Come, Take a Walk With Me.

I really have missed you guys this past week, even though I was hanging out in this beautiful place. I feel like I stepped out of a la-la land, or, well, Arkansas. If you have ever wondered where the Devil lives, it is purported to be here, Devil's Den which is between Fort Smith and Fayetteville in the southern Ozarks. I must say, the Devil has some mighty nice taste, but, well, I was suspecting that already. We drove the heinous ten-hour drive with a sanity break (overnight on the way up and for dinner on the way back) at my in-laws (I know) who live close to midway between Austin and our destination in northern Arkansas, the majority of the drive being through Oklahoma. Though we have driven through state parks in Oklahoma in the past and seen some breathtaking views, we stuck with Highways 75, 69, and 40 where we like to mock Shoestring, OK (Stringtown,) where we have been pulled over before and there is, without fail, a speed trap. This year, the motorcycle police officer was poking out behind a pile of trash and my husband swears he saw a banana peel on his helmet as a disguise. I failed to photograph the roadside Ten Commandments for your viewing pleasure, only because I forgot the mile marker for the return trip and it was too dark to photograph on our way up there.

We arrived at our cabin Christmas Eve and did the Devil's work of giving our children material goods to celebrate the birthday of the Son of God and Santa's one workday a year, besides those days he sits for photo shoots at the mall. We hoped that giving our son this electric guitar pleased Jesus thoroughly. Last July there was a set of drums given to our youngest, my husband plays bass and I have been told I can tag along on keyboards (though I know they'll ditch me when they get good.) If we could only convince my daughter that her excellent singing is truly excellent, my other daughter could promote us and play the triangle in true Partridge family fashion. Or, this was the plan before it was realized that our future manager is the one who seems to have the guitar genius and is already "Smoke on the Water"ing it in varying octaves after just a couple days.

I withstood the holiday banter with the Republican family quite well, even agreeing with my grandfather that Donald Rumsfeld's leaving was a good thing was all we agreed upon politically. (You take what you can get, 'cause he thinks we have a chance of long term success in Iraq if we stick to it. He was a WWII pilot, mostly a flight instructor in the Navy.) We stuck with other topics more so and my cousin even told me I looked even more left-wing progressive in my new glasses than I already did, which I took as a compliment whether he meant it as one or not. I stuck with holding my new nephew while threatening to abduct him, which his frazzled mom would joke she wished would really happen, and eating homemade fudge, sweet potatoes, corn casserole and rolls.

On Thursday, I was going to help my grandmother with some moving matters, which was a treat since I never get to help her. She told me all the dirt on my mom and my aunts and uncle and gave me a bread machine, a green marble Buddha (doesn't everyone need one of those, particularly one that had been called "bad luck." I believe it might be bad luck for Republican Christians- though my grandmother is the only one of those (Christians) in my family- that I know of) and several crocheting projects that are almost finished, but that she can't because she can't see well enough anymore (though I allowed her to drive me around?) and no one else really crochets in my family, as my great grandmother (who taught me how in Alma, AR) did for years and years. My "Smoke On the Water" daughter and I are the only ones to really carry that on, so I took on the projects. Since I was going to do that, I decided to take my hike of the Devil's Den Trail solo that morning and took many, many gorgeous pictures, bumping nearly all of our Christmas morning pics off my camera phone for space. I was unable to access the internet wirelessly anywhere on my trip and suffered internet withdrawal, but managed to hear the news on my drive into Fayetteville after days in isolation from the real world and a hefty search through many religious stations and heard the ominous news of Benazir Bhutto's death. We returned last night at midnight with a huge, one-day drive glossed over here in the middle and on BBC news this morning I heard of the Pakistani government's alleged cover-up of Bhutto's cause of death. There was an excellent interview with one of her aides who helped her into another car after she was shot and witnessed the events first hand, and was baffled by the government’s attempt to discount the well-documented event. But, most impacting of all, was a very touching interview with her husband, her widower rather, Asif Ali Zardari. He spoke of her will that will be read tomorrow and the utter devastation he was feeling that could not compare to years of jail, his father's and nephew's deaths, his own heart attack, or even being tortured and I cried on my way to work.

It almost makes my getting these hiking shoes, instead of the boots I wanted, insignificant, doesn't it? I am so not into martyrdom, sorry Jesus (I doubt he was either) and know that, though Bhutto herself knew the dangers of her campaigning, I consider hers (and every one in Iraq) a senseless death and can only imagine how her followers, friends and family felt and how this is going to be spun to reflect the need to increase the efforts in the War of Terror. I shall be linking the blog All Things Pakistani over to the right, as today the author, a Boston University professor, had some interesting insight to the challenges Pakistan faces after this, as he calls it, it's "Kennedy assassination moment."

Goodbye Benazir. I knew you had Big Balls and shall rock to that song in your honor ASAP. You'd be surprised how many people actually search for the terms "Big Balls" and find my blog, disappointedly so, I imagine. And I shall confess that I shall be ordering my own iSplotchy $hoodie and that I have enough credit on a gift store to a major department store from some holiday returns to go get myself some Go-Go boots and I'm sure you'll be hanging on the edge of your seats to see them, my Seven Deadly Splotchy Lies meme, a small stack of Froodles and poetry for the New Year. I had a flashlight set waiting here at my work from my boss for my excellent work this past year and figure, since I do most of my blogging here, I'd better keep up the good work.


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Welcome back my little Texas Two Step. I missed you and I long for the day when I get to hear the Bee Family's greatest hits on CD.

Unknown said...

I am walking but I still don't see you. Glad you're back.

Randal Graves said...

You've got Big Balls for combining colossus of Rhodes road trips AND Republican family-izing.

We anxiously await the first glimpse of the Go-Go Boots.

Glad you're back, mon amie. Suppose you want your poet laureateship back, huh.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back you wild and crazy chick. Love those shoes!

But yeah, boots would still be awesome. Brown suede.

Dr. Zaius said...

You are too cool for school! What a great Christmas story, and wonderful pictures! Welcome back, and I have always been a fan of go go boots!

Fran said...

Oh how I missed you!

And now that you've been to the Devil's Den, I bet the 7 lies meme is even better than I have imagined!

Freida Bee said...

Dr. Monkey- We'll bee all the buzz.

Mathman- If a mathematician falls in a crevice in the woods, what is "x"? Answer me this and you shall have your answer.

Randal- We have been sharing the poet laureate post, amigo. You just haven't known it and it's best left that way. Dooo. (Sorry, we have the Simpson's movie tonight.)

P.S.You shall see me in the boots in a fortnight.

DCup- Really, now the boots are hyped up and all and I must say that sweet sporty shoes that make me think I'll actually exercise are quite a turn-on, I know. But, not more than boots. I just wish they could look like your black Santa photo ones.

Dr. Zaius- I AM too cool for school and I want you to inform my instructors come January 14, you know, as my doctor. I promise to Froodle, Froodle, Froodle.

Fran- I missed you too! I made the mistake of reading others' first class tall tales, but I think if I think of some Devil Went Down To Georgia shit and that car ride to the Devil's Lair, I can muster up a couple lies.

Distributorcap said...

well you did the family thing
good for you!
and you survived, buddha and all

i may be the ONLY person you know that has actually been to Ft Smith! but not the devil's lair

welcome back to reality

Unknown said...

It seems to me that x is a moving target so to speak, like the slope at a single point on curve for example. In which case we are talking about the instantaneous change. But I suppose a crevice would be considered a hole in the curve which in some cases may be desirable.

I am just rambling and have no answer and will continue my search for the x.

Life As I Know It Now said...

well I am glad that you are carrying on the crocheting tradition and that your daughter will as well. welcome back.