Day 26 – Oh, Arkansas

Sean’s Journal: I think it’s fair to say that Arkansas is one of those quiet states that we don’t hear much about. At the same time, we all shop at Walmart, which is headquartered in Arkansas. Neither Vince nor I know much about the state, so I think a good way to give it credit is to show the lyrics to the Arkansas state song:

It’s the spirit of the mountains and the spirit of the Delta,
   It’s the spirit of the Capitol dome.
   It’s the spirit of the river and the spirit of the lakes,
   It’s the spirit that’s in each and every home.
   It’s the spirit of the people and the spirit of the land,
   It’s the spirit of tomorrow and today.
   It’s the spirit of the forest, it’s the spirit of the eagle.
   It’s the spirit of the country that we love.
   It’s the spirit of pride that we all feel deep inside,
   It’s the spirit that shines from above.
   It’s the spirit of our fathers, it’s the spirit of our kids,
   It’s the spirit of the music that we play.
   Chorus: [Repeated]
   Oh Arkansas, oh Arkansas, Arkansas U.S.A.
   It’s the spirit of friendship, it’s the spirit of hope.
   It’s the Razorbacks every game they play.
   Oh Arkansas, oh Arkansas, Arkansas U.S.A.

Yesterday, Day 25, Vince provided some additional commentary on the state with references to former U.S. President, Bill Clinton; Walmart founder, Sam Walton; and the important Civil Rights history that played out in Little Rock. I like “the spirit” of their anthem. The name “Ozarks” has always been in my memory bank. Surprising to me is the fact that the Ozarks are part of our country’s most extensive highland region between the Rockies and Appalachians.

I stayed on I-40 and basically drove across the state with a stop in Little Rock for brunch. It’s a nice city with the Arkansas River running through it. My most memorable Arkansas experience was camping near the river last night. I stayed next to two fellows from Muskogee, Oklahoma. I know Vince has been there. I had heard of Okies from Muskogee, with Okies being one nickname for residents of Oklahoma. One of the men went into his tent and emerged with his guitar. He then played and sang the song that Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson made famous. I remembered that I have always enjoyed “Okie from Muskogee.” That sealed the deal, I was ready for Oklahoma. While in Little Rock, I picked up a CD with this and other country songs to expand my on-the-road repertoire of music.

Vince’s Response: One more thing we do know about Arkansas is The Razorbacks. Now there’s a legendary part of the Arkansas state culture. Sean, after your email last night, I listened to Oh, Arkansas. There’s interesting recent history behind the song. I get sentimental when I hear any song about the USA. BTW: Enjoy those Okies. They are good folk. The nickname has some mixed connotations, so I’d start with references to Oklahomans and ask them about their preferences. 

Bookends: (1) I increasingly like Walmart of Bentonville, AR. They are the brick & mortar counterbalance to I got the best deal on my Coleman camp chairs and lantern there. (2) I love songs that are patriotic and that refer to home, family, the great outdoors, and God up above.