Archive for the ‘Mayor Jim’ Category

In my previous post outlining the Bourbon trip with my sons and son in law, I mentioned that Maker’s Mark Distillery has a Ceiling of Glass crafted by world famous glass artisan, Dale Chihuly. My wife pointed out my egregious misspelling. So sorry, Mr. Dale Chihuly. In addition to correcting the spelling error, I have attached the below picture as photographed in the distillery vestibule.

Patti and I have been fans of Chihuly glass for years … can’t afford one of his works, but we can admire. We had the privilege of meeting and visiting with this fascination artist during the dedication and renaming of our Little Rock Airport to The Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport. Patti loves to recall his shoes … speckled with dots of color.

Little Rock has been host to a number of Chihuly Glass showings including the Clinton Presidential Library and the Arkansas Arts Center.

Mea Culpa again, Mr. Chihuly!!

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Some of my friends might consider me a “Scotch Snob”. Well, I will admit my preferred whisky is Scotch … especially, a good 12 year plus aged Highland Single Malt. So why are we pictured in front of the James B. Beam Distilling Company? Short answer, we discussed Scotland, weighed the expense, the time away and opted for a simpler, less expensive adventure just a few hundred miles from Little Rock

Actually, James Beam was our last visit and we did not do the full tour. However, we did enjoy a wonderful lunch overlooking the James Beam “Campus”. One should note, as well, DJ and I attempted to enjoy the flavor of the Halloween Weekend. Check out my Niki de Saint Phalle tie and DJ’s stunning conversation starter sport jacket.

Quick photo from the deck of James Beam restaurant. These huge buildings hold thousands of barrels of bourbon … aging and awaiting future distribution … and consumption! We found it interesting that the buildings are painted dark … the reason, fermentation causes mold coloration on the exterior surfaces. At least, that’s what we were told. Regardless, I found the contrast appealing,

Buffalo Trace was particularly interesting because of it’s history and 200 plus years of operation. Besides, one of the most famous bourbons in the world, Pappy Van Winkle, is distilled here. Unfortunately, it was not included in our tasting session.

  • The above photo represents only a sampling of the thousands of barrels.

DJ, Mark (now Maker Mark), Dad Jim, and Jeff. Pappy Van Winkle smoking a cigar while testing his finest.

Maker’s Mark visitor center above. I love the design of this building … like a piece of modern art amidst centuries of tradition and the pastoral Kentucky landscape.

Lux Row Distillers near Bardstown might have been my favorite. It’s newer in the world of Distillers and yet captures the spirit of “Spirits” … hospitality, variety and a “new age”. Above are the bourbons we tasted with the corresponding bottles and labels behind. Below is the Lux Row visitor center.

We had two nights in Louisville at the Embassy Suites downtown. The hotel was beautiful, the staff was friendly and accommodating, especially Front Desk Manager, Jillisa and a stroll downtown was a fine example of a city preserving its history and heart.

We had one night in Bardstown and fell in love with this authentic, energetic, historic town … great food, in the center of bourbon country and a tasty walk up bakery where a friendly young man bought our pastries.

As you can see, nature’s colors were vibrant … a perfect segue to the stained glass window at Maker’s Mark.

Stained glass window in Maker’s Mark entry vestibule by famed New Jersey-based stained glass artist, Neile Cooper. This and a Dale Chuly glass ceiling offer a special artistic lagniappe on this tour.

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Utah hiking October 2022

My good buddies, Bryan and Daryl, just returned from our annual hiking trip to National Parks. This time to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon, both located in Southern Utah.

We drove … almost 3000 miles round trip. That’s a long trip but with three drivers, it was comfortable. With the flexibility of having a car, we made side trips, detours on purpose and an overnight in Chinle, Arizona to visit Canyon de Chelly. The next day we stopped in Page, Az. to see the 710′ tall Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell where the water level is at one of the lowest since the dam opened in 1966. After a short hike to Horseshoe Bend we drove on to our base for the next four days, Kanab, Ut.

Below are a few picture of these amazing places. Of note, crowds are increasing … that’s good and bad. Just be prepared and try to go early.

Canyon de Chelly
Horseshoe Bend Page, Az.
The Narrows in Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Sand Caves Kanab, Ut.
90 Million Year Old Dinosaur Tracks

In closing, once again, I am so blessed to have good friends and we are all so blessed to be able to enjoy and share the freedoms and beauty of our incredible country … USA.

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Good food … Good Wine

It’s Fall and wild persimmons are dropping from the trees.

Yesterday, while on a short hike, I was transformed into a hunter gatherer foraging beneath a huge hardwood tree for beautiful, delicious and ripe Arkansas wild persimmons. After gathering several pounds, I headed home … whereupon, for the first time ever, I made Persimmon Walnut Bread. Thank goodness Patti was there to steer me away from serious mistakes. The above photo is the final product.

  • I’m certain there are less primitive ways to discard the seeds (four or five in each fruit) and recover the pulp … I chose rolling up my sleeves, squeezing one or more between my hands and fingers and extruding the slippery watermelon size seeds into a trash bag. I can attest this is messy, sticky work and that there will be more waste than edible pulp. Regardless, it’s been entertaining, educational and palatable … and a lot of work!
  • Maybe I will forget the work by next October. In the mean time, there’s another Persimmon nut cake in the oven. BIG SMILE! Happy Fall and Halloween!

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Arkansas to Oklahoma to Texas to New Mexico to Colorado and back home.


This little city in the Ozark Mountains is a frequent destination for Patti and me … I suspect I could go so far as to say it is our favorite Arkansas escape. Labor Day is reserved each year as an outing with another couple … Nancy and Steve.

I’ve covered Eureka Springs before featuring its uniqueness … the historic 1800s building, the healing springs, the Ghost tales in the Crescent Hotel and the countless serpentine streets, hills and “steps everywhere”. In this post I wish to draw your attention to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge … a 400 acre lifetime sanctuary for Big Cats and other abused wild animals. Founder, Tanya Smith and her family have dedicated their lives to the monumental task and financial challenge of caring for over 100 animals. Thanks to Walmart and Tyson’s Foods plus 100s of volunteers and thousands of visitors and donors, Turpentine Creek is one of the most successful and respected large animal refuges in the nation. Truly worth of a visit and possibly even an overnight stay in a cabin … complete with lion and tiger vocals. Check it out at: https://www.turpentinecreek.org

Birthday party for Lakota

Oklahoma … Roland and Shawnee

We both enjoy a few pulls of the slot machine handles so a short stop in Roland, Ok. and an overnight in Shawnee, Ok. broke the trip into shorter segments and thankfully didn’t break the travel bank. We had fun … won a little and lost a little. Patti is usually the lucky one.

Amarillo, Texas

This Interstate Highway spot on the map has become a regular for us … usually at Comfort suites where we have developed friendships with the smiling helpful staff. I even mentioned Teandra in a previous post … she’s still one of my heroes. Lots of restaurants, museums and natural attractions in the area … Napoli’s Italian downtown, Palo Duro Canyon and the Cadillac Ranch Sculpture Garden just West of town. Bring your spray paint can.

Palo Duro State Park

Las Vegas, New Mexico

I’ve written about Las Vegas, New Mexico before … especially our stop at the “Skillet Restaurant” … delicious, funky and artsy. Well this trip, we explored more and found a lot more that will keep us coming back on future trips. First of all, there are over 1000 buildings on the National Historic Register including a beautiful Catholic Church, “Our Lady of Sorrows”, The Plaza Hotel on the square, Montezuma Castle … now the United World College, the Dawn Light Sanctuary and our hotel, the Castaneda.

Hotel Castaneda … Our Hotel

I could write a book about Las Vegas, NM … it flows history. As an 1800s Railroad town it was not only a stop on a route but a destination and a settlement city. Patti and I loved our two nights at the incredible railroad hotel … Hotel Castaneda pictured above. This hotel, one of several built by Fred Harvey to serve rail travelers, opened in 1898. It was closed for many years and reopened after extensive restoration in 2019. Mr. Harvey created a hospitality industry, including the hiring and training of thousands of young women … THE HARVEY GIRLS … featured in a 1946 Judy Garland movie. There are now, even more reasons for Patti and I to pause in Las Vegas … plus, the Hotel Castaneda was a serendipitous find!

Westcliffe, Colorado

My buddy, Daryl and I discovered Westcliffe last year while on a hiking trip. I must say, this little town of 586 captured my fascination index … historic Main street, a couple of restaurants, a few retail and outdoor shops and a backdrop of the awe inspiring Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. Nothing notable about our two days here … but then, everything notable. It was relaxing, refreshing, energizing and “spiritual” … out here in the middle of God’s natural wonders.

One other thing … Westcliffe is a Dark Sky City. I was excited to do some night sky photography but, alas, Full Moon. Oh well, Arkansas has one Dark Sky designated site … Tyler Bend on the Buffalo National River.

Sangre de Cristo Mountains Afternoon storm

Westcliffe, Colorado Main Street
Sunset behind the Sangre de Cristo mountains

Silverthorne, Colorado on the Blue River … last stop before heading home.

We’ve stayed here on the Blue River several times in past years and it seems a bit like coming home. Silverthorne, Colorado is a great destination in Central Colorado … cool crisp temperatures, 32 degrees one morning, in the mountains over 9000′, near Breckenridge and Frisco and Vail, plenty of good food, outdoor activities and shopping … of course! The only negative this year … Aspen tree color change was later. We were tempted to stick around for another week or two. I’m not complaining. It was beautiful … see for yourself.

Picnic and hike
we also celebrated Patti’s Birthday … sans traditional candle and cake
Aspen color was a little late but we did see this near Fairplay, Co. as we headed home for Little Rock

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57 years and counting …

Just Married … 1965

Am I a lucky guy or what? Not only is Patti Murphy Dailey one of the sweetest, most loving and lovable people in the universe but one of the most beautiful. I thank God for these 57 years and I thank Patti for saying “YES” all those years ago.

Today, my post, will be more pictorial than commentary … more visual representation of Patti’s “movie star” beauty, “light up a room” smile and her “fun loving” authenticity.

apparently her 40th birthday
always the supportive wife
That captivating smile
Pretty Patti Playful
Naturally Beautiful
57 years of Family Blessings

In answer to the question … Am I a lucky guy? … I am both lucky and blessed. Thank you Patti and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MY LOVE. JIM

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Aaron and the author at Panera Bread in Little Rock, Arkansas

It’s been awhile since I’ve written one of my LOCAL HERO BLOGS … this one is very special!

If you are like me, you enjoy Panera Bread. You enjoy it for the good food, especially for the fresh baked bagels, mouth watering sugary iced cinnamon rolls and in-house brewed coffee. Generally speaking, that covers breakfast for me … moving on to lunch, I love the soups, the sandwiches and the occasional Margherita pizza. But, that’s not all … I love the ambiance, the refreshing art, the open seating and the interior architecture. But, most of all, I keep coming back to the Panera Bread on University Avenue in Little Rock because of the friendly staff … they make this place “feel like home” with their smiles and helpful attitudes. In a way, they are all my local heroes.

That said, there is one employee who always and I mean “always” has the biggest smile, the most spirited helpfulness and the most gracious manner. He is pictured above … his name is AARON. I don’t know his last name and that’s okay because, for all I know and based on the way he represents this store, his last name could be “Panera.” He treats his job and his customers as if he owns the company. Aaron completes that proverbial “customer experience” … Good food, good place and great service.

AARON, MR. AARON, MR AARON PANERA …. I am so honored to know you and to declare that you are truly one of the best of the best and … MY LOCAL HERO !!!

See you soon … at “your” Panera Bread Company

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So, what’s the big deal about the chronological number “80” as it relates to my birthday tomorrow? 80 is not such a big number anymore … 80 degree temperature in Little Rock today is a good low number; 80 MPH is getting to be a comfortable number on main highways; 80 dollar motel rooms are bargains. So what is the big deal about 80?

Well, I’m alive … A Big deal! I feel many years younger Big deal too. I am able to do the things I like to do … travel with Patti, hike National Parks with my buddies, Daryl, Bryan and JC and host the annual Charlie Brown Christmas Campout with DJ, Jeff, John, Eileen, Bryan, Daryl, JC and Renie … Big Deal to Charlie Brown and to me! Continue a 43 year, once a week, lunch tradition with friends Don, Bill, Loyd, Renie, Presley, Tim, Dudley, Bart and “John” … Unheard of Big deal! Walk the streets and steps of Eureka Springs each Labor Day with our super intellectual friends, Nancy and Steve … Cultural enrichment Big deal! Frequent pilgrimages to Branson plus shared family memories with Gwen and JC. Priceless Big deal! After work glass of wine with my soul brother, Bruce … LR Big deal! That I can still drive, get out for awhile, go to the office … thank you,Hank … yes, it is a Huge Deal! Be thankful for my two amazing sisters Kathy and Stephanie, their husbands Ray and Hank, our role model Parents, Ellen and Dalton, our Catholic Education and our instilled work ethic … Growing up Dailey big Deal!

But, The Biggest Big deal of All … My immediate Family: My wife,Patti, four children: Laura, Donna, DJ, Jeff, their spouses: Mark, John, Joy, Eileen. Our grandchildren Katherine, Ashley, Leslie, Michael, Ryn, Morgan … Superlative of superlatives Big, Big Deal!!

Above … one of the few times we can get Patti and I, Laura, Donna, DJ and Jeff plus Eileen, John, Mark, Joy … Ryn, Michael, Ashley, Leslie, Katherine, Morgan in one photo.

In the above photo … of note, My dad was in the Navy. Our son DJ served in the Navy as well. I was Army.

43 years of weekly lunch, annual ski trip or golf trip, countless martinis, fine dining and breakfast fruit salad. Most of all, a friendship bond unequaled. John, in white shirt is now in Heaven watching over us but still with us… Spiritual BIG DEAL!!

10 years of Charlie Brown Christmas Campout … We will do it again this year … another BIG DEAL!

Icould easily go on and on. I’ll merely say for now … I have been blessed to not only live for 80 short years but to have had the family and friends God blessed me with. I cannot imaging anything better. God willing, I look forward to a few more years doing more of what I have been doing. I also, look forward to more travels with the most wonderful wife of 57 years. I treasure my friends and family and thank you for the blessings with which you shower me each day. You are in my thoughts and prayers each and every day. Jim

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First Stop … Santa Fe.

Patti and I, once again, enjoyed a leisurely road trip with several memorable stops along the way to Buena Vista. More about that later.

We always relish a little pause in the State Capitol of New Mexico. There’s something new every time we visit Santa Fe. Of course, we had dinner in the historic La Fonda Hotel and made the obligatory rounds of the Plaza where, this time, there was an antique auto show. We spent most of our time at the fast growing Railyard Artisan Market. I love their mission … providing the local artisan community a venue where they can sell their products. Many of these artists might have little chance of displaying on the square or Canyon Rd … The Railyard is a perfect place to get introduced to the public. Looks like it’s working!

Next Stop … another favorite place of ours … Las Vegas, New Mexico.

This small city is fast becoming a player in the destination tourism business. We have been coming through Las Vegas for years … most times to pass thru or merely stop for the night. One time we stayed in the beautiful historic Plaza Hotel on the square and last year we serendipitously happened on the SKILLET RESTAURANT. The couple pictured below (photo credit santafe.com) is the owner/founder, Isaac and Shawna. There story is pretty amazing. For example,if you look carefully above the entryway of their building, you can see the giant 3 foot iron skillet that started it all. Isaac has his art/sculpture studio next door … his creativity is obvious … both inside and outside.. Besides, the food is good too … our burgers were as good or better than any we have eaten anywhere.

This little city is definitely a place to visit … history, retail, business, etc. etc. While you are there, don’t miss The Skittle!


8000′ elevation, citizen population 3000, daytime population probably at least double that … most importantly … LOCATION … Roaring Arkansas River on the East side and 14.000′ Collegiate Peaks on the West side. For spellbinding beauty and thrilling outdoor recreation, there’s not a place in Colorado any better. And now, in addition to all these natural features, Buena Vista has become a city reinventing itself with new and modern housing, an entire South Main river community development, coffee bars, every day and fine dining restaurants, etc. Next time we will stay longer.

I think we’ve had a love affair with Buena Vista for years but based on short visits in the past. This time we had four days allowing us plenty of time to relax, explore and experience that “At Home” feeing in this beautiful community. Oh … did I mention … the morning temps ranged all the way from 40-44 degrees.

Not a bad City Park
Crave … our favorite restaurant in BV

I’ll finish up by saying this was another beautiful time for Patti and me to rest and enjoy time together. Our focus was Buena Vista. However, we did make it to Salida for lunch on the river and then Sopaipillas in Leadville at Casa Blanca … once again open Post Covid. We always learn something interesting while driving thru small towns … Did you know that Syracuse, Kansas in 1887 became the first city in the USA to have an ALL-FEMALE city council? The things you learn on the Blue Highways!

Check out the slide show below as well. SAFE TRAVELS! Jimd

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Loyola Followup …

In my last blog posting I wrote about a visit to New Orleans Loyola University Campus where I attended my first two years of College. What I failed to mention, or had forgotten or possibly never knew was the significance of the name to me personally. Obviously it had meaning because I went to school there. More than that is my connection to its root history … accidentally stumbled on yesterday. I was looking at my photo of the main building and a question popped into my head … Was there a Saint Loyola? A quick google search reminded me that there was not a Saint Loyola, but there is a Saint Ignatius of Loyola. He was one of the founders of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Priest Oder) and became the first Superior General of the Society in 1541. And, on top of that, his feast day is July 31 … my birthday. Talk about synchronicity … or, is it more than that?

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, SJ

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