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august 2011


Marcus Coker Catherine Frederick Laura Hobbs Todd Whetstine


Jeromy Price


David Jamell


Read Chair Publishing, LLC




Dan Baker Marla Cantrell Marcus Coker Catherine Frederick Laura Hobbs Jim Martin Tonya McCoy Anita Paddock Clara Jane Rubarth Jonah Weissman Todd Whetstine



Marla Cantrell

Dreams of My Father The Dream Lives On The Ten Year Trip Urban Gardener

16 20 22

Where Were You When I Was Blue Now Hear This Urban Reader



Catherine Frederick

7 8 12 14

24 28 32 34

Come Morning It Took New York Urban Sprawl Nothing to Lose



38 40

Garden Parmesan The Mature Frozen Mocha



42 46

Riveted The King of Rivers

Effron White

Advertising and Distribution Information

Catherine Frederick at 479 / 782 / 1500 Editorial or Artwork Information

Marla Cantrell at 479 / 831 / 9116 Š2011 Read Chair Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. The opinions contained in @Urban are exclusively those of the writers and do not represent those of Read Chair Publishing, LLC. as a whole or its affiliates. Any correspondence to @Urban or Read Chair Publishing, LLC., including photography becomes the property of Read Chair Publishing, LLC. @Urban reserves the right to edit content and images.



hen the temperatures hit 107 degrees, hubby and I gave up and headed to the hardware store for an irrigation system for our poor yard. As we were attaching spray heads to tubing I thought back to the torrential rains of spring and then to the snow and ice of winter. Our changing weather may be challenging, but it’s also full of variety and more than a few wonderful surprises. I wouldn’t want to live in a place where the weather never changed. I wouldn’t want to live where snow wasn’t possible, or where the skies didn’t fill with clouds so dark that noon looks more like evening. It’s good to love where you live. It’s also good to love what you do. I can’t think of anything better than working with the wonderfully talented people who make @Urban possible. I wish you could see the excitement generated when we discover the right story, snap the perfect images to go with it, and then pull it all together. It doesn’t get much better than that. In this month’s issue, we searched for stories that showcased people doing exactly what they love. @Urban writer Clara Jane Rubarth teamed up with her grandson for a trip to Costa Rica. A couple originally from Fort Smith is returning home to marry after meeting and falling in love under the bright lights of New York City. A young filmmaker and screenwriter will make the movie of his dreams right here in Arkansas. And a woman whose life is a series of remarkable events is taking us far below the streets of Tulsa for a look at a world occupied by some of the richest and most powerful men in our nation’s history. Want more? Food writer Laura Hobbs shares another incredible recipe, using vegetables straight from the garden. We’ll give you a great read, another fine album, a river fit for kings, and we’ll look ahead to fall planting season, when the heat of August will be just another sunburned memory. So find yourself some A/C, flip through these pages, and step into the lives of these incredible, resilient people who are living the dream. My dream right now? Highs in the 80s, lows in the 40s. A girl can dream, can’t she?

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In the shadow of an electric palm in the dim lit Havana bar, the old Jazzman tilts at a Grand piano. A shaft of sunlight pierces the darkness, and warms his fingers, where they rest upon worn ivory keys.

His eyes trace the sunlight, connecting him to a dazzling tropical sky. In the moment, he begins to play. He becomes the music. He becomes the light.

@lines Dan Baker



ebecca Buchanan works in an impressive old building in Winslow. Three stories high, solid wood floors, native

stone, wide windows. Inside an oscillating fan turns its metal head again and again, like a spectator at a tennis match. It’s a hard building to cool – there’s no insulation - and Rebecca thanks her lucky stars it’s in the mountains, where it never gets quite as hot as the nearby cities.

It’s good that she’s happy here. Rebecca, the director of the Ozark Folkways, spends six days a week running the place. This summer, the building filled with children who gathered to take classes in everything from playing the fiddle to stone masonry. “We have a seventy-one-year old mason who’s helping the kids build two steps, a planter, and maybe a barbeque,” Rebecca says. “Those old traditions are so important,” Rebecca says. “This area is just filled with artists and craftsmen. I think part of the reason is that this area was pretty impoverished back when the founder, Clara Margaret Muxen, came through in the 1940s. She saw the need for a place like this, where women could gather, where children could take lessons. She wanted a craft school to help the people here find a way to make money by doing things like quilting and wood carving, all those native skills that people turn to when they have to make do with what they have.” It’s impossible to tell Rebecca’s story without deferring to Clara. Since Rebecca took over in December, 2009, she’s been researching the center’s founder, trying to define what it was she


envisioned when she stopped here on her way to Hot Springs

And then Clara got sick. She turned again to the church. The

from Iowa, some time between 1942 and 1946. “I was pulled

nuns took care of her until she died and she left the property,

into the story immediately. It’s been a challenge to piece the

which is just about ten acres, to them. That was in 1966.

story together. I do have a few letters from her. I know she was once a nun in the Catholic Church. At one point she contracted tuberculosis. Her family had a bit of money and they offered to send her to Switzerland to recover if she would leave the convent. The sisters couldn’t afford to do that.” Rebecca can only speculate why Clara’s family wanted her to leave. What she does know is that once back, Clara continued to work in the church as a layperson, and taught school. She never married. Her dream was a crafts school, and when she stepped from her car and looked out over the majesty of the mountains, she knew she’d found the right place. Soon after, she used her talents of persuasion to buy four lots from Fort Smith businessmen, who used the land as a weekend retreat. “They sold it to her for a lot less than what it was worth,” Rebecca says. Rebecca feels a kind of kinship with Clara. She understands Clara spent twenty years fighting for the Craft School of the

how much she loved this place, how many hours she spent

Ozarks. She drew the blueprints that included an elevator,

raising money. “She had connections across the country and

poured the concrete for the front porch by herself, and gleaned

she reached out to those people for donations.” She also feels

old barns for wood. “You take these walls down to the bare

a responsibility to Clara to finally finish the school. “This woman

bones and you’ll see green boards, barn wood. It looks like she

saw an elevator going to the third floor, back in the forties, in

was struggling to get this place finished.”

this tiny place in Arkansas. Can you imagine?” Rebecca asks. “So I don’t think my dream of finishing it in my lifetime is

It didn’t happen. The second and third floors were never completed.

much of a stretch. We’re a 501C-3 non-profit. Arkansas has so

The elevator is still just a dream. The school had taken all her

many philanthropists. You just have to find the right person,

money, and she’d donated part of the original plot for the Catholic

someone who’s interested in Miss Muxen’s legacy. I think if I

church next door. “She was able to walk from her house to Mass. I

had $2 million to finish the building, with all the help we get

think that must have been very important to her.”

from our great volunteers we could get a lot of the labor done.



mountain. We could also do music performances.

Put another million in an endowment and we could go ten to twenty years just off the interest.”

“So when this great lady asked me about a grant, I said, ‘Well, you When she talks about the future, she lights up. Already, she’s

know, I was thinking about some harps that cost about $1000.’

brought in a trove of talented artists and craftsmen to sell their

She said, ‘If you do a fundraiser, we can give you up to $2,500

work in the gift shop. There’s jewelry, sculpture, pottery, and

in matching grants.’ So I said, ‘How about a stage and a music

paintings. A yoga studio operates upstairs, something that seems

program?’ and she said, ‘Well, sure.’ And so we had a fundraiser.

incredible in this town of less than 400. There are weavers here, quilters who sell their work, and a gallery in the back that features

Rebecca, who’s a poet, a photographer and an artist, believes if

a new artist each month. “We recently had schoolchildren display

you ask, you’ll receive. “The universe works that way. You pray,

their work and on the opening night a seven-year-old boy not

put the word out, and if it’s right it will happen.”

only sold his work, but got commissions for more.” Her philosophy appears to be a sound one. “I do feel like I’ve Ozark Folkways is gathering speed. There have been students

been called to do this. I’ve been writing articles for a local

come from as far away as Texas to take classes here. A woman

paper about Miss Muxen. I do feel close to her. I know what

from Hog Eye comes in to teach basket weaving. There are

she wanted to do here. Sometimes people will ask if I think her

volunteers who believe in the center as much as Rebecca does.

spirit is here – we’ve had some strange things happen upstairs

“It’s always seemed to me that when I’m in the right place, the

in the unfinished areas – and I don’t know for sure. I do feel her

right things happen. When they don’t, I start to pay attention.”

presence, like she knows what I’m doing here.”

And she’s learning not to think small. “I looked out one day

It’s a comforting thought, that the woman who gave everything

and there was a woman getting out of her car with a bouquet of

she had to help people she’d never met before would be

flowers. She came inside and asked for the former director and

watching over Rebecca, more than sixty-five years later, seeing

I told her she’d retired – she was eighty and moved to Arizona

how careful she is with the building, how industrious she

to be with her boyfriend – and the woman said, ‘Well then, I

is at trying to raise the money to finish it. “I only have one

guess these are for you.’ So I took the flowers. She was from

photographer of Miss Muxen. She’s a tall woman, stooped over

Woodmen of the World and she asked if I needed a grant.

a little – maybe she had arthritis. I like knowing what she looked like. I like the idea that I can carry on what she started, that this

“Just before that I’d been talking to a lady who teaches harp and

place can still make a difference for the people here. And I do

we were trying to come up with a way to raise $1,000 to buy

believe I will see it all come together in my lifetime.”

two for a children’s class here. I was also talking to our yoga For more information log on to

instructor and I told her I thought it would be great to build a stage on the property where she could literally do yoga on the


the ten year trip

one family’s tradition

@story and images Clara Jane Rubarth & Jonah Weissman

{ Clara Jane }

The Plan developed, then, for intentional trips with “Gamma.” The


way, I would record a log of events – where and when – and the

grandchild envisions a trip to create a lifetime memory. Along the

remember my grandparents from the dim, sepia-toned past. Stories told around a kerosene lamp, its light leaving dark

corners beyond the table where we sat after supper. Family picnics on Sunday afternoons in the summertime. The rustle of the silver maples, the joy of abundant food spread before us at eye level. Sparklers at dusk, the tree bugs in chorus competing with the buzz of adult conversation.

grandchild would keep a journal. The trip would be scheduled no earlier than the child’s tenth birthday, with the understanding that lifetime memories could be framed at that age. A parent, if not both, would also come along, for comfort, for balance. At the close of the trip, the grandchild would “report” in some way to share and commemorate the event. This, then, was The Plan. Randy was first. He wanted to follow

And stories, always stories.

the Mississippi River so his mother and I drove with him to Itasca, Minnesota, where we camped beside the lake and walked across

How can I replicate these memories for my far-flung

the nascent river on stepping stones. Locks at Saint Paul. Mark

grandchildren? How can two trips a year replace the regularity of Sundays together, feeling comfortable at grandma’s knee? How can I provide the murmur of her voice and the echo of subdued laughter, the chorus of voices around the pump organ by candle

Twain Days at Hannibal. A short river boat cruise, then the Arch at Saint Louis. Mud Island at Memphis, where Old Man River becomes really impressive. New Orleans completed the Journey. The school newspaper printed the story the following school year.

light late in the evening? No way, of course.



Kate was next. She chose “Shopping!” so we went to Chicago

only blond patches. There were only three in Costa Rica. Then

and stayed in an elegant hotel on the Magnificent Mile, had tea

one died and the other one moved to Nicaragua. We went on a

with a doll at the American Girl store and enjoyed a ballet. Kate,

crocodile river cruise. The boat driver, Carlos, stood in the river

along with her historic doll, dressed in colonial costumes and

up to his knees and fed a wild crocodile chicken from his hands.

performed an adventure tale for her classmates.

Carlos didn’t even flinch when the crocodile lunged out to get the chicken that he was still holding.

Liam, the following year wanted Revolutionary War reenactments, so his parents and I drove with him to Toronto and

We went to Volcano Arenal. It erupted enough for us to see

followed a series of re-enactments down past Lake Champlain

smoke. We couldn’t get close to it because of the poisonous

and into New Jersey. A technical wizard from early grade school,

gases. The hot springs at the volcano were very fun too. The

Liam posted his story on the school website.

temperatures in the hot springs ranged from 102 to over 150 degrees Fahrenheit. We went to the hanging bridges. They were

Alanna and her mother went with me to southwestern France and

metal suspension bridges over the rainforest. We saw tarantulas

then on the Pilgrimage of San Diego de Compostela in northern

in their holes and we saw armadillo holes. I enjoyed seeing the

Spain. Again, vivid accounts, taken from her travelogue, were

jungle from above.

shared with schoolmates. We went into Nicaragua on the river but we didn’t get a stamp in This year, Jonah, fifth of the nine grandchildren, decided on an eco-

our passports, which was annoying. There wasn’t even a border

tour to Costa Rica for his adventure – but I’ll let him tell the story.

patrol. The sign said “Bienvenidos a Nicaragua.” We learned a lot from our tour director, Fausto, on many subjects.

{ Jonah }

This experience has helped me get to know my grandmother


y ten-year trip was amazing and fun. We did many

better. I realize that we share many of the same interests such as

interesting things like go to coffee, banana and pineapple

nature. I’m glad that she had the idea of taking a trip together.

plantations. I bought a chess set as a souvenir. It had the

{ Clara Jane }

conquistadors versus the indigenous people. The conquistadors have horses for knights; the indigenous people have llamas. I thought it was funny.

Four more grandsons have trips to plan, adventures to enjoy. The youngest is soon to be five and I’m looking forward to wonderful

Costa Rica is really cool and beautiful. There is a lot of wildlife

new places, more bonding experiences with grandchildren, and

there. We saw a green turtle laying her eggs in the sand at

many, many more memories, and stories. Always stories.

Tortuguero National Park. They can weigh up to 700 pounds. We saw a blond howler monkey. It is a mutation. Others have



delicious bounty. Harvest early in the day for best flavor and use caution if you use fertilizer or pesticides. Make sure the soil is moist and avoid pesticides if possible. If you must use them, spray early in the day after you water. As with any gardening season, it all starts with the soil. The first step in planting your fall garden is to get your soil in order. Vegetables planted in the spring have been depleting the soil of its rich nutrients so now is the time to add new organic matter and a quickdraining soil. A good mixing ratio is three inches of the new organic matter in the top six inches of your existing soil. Remove any weeds and old or decayed plant materials. You can also add a good starter fertilizer to the top two inches of soil. Timing your planting date is important. In our region, ideal

fall for gardening

planting dates for fall crops are generally five to ten weeks

@story Catherine Frederick

before the first fall frost (typically in mid October). Long-season


ugust is upon us and so is the heat and humidity - neither

vegetables (cucumbers, squash, beans, peppers, tomatoes,

is a favorite among gardeners. Our comfort zone is near

onions, eggplants) can take up to three months to mature so

the A/C, but your garden needs you. Water is crucial, and bugs

it’s best to plant them three months prior to the first scheduled

and disease are at their peak. It’s best to water early in the day

frost date. Short-season vegetables (spinach, carrots, lettuce,

so the moisture gets down in the soil before your plants are

broccoli, radishes, turnips, beets) mature more quickly and

bombarded by the heat. Do your best to keep the leaves dry to

should be planted two months before the first frost.

cut down on disease. Extend your harvest by planting again in the fall. For our region, With the intense heat, it’s hard to believe it’s already time to

cool-season plants such as lettuce, broccoli, spinach, beets,

start to plan and plant your autumn vegetable garden. Fall

Swiss chard, turnips, and Southern greens can be planted in

gardening can be a challenge due to our hot, dry weather – and

September as they are frost hardy and will survive into winter

there are still pesky bugs waiting to launch an attack. Keep a

for a delectable winter vegetable harvest.

close watch so you catch problems quickly. Spend a little time Want to build a fall garden table? Don’t miss our September issue!

mulching now to keep water in and weeds out. If your garden has been watered and maintained, you are experiencing a


tom ware

want to,” he says. “There were other things that were more

@story Jim Martin @image Courtesy Tom Ware

interesting to a seven year old boy. Like playing outside.” He did stick with it though, his older brothers being his biggest musical influence. “They both played guitar in local bands,” he says.


hoever coined the phrase, “jack of all trades,” could have been referring to Fort Smith’s Tom Ware. Singer,

He was ten years old when he picked up the guitar as a defiant

songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and soundman

reaction to the piano lessons. “It’s hard to carry a piano,” he

extraordinaire, Tom is not only the consummate musician, but

says. “Plus, it looked cooler.” Influenced by groups like the

one of the friendliest guys you’ll ever meet.

Beach Boys and the Beatles, he was writing songs as well. “I can’t remember ever not making up songs,” he says. “In fact, I

Growing up in Denver, Tom began his musical journey at age

think one reason I became interested in playing was to be able

seven when his mother insisted he take piano lessons. “I didn’t

to accompany myself on my original tunes.” He became fluent



on the guitar, learning the magic doesn’t necessarily lie in what

Schaffer, beginning a musical partnership that lasts to this day.

you play, but in what you don’t play.

“There was an instant connection between Lacey and me. From that point until just recently, she has been involved in every musical venture I’ve undertaken.”

Tom had just turned fourteen when the family moved to Fort Smith. Despite his obvious talent, he opted not to play in the school band. Marching music was just not for him. With an

Joining with Bajer was a no-brainer for the young musician.

interest in bluegrass, he started on the fiddle at age sixteen.

They were an established band with real paying gigs already

“My friends were into Led Zeppelin,” he says, smiling. “I was

lined up. His next project wasn’t so sure, with him and Lacey

into the Earl Scruggs Review.”

venturing out on their own to front Tommy Lift and the Tailgates. “That was our attempt to play some blues and roots music,” Tom says.

His first band, formed in 1971, was called “Reefer,” slang for a marijuana cigarette. “We played junior high dances. They let us hang posters with our band’s name and everything,” he

Though not as well known as other bands on the local scene, it

says. “I don’t know if they just didn’t get it or what.” They also

did lead to the pair being recruited by Bill White And Friends,

played a political rally for David Pryor (former state senator, U.S.

the house band at Club Faux Pas. “We played six nights a week,”

Congressman and governor), another gig that, when he talks

he says. “Getting tight. Learning to play with one another.”

about it now, he can’t help but shrug his shoulders and smile.

Guided by their manager, the band took another house gig downtown, making a few personnel changes in search of the

Graduating high school, he started classes at Westark, working

perfect combination of musicians. By the time they started

toward an electronics degree. He took a job repairing stereos,

playing Country Land in Springdale, they’d changed the name

amplifiers, and such. It was around this time he was hired

of the band to Razorback.

to build a recording studio, introducing him to a whole new world of production and sound. Having mastered the mandolin

“Our manager had connections in the music business,”

and ukulele, he worked with Mountain Wind, an acoustic

says Tom. “He hooked us up with Peter Sullivan.” As a staff

band specializing in country and bluegrass. In 1979, he was

producer at Decca Records in England, Sullivan had produced

commissioned to build EBS, Eternal Boogie Studios. It was one

hits for several recording artists. With Tom already holding an

of the first fully-equipped recording studios in Fort Smith.

interest in the production side of the music, Sullivan became a quick influence, teaching him the art of the studio. “I had the

In 1980, Tom started with well-known local band Bajer, bringing

pleasure of co-producing some pieces with him later,” Tom says,

about two milestones in his life. First, he met Jimmy Atchison.

as though he still can‘t believe it. “He actually listened to my

“I learned a lot from Jimmy,” he says. “Until then, I was mostly

suggestions. That‘s when I became really interested in the way

an acoustic player. I learned a lot of the tricks used by electric

things should sound.”

players from Jimmy.” And second, he met his best friend Lacey



After shopping the demo recordings around, Razorback landed

Arkansas River.” A friend who owned a boat decided they could

a contract with Mercury Records releasing six singles, all making

save the money by inviting a number of folks on his boat, then

the Billboard Hot 100, with one, “Where Were You When I Was

float along beside the riverboat enjoying the music for free.

Blue,” co-written by Tom, reaching the top 50. One of the

Tom almost didn’t go, but at the very last minute decided he

highlights of his time with the group is when they appeared on

would. Racing to the dock, he arrived late, having to jump onto

Ralph Emery’s TV show, “Nashville Now.” “I mentioned local bar,

the boat as it was leaving. Libby was one of the other guests.

Old Town, on national TV,” he says, smiling. “From that point on,

Married in 1997, they’ve been together ever since.

the owner bought me a beer every time I went in.” With a growing interest in the production side of the music After touring Europe, Asia, and other points worldwide for Mercury

business, Tom began looking into a studio of his own. Partners in

Records and recording several complete albums for the label none

the venture with George Hughen, bassist for Grey Ghost, Fat Rabbit

of which saw the light of day, they began to feel like outcasts on

Recording Studios of Van Buren opened its doors in 1995.

their own turf. The executives behind signing the group left the company about six months into the deal. The new regime didn’t

Throughout the years, Tom has managed to stick with the music

show much interest in them beyond suggesting they change their

business, becoming a local legend in the process. You can

name. Feeling Razorback was too regional, the band became Grey

find him behind the sound board at various local productions,

Ghost, killing what little following they had already built, leading

including the Riverfront Blues Fest. He also serves as production

the group to be dropped by Mercury altogether.

manager at Second Street Live. He still writes, and you can catch him and son, Anthony, playing original tunes every Wednesday

Without label backing, Tom began to steer the band in more of a

night, from 7:00 to 11:00, for “Ware Wednesdays” at Old Town,

rock direction. They tried to get signed as a rock band, pitching

on Garrison Avenue. You can also hear him at the Saturday

several demos around the Los Angeles music scene. They had

morning Farmer’s Market in downtown Fort Smith, playing with

the opportunities to make a video and to record their first real

his most recently formed band, Blue Fiddle. “Over time, I’ve

album, though nothing came of either. After playing local gigs

learned to keep ‘music,’ and the ‘music business’ separated.

for a while, the band just kind of drifted apart. “We still get

The ‘business’ is my job, the ‘music,’ I do because I love it.”

together now and again,” Tom says. “I’m not sure we ever really “I feel that I’ve had a successful career in music,” he says. “I’ve

officially broke up.”

gone everywhere I wanted to, done everything I’ve dreamed. It was in 1994 that he met a truly amazing woman named Libby.

Sure, I could have been famous, but then, I might not have had

“They used to have the Blues Cruise,” Tom says. “They would

the opportunity to enjoy it the way I have.”

take one of the bands performing at the Blues Fest, set them up on the riverboat leaving out of Van Buren at the time, then sell tickets. Thirty bucks for a meal, music, and a cruise on the



opening notes of the title track to the closing acoustic “When I Finally Let You Go,” this collection manages to retain that vintage Foster and Lloyd sound, also seeming fresh and new. The duo co-wrote all tracks while also co-producing the set. Backing musicians consist of drummer Keith Brogdon along with Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick on bass. Guests include singer/ songwriter Beth Neilsen Chapman and Garry Tallent from the

now hear this

famed E Street Band.

foster and lloyd — “it’s already tomorrow”

High points are obvious: the return of the incredible Foster and

@review Jim Martin


Lloyd harmonies, the masterful songwriting, and the distinctive

hen Radney Foster and Bill Lloyd entered the music

guitar-laden sound. Notable tracks include the title track, the

scene in 1985, they were staff songwriters for the

heartfelt “If It Hadn’t Been For You,” and the clever “Picasso’s

MTM Publishing firm. It was the distinctive sound on their

Mandolin” featuring a signature solo from Sam Bush, the Picasso

demos, a combination of precise harmony vocals, guitar-heavy

of mandolin himself.

production, and clever lyrics that led to a recording contract with RCA and to the release of their chart-topping single, “Crazy

There aren’t many low points. Track ten, “Don’t Throw It Away,”

Over You,” winning over both fans and critics.

can only be described as a nod to the late sixties psychedelic era and seems a bit out of place. But that’s a small complaint

After releasing three albums for RCA, touring the world, and

toward an otherwise classic set.

earning several awards nominations, the pair split in 1990 with Bill becoming a studio musician and Radney starting a

Filled with lyrical twists and gripping guitar histrionics, the

solo career. It wasn’t until a request from the Americana Music

thing that stands out most about this set is the sense of fun

Association came through that the two agreed to share a stage

and freedom. It was an opportunity for two old friends to get

for the first time in twenty years. With the gig proving a success,

together and do what they do best unbound by radio formats,

they began meeting for monthly writing sessions. Happy with

rules of the present Nashville hierarchy, or pressure to stay

the results, they headed back to the studio with one goal in

within the lines of any set genre.

mind, this time they wouldn’t be held back by the restraints normally put on today’s recording artists. This time, they were

This isn’t country, and it isn’t rock and roll, but it is definitely

working to please themselves.

something you need to hear.

“It’s Already Tomorrow,” the outcome of those sessions, is one

I Rate It

of the best sounding roots records released in years. From the


The novel is written by an English woman who says she grew up hearing war stories told by relatives. Often sent to her room when the stories grew violent or sad or sexual, she says she was left to imagine what happened in the stories she wasn’t allowed to hear. Perhaps this novel came from a snippet of a conversation she heard. Janus and Sylvana live in Warsaw, Poland, with their young son, Aurek. The Germans are threatening to invade Poland, so Janus joins the Polish army and sends his wife and child to live with his parents. Before they can leave Poland, she’s assaulted by a German soldier, and they flee the city, joining other evacuees, searching for safety. She never finds her inlaws, instead has to hide out in the forests of Poland without shelter, food, and warm clothing. She and her son live like animals, making homes in trees, eating bark from birch trees, and catching birds and rabbits and rats to eat. Meanwhile, Janus’s troop train is bombed by the Luftwaffe and he becomes separated from his unit. Injured and afraid, he takes off walking in hopes of finding his fellow soldiers. He pals up with others hiding from the Germans, and he eventually escapes to France with the help of the Polish resistance. From there, he gets to England and joins the RAF.

22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson, Viking Penguin 320 pages

When the war is over, Winston Churchill decreed that Polish troops could have citizenship and freedom in the British

@review Anita Paddock


Empire. Janus decides to stay in England because he can’t

can’t remember a nicer Fourth of July weekend than the

return to Poland, which is now under Communist rule. He

one I spent with an excellent book, “22 Britannia Road”.

wants to become a proper Englishman so he studies the

I finished it in three days’ time, and I was sad when it was

language and gets a job in a factory. On Britannia, a street

over. For me, it’s like winning the lottery when I discover a

that has been bombed, he finds a cottage among the rubble.

book I really love.



He fixes it up as best he can with used furniture and paint he

poignant and full of promise. It will make you shudder at the

gets with government vouchers.

inhumanity of war, and marvel at the will to survive.

He searches for his wife and child with the help of the Red Cross and finds them in a British refugee camp. He sends for them to Fort Smithians Ursula and Andrew Kasprowicz grew up

come to England.

in the beautiful city of Krakow, Poland, where they were Janus greets his wife and son at Victoria Station. He doesn’t

sweethearts. After Andrew immigrated to Canada, Ursula

recognize her at first. Her long red hair has been shaved to get

joined him in Toronto where they were married. Two

rid of lice, and the hair growing back is gray. She wears a red

sons were born, and they explored their new country

scarf, and her son hangs on to her like a monkey. He doesn’t

and hosted visits from their Polish families. Their lives

talk but jabbers in a bird-like talk.

changed again when Andrew’s company transferred him to, as Ursula says, “the small city on the western border of ‘The Nature State,’ Arkansas.”

When he takes them home to Britannia Road, he gives her a key to unlock the door to the first home she has known in six years. The boy doesn’t want to be separated from his mother, and he

“It was so hard for me to leave our friends behind again,

thinks of his father as “the enemy.”

but we’ve been here sixteen years now, and it’s all worked out,” Ursula says. One son graduated from the University

In an effort to turn the Polish family into a true English

of Arkansas in Fayetteville and now lives in New York City.

family, Janus plants a garden in their back yard. He plants

The other son continues his education in Little Rock.

chrysanthemums and holly bushes, daisies and dahlias. In the vegetable plot are carrots and onions and potatoes.

As a child in Poland, her favorite books were Beatrix

And above the garden, he builds his son a tree house with

Potter’s. She is currently reading “Narrow Dog to

a rope pulley.

Carcassonne” by Terry Darlington.

The novel is told in chapters that tell the story, not in chronological

One of Ursula’s favorite magazines is “Victoria,” and it’s not

order, of the terrors both the husband and wife endured in order

hard to understand why. She is a talented decorator, painter,

to survive. Each harbors secrets that eventually come out, and

and gardener. I own several beautiful teapots she has

each wonders if their marriage can survive.

painted, and each December, my Christmas tree sparkles with her hand painted ornaments. My granddaughter, Sarah,

This is a story of a family who, despite unbelievable hardships,

was the recipient of a little tea set for her first Christmas,

live through a war that takes their country away from them

and one of her first words to proudly say was “Ursula” each

and transplants them into another culture. It’s powerful and

time she poured me a cup of tea.



ten-year-old boy, simply known as ‘D,’ grabs his .410 gauge shotgun and cocks it. The boy points his rifle

@story Tonya McCoy

and a single shot cracks like a bolt of lightning. He and his hunting buddy, his grandfather, Frank, walk through the woods of Kingsland, Arkansas, toward their prey.


They see something lying in the nearby tall grass, but it’s not a

his real fascination was with the arts. He began taking piano

deer. “Is that Mr. Mitchell?” says D.

lessons when he was six and danced all through high school. He discovered photography at age nine when his parents bought

This chilling YouTube video promotes Derrick Sims’ upcoming

a VHS camera to record home movies. Derrick had other plans.

film “Come Morning” which is receiving tons of online buzz.

He built up enough courage to sneak it out of his parents’ closet

Thousands of the $45,000 already raised to make the film

one day and a filmmaker was born.

comes from Facebook fan donations and the fundraising website Derrick, who lives in Los Angeles,

He started making movies with an unlikely star. “I had this

will return to his hometown of Kingsland to shoot his film in

hamster named Scootie that I was asked to babysit for a teacher

October, and believes it will be ready to show at film festivals

over the summer. Scootie and I became filmmaking pals and he

in March of 2012. He’s been director of photography on several

was always my monster. He was always my alien. I built these

independent films, but this is his first attempt at executive

models and there was always this giant hamster crawling all

director of an entire feature film.

over the cars and houses.”

Derrick wrote the screenplay for “Come Morning,” making this

“When my parents got that camera, it was the first time that I

film particularly special to him. Working as a studio camera

realized everything that I loved to do could be combined in this

operator at 40/29 in Rogers a couple of years ago, he began

one sort of venue. [I realized] I can have my music… and I liked

to form the story. The little boy D, is based on Derrick, and the

telling stories and writing stories down. I could do the lighting

grandpa is based on Derrick’s own grandfather, Frank. The two

and photography.” After seeing “Rambo,” he began filming army

used to go on hunting trips in Kingsland.

movies with friends in the woods near his home.

“I would never sit still and I would talk. So they [my dad and

After high school he was offered a scholarship to go to Louisiana

brother] would put me with my grandfather. We would sit in this

Tech to study architecture. Derrick always wanted to make

little deer house and it was surrounded on three sides by walls

movies, but wasn’t sure what to do. He was dating Alaina, a girl

with these little windows in it. That way deer couldn’t’ see me

he’d known since kindergarten, and asked her for advice. “She

wiggling around.”

said, ‘You know what, if you want to do movies, then do movies. You can always go back and do something else later on. But give

Derrick explains that his hunts with his grandfather were a lot

the movies a shot, because that’s really what you love to do.’”

less eventful than the thrilling tale created for the film. “If we

So he followed Alaina to Henderson State University to study

actually made it about one of our deer hunting adventures, it

mass media instead.

wouldn’t be a very fun movie to watch.” Then he got what he calls his first big break. He was filming While Derrick hunted from time to time with his grandfather,

a Civil War reenactment at Arkadelphia, when an actor asked



to buy some copies of the video. Before long a small store in

“The young boy was going to be the hardest to cast, we knew,

Arkadelphia bought and sold a couple hundred DVDs.

because we had to find a ten-year-old boy who could carry the movie pretty much, because he’s the one who really has the

“About six months later I got a phone call and it was from the

character arc during the film.” Derrick is confident that Thor is

IMAX in Little Rock. And through some strange series of events

the right person for the job. “He’s a phenomenal actor.”

the administrator at IMAX saw my movie and he really liked it. .. And he said ‘I wonder if we could show this at the IMAX in Little

And he’s just as confident in another actor from Florida that he’s

Rock?’ And I was like ‘YES, of course you can!’”

cast as Grandpa Frank. Derrick has selected Michael Ray Davis. “When he came up on the screen I was like, ‘Oh wow, he looks

Derrick continued to get filmmaking opportunities. While he

a lot like my grandpa.’ He’s perfect. He’s such a good actor. I’ve

was studying at Henderson a professor recommended him for

talked to him over the phone and he’s not like Frank, [in real life],

work on the award winning film “War Eagle Arkansas.”

but he’s embodied the character so well. Right now, he’s already started preparing for the role.” He says Michael’s breaking in a

“The job they gave me was the behind-the-scenes

pair of boots for the character of Frank and plans on living in a

documentarian and they gave me a better camera than I had

house in Arkansas during the shoot.

ever used before. They gave me an unlimited supply of tapes Derrick plans on shooting his film on an Arri camera, which

and said just shoot everything.”

creates a picture with a soft look that he explains was used And that’s exactly what he did. Derrick got to see every aspect of

to make one of his favorite films “The Assassination of Jesse

filmmaking first hand. He even got to meet one of his childhood

James.” He’s come a long way from shooting hamster monster

heroes. “Ten years after watching ‘Rambo,’ and playing around

movies with his VHS. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he

and making movies about it, we’re shooting a movie with Brian

works on films 24/7.

Dennehy (“Rambo First Blood”), and I’m talking to him every week!” Dennehy, the villain in “Rambo,” even autographed a

“I started making movies when I was nine, and that’s all I’ll ever

special edition DVD set for Derrick—which is now one of his

want to do.”

prize possessions. Derrick hopes that one day after he’s made a name for himself as a filmmaker, he will be able to remake

For more information, check out the “Come Morning” Facebook

“Rambo First Blood.”

page, log on to, or check out the trailer on YouTube.

For right now he’s focusing on “Come Morning.” For the role of D he’s selected ten-year-old Thor Wahlestedt, who was born in Sweden but now lives in Florida. He recently played roles in the television series’ “Burn Notice” on USA, and “The Glades” on A&E.



hese are the facts of Meredith Humphrey and Tommy Moll’s lives: each grew up in Fort Smith, less

than a mile apart. Each has two younger sisters who used to carpool to gymnastics together. Their parents know each other. They attended the same schools, starting with Woods Elementary, where Meredith’s mother still teaches first grade. Their lives wound round one another’s, coming so close that Tommy estimates he probably saw Meredith in the halls of Chaffin Junior High “at least a thousand times.” The one difference, the one that seems to open a window into why their paths never quite intersected, is extraordinarily simple: Tommy was a year older than Meredith.

They took different classes, had different

friends, and belonged to different clubs. And by the time Meredith was a student at Southside High, she’d already made a decision that would take her away from Fort Smith. She wanted to go to New York. “I had a great-aunt who lived here, and as a child we’d visit her and I was so intrigued by the city. I had it in my mind I wanted to be here. I came to visit Columbia my senior year with my father and fell in love with the school and the city.”

meredith humphrey and tommy moll

After moving, everything clicked for Meredith. She

@story Marla Cantrell @image Benfield Photography

went to work. Over the course of those years she’d

earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, and then hear from friends and acquaintances who’d tell her they knew someone in the city who used to live in


Arkansas and suggest they meet. “After a while,” Meredith says,

Meredith also showed up in Fort Smith for a few days. Neither

“you learn to just listen and nod.”

told their families or friends they’d been dating. The omission proved a little tricky in a hometown where everybody seems

But that was before Tommy enrolled at Columbia Law School, and

to know everybody else. “My dad said, ‘I ran into Mark Moll the

decided to look her up. So he emailed her. About the Razorbacks.

other day and I don’t know if you know but his son, Tommy, is in

And where the nearest football watch party was. Meredith smiles.

law school at Columbia.’ I played it off as if I had no idea.”

“It was a ‘highly Googleable’ question,” she says. And then Tommy’s family planned a barbeque. “My best friend Even so, it broke the ice. The two decided to go to dinner at

in high school, Meg Shipley, invited me,” Meredith says. “Her

one of Meredith’s favorite places, one she’d discovered while

grandfather is married to Tommy’s grandmother. And so I always

attending Columbia. “I didn’t know what to expect,” she admits.

knew Miss Mary, as Meg called her. Meg wanted me to go along,

“I thought it would be fun to know someone else from Fort

not knowing Tommy had invited me, too.”

Smith. When I first saw him I thought, Hmm, he is handsome. We hit it off so well. We stayed at dinner a couple of hours and

All the stealth paid off. No one suspected, and once back in New

I knew he’d come from the library studying, so I knew he had

York, the two kept seeing each other. By the time six months

exams. I thought it was a good sign that he stayed so long.”

had passed, they knew what they were feeling wasn’t fleeting.

The conversation quickly veered to Fort Smith, their similar

And then Tommy left. “In June of 2009, I worked outside the city

childhoods, the myriad of times the two should have met but

that summer and so we were apart for about two months. When

didn’t. “We had a wide-ranging discussion about what we

I left Meredith’s apartment to say goodbye for the summer, I

remembered about growing up together,” Tommy says. “It

hoped we’d pick up right where we’d left off and we’d be able

was interesting because a lot of our memories were exactly

to continue dating.”

the same, but we could never collectively remember a time when our paths crossed. We had lots of shared experiences of

Well, they did. Once Tommy came back, the two saw each other

teachers and friends, but none where we had met. “

whenever they could. The pair also made it their mission to find things they missed about home, like barbeque and Mexican

They had missed meeting at Columbia as well. Meredith was

food. And they continued to watch the Hogs. You can’t be from

already out of school and working when Tommy enrolled in

Arkansas and not watch the Hogs.

law school. Then there came a time when Meredith wanted to take Tommy That first date happened just before Thanksgiving. The rush of

with her to Dallas, where they would visit her sisters.

the holidays was just ahead, and Tommy was heading back to

Tommy thought Meredith’s parents should also come along.

Arkansas to be with his family for three weeks.




There was a reason for Tommy’s persistence. “I was envisioning

None of it is stressing them out. They plan to celebrate. “It’s

a siblings’ trip. But that weekend he spoke with my parents and

going to be so much fun. We’re at the point in our lives where a

asked for their blessing and also spoke with my two sisters. They

lot of my friends have gone to graduate school and then moved

were waiting for the few weeks between the trip and when he

on,” Meredith says. ”We’re both looking forward to seeing all

proposed. I’d call my mom and she’d answer the phone, Hello?

our friends and showing Arkansas to the ones who haven’t been

Honey? How are you? I thought it was weird but it didn’t dawn

here. We talk about it all the time.”

on me she was fishing for the news.” “My parents met at U of A Law School,” Tommy says. “We have a lot of extended family there.”

The days ticked by, Meredith’s family fidgeted, and finally Tommy showed up at her door. “I came over before dinner and I asked her to sit down on the couch and then I got down on one

“Work friends, school friends, church friends. We can’t wait to

knee and asked her.”

see them all,” Meredith says.

“He had the ring loose in his pocket,” she says, remarking on the

When they try to narrow down just what it is that makes them

endearing tactic. “He didn’t want the box to show.”

such a great couple, they stop for a second, mull over their answers and say this: “From day one I was impressed by how gentlemanly Tommy was and very honorable. So driven, and he

Of course, she said yes.

knew what he wanted and worked so hard for it. He was so respectful and handsome, as I noticed on the first date.”

Their families are thrilled. As for Meredith’s mom, her faith has been renewed. “It’s so unlikely that I’d come to New York City and meet someone from the South, let alone a mile away from

“She has great integrity. She is very attractive. She’s very

where I grew up. Although she was hopeful, I think she’d given

motivated and intelligent. I like her family a lot. I’m confident

up on anything like that.”

this is the place we’re both supposed to be.”

Her mom is not only happy, she’s busy planning the couple’s

Tommy says it perfectly: This is where they’re supposed to be.

August 6 wedding. “We’re getting married at my home church,

It’s a great romantic twist to consider, that Tommy and Meredith

St. Paul United Methodist, in Fort Smith. Last year my sister got

had to travel over 1,000 miles to fall in love. It’s an even better

married there, so mom knows what she’s doing.”

twist that the two will marry in the town where they grew up, the one where they used to pass one another almost every day,

Meredith says it’s good to have “someone on the ground.”

without once stopping to take notice. What a perfect circle.

Tommy is studying for the bar exam. Meredith is working part

What a wonderful start.

time and finishing her master’s degree in value investing, so there’s not a lot of down time to work out the details.



@Silver Dollar City

Urban Sprawl Y’all

@Lincoln Memorial Entry deadline August 31st. Details

@Spaceship House @White House

@Kansas City

@Great Wall of China @Golfing

@Magic Kingdom

@Wedding Crasher

@Costa Rica

@Belize 33

@story Marla Cantrell @images Craig Middlebrook

Effron White


eet singer/songwriter/sculptor Effron White. Like the name? So does he. His parents, back in West Memphis, chose a different

name when he was born, and he used it until he entered the University of Arkansas. He wanted to play music, and lots of bands were using names that sounded like actual people. He sorted through maybe a hundred combinations before settling on Effron, and then adding White. He still didn’t have a band, but the name caught fire after his debut solo performance. “I had my first concert on the second floor of Hotz Hall and I decided to go by Effron. So I became Effron White to all the people on my floor,” he says. “It kind of snowballed from there.” As he speaks, he tugs at the bill of his ball cap and then thrums his fingers on the table, causing his coffee to shimmy in the cardboard cup. He looks down when he speaks, as if he’s uncomfortable being in the spotlight, without his guitar or his music. “I’m more shy not being on the stage than being on it,” he explains. I had stage fright for six or seven years, but I didn’t let it stop me.” Fear, at least in Effron’s book, is no reason to quit anything you really want to do. “I keep going,” he says, “pretty much no matter what. I also suffer from a lack of focus, I think, and I have a lot of interests. I’m not a very good reader


because my mind just keeps going. I don’t really watch movies

Effron understands the creative process; he earned his

because I’m always thinking about what else I could be doing.”

bachelor’s in art in 1976. “It’s hard now to retrace my path, but I know when I started out, I wanted to go to New York and be

One of his best revelations came just after the 2009 ice storm hit.

an artist. I got married right after school. And life happens, you

That January, television reporters stood in front of collapsed roofs

know, you have responsibilities.”

and fallen trees, and likened what they were seeing in Fayetteville to a “war zone.” Effron wasn’t watching. He was one of the 350,000 Arkansans without power. “We were just sitting around in the dark for awhile and I was getting antsy. I saw this pile of hardware I’ve had just about all my life – my family was in the hardware business. I’d carried a whole bunch of stuff home in my pockets over the years, especially from when I worked there as a teenager. I ended up with this big collection. I always thought I’d do something with it someday. I’m not sure what struck me that day; I just started fooling around with it. So I made one little So art took a backseat. “I was working as a picture framer, which

sculpture of a musician guy and then I made another.”

I still do today. But the place where I was working then went out of business. I was painting all the time. I did my most popular

Even after the ice melted, Effron continued to work.

pieces back then, Arkansas landscapes, watercolor and pencil, “I used a lawn mower’s rope handle, and plumbing pieces,

with lots of texture. I only have one left today. Wanted to keep

screws and brackets, some pieces I found in a trashcan that

one to remember.”

came from a locksmith’s shop. Then I started scavenging, getting more junk. I screwed everything together in the beginning; the

With the job over, Effron figured it was time to get his master’s

first ones were really simple. But as I continued, I’d have to drill

degree. “Took me five years to go back. I did a lot of psychological,

every once in awhile to piece them together.”

figurative art during that time. I’d rip through the canvas, and glue all kinds of fabric on it, and paint over it as well. I didn’t

He completed the musician series in about four months. “Summer

want to teach; I didn’t have the confidence. I was afraid I might

came, my gigs picked up, and I stopped.” Recently, he started

ruin people’s minds,” he jokes.

another sculpture, this one much different from the rest. “Right The pace of graduate school left him “burned out,” and he put

now, I’m working on a crucifix that’s fourteen inches by eighteen.”

the canvases away. “That’s when I started playing the guitar more. It’s easier to grab a guitar than haul out your paints.”

The idea that hit him in early 2009 was not a random event.



Even today, Effron’s main focus is his music. “My brother was

Effron sings about disappearing dreams, wanderlust, about

eight years older than me. I inherited an acoustic guitar he’d

having so little it makes no difference if you win or lose. His

gotten for Christmas that he never played. When I was ten, I got

lyrics are winning awards. His song, “Long Haul,” has already

an electric guitar and my parents paid for lessons. I’ve always

won two this year: the Billboard Song contest, and the Great

loved Bob Dylan, Neal Young. I wrote songs about girls and love

America Song contest. “Billboard is compiling a CD with all the

when I was a teenager. I once wrote a song called ‘Presidential

winners and sending it out to those in the music industry. I don’t

Blues’ about Watergate,” he says. “That was a long time ago.”

know how many people I was up against. All I know is it was in the thousands, people from all over the world. Something like that’ll make you feel good.

Once, during his break from painting, he stumbled across a book by Stefan Grossman. “Grossman teaches finger picking and mostly old country blues stuff. I started learning his songs

“And I’ve got to play the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas. I won

and then I ordered his tapes. I started really studying, learning

the New Folk Award there in 2004. That’s the biggest award I’ve

the old songs. After a while, I wrote my first song, ‘Biscuits And

won because Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Robert Earl Keen,

Gravy.’ I was thirty-six. Kind of a latecomer to doing all this,

they’ve all won that award. Lyle Lovett was a finalist,” Effron

but that’s when I consider I started my songwriting career. I

says. “Twice. But he never won.”

performed in public for the first time since college, in 1991. A lady I knew had a thrift store and she pushed all the clothes on

The accolades are not why he plays, and it’s not why he creates

the racks aside, and set up a stage and invited people to come.

art. “I’d love to be able to make a living just doing this. I don’t. I

Several folks showed up.”

still frame pictures. But I get to invest emotion into my work, right then, right there. If I’m not doing music or art, I feel less vital.

When he sings, his gravelly voice rambles through the hills and valleys of everyday life. He has a keen sense of what pushes us

“I should be able to find pleasure in ordinary things,” he says, and

forward, what holds us back. When he writes, there’s a process he

shakes his head. “But I just can’t.” Effron looks across the summer

goes through that forces him to take off the rose-colored glasses.

sky, so still not even one leaf on the nearby maple tree is stirring.

“It doesn’t come easy. There’s a song that goes, Some days you

“What I love,” he says, “what I find real pleasure in is turning the

write the songs, some days the songs write you. That’s the way it

ordinary into something bigger than it started out to be.”

is. You have to be honest. Sometimes I’m so honest, the song makes me uncomfortable. That’s what people connect with. That

To see Effron’s sculptures, check out

honesty. Sometimes that heartache. I’ve begun to look at my

Ozark Folkways in Winslow -

songs as prayers, actually. They’re prayers for myself to become To hear his music, visit

a better person. They help me work through some difficult times. I was sending up prayers, asking, Get me through this.”


@recipe & images Laura Hobbs

The cicadas were singing harmonies as I piddled around in our garden. Our spinach already bolted a few weeks ago and our lettuce is in its waning stages, but some of the later summer vegetables are really kicking into high gear. I’ve currently got four zucchini, six eggplant and five yellow squash! We’ve eaten some stuff over the past couple of months that you just can’t find at your average grocer: flowering broccoli, giant white radishes, Ichiban eggplant, green garlic, baby purple potatoes, broccoli greens, frilly endive. In an effort to let nothing go to waste, we’ve tried to integrate all these vegetables into pretty much every meal: veggie scrambled eggs for breakfast, veggie tacos for lunch and elaborate salads for dinner. I’ve also become proficient in “putting up” vegetables – from what I gather, this is an archaic term Hubby inherited from his live-off-the-land grandmother, which means to store vegetables for use in the later part of the year; I call it “freezing”.

A new plant in my garden this year is Ichiban eggplant; a thin, tender skin eggplant with sweeter flesh and a less bitter taste than its more bulbous cousin. The plant produces a modest purple flower, followed by a sleek, slender, shiny fruit. They’re ready to pick when the eggplant has lost most of its intense shine. So with garden pickings – including eggplant (two), zucchini (one), and a bouquet of basil – I began brainstorming. Hubby had on his “Summer Menu Wish List” eggplant parmesan. I decided to take it to the next level.



Not only did I use the eggplants from the garden, but I used the zucchini as well.

I thought the combination would

make for a much more interesting dish. In keeping with the pseudo-Japanese theme of my Ichiban eggplant, I used Panko breadcrumbs to coat the veggies before frying them. For this dish I used whole milk ricotta – I mean, hey, if you’re

2 1 3 1 2 1/2 1 1 2 1 1 »

small eggplant, sliced 1/2” thick large zucchini, sliced 1/2” thick eggs, whisked cup flour cup Panko breadcrumbs cup canola oil 15oz. tub of whole milk ricotta cup packed basil leaves cloves garlic, roughly chopped jar favorite tomato sauce lb. whole milk mozzarella, grated salt & pepper to taste

gonna go all out, go all out, right? I then took a hefty handful of basil and a few cloves of garlic and mixed them together with the ricotta to make an exponentially more flavorful cheese. The second cheese featured in this dish is good ol’ mozzarella. Now, I know the pre-shredded stuff at the store is awfully handy, but for the love of all that is holy, please don’t use the stuff for baking. Pre-shredded cheese contains anti-caking agents, which prevent the cheese from melting properly, leaving you with a powdery, disappointingly un-melty cheese. Buy a block of whole milk mozzarella, roll up your sleeves, and get to shredding. Trust me here. It’s worth it. Now, the sauce – before you deliver that collective gasp as I tell you I use the jarred stuff for this dish, let me tell you why. With a dish like this, the tomato sauce is a mere component rather than the shining star. A good quality jar of tomato sauce will suffice just fine; I like Barilla. After an easy assembly, the dish went into the oven for about an hour. The result was gooey, melty and crunchy. The basil in the ricotta adds a fresh kick, and the Panko on the eggplant and zucchini stayed crispy and delicious.

Heat the oven to 350°. Set up a dredging station by lining up three bowls: one for flour, one for egg and one for breadcrumbs. Season the flour, egg and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. Dredge each vegetable slice, first in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, and place them on a cookie sheet. In a large sauté pan, heat the canola oil. Fry the battered vegetables, turning them once and keeping a close eye on them to avoid burning. Place the fried vegetables on a draining tray and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the ricotta, basil and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients on high about a minute, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Set aside. In a deep baking dish, begin by spreading 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce in the bottom. Place half the fried eggplant and zucchini in a single layer over the sauce. Spread the basil ricotta over the vegetables, followed by the grated mozzarella, followed by the tomato sauce. Repeat the layers in the dish until it’s filled and top with any remaining mozzarella. Bake for about an hour (check on it periodically), until the cheese is melted and browned, and the sides are bubbling. Allow the dish to sit for 15 minutes before serving.


@image Catherine Frederick @recipe Jeff Price

» » » » » »

2oz. Chilled Espresso 2oz. Carolans Irish Cream 1oz. Absolut Vanilla Vodka 1oz. Dark Creme de Cacao 1oz. Godiva Chocolate Liqueur 1/2oz. Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup Add ingredients to blender with ice, blend & serve.

Mojo’s uses a 20oz. mug for this recipe, which is yours to keep! Provided by Mojo’s Ivory House 479.434.5434



arina Metevelis, eighty-seven, parks her car on the Metro Campus of Tulsa Community College in a

handicap spot. She steps into the drizzling rain, and her small frame, covered by a trench coat, stands at four-feet ten-inches tall. Marina says she’s lost three inches to arthritis. She begins to walk in the direction of downtown Tulsa, ready to begin a tour of its underground tunnels. “I have to keep moving or I get stiff,” says Marina. “My orthopedist won’t allow me to do belly dancing anymore.” That’s right, Marina used to teach belly dancing.

@story Marcus Coker @images Marcus Coker and Marina Metevelis


Marina, who weighs less than 100 pounds, pushes against the “horribly heavy” door of Tulsa’s Philtower, built by oil baron Waite Phillips in the 1920s. The door opens slowly, and Marina points out the ornate WP logo that’s found on door handles, elevators, and clocks. “Everything [Waite] touched, he put his initials on,” says Marina. The tour has begun. She walks to the marble staircase and goes underground. Over the next hour she’ll tell stories of these powerful men who found oil and the money that followed. Many were philanthropists, art collectors, and steadfast leaders. But there are other stories as well, ones she heard from her own aunts and uncles, who ran in the same circles as these powerful men. The oil barons wanted the underground tunnels to avoid hijackers while transporting their money between buildings. There were penthouses, used for entertaining. And according to Marina, there were things that went on there that would’ve made great fodder for Sunday sermons. “[Some of] the oil barons would tell the bellboys, ‘Get the hooch, get the girls,’ and they’d go a block away to get the girls, then they’d bring them down through the tunnels to their penthouses.” There was a woman, according to Marina, named Miss Jackson, who owned a boutique frequented by the bad boys of industry. “These oil barons patronized her, and they’d buy all this fancy lingerie for the girls. And one time, they weren’t paying her. So she waited awhile. Then she sent each one of them a letter and said, ‘If you don’t pay me by the end of the month, this letter goes to your wives.’” Marina stops dramatically. “She got paid immediately!”


Marina navigates the tunnels that wind underneath some of

charges for them. She says, “There’s just so much history that

Tulsa’s greatest structures—the Philtower, the Philcade, the

hasn’t been told. I love it. Some of the folklore of Oklahoma, it’d

Kennedy Building, the Atlas Life Building, the Mid-Continent

curl your hair.”

Tower, and the Exchange Tower (which houses the Bank of Oklahoma). At every stop, she’s full of historic facts and juicy

It’s not just that Marina loves to talk about history. She’s lived

stories. She points out a fire furnace and calls it the original

it. In eighty-seven years, she’s seen a lot and remembers most

paper shredder. She talks about the water main that broke a few

of it. “I tell people [I was born in] 1932, but that’s a lie. It was

years ago and flooded the tunnels. “The water came in and went

1924. When I got to eighty-five, I gave up my birthdays [for Lent]

clear up to the ceiling. The whole town went black.”

because I’d rather have chocolate.” When she was a kid, Marina spent summers in Tulsa visiting her uncles. They were 32nd Degree Masons, and so were the oil barons. “I met all the oil barons,” says Marina. “[Most people] are born and raised here [in Tulsa] and don’t know anything about [the tunnels]. I went through them as a kid.” Marina was born in Wichita, Kansas. In December of 1941, when Marina was seventeen, Pearl Harbor was bombed. “We were coming out of the Depression, and I heard my folks talk about not having enough money to put me through college. They were rationing tires and gasoline and everything. We didn’t have nylon stockings. Nylon had just come out, but we couldn’t have it, because they were using it for the parachutes.” Marina explains that nylon was also used for belts, nine yards long, that wrapped around the bullets used by B-17s. That’s where the

The tour goes on for over an hour. When it’s over, Marina sits

saying “the whole nine yards” originated.

down for lunch. She’s way past retirement age, but something keeps her going. “I’ll go anywhere for history,” says Marina, who

Marina was about to become a Rosie the Riveter, the term given

works at TCC as the college historian and began giving tunnel

to women who worked in factories during World War II. “[The

tours in 1992. Giving as many as five tours a week, Marina never

Boeing Company] had this big ad in the paper—we need factory


workers. I told my dad I was going to sign up. He said, ‘If you

Marina leans forward in her chair. “I’m glad I did Rosie. I’d do it

work for Boeing, you’re going to graduate [high school],’ so I

again in a heartbeat. I felt like I was giving something back to

worked the swing shift.’”

my country.”

Marina would get out of school at 2:30, jump into her coveralls,

For a long time, Marina didn’t talk about her experience as Rosie

and carpool to the Boeing plant. They taught her to work with

the Riveter. Her husband, whom she married after working at

sheet metal, they taught her how to rivet. She’d work from 3:30

Boeing for a year, was wounded in the war, and Marina felt like he

to 11:00. “Every twenty-four hours, we had to have twelve to

deserved the attention more than she did. Today Marina says, “I’m

fourteen B-17s rolled out on the tarmac so the girls could fly

past eighty-five. I’m doing something I’ve wanted to do all my life.

them out to Seattle.”

[For years] I was just the wife of the assistant postmaster and I was raising kids. I wanted to talk history. I think history is important.”

Because Marina was short and able to climb in and out of the blisters (gunner positions), she was given the job of inspector.

Because of her Boeing experience, Marina’s often invited to fly

Marina holds up her right hand and touches her thumb and

in old war planes, like B-17s. “They think they’re going to throw

index finger together. “That’s why I have no fingerprints on

me out of the seat. I’ve got news for them.” She’s always on

these two fingers.” Marina checked millions of rivets.

the go, always up for adventure. Most every Saturday night, she swing dances at TOSS, The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate. She says

“There was no cafeteria, just carts with coffee and milk and

it helps her arthritis. Marina makes growing old look fun, but

donuts and rolls. Oh, and they had just introduced Dr. Pepper.

says, “When they tell you the golden years are wonderful, you

People were just going crazy over Dr. Pepper. I think they were a

tell them go to hell.”

nickel. There was no air conditioning and no heat. In the summer, they’d open up the hangar doors and just let the wind blow all

Even so, Marina’s still having more fun than most people half

that dirt from Kansas all the way through.”

her age. She gets to make history come alive for those wanting to see beneath the streets of Tulsa. And when she’s doing what

For entertainment, the sounds of the Andrew Sisters singing “Roll

she loves, nothing else—not even arthritis—seems to matter.

out the Barrel” and “Little Brown Jug” played on a phonograph.

She stomps her foot on the ground. Her toenails are painted

Just those two songs, over and over again. “If I’d had a gun, I’d

pink. “I’m old and I don’t care. I’m going to have fun.”

of shot that thing,” says Marina. To schedule a tunnel tour, call Marina at the TCC Heritage Center at 918-595-7460.

“The standard pay back then was $2.25 an hour. I was making five, seven, and nine dollars an hour. When the men were coming back, they wanted their jobs back. And the women were making such good money, they didn’t want to give it up.”


@story Todd Whetstine @images Wild Woods Photography

This month Bo, my furry, four-legged trail guide and I headed up the Pig Trail to the Kings River Natural Area in Madison County. A little over one hundred miles from Fort Smith and smack dab in the middle of nowhere, the cool waters drew us back for two consecutive weeks. The river flows from the Ozark Mountains, near Fallsville, through Madison and Carroll counties in Northwest Arkansas. State Highway 74 and U.S. Highways 412 and 62 cross the waterway. For ninety-three miles, the water twists and tumbles over ridges and rocks all the way to Table Rock Lake.


It’s absolutely beautiful. The spring-fed waters take your breath

took off walking right down the middle of the river. We pushed

away. Towering bluffs and dense hardwood forest cover the

through the water for the next two hours in the dark. I was

caves and overhangs that once sheltered Native Americans.

looking for a sixty foot waterfall I’d heard about from a guy who lives in the area.

My family and I camped in the Kings River Natural Area, a half mile from the trail head to Kings River Falls. There is a little

Unfortunately, Bo and I never found it. After about three and

spring there, and a couple of cozy campsites behind Dripping

a half miles of searching we finally turned around and headed

Springs Church. This superior little swimming hole changes with

back to camp. The legend of the sixty-footer will have to wait

every flood. Lofty bluff lines and giant home-sized boulders

for another day. I snapped a few nice shots on my way out and

line the edges of this magnificent waterway.

found some nice tributaries I want to explore this fall.

The local swimming hole at Dripping Springs has got to be one

On the long hike back to camp, Bo and I took a couple of

of the most popular. After our long hikes Bo and I joined the

extended breaks to enjoy what Mother Nature had to offer. We

family and what appeared to be ALL the locals streamside.

saw four beavers, several deer in full velvet, and a turkey with

This brisk, babbling little brook and the mid-day heat brought

her offspring crossing a gravel bar. No photos to share, I regret

a constant flow of youngsters, teens, families, and all the gear

to say, since my gear was inside my backpack. I was, after all,

that goes along with them.

wading through the river.

We sat and sipped our cold beverages as we watched a young

There are at least three commercial campgrounds on the Kings.

couple, who seemed to be falling in love. We watched a two-

Much of the land that makes up the banks of the river is privately

year-old without a care in the world laughing and playing with

owned. Most landowners allow camping on the banks. With

her grandmother. Grandma, a little less carefree, has been facing

this great privilege comes a great responsibility: Leave your

some health issues, but was in paradise that day, just being with

campsites cleaner than you found it. This river is clean - very

her grandchild. I snapped some shots of this delightful duo.

clean, and we all want to keep it that way.

You learn a lot about life when you see it from behind a camera.

During the spring and summer months, the lower Kings River provides splendid Class I+ float trips for families. For floaters

Bo and I hiked many miles of the upper part of the Kings River.

with advanced skills, the upper end provides constant action

I wandered around so long one morning my wife almost called

after a hard rain, as it tumbles and twists to the takeout at State

the ranger’s office. This hike started at three in the morning.

Highway 74. This first eleven miles is a twisting boulder-packed

We started at the trail head to Kings River Falls. It was a very

wall-to-wall adventure - a Class III+ whitewater diamond of a

easy level hike, about one mile, and had us at the falls in about

ride. The other eighty-two miles are family friendly and quite a

twenty minutes. After surprising the campers at the falls, we

sight to behold.



Many floaters enjoy fishing the Kings River.

Floating this

winding wonder with a rod and reel is quite a thrill. A little advice to those seeking the big lunkers: Be ready, they’re in there! Fish weighing from four to six pounds are not unheard of. Hefty channel cats and rock bass are also common. Walleye and white bass can also be caught in early spring months. This river is also hiker and family friendly. If you’re willing to wade a little you can really cover some ground. The cliffs and caves are everywhere you look and very much worth exploring. Much of the land in the Natural Area along the river is fairly flat and the river is easily crossable during low water. There are numerous caves and overhangs. I hiked many miles of this gorgeous waterway. It’s absolutely spectacular. A nature photographer in the area after a hard rain could get many nice shots. I noted several dried up creeks that had some nice drops into the river. These will be great shots at the right time. You’ll notice as you’re hiking or floating, the Kings River flows north. There are only five rivers in the United States that have a northerly flow; three of them are in Arkansas. You’ll agree this is a very special place. Bring your RV, your tent, your backpack and your swimsuit - there’s a spot for everyone. I know I loved it, and I’m planning another trip in the fall. It is truly one of the great treasures of Arkansas. For more information, log on to


Read Chair Publishing, LLC 3811 Rogers Avenue Suite C Fort Smith, Arkansas 72903

Groove - August 2011  

Groove - August 2011

Groove - August 2011  

Groove - August 2011