9/28-30/2014 – A Little Wile in Little Rock

 

Find my Little Rock friends anxious about health of an aging mom. Realize anew, how, even when our minds are good, body’s frailties can create a situation where our condition creates a burden for our children.

 

Drive downtown and park at William J. Clinton Presidential Library. (Can’t help but wonder: if Hilary Clinton serves as our President, will they take a “rib” from this one to create HERS? Is this the genesis of our phrase “taking a ribbing”?).

Little Rock/AR: Clinton Presidential Library & "Harriet Tubman" sculpture

Little Rock/AR: Clinton Presidential Library & “Harriet Tubman” sculpture

 

Little Rock/AR: Clinton Presidential Library - reflecting pool and Pedestrian Bridge

Little Rock/AR: Clinton Presidential Library – reflecting pool and Pedestrian Bridge

Its setting, on a long grassy area along the Arkansas River, is downright gorgeous. Curiously, there is a Dale Chihuly glass art exhibit upon display which seems to be a center of attraction.

Little Rock/AR: Wm Clark Wetlands Park - along Arkansas River (near Clinton Library)

Little Rock/AR: Wm Clark Wetlands Park – along Arkansas River (near Clinton Library)

 

Close by, a recent addition: William Clark Wetlands Park offers a wonderful use of Arkansas River’s bank. A shaded “gazebo” at “boardwalk’s” end, a string of birdhouses, native foliage offer a quiet sanctuary from Library’s tourist “buzz”.

 

 

Little Rock/AR: Peabody Park - Splash Fountain

Little Rock/AR: Peabody Park – Splash Fountain

 

Brave heat/humidity with my friend, touring a restored Peabody Park (new spray fountains; faux rock-climbing walls; a portion of a miles long walking/biking riverside trail), a new Vogel-Schwartz Sculpture Garden (large and modest; representative and abstract: all nestled among trees/bushes where shifting sunlight reshapes perception).

 

Dizzy’s, our first lunch choice, is closed, so we settle for al fresco dining at Dugan’s, just down the street from a bus station which introduces transients into Little Rock. (A seemingly unimportant point, until eating is interrupted by commotion: Dugan staff chase down a young, poorly dressed man who steals a tip left on a nearby table. Moments later, a substantively obese woman rolls in her wheelchair, and is soon joined by a young, pony-tailed man whose face is painted white. This is NOT downtown Little Rock of prior visits. In fairness, this additional foot traffic is NOT a freak show, and pedestrian activity enhances revitalization of this district.)

Little Rock/AR: Hillcrest District - old ice house converted to shops

Little Rock/AR: Hillcrest District – old ice house converted to shops

 

Next day, drive into lovely Hillcrest neighborhood: an amalgam of small shops, sloping streets, and upper-middle-class, tree-shaded homes.

Little Rock/AR: Hillcrest District - "typical: home (?)

Little Rock/AR: Hillcrest District – “typical” home (?)

An older set of buildings reflect an occasional glimpse of what might once have been a upward-yearning blue collar district newly converted to tony high-achievers.

 

Little Rock/AR: Big Dam Bridge - foot/bike path over Arkansas River

Little Rock/AR: Big Dam Bridge – foot/bike path over Arkansas River

 

Then on to Big Dam Bridge, which, near Murray Dam/Lock, provides a link between south and north banks of Arkansas River. In each direction, from mid-bridge viewing sites, forest and water act as reminders of challenges faced as, a couple hundred years ago, early settlers moved west.

 

We finish up wandering around and into Arkansas’ Capitol Building: long, wide grassy lawns outside; cool, gray-striated marble within, A Vietnam War Memorial: sculpture of a single, weary, weapons-carrying soldier (wearing flowers and flags, obviously provided by those who don’t forget sacrifices made) stands inside a wall listing names of those who gave their lives. We are surprised discovering a small granite memorial commemorating those who served?/died? in our War of 1812 (Arkansas, was not yet, at that time, a state: thus, who WERE these people?). We finally find a new Firemen’s Memorial (our original objective).

Little Rock/AR: State Capitol - Governor's Conference Room

Little Rock/AR: State Capitol – Governor’s Conference Room

Inside, gold-butter doors, Governor’s Conference Room, and an Old Supreme Court venue claim our attention, From several levels, we join visitors gaping at domed ceiling high above, A series of paintings and sculptures honor prior governors (a youthful, almost Hippie-esque Bill Clinton gazes at us while signing, we wonder, what legislation?). Otherwise, these halls are quite quiet: staff acknowledge visitors, but move quickly and intently about the business of governing.

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One Response to 9/28-30/2014 – A Little Wile in Little Rock

  1. luckytaz@comcast.net says:

    Interesting stories and beautiful photos, as always.

    We are on a little trip of our own. We’ve been in New Orleans for two weeks doing and seeing things we’ve never done on previous visits. The weather is gorgeous too this time of year, and with my new hip I can walk forever. I’m averaging 7 miles a day (obviously without Snuff)!

    Love and hugs, Peg

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