Archive for February, 2013

Stranded in Denver …

Old Friends …Image

Robert Browning wrote: ” come grow old along with me, the best is yet to be”.   How fitting for a group of guys taking a yearly trip to ski country for thirty four years.  No doubt this group looks  demonstratively more “mature” than thirty plus years ago but also let there be no doubt the joie de vivre persists, the enthusiasm, the energy and the bonds of friendship are stronger today than ever.

As in previous years this one was filled with time on the slopes, card games, relaxing happy hours and delectable gourmet meals prepared by three of our very own.

All was perfect … Perfect for four days and then email messages from airlines … Email messages indicating our flights had been cancelled because of heavy blizzard conditions in the Denver area.    So, as I write this blog entry, we sit in a hotel near the airport enjoying more time with friends but hoping ” stranded in Denver ” soon becomes a safe flight home to Little Rock and our families and friends in Arkansas.

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In 1865 Charles Ludwig Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) published a book entitled “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”.  In 2011 another Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland opened to the public in Bentonville, Arkansas … a small Northwest Arkansas city and home to the worlds largest retailer, Walmart.  

Yes, on November 11, 2011 ( 11-11-11 )  Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened and since that date more than a half a million visitors have toured this world class museum “free of charge”.


On January 29, 2013 Alice Walton was honored by the Arkansas State Parks, Tourism and Recreation Commission.  

Pictured below are members of the commission with Alice Walton shown holding the framed resolution thanking her for her monumental gift of Architecture and American Art to the citizens of Arkansas, the United States and the World.  Clearly everyone has heard of Walmart and in the years to come, thanks to the individual generosity of Alice Walton, the world will come to know Crystal Bridges as well.



Crystal Bridges features world class Architecture by Moshe Safdie plus world class American Art like Durand’s “Kindred Spirits” in a beautifully landscaped natural setting with walking trails, gardens and sculpture.  To walk along the creek or trail or leisurely stroll inside this unique museum is in fact a walk thru Alice’s Wonderland.

As a former Mayor with the instilled love of cities, I could hardly let the opportunity pass to have my picture in front of Kerry James Marshall’s “Our Town” … as much a statement about social issues as a masterful work of art. 



One final editorial suggestion and thought:

We are blessed to have this gift from Alice Walton.  Each Arkansan should definitely visit and experience the gift.  In addition, each Arkansas should write a personal note of Thanks to her at Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas … I hope you will do so.

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My First Visit to Albert Pike Forest and Campground:

One can hardly arrive today in this beautiful Ouachita Mountain setting along the Little Missouri River and not think about that tragic night in 2010.  It was a night when rain was predicted, maybe even flash flooding but not a surge that would raise the river level over 20 feet in just a couple of hours taking with it, campers, cars, cabins and costing 20 individuals  their lives.

My friend, Bryan and I had planned a backpacking trip to Albert Pike for some time … two weeks ago we made the trip, drove to Albert Pike, loaded our backpacks and headed downstream for a day of exploring and camping in this incredible wilderness area.  I must say there now is something “reverential” about being in this place … amidst all this natural beauty but also  “reverential” in a respectful way of remembering those who lost their lives that night. In a way this has become hallowed land.
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Side note … Who was Albert Pike?

I had to check this out.  Without spending a lot of time on it, suffice to say he was a significant Arkansas figure in the 1800’s.  He was a lawyer, a Confederate General, a poet, a Masonry Leader and newspaper owner/journalist.

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