Western Arkansas - Bible Country

I met 70+ year old Betty and 7+ year old Buster (the dog) walking in a park in Fort Smith, AR. Buster looked a bit like Ferret, being part Chihuahua and part "all kinds of critter", according to Betty.

Betty was born about 10 miles away, her father was born 15 miles away, and 3 of her 4 children live within 10 miles. Betty's late husband was a wood worker and turner for one of the many furniture factories that used to be the backbone of Fort Smith. There used to be 10 or 15 such factories here, but today only one remains. The town's location on the edge of lots of forest, right beside the large once-navigable waterway which is the Arkansas River set it up as a lumber-and-related-products town in the early 19th century, and by the time the dams blocked the river, "18 wheelers had pretty much taken over" the transport responsibilities. Betty grew up through the depression on 49 acres of subsistence farm, where the family "ate everything we grew, except the dogs".

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She only has 2 guns, which "is almost none at all, compared to most folks". I commented on how the gun laws varied from state to state, but she said at her age she could carry and nobody would care - "one of the good things about being an old biddy."

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She grew up a methodist but ended up going the the baptist church up the road, initially because it had more comfortable pews. She described the difference between Methodists and baptists as "not very much - methodists sprinkle and baptists put your whole head under." when i paraphrased this as 'dunking', she seemed to like the term.

She went on, "if you're a Methodist and you're saved, but then you stop gong to church, you have to be saved all over again. If you're a baptist and you're saved, that's it, you're saved." When I compared these competing philosophies to how you might run a video store membership, and which one would succeed commercially, she agreed and said tha might be why there are 4 large baptist churches and over a dozen smaller ones in town, and only two small Methodist congregations.

It's hard for to get past that someone thinks the world is 6000 years old and appears otherwise non-retarded, but betty was interesting to talk to. And Buster seemed not to mind the snow - Ferret needs to harden up! I like Arkansas - much more human-free space than Texas

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There is a guy pacing back and forth outside my motel room talking on his mobile while I write this. "There were f@&$ing 12 cops that surrounded the car... I'm the one who f&$@ing swallowed 20 grams... We almost went back to crawford county detention center...". Apparently he'd been in court today with his friends, who'd been dealing drugs, then drinking, then driving, and got pulled over by police. He swallowed the worst stuff, but some was found by the police and on them, so they were charged. Staying in cheap motels is very entertaining. In here with me I only have one gun, which I'm lead to believe is hardly any compared to most folks.