Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thirsty - Or Not!

untitled A trip to Palmer's Grocery Store with my mother was always fun because it usually meant I'd come away with a special treat.  Sometimes it was a Snickers or Butterfinger, sometimes a Nutty Buddy ice cream cone, but often it was an ice cold bottle of Grapette.

We didn't make trips to Palmer's often.  Mother had groceries delivered by Herman—once a day until we moved to "the country" and then two or three times a week.  So it was always a big deal to dig into the cold drink box at Palmer's for a bottle of Grapette, the best grape soft drink ever bottled.  Nu-Grape and Grapico don't even come close.

history_02 Grapette was invented in Camden, Arkansas, my hometown, by B. T. Fooks.  After getting into the soft drink bottling business in the 1920's, he began experimenting with a grape flavored soft drink in the 1930's.  Grapette officially hit the market in 1940.  The company later began bottling their syrups in animal shaped bottles.  These syrups could be mixed with tap water for an economical non-carbonated beverage.

grapette 003

The animal bottles are collector items today as is other Grapette memorabilia.  On a trip to Maine a few years ago, I came across this photograph of some old gasoline pumps.  There lurking in the background was a Grapette sign, so I snatched it up immediately.

The Fooks family sold Grapette in 1970, and by the 1990's the once popular soft drink had virtually disappeared from the U. S. market.  Today, thanks to another successful Arkansas company, Wal-Mart, Grapette is once again thriving in the USA.  So the next time you visit Wal-Mart or Sam's, pick up some Grapette, Thirsty or Not!

FAVORITETHINGSBUTTON Thanks to Laurie at Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie for giving us a brand new meme—Favorite Things.  Grapette is definitely one of my favorite things, so I'm linking up.  Be sure to visit Laurie to see what others are sharing.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stand Up and Be Counted

census2 My census form arrived in the mail yesterday.  It took about two minutes for me and LBeau to fill it out, and I will be putting it back in the mail today.

On Monday I was in an office downtown and overheard the following conversation.

He said, “There is a place on it for your Social Security number.”

She said, “Well I’m just going to leave that blank.  They’re not getting my Social Security number.”

Seeing me standing there, she turned to me and explained, “We’re talking about the census.”

I bit my tongue, but I wanted to respond, “This is the government, right?  They already have your Social Security number.”

Anyway, I can now testify that the census form does not ask for your Social Security number.  I’m guessing that one of these two people got an email warning that those nasty census folks were going to ask for your Social Security number, and that’s just un-American.

One note of caution, however.  It seems that census time brings out all sorts of evil doers who pose as census takers, either by phone or at your door, trying to fraudulently obtain your personal information.  So never give out information such as Social Security number, bank account number or credit card information to anyone, either by phone, in person or email.  And no census information will be gathered by email.

Do, however, stand up and be counted.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Remember When?

ec7a0340f1a0b732 If you're old enough, you surely remember the day JFK was assassinated, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and the Challenger space shuttle exploded.  In fact, you can probably remember exactly what you were doing when those events occurred.

Last Friday night at dinner with friends we were discussing our earliest memories.  Perhaps because we are all old enough that we can remember when we got our first television, most of us didn't have early recollections of historically significant events.  As the oldest in our group, Wayne was three when World War II ended, but he has no memory of that historic event, even though his mother has told him that they went to downtown Louisville, Kentucky, to participate in the celebrations.

For most of us, our earliest memories were more personal.  Susie, for example, remembered when she had her tonsils out.  She recalled getting to eat ice cream—lots of ice cream.

Again because I'm older than television, I remember sitting around the dinner table in the evenings listing to Twenty Questions on the radio.  Twenty Questions was a popular quiz show that originated in the 1940's.  Unknown items were identified as being animal, vegetable or mineral, and the contestants had to ask questions that could be answered only with "yes" or "no" in an attempt to identify the mystery object.

I also fondly recall our family trips to visit Mema, Papa and Sissy in Lewisville, Arkansas.  Mema and Papa were my dad's parents, and Sissy was his older sister.  Daddy grew up in Lewisville, a tiny town in Southwest Arkansas.  The trip from Camden took about an hour.  My brother, sister and I thought it took forever, but we always passed the time by counting horses or playing the alphabet game.

Lewisville pool

My brother Tommy and I enjoy playing with our cousin Charlotte in the pool in our grandparents' backyard.  Notice the clothes hanging on the line.  Just to the right of where this photo stops was a second floor window that Tommy fell out of once. 

In Lewisville, I loved going to the post office, where Papa was postmaster.  He always let me run letters through the cancelation machine, but the most fun was getting to ride with Manuel to take the mail sack to the train station and pick up the incoming mail.

You see, Manuel drove a wagon pulled by a team of a horse, Dixie, and a mule, Shorty.  We would sit right up front with him on the wagon seat, and sometimes he would even let us drive the wagon.

Lewisville Manual

Tommy, Charlotte and I arrive with Manuel at the train station to pick up the incoming mail.  That's Dixie on the left and Shorty on the right. 

A lot has changed since then.  Lewisville is still a tiny town, but Manuel is gone and so are Mema, Papa and Sissy.  But it surely is fun to remember when.  So what are your earliest memories?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Kind of Town

0305_fayetteville-ar_390x220 Fayetteville, Arkansas, home of the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Razorbacks, was recently named by Forbes Magazine as one of the top college sports towns in America.  Coming in at #7, Fayetteville ranked just ahead of Lexington, Kentucky, with those two cities being the only SEC towns in the Top Ten.

Fayetteville is a wonderful place to visit and an equally great place to live.  I spent five years there in the '60's for undergraduate and graduate school, and we lived there for three years in the mid-'70's when LBeau was working on a master's degree.

For most of those three years, we lived in a small stone house on Mount Sequoyah.  From the large picture window in our living room, we had a clear view of Old Main, the oldest and most prominent building on the University of Arkansas campus.  Almost as soon as he learned to talk, Hunter would point to Old Main, calling it "Daddy's Big House."

Old Main Both Towers

Although Hunter envisioned his daddy hanging out in Old Main for much of the day, LBeau actually spent most of his time in the Engineering Building, which was adjacent to the Old Main lawn. 


Fayetteville is certainly a fun place to be on football weekends in the fall, but I enjoy visiting there any time of the year, and I'm already looking forward to an upcoming trip in April.  Until early 1999, the only way to get to Fayetteville was via U.S. Highway 71 from Alma, a winding road through the mountains, or by taking Highway 23, an equally winding road, off of I-40 at Ozark. 


Fondly known as The Pig Trail, Highway 23 meanders through the Ozark National Forest.  It's known for its hairpin curves and canopy of trees that threaten to take it back to nature.  LBeau was prone to carsickness, so we always made sure he was driving when we took The Pig Trail.

Today I-540 from Alma has replaced Highway 71 and The Pig Trail as the most traveled route to Fayetteville.  It crosses a number of spectacular bridges and tunnels through a mountain before finally topping a hill where you get your first glimpse of the University of Arkansas campus spread out in front of you.  I get chills every time.

If you get a chance, you really should check out my favorite college town.  And if you want to see if your favorite college town made the Top 10, you can read the Forbes article HERE.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Seeing Red!!

It’s Rednesday over at It’s a Very Cherry World, and I’m participating for the very first time.  It’s really kind of hard to believe, since red (particularly cardinal red) is my most favorite color.

Lately I’ve been playing around with PhotoShop Elements, trying to teach myself some of the different photo editing tricks.  I’ll have to say that it’s been hit or miss, and I am not finding the help menu very “helpful.”  The instructions are defnintely not written for dummies.  But I have taught myself a few things.

One technique that I’ve always thought was cool was to turn all of a photo to black and white except for one element.  Here are a few I’ve been working on, along with the originals.

This first one is from our trip to London last fall.  Those of you who’ve been there will remember that these telephone booths are all over the place.  Here’s the original.

London 004

And the edited version.

London 1004

This next photo is one of the cable cars to Mt. Pilatus near Lucerne, Switzerland.  It was a foggy day and kind of eerie watching the cars emerge from the mist.  First the original.

991 Mt Pilatus 046

Then the edited version.

991 Mt Pilatus 046

Finally, my friend Glenda recently asked me to do a little editing on some of her daughter Anna’s wedding portraits.  This is the original, photographed on the bridge at the Japanese garden section of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.


Here’s the edited version.


For more of my favorite color, please visit It’s a Very Cherry World.  And if anyone knows where to find good tips on using PhotoShop or PhotoShop Elements, please let me know.