the view from our kitchen window.
There is no kitchen, of course. It’s a window that hasn’t been installed in a wall that hasn’t been framed for a house that hasn’t been built. But that’s exactly what we’ll see.
It brings a visual to our vision.
I presented the assembled image to Deb, without preview or comment. She knew what it was as soon as she saw it — I mean, we’ve been talking about that view for almost a year.
It’s been over eight years since NPR labeled Harrison, Arkansas “a hotbed of hate.” Six years ago The Daily Mirror, a UK tabloid, slammed Harrison as “the most racist town in America.” The latter article was penned by a pommy priss who characterized the city as a “Ku Klux Klan stronghold,” a place where “white supremacy has long been a way of life.”
Special attention always is devoted to billboards like this one:
Welcome to Harrison
No Wrong Exits
No Bad Neighborhoods
Other sheepish media picked up the narrative, amplifying the town’s reputation as a bastion of bigotry. The rap got a big boost in 2020 when BLM became pop-culture darlings and race riots ravaged cities nationwide. Race-baiters came to Harrison to stir the pot.
That didn’t go well or last long. There were no incidents, but the antagonists — led by a white twenty-something from the People’s Republic of California — quickly realized that residents of Harrison don’t harbor a whole lot of “white guilt.”
Still, the brief invasion did result in a viral YouTube video, carefully mashed to perpetuate liberals’ most-racist-town-in-America harangue.
Deb and I have become accustomed to friends and acquaintances who, on hearing that we’re staying in Harrison, ask us if we know that we’re smack-dab in the middle of Klan Central. It’s all they know because it’s all they’ve heard.
Imagine our surprise, then, when yesterday a like-minded friend cautioned Deb that it “sounds like Harrison has gone woke.” Huh?
Seems our friend had surfed into the city’s official website and discovered its “diversity and inclusivity” section. That, of course, is politicians doing what politicians do, dabbing blood over the civic door hoping that the progressive angel of death will spare the town further harassment.
To the extent that there’s over-compensating going on, that’s where it starts. Exhibit B, I suppose, is the reigning Miss Arkansas — she’s from Harrison, and she’s black (in the same way that POTUS #44 is black, anyway). Weak-minded folks shamelessly use her as a sort of talisman.
The media’s latest angle is penitence and reformation. (Natch.) That’s produced some curious reporting, like the awkward headline, “Harrison, Arkansas takes steps to heal dark past.” Or the image published of a downtown mural, which I can tell you was photographed from the parking lot of a business that flies the Confederate battle flag every day.
But no, boys and girls, Harrison has not “gone woke.” And no, Harrison is not a “racist” town.
I’m reminded of the parable of the blind men and the elephant. Each man described the beast by the part he had ahold of — trunk, leg, tail, tusk. None of them really knew what an elephant was, while being absolutely sure that they did.
The “sundown town” of a hundred years ago no longer exists. Some self-appointed Klan wizard with a post office box in this ZIP Code doesn’t make 13,000 people “white supremacists.” Political initiatives and a perennial pageant contestant are, in the big picture, meaningless.
Harrison, Arkansas, like every place, every one and every thing, can’t be reduced to a trunk, a leg, a tail or a tusk. It is what it is, and that’s enough. What’s more, the people of Harrison know who they are, and they shrug-off the judgement of ill-informed outsiders.
Wokesters need not apply.
Deb and I won’t be holed-up here too much longer — our Home is on The Mountain. We are, however, grateful for the time we’ve spent in Harrison.
We ran down to Walmart this afternoon to grab groceries ahead of the frigid weekend. Curbside pickup today. On our trip down and back, covering a total of four miles, we passed (or were passed by) no fewer than 30 emergency vehicles — local, county and state, as well as numerous volunteers responding in their personal trucks, all traveling at high speed.
Back at the campground afterward, we learned that they were headed to the scene of a plane crash just north of nearby Boone County Regional Airport. The flight path of the field’s only runway puts the crash site less than a mile east of where we’re parked.
Initial (and unofficial) word was that all aboard survived. A photo circulating on social media showed the aircraft upright but burning, and seemed to indicate that it was a total loss. The airport manager and county sheriff later confirmed all that, along with news that both pilot and passenger were uninjured.
Before I shared that image here, by the way, I confirmed that it’s not just a pic some troll grabbed off the wwWeb to get attention. I took the alphanumeric tail number (which I’ve obscured, for obvious reasons), plugged it into FlightAware and found out that this 1991 Beechcraft Bonanza departed Kansas City at 1:48pm CST, bound for Boone County.
The registered owner is an individual from Harrison.
We conducted a test of Ernie’s onboard 7.5kW generator late this morning. It took its sweet time starting — no big surprise there, since it hadn’t been cranked in over six months — but once it was running it purred and handled a full 120VAC electrical load with ease. We leaned on it for a half-hour, then let it idle (to cool) for five minutes before shutting it down.
The successful test gives us peace of mind going into a bitter-cold weekend.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.