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Splish splash splosh

Folks, it may be the driest in decades in the western states, but I can tell you from recent observation that it’s “splish, splash, splosh wet” from the Flint Hills of Kansas to the Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee and from Mexico, Mo., in the north to Jonesboro, Ark., in the south.

Ol’ Nevah and I got back from a weeklong slog of a vacation a few days ago. The main purpose wuz to attend the high school graduation of our youngest granddaughter in Gatlinburg, Tenn. We left home on Thursday, May 19, and got home on Thursday, May 26.

The second purpose wuz to visit briefly with my cousin, ol’ Sunny Spiel, and her hubby S. Eldom Spiel, on their oak-shaded acreage and home near Mexico, Mo. We hadn’t seen them in more than 20 years, so it took all afternoon and evening for us to catch up on families, family history and share photos, both new and ancient. They also cooked up a fine BBQ evening meal.



Friday morning, we continued the northern route to Tennessee through north St. Louis, across the Mississippi River and across Illinois, to Evansville, Ind., and Owensboro, Ky., then south to Bowling Green, Ky. Then we cross-countried to the southeast and bypassed Nashville, Tenn., then east to Knoxville, where our daughter and hubby moved to as first-time “empty nesters.” Their youngest daughter is now headed to post high school summer work in Michigan and the University of Alabama this coming fall.

On Saturday morning, we decided to take a look-see around the big Farmer’s Market in downtown Knoxville, not far from the banks of the Tennessee River. The market is a big affair stretching on both sides of two long city blocks with an expansive plaza in the middle.



The market vendors covered about everything you could name. And the attendance was shoulder-to-shoulder. Of course, I wuz most interested in the farmers who brought their wares to sell. They brought a plethora of beautiful fresh greens and fruit — mainly spinach, lettuce, cabbage, Swiss chard, turnips, kohlrabi, radishes, early squash, and strawberries. One guy wuz even selling wild lamb’s quarter for $3 per bundle. If I had the market, I could get rich selling the lamb’s quarter on Damphewmore Acres.

And there were plenty of folks selling organic, free-range hen and duck eggs for up to $6 per dozen, and also frozen packages of homegrown chicken, pork and beef. My favorite wuz the guy selling homemade goat cheese in several flavors. He milked 30 goats at his home dairy and had his own cheese processing plant. Of course, I had to buy 8 ounces for $8. It wuz money well spent.

On Sunday evening, we had a big party in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., for our granddaughter. Around 50 folks attended. But, then on Monday it rained all day and all evening. We all got damp from the rain walking from our cars to the graduation ceremonies and to and from the post-graduation restaurant feast.

Of note about Tennessee education: There were 115 graduates from Gatlinburg-Pittman High School. Those grads harvested $12.6 million in scholarships and educational grants. That’s an average of more than $39,000 per graduate. In Tennessee, the state provides a $7,500 higher education scholarship to any grad who wants to continue any form of higher education in Tennessee.

We left for home on Tuesday morning. Nevah and I choose a southern route home so we could visit with friends in Eureka Springs and Rogers, Ark. It dribbled and drabbled rain and mist on us most of the way.

We went west through Nashville, to Jackson, Tenn., then we left the interstate and went to Dyersville and Newbern, Tenn., an area where many of the early Yield clan accumulated. I’m sure there are kinfolks in that area, but we don’t know any of them. My Dad, ol’ Czar E. Yield, did know a few.

We crossed the Mississippi at Caruthersville and Haiti in the Missouri Bootheel and on into northeast Arkansas to Jonesboro, where we overnighted. I’d never traveled east to west in the Bootheel, so it wuz new territory for me.

On Wednesday, it rained all the way across northern Arkansas. We breakfasted at Virgie’s in Imboden, Ark. Then we had lunch in Eureka Springs with an old friend, Farin deSticks and his lovely wife, at a quaint cafe named Sparky’s.

From there it wuz short, crooked and wet hop to Rogers, where we overnighted with long-time accountant friends, the P. N. Cilpushers. He paid off a long-standing losing bet of a shrimp dinner by taking us to an upscale Mexican restaurant. I can report the meal of Australian sea bass with a cheesy-topping sauce that contained five jumbo shrimp was par excellence. Bet amply repaid! Thanks!

Thursday morn we headed home through Parsons, where we stopped to visit old and new friends at Farm Talk newspaper. After another stop in Yates Center to visit with sister and brother-in-law, we arrived home at 4:30 p.m. — exhausted, but happy that we’d cheated death on the highway once again.

General observations about our trip. Highest gas price wuz $4.59 and lowest was $3.99; high fuel prices didn’t cut down on traffic; the farm fields are soppy wet everywhere we went; the shortage of used cars is behind us — used car lots and auctions were everywhere; there was a blizzard of buzzards everywhere; and last, the deer and the armadillos must play together on the highways at night because we saw dozens of their dead along the way.

Personal words of wisdom for the week: “I don’t mind folks driving like their intent is to kill themselves, but I resent their attempt to make me an accomplice.” Have a good ‘un.


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