Spent the entire day in Marked Tree, AR today. Population 3500. Husband spent many childhood years here. Extended family roots in this town, too. Met Uncle (actually, cousin, but who’s keeping track really) Manuel and Carolyn at Uncle Bill’s house.

Bill took us through his presidential memorabilia collection in the aptly named “presidential bedroom.” Collection included, but not limited to, coins, plates, spoons, glassware, busts, inaugural medals, pictures and bottles. All neatly lined up and displayed.
Pictures forthcoming.

Manuel reminded Rick that he killed his prized Big Blue rabbit when he was three. Stuck it in the eyeball through the rabbit cage. That rabbit gave no less than 23 babies every 6 weeks that he sold to the University research program for $5 a piece. Rick owes Manuel some dinero, adjusted for inflation, of course.

Uncle Bill and Aunt Carolyn (who passed away in 2007) attended Clinton’s 2nd  inauguration ceremony and ball (not one ball but several, in fact!). He’s got the kitsch to prove it. When President Clinton was in Helena,  AR during which Bill was an elected county Judge, he and other arkansas officials were invited to meet with him. this is where he snagged one of the president’s two empty Diet Coke cans. It’s encased in a special glass dome. A picture of the two Bills hangs in his collector room.Pictures forthcoming, of course! 

Bill (uncle, not Clinton) and I also discovered a shared love for Hemingway. 
Thus may be my most favorite name for a town… ever. I was informed a goober is a peanut.  Still funny.
The actual marked tree is long gone. This one graces the wall of the local McDonald’s.  Legend has it either Indians marked a tree to let them know where to set it to land OR a band of outlaws marked a tree where to exit the river. All I know us that if you blink you’ll miss downtown MT. One street and we spent all day there.
Maddy’s handiwork at lunch.
Aunt Carolyn owned the local jewelry store, closed since 2008. Rick wanted to purchase something for us from the remaining inventory. We pawed through trays and cases and the safe and came up with a few gems. Bill gave us the family discount. 
Bill gives away (clean and sanitized… I promised to include that) to kids wherever he goes.  He’s growing a real Santa beard. Don’t think for a second these little missies weren’t coming home with one each.