Thursday, October 25, 2012—An Historical Loop

The moderately warm fall mornings combined with a great campground setting on the bank of the Arkansas River has enticed us to walk every morning just about sunrise. The circuitous campground loop is about 2.5 miles long, and as we walk, Kay wishes each of the other campers a "Good morning"; she’s obviously the social butterfly of the family.

Kay has been experimenting of late with the combination microwave/convection oven in the motorhome to resolve the problem of food being undercooked in the middle. This morning’s recipe was breakfast pizza, and it was cooked just about right, but still a little soft in the center; it tasted great!

Our plan for the rest of the day included a drive through the countryside near Paris, Arkansas, searching for a family cemetery, and a visit to Fort Smith’s National Historical Site.

Kay’s paternal grandparents are buried near Paris, but she didn’t know the name or location of the cemetery. Voila, the internet. We put their names in combination with Paris, Arkansas, in the search block, and there was an entry at the bottom of the page for Kay’s grandmother. 121025_E16Clicking on this, it provided her vital statistics, including where she was buried, and even had a picture of the headstone. We put the approximate coordinates into the GPS and followed directions. Because they were approximate coordinates, we ended up in the middle of nowhere, but as we were to find out, still relatively close to the cemetery. We refined the coordinates, and again followed directions, and saw the cemetery. 121025_E17As we looked for a parking place, we spotted a headstone with a prominent "HORNE" engraved on the surface. We began exploring the cemetery, and discovered two rows of Horne’s. Near an old cedar tree, we spotted her grandparents’ headstone, and other relatives of whom she knew little, including her dad’s infant brother and sister. 

For Kay finding the cemetery where her relatives were buried complete a part of her circle of life.

121025_E20As we left Paris, Arkansas, a light mist began, with some wind–the leading edge of a major cold front. The intermittent mist turned into a light rain and the outside temperature began dropping, but we continued the northwesterly drive towards Fort Smith. At Fort Smith, we stopped at the National Historical Site, Hanging Judge Parker’s courthouse, and 121025_E21took a tour, watched a video, and "visited" the gallows.

The rain and wind had increases, and the temperature had fallen almost 20 degrees since our campground departure 4 hours earlier.

Driving eastward back to the park, temperatures increased ahead of the front, rising almost 10 degrees. We chilled, literally, until time for the 5:00 PM social hour. For the potluck which followed, Kay made an outstanding dish of chicken enchiladas. Both the conversation and dinner were good, but the cooling temperatures and rain really put a damper of the evening.

Today was a good day, and we were able to discover some personal history as well as national history.

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