Day Four of Spring Break 2022
We woke up Tuesday to a deceptively warm morning with highs forecast to be in the 60s…with a winter weather advisory. I had few minutes outside while Trever and the girls had cow time.
Whenever we are on vacation, Sarah seeks out the independent bookstores in the area and found The Burrowing Owl. It was a lovely store with a wonderful used book selection as well as regional and new titles.
Since our flea market episode was a bust the day before, we drove to the Route 66 District to look for antique stores. Roadside motels dotted the street corners with neon signs and advertising of a bygone era. The interstate highway system bypassing these highways and byways, along with time and periods of economic downturn have left the surrounding area quite downtrodden but effort has been made to revitalize an area around Sixth Street.
We spent the longest amount of time in The “NAT”. The Natatorium was first an indoor swimming pool and later a ballroom and dance hall. After being shuttered for many years, it is now a huge indoor vendor market. The building itself has a great deal of charm and history and provides a backdrop for a unique shopping experience.
We also popped in a couple of other stores, JunQtique Amarillo, and Memaw’s & Papa’s Collectibles, where I found a music box that I had as a child, which plays “You Light Up My Life”. My grandmother had given this exact piece to me as a gift since I played the piano, and at one point it fell off a shelf and broke. I never had the heart to throw it away and likely still have the pieces in a box somewhere. So for the bargain price of $2.00 I bought it.
Our last stop on Sixth Street was not such a pleasant one. Let me preface this by saying two things. Our fully vaxxed and boosted family is going on as “usual” a great deal but we still will wear masks inside stores, especially small spaces that can be crowded at times. Also Trever had been looking for some western artwork for his dad at many of these shops we had visited. So when we wandered into the next store, 6th Street Antique Mall, I was looking at some earrings and Trever was browsing a wall of prints. He saw a couple he thought his dad would like so he took some pics to quickly send him and gauge his interest. The clerk looked at him and barked “don’t do that.” When Trever explained what he was doing, she didn’t say anything and just shook her head. She seemed to view us all with suspicion and immediately hopped behind the counter and sat and watched the surveillance cameras. I guess we appeared to be boujie bandits with our mask wearing ways. I really wanted those earrings though so we quickly finished our browsing and I got ready to pay. When I pulled out my card, she snapped at me that there was a 4% charge. I said that was fine….then Abby went to grab something she wanted to buy. The woman just sighed heavily as if she were totally inconvenienced. Sarah left to go find Trever to get the keys and she disgustedly asked “is she going to get something too?” Y’all I really wanted the damn earrings, which is why I didn’t throw them at her and say a few choice words when I handed her my ID and she said “you can’t check an ID if you can’t see a face.” I pulled my mask down very quickly but was infuriated. I understand many stores have policies regarding photography when it comes to intellectual property and a stores policy is whatever the proprieter wishes it to be. But she was just hateful!
One negative experience aside, we had had a good afternoon and went to our dinner destination. The Big Texan is a popular roadside attraction and restaurant that has billboards all along interstate 40 advertising its claim to fame – if a person can eat a 72 oz. steak with all the fixings, he or she gets their meal free. We had no interest in the challenge but did see someone attempt it. And fail! The food was quite good and we enjoyed the meal and the atmosphere.
I mentioned earlier that we had seen winter weather advisories and while cloudy and windy, the weather was still quite pleasant. Later in the afternoon, the advisory turned into a blizzard warning, and by the time we left The Big Texan, it was raining mixed with sleet and the temperature had dropped thirty degrees.
This was not a chill out and cook meals at the house vacation and storage space was very limited so we didn’t have much food in case the roads did get bad that night. So we made a quick trip to Target again and stocked up on a few things, knowing we probably wouldn’t need them but hey, we see a forecast of snow and have to hit the grocery store! I’ll take Arkansas’s mild winter events over this type of weather any day. The wind and cold were absolutely bone chilling, even on just a brief walk from the parking lot!
The snow began in earnest after we were safely back to the house. Huge flakes blowing hard from the north made for a cozy night indoors where we were warm and toasty. We stayed up for a while checking on the snowfall and accumulation and turned in for the night hoping the next day would bring warmer weather!
-Karri Temple Brackett
March 21, 2022