Journey 66: True Treasures

true treasures exterior

Today was such a gorgeous spring-like day, temps in the 60’s, abundant sunshine, signs of earth’s awakening everywhere. I journeyed to Arkansas to visit Greg’s dad. We chatted and enjoyed a late lunch together and Greg and I did a little laundry for Dad Moore while we visited. As we left, the day just called to us, and we headed east, no real destination in mind, no schedule, no appointments to take us back to Joplin yet.

true treasures entrance

As we drove the winding road, approaching Bentonville, AR, Greg suggested I google antique and junk shops, to see what was nearby. We both enjoy browsing through these treasure troves. It’s a type of scavenger hunt, where you don’t know what the item is that you are searching for, until it catches your eye and your attention. I located a number of such stores in the area. Yet the one that pulled me toward it was called, interestingly, True Treasures, located at 10770 Hwy 72 W, Bentonville.

true treasures booth 2

In a few moments, thanks to my phone’s GPS, we had arrived. I was intrigued immediately, just with what I could see grouped in the yard and on the porch of the inviting structure. As I opened the front door, I noticed the hours of operation. Saturday the shop closed at 5:00. The time was 5:05. I’ve worked in retail. I know how it felt when a customer walked in just as I was closing up. I hurried in to ask if they were indeed closing. The sales clerk VERY, VERY graciously invited us in to look. I had already seen enough, from my peek through the door, that I couldn’t resist that invitation!

true treasures booth 3

We moved quickly through True Treasures, exclaiming over interesting finds. The displays were so artfully and creatively arranged and there was a bit of everything there, from painted furniture, old doors and windows, and vintage linens, to collections of buttons, Scrabble tiles, and wooden blocks. Even the public restroom was adorable with items for sale sharing space with the toilet and sink.

true treasures buttons

Loved this big bowl of loose buttons!

True Treasures is the type of space that makes me smile, and that I normally would linger in for quite some time. Today, I didn’t linger. I was very conscious of keeping the sweet woman who invited us in, late. We will come back and visit another time. The merchandise changes daily, and I have no doubt I can find new treasures every time I stop by. Tonight, I spied almost immediately what I wanted to purchase on this trip. A pair of black and turquoise stools caught my eye. They are perfect for the island in my kitchen and loaded easily into the back seat of my car.

true treasures booth

What a beautiful store, aptly named, designed to delight and inspire. I’m so glad we stopped. And so grateful for the kindness of the young woman inside. It was the perfect adventure for this beautiful day. I’ll be back!

true treasures stools

Day 193: Bentonville Square

Bentonville Square e

After working this morning, I headed to Arkansas with Greg. We visited his dad first, enjoying a trip to Braum’s and a good chat. Time with Dad Moore is precious and we spent a lazy afternoon on the front porch, cooled by a summer breeze, watching the happenings of the neighborhood.

Greg’s cousin Pam lives in Bella Vista and right now, her sister, Greg’s other cousin Linda, is visiting from Illinois. We arranged to meet them in Bentonville, AR, in the town square, for a fun evening together. My first for today was to visit several interesting places on or near the square.

While waiting for the cousins to arrive, Greg and I sat in the park, in the center of Bentonville Square. With water splashing in the large fountain and trees to shade us, we spent a pleasant 15 minutes watching people stroll through the park. The flowers were in bloom and I was struck by the beauty of the park and also of the square itself. It was reminiscent of the square in Carthage, however, Bentonville has more green spaces. The park was a great place for people to gather throughout the evening.

Bentonville Square Flying Fish e

After Pam and Linda joined us, we walked to a restaurant just off the square, The Flying Fish. We arrived just ahead of a huge crowd! The interior was fun and casual. There was ample seating and after ordering, we found a booth in the corner. I sampled their catfish basket. The meal was excellent and conversation flowed easily back and forth. Linda made us laugh when, after admiring a basket of fried okra at another table, the friendly diners allowed her to sample their food!

After dinner it was time to explore the square. Bentonville is Walmart country. The retail giant began in this small town, when Sam Walton opened his first shop, a Ben Franklin store called Walton’s 5-10. There is a museum on the site of the original store. Although there are times I hate the thought of having to go to Walmart to shop, I wanted to take a peek. We walked through fairly quickly, however, I learned a lot about Sam Walton. Greg’s dad knew Sam. He always described him as a humble, genuine man. Sam had a dream of bringing the best American made products to families, at the best prices possible. His first Walmart opened in Rogers, AR, in 1962. His story is one of perseverance and innovation. And no matter what the feelings are toward this mega company, the Walmart Foundation does a great deal of good all around the world, including in my city of Joplin.

Bentonville Square Walton 5 and 10e

We continued our walk around the square and then veered off again to visit the 21c Museum Hotel. I have never heard of this franchise, and indeed, there are only three such properties thus far in the chain. This Louisville KY based combination of contemporary art museum and boutique hotel was launched in 2006 by a pair of philanthropists and art collectors. It is the only museum in the US dedicated to collecting and exhibiting contemporary art and the hotel has been voted in the top ten in the world and the number one hotel in the south. We wandered through the exhibits, looking at all manner of interesting art. The mascot of 21c Museum Hotel is a penguin. AR has a green one, being the natural state. This icon shows up everywhere. A kind worker took our picture with a large blue snail and a pink meerkat.

Bentonville Square 21C exterior e

Further down the block, we cooled off at the Ernest G. Lawrence Park splash pad. What a cheerful place. Kids darted among the sprays of water that shot randomly into the air. After watching for a few minutes, we discovered which fountains only bubbled up, rather than sprayed and kicking off our shoes, Pam, Linda and I ventured in. It was invigorating to get our feet wet and play for a moment.  Refreshed, we sat and watched the kids. Joplin has a splash pad at Parr Hill Park. I made a mental note to visit it as a first.

Bentonville Square splash pad e

Lastly, we strolled back through the square to The Spark Café located next to the Walton Museum. I learned that the asterisk looking symbol, associated with Walmart, is called Spark. The café is an old fashioned soda shop featuring ice cream, sodas, floats, sundaes and pie. It was a great place to end our evening together. I intended to only get a drink but succumbed to a slice of blueberry pie a la mode. Ah well. I got in a good walk this evening! And the pie was delicious.

We parted company back in the park in the center of the square. A man was singing with a karaoke machine while many people milled about. I loved the festive atmosphere. The evening reminded me of Joplin’s Third Thursdays, only this is a common occurrence in Bentonville. I think Joplin is on the right path, redeveloping the downtown area. I’d love to see this trend continue and the possibilities expanded. And I loved spending time with Pam and Linda. Greg and I enjoyed their company and I appreciated their willingness to experience firsts with me today. Pam gave me several great ideas for further firsts in this lovely state. Going beyond is showing me more of my own community and also expanding my adventures in other towns and states. I look forward to more trips of discovery  to Arkansas.

Bentonville Square 21C e

Day 132: Arkansas Firsts

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I had a change in plans today and headed to the Natural State, Arkansas. Greg’s dad lives in Decatur and Greg had not been able to reach him by phone. Being that his dad is 93 years old and only has a land line,  that was cause for concern. Thankfully, the phone line was malfunctioning and a call to the phone company resulted in the eventual correction of that problem. Greg and I were able to spend time with his dad, who wasn’t feeling well. Or as he put it, “Sometimes I think I’m getting old, and sometimes I know I am. Today, I feel old!” After a long and full life, he is feeling weary, at a very deep level. I’m surrounding him with love and light and gentle energy.

After leaving Decatur, I went in search of a first for the day! Greg’s cousin, Pam, and her husband, Jay, now live in Bella Vista, AR. I had not seen Pam for at least 13 years! And I had not met her husband. So while cruising toward Bella Vista, waiting for Pam to become available to meet, I spied with my little eyes….a garden center in Bentonville!

Some people can’t pass up a shoe store or drive past a Starbucks without stopping. For me, especially this time of year, this is true for garden centers. Bogle’s Garden City, located at 2105 S Walton Blvd in Bentonville, AR, was so fun to explore! With its attached greenhouses, it is much larger than it looks from the outside. I was searching for ornamental grasses, but I enjoyed wandering up and down the aisles and strolling down the pathways, looking at everything. I was impressed with the selection of plants, trees, shrubs and flowers, and I found the varieties of grasses that I was looking for! I want to spend time in Joplin this week, checking out our local garden centers, however, it was great to discover Bogle’s Garden City and know it is only a short distance away.

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Pam and Jay live in a lovely town right on the Arkansas/Missouri state line. It was great to see Pam again and meet Jay! We toured their beautiful home and stood on the back deck, as thunder rumbled overhead and the first fat raindrops began to fall, and discussed gardening and transforming backyards into sanctuaries. We left the house to visit the Mildred Cooper Memorial Chapel, but en route, the gentle rain became a torrential downpour, accompanied by lightning, thunder and briefly, small diameter hail. We scratched that first for today, and regrouped at Las Fajitas, a Mexican Grill, located at 42 Sugar Creek Center in Bella Vista. Another first, as this was a new restaurant for me.

We shared a great dinner and lively conversation as we caught up on each other’s lives and families and as I got to know Jay. I first met Pam and her sister and brothers years and years ago, when Greg and I were dating. Greg’s dad and Pam’s dad are brothers and the whole extended family used to gather for Christmas or a summer meal at Grandpa and Grandma Moore’s house on the creek in Noel, MO. We laughed over old stories and shared new ones. I always enjoyed being around Pam and her siblings and parents and I admired their obvious closeness as a family. It is amazing that we all have grown or nearly grown children and precious grandchildren now! Sitting there chatting over a cozy meal, it didn’t seem possible that so many years had passed. I don’t intend to let much time pass before getting together again. There are flea markets to explore in Bella Vista and the beautiful chapel to see.

I’m learning not to be concerned about finding firsts, but to relax into the experience, trusting that as my daily journey is unfolding, the first will be there, or as today proved, the firsts! Let the adventure continue….

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Jay and Pam