I have always enjoyed walking around Fayetteville. As opposed to people who just drive through the city, I have always believed that people who walk the streets, with no particular destination in mind, discover a lot more about their community. Often they will discover  things that may have gone unnoticed for years.

Case in point: the bridge over the railway tracks from  Gregg Street to West Avenue, along Lafayette Avenue, in Fayetteville.   Usually I walk along the southern side of the bridge, but a few weeks ago I changed my routine and  – call me crazy! – walked on the southern side.

Sauntering along, I happened to look down to my left, and noticed that someone – provably quite some time ago – had hit the guardrail with their vehicle. No big deal, people do that sort of thing all the time. Except for one thing:

The concrete where the guardrail is twisted is beginning to crack.


Saturday morning a friend and I traipsed along the railroad tracks under the bridge and peered upwards. Sure enough, the concrete under the hit guardrail is cracking.

It probably won’t fall to the ground anytime soon, or even crack loose, but shouldn’t somebody take a look at it, just to be sure?

Why take my assurance that it won’t fall to the ground?


Well, I was wrong yet again Department

The other day I wrote that I didn’t have an answer when a friend from out-of-town made the accusation that Fayetteville wasn’t “progressive” any more, because it was no longer working class friendly.


While I will concede his point that it doesn’t seem that way to many people, the New York City of the Ozarks is still the only city in Northwest Arkansas worth living in. Yeah, we screw up, but we try, damn it, and that’s a hell of a lot more than you can say for most cities in Northwest Arkansas. We have lost our way on some important issues in the past few years, but the fact is that this election is as much an acknowledgment of that as anything else.

And it’s still true that others follow our lead, rather than the other way around. With rare exceptions, the passion and eloquence that are at the very heart of Fayetteville are just not seen in other communities in Northwest Arkansas.

That’s what I should have said.


Quote of the Day

By logic and reason we die hourly; by imagination we live. – W.B. Yeats


Farewell, Tony Hillerman

Well, no matter what happens today, this puts a damper on things.


Navajo police mystery author dies

The American author Tony Hillerman, best known for crime novels featuring Navajo Indian police officers as their main characters, has died aged 83.  His most famous book was Skinwalkers, published in 1987, midway through a 36-year long writing career.

Hillerman said he wanted to change people’s views, to stop them thinking of Navajo Indians as primitive people.  He had survived two heart attacks and surgery for cancer before he eventually died of pulmonary failure. 

His novels were set in the rugged landscapes of Arizona and New Mexico and he once said he was attracted to places that were empty, lonely and had a fierce inhospitality.

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