Last weekend, Trea and I had 6 miles to run, and we were in my tiny hometown of Stamps, Arkansas. This town is not impressive, and it has about 2,000 residents on a busy day. I had no idea how to run 6 miles through such a teeny hamlet, so we saw about every square inch of the place, zig-zagging up and down every block. Just as we were leaving my parents' house, Trea's iPod battery croaked, so I spent an hour giving him a tour of where I grew up, trying to keep him entertained.
|The downtown triangle. No, it isn't big enough to have a square.|
It's funny to try to give a "tour" of a place where you haven't lived in over a decade and where little happens. I blurted things out in short, breathless bursts as we ran, random snippets of fuzzy flashes from my childhood. "That's where my friend, Fabian, lived. He had a band." "That's where Aunt Lou lived. She kept every card and picture she ever got in her giant Bible."
The last time I toured this town on foot, I was too young to drive. Most of the things I remember aren't there anymore, but it's still good to go back and see what memories I've kept tucked away. Like the time I got in trouble for stealing a piece of gum at Hamilton's, a grocery store that closed down long ago and always smelled of fried chicken. Or how Miss Eva and Miss Betty at Petrey's would write down my purchases -- a Coke in a glass bottle and an orange sherbet push-up -- and send mom a bill at the end of the month. My grandmother's beautiful church, the softball field where we confirmed that I do not have hand/eye coordination, the band hall where I was forced to learn to play the recorder.
There are hardly any businesses left on our little downtown triangle, but Griffin's Pharmacy is still there -- where I used to play with my best friend and get Coke floats from her mom at the soda fountain. And thankfully, the Stamps Cafe is still going strong. After 6 windy, hilly miles, we were so happy to scarf down homemade burgers and fries. Their food is easily better than Red Robin, hands down.
|The Stamps Cafe wastes no energy on aesthetic appeal. It's all about the food!|