Monday, April 30, 2007

Hi! Remember Me?

I'm that schmuck who needs as much time to recover from a vacation as I took FOR the vacation. I'll take this opportunity to get the vacation stuff out of the way.

You should know that Bella packed her stuff "all by herself." Here is an inclusive list of what she packed in the top compartment of our suitcase:

Pink Barbie life-jacket
Large white stuffed horse
A dustpan whisk-broom
Approximately 30-odd feet of electric-green, plastic surveyor's tape, in a giant wad
A wooden spoon

I'm glad we're teaching her to pack light, and to only take the necessities.

Our first day there, we unloaded at the lake house, and absorbed a few minutes of blissful peace.
view from house long

Then we got all sunblocked-up, and took all our fishing gear, and headed for the Little Red River, to set out on a flatbottom boat and trout-fish. Unfortunately, there had been a lot of rain, and both generators at the dam were running full-blast, emptying lake-water into the river, causing it to run high and fast, so going out on a boat was out of the question. Bella was bummed, because she was already wearing her "huntin' pants" (the ones with the hot-pink embroidered butterflies on the leg) and "fishin' hat."
loafing by the Little Red

So we came back to the lake house, and got out one of the 4-wheelers, and all piled on together and went riding in the woods and up the mountain on some logging roads. Once Bella stopped looking around and lamenting, "OH, NOOO! We are lost forEVER!" because she couldn't see the house, she started having fun.

family of three

We let her explore a little creek, and that was a big hit, even if the water was COOOOOLD.
NOW she's a true Arkansan

Then we rode home into the sunset.
riding into the sunset

The next day, it was time to take Mom's boat into town to get it de-winterized and serviced. That was going to take 2 hours at least, and we really didn't have a major plan for what we would do during that time.
ready to roll

Alex couldn't stand not knowing what was happening at the river, so we drove down to Swinging Bridge again. Water was still raging. It was killing him not to have fished yet, so we went down and did a little bank fishing. Would you like to guess who landed the first trout? Um, yeah. The 4-year-old girl in the peasant blouse wielding the 3-foot-long, pink Disney Princess rod & reel hauled in a good-size rainbow trout approximately 90 seconds after her first cast. She barely got her first instruction, and had literally just sat down before she had to jump up and start reeling.

90 seconds after casting

I caught that?

There was lots more fishing and relaxing...
Gone Fishin'


...UNTIL. These racist turds from some great redneck sewer floated into our punchbowl, apparently on their lunch break from somewhere.
The Redneck Racist Turds in Our Punchbowl

Parked right in the bank-fishing area, where everyone was being nice and respectful and quiet, probably checked to make sure they saw only white faces, and then began the behavior you can read about if you click on their picture. I was horrified, and Bella learned a new word (oh, JOY), and was introduced to the concept that there are people in the world who hate other people just for the sake of hatred, because those people are different in some way from them. All I can say about these mouth-breathers is THANK GOD most people are different from them. I have never, in my life, been witness to anything so vile as the display these delightful young men put on.

I have to say, though, that my little girl figured it out pretty well, once she got over her initial shock that such people were, in her words, "in this world." It hurt my heart to have to explain to her that there are people who hate other people simply beause they have different color skin, or go to different churches, or live in different countries, or wear different clothes...she just couldn't believe it. I know that her preschool class is quite diverse, so I used that as an example while talking to her about it. I asked her if all the children in her class looked different from each other, and she agreed that they did. I asked, "Is there anyone in your class that looks kind of the same as you? Same hair, eyes, or skin color?" She thought about it, and then said, "Well, Luke kind of has the same kind of skin like I do." So then I asked her, "And do you like to play with Luke more than the other kids because of that?" The answer was an emphatic "NO! I don't like to play with Luke at ALL!" (If Luke's parents are reading this, it's not terribly personal, but apparently Luke pushes. Might wanna have a talk with him about that. Bella did clarify that it's not that she doesn't like Luke, she just won't play with him. Because of the pushing. Which is NOT COOL.) She then launched into the virtues of her two most favorite friends at school, Jada and Cherokee, until I had to steer her back on track.

Me: "What do you think about people who hate other people like that?"

Bella: "I think they probably don't love Jesus." (Bella almost never says "God." To her at this age, it's all about Jesus. Which is fine with me, as the whole Holy Trinity thing is not something I want to get into with her at this young age.)

Me: "I think you're probably right."

Bella: "But He loves them."

Me: "That's right."

Bella: "God loves all of us, even when we're bad, but it makes Him sad when we hate people."

Good girl. Now I just have to pray that she doesn't bust out with "________ IS A BAD WORD" in the middle of a crowded grocery store or something.

I had snatched her up and gotten us locked into the car with XMKids playing as soon as the ugliness started, while Alex packed up our gear. Since the knuckle-draggers ended our pleasant time, and the boat wasn't yet ready, we did our best to shake it off, and one of the best ways to do that is with hush-puppies, so we went to lunch.
hush, puppy

After lunch, we headed over and picked up the boat, and then drove by the house and picked up Delta, and put the boat straight into the water, which was like glass, and headed out.
We blew the soot out for you, Mom!

As illustrated here last week, a good time was had by all, and Alex even caught a hybrid bass without even trying hard.
Windblown Sideways (Exhausted)

family in the rearview

Captain Isabella

hybrid bass

Next day, the river was STILL high, so there was more bank-fishing, mostly by Alex as Bella explored and I took pictures.

riverside pizza

semi-feral girl


looking like you know something / (OKG: Self-Confident)

fishin' buddies

We ended that day by riding up to the top of the mountain where Diamond Bluff meets Miller's Point, looking around, and taking some photos from that great vantage point.
view from millers point

Cutting a swath

mountain path2

sunset over miller's point

sunset over greers ferry lake from millers point

There was a partial game of Jenga that night, which was aborted during Bella's turn, in mid-pull, because she could not extract from her father a promise that he would LOSE.
The Jenga game that Bella walked away from because Daddy would not promise to let her win

Our last day to play, we FINALLY got to take a boat out on the river, which is beautiful...
little red river at swinging bridge

Blue Heron on the bank of the Little Red River, at Swinging Bridge

...and where someone was growing ever-more-smug about her trout-fishing prowess.
That's Right, I'm Bad / (OKG: Lucky Winner)

After the fish stopped just jumping directly ONTO her hook, Bella got bored...
lost in thought

...ultimately resorting to an unsuccessful attempt at screaming trout onto her line.
"Hey, TROUT!  Git on mah HOOK!"   (OKG: "Mean")

Finally, The Trout-Slayer was put away...
The Trout-Slayer

...and the last fishing outing of our trip came to an end. Bella responded to my attempt at getting a final few photos of her by alternating between being coy...

...and just bustin' out The Ham AND The Cheese.
The Ham and The Cheese / (OKG:Center of Attention)

I gave up, and we came home, at which point I collapsed in a heap for the next 5 days or so.


  1. Belinda~~ A great vacation story so beautifully illustrated by the photos! I hope you had a wonderful time!

  2. May I just say that if I had a daughter, I would hope she was at least half as beautiful, charming and intelligent as Bella. You guys are doing such a wonderful job with her!
    (I read the story of the idiots in the trucks on Flickr - gah!)
    Glad you had a great time! We missed you!

  3. I'm glad you had a great vacation and hope you can rest now that you are home:o) You also took some really great pictures!!

  4. Glad you had a great vacation. Sorry about the racist jerks, though. I shudder to think what they'd have done if there were someone other than white people there. Still, you were right to leave and protect your daughter. There's a conversation I don't want to have with little E (nephew).

  5. oh wow, what a great trip and ps if someone hasn't told you this already (which I'd be surprised) Belinda, you're raising an amazing kid!

  6. You've taken some beautiful photos--a great photo essay of your trip! I think you handled the racist issue very nicely, so you know Bella will pick up the tolerant attitude from you.

    Are there more pictures of the dog on the boat? Just curious. I like seeing the poodle fur flap around like that! Come to think of it, I should have taken pictures of my pomeranian's fur when we took our boat ride recently. It was like watching a blurry chihuahua. Cute, though!

    Love your pictures!

  7. I'm not awake enough to leave a proper comment, but I really liked this post!

  8. What fun, and, great pictures!

  9. Just reading about those horrible men and their music makes me feel like I need to spit or something. GAH!

    Those photos of Bella-holy cow are they gorgeous. The one right after her blowing on the dandelion, where she's looking right at the camera, that one took my breath away. And then those last two-what an angel!

  10. Your photos are breathtaking, your daughter is darling, and your lesson on tolerance and loving all people was well put. Good job!

  11. This was a great post to stumble onto. I rarely get to read blogs from folks who live in the south. I have a lot of stories/issues myself - both good and bad - about the culture of the south. I was born there, grew up in Indiana, then moved back. Now I live in Europe. Racism here, I have to say, is more obvious. We don't have the KKK here, or as obvious of an organized group, however it's simply normal for a sweet old lady to pop off about the "f-ing portugeuse." they blame immigrants for everything. they refer to cultures by their colors, or "the blacks,and the little blacks who sell purses." I can't say which is worse - hearing it more often here (at least compared to the midwest. i suppose i heard just as many things in the south, but the difference is...) or in american where people say things but then follow it with a quick "i'm not racist but..." people in the US are complete liars if they deny that most people are slightly racist, and most places are more than slightly segregated.

    sounds like you did a great thing to teach your daughter. shelooks full of spirit, and someday she's going to thank you for all the photographs!