On their last day in Little Rock before they left town for their next mobile stop in Lawton, Oklahoma, Andrew and Mitra decided to visit the Arkansas State Fair. On arrival, both were intent on answering the question, “What makes a good looking hog?”
Mitra, now entering her ninth week on the road, went looking for a little affection from Marcellus the Goat.
Unfortunately, Marcellus is in a committed relationship to a prize winning nanny goat and declined to pucker up.
Andrew stands before a pile of giant turkey legs. In this picture, Andrew is concealing five turkey legs in his mouth. What a feat!
Continuing a nationwide tradition among MobileBooth facilitators, Andrew goes for a ride on a mechanical bull.
View this video to see the performance that won Mitra the 2006 Blue Ribbon for “Best Mechanical Bull Ride by a Person Wearing a Beret.”
…did drag us away from the booth for a few hours.
Participants Excy Johnston and Amy Gray Light invited us to visit their wild horse sanctuary just outside of Little Rock. The sanctuary is home to eleven wild mustangs who roam freely about the land.
Excy and facilitator Mitra Bonshahi drove out to feed the horses. While they paused for a picture, Ombre and his friend snacked on some hay straight from the back of the truck.
Here, a mother mustang protects her one-week-old filly from any danger that might lurk in the 38 acre land (including us, who she eyes cautiously as we sneak a picture).
Sorry, Rolling Stones, but thanks to Excy and Amy, nobody will be riding these horses someday.
In September of 1957, MinniJean Brown, left, walked into Central High School amidst much public scrutiny and vocal harassment as one of the Little Rock Nine. In October of 2006, MinniJean visited the booth with her sister, Phylis, to talk about how MinniJean’s expulsion from Central High broke up the family. After allegedly dumping a bowl of chili on a white student’s for harassing her, MinniJean was sent to New York to attend a new high school. Phylis explained in the interview how the desegregation process, although integrating the schools, separated her from her sister. While MinniJean was in New York, Phylis was left alone dancing to the records that she used to dance to with her beloved sister.
Earlier that week, facilitators Ryan Murdock and Mitra Bonshahi visited Central High to soak in the atmoshphere of such a pivotal place in history. Ryan and Mitra decided to make the excursion after hearing about the desegregation process in Little Rock. What a surprise and honor it was for them to have MinniJean in the booth a couple days later.
Back in Little Rock, we found a bit of nature in an unexpected place: The Peabody hotel.
Every morning, promptly at 11 am , Duck Master Lloyd Withrow gathers the famous five ducks from their “Royal Peabody Duck Palace” upon the roof of the hotel and escorts them down the elevator.
Lloyd uses his brass duck-head cane to lead them towards the fountain as John Philip Sousa‘s “King Cotton March” resounds thoughout the lobby.
The ducks then walk upon the crimson carpeted steps to enter their pond where they will spend the rest of the day until they are called back to their palace at 5 pm. What a hard life these ducks must have!
Arkansas’ official name is “The Natural State” and it’s easy to see why. Several adventures we’ve had with Mother Nature involved jumping into a swimming hole at Lake Sylvia, canoeing along the Buffalo River National Park and horseback riding in the Ozarks. If only we could stay a little longer…
86 year old Johnnie Tyson, pictured right, laughs with her niece, Sandra Fleming, after their StoryCorps interview. Johnnie shared with us her experiences growing up during the Great Depression with the disease of obesity. Johnnie was born weighing 13 lbs and grew to 329 lbs by age 15. But thankfully, in the 60′s, the government approved intestinal bypass surgery, and Johnny was able to shed the extra pounds. “You accept life if you’re wise” she quipped, but as you can see here, she always approached life with a great deal of laughter. You go girl!
George Brown drove his mother, Virginia Alexander, to the booth for an interview even though at the age of 99, she takes the wheel herself at times. Another sign of Virginia’s vivacity is that she boasts still having 5 original teeth. “The Three A’s” have been Virginia’s key to a long, prosperous life…
…Here she is after her interview chatting with our next participant, Leonard Griffe. Upon learning that Leonard was a mere 91, Virginia proudly declared, “Well, I’m 99!” – and then proclaimed that “Activity, Attitude, and Apple juice (slightly fermented)” were the Three A’s that kept her living long. We’ll toast to that.
The booth sat under the clear blue Arkansas sky the morning of opening day. The curved facade of the Cox Center is a remnant of the days when the building served as a warehouse for Thomas Cox & Sons Machinery Co. The railroad tracks ran right past where the booth sits now.
KUAR’s Laurie Pierce brought in her 11 year old son, James Richard IV to find out how he’s adjusting to his first year of Junior High. When asked about teasing his younger brother, James mentioned that he usually gives him “noogies and wedgies – you know, the classics.”
93 year old Lucile Shivley came in with her friend Patrick Watson to talk about her late husband, Charles. During the interview, Patrick discovered that Lucile has always wanted ride a motorcycle, but has never had the chance. He confided to us that he plans to set up a ride for Lucile’s 94th birthday on Oct 21. Vroom Vroom!
Before we said our goodbyes, Lucile confessed that “I think if I had a choice between talking and eating I ‘d chose talking… That is until I got hungry.” Now that’s what we like to hear.