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December 2017

CONTENTS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / OWNER Catherine Frederick CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Scott Frederick MANAGING EDITOR Marla Cantrell ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Amanda Grist CONTRIBUTING WRITERS / PHOTOGRAPHERS Kimberly Blaker Marla Cantrell Chad Colley Sean Dietrich Catherine Frederick Amanda Grist Dwain Hebda Megan Lankford Yvonne Pratt Jessica Sowards James Stefiuk Janna Wilson


GRAPHIC DESIGNER Artifex 323 - Jessica Mays PROOFREADER Charity Chambers PUBLISHER Read Chair Publishing, LLC




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THE BEST CHRISTMAS The Christmas of 1956 might have been a dreary one for a group of American soldiers far away from home in Germany. But then Chad Colley’s mom stepped in to save the holiday.

THAT COOKIE LADY What started as a hobby is becoming a new career for accountant Amy Casalman, who can count the ways she loves making cookies. There may even be a spreadsheet for that!

SPICE IT UP Holiday spice and everything nice, that’s what this DIY is made of. Mulling spices and your favorite wine or cider come together for the perfect gift!

HAND DIPPED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES Santa expects cookies on Christmas Eve! Make sure he has the best by making our Hand Dipped Chocolate Chip Cookies. DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM

ADVERTISING INFORMATION Catherine Frederick - 479.782.1500

Amanda Grist - 479.719.7416

EDITORIAL INFORMATION Marla Cantrell - 479.831.9116 ©2017 Read Chair Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. The opinions contained in Do South® 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 Do South® or Read Chair Publishing, LLC., including photography, becomes the property of Read Chair Publishing, LLC. Do South® reserves the right to edit content and images. Printed in the U.S.A. | ISSN 2373-1893

FOLLOW US Annual subscriptions are $36 (12 months), within the contiguous United States. Subscribe at or mail check to 4300 Rogers Avenue, Suite 20-110, Fort Smith, AR, 72903. Single issues are available upon request. Inquiries or address changes, call 479.782.1500.


letter from the editor

Mulling spices are warming on the stovetop. The tree is

Jessica Sowards weighs in with an essay that chronicles

aglow with lights. Christmas music is playing softly in the

her journey from stay-at-home mom to a well-known

background as I finish up batches of sweet treats

writer sharing the love of Jesus. And Marla Cantrell

for family and friends. My heart is happy. Words

shares a short story that spreads a welcome

cannot explain how much I love this time of

dose of holiday cheer.

year. Sure, it’s hectic, and the checkout lines are long, but for me, the happiness of the

Recently, I spent some time whipping up some

season far outweighs the fast pace that

homemade hot chocolate that’s as unique as

often accompanies this time of year.

snowflakes. It would be the perfect thing to serve as a nightcap on Christmas Eve.

Memories flood in of family gatherings at my Nanny’s house. Meat trays and cheese

To brighten your home, we have seasonal

dip topped the tables, kids ran amuck while

accent pillows you can make in an afternoon,

adults laughed and sipped beverages from cups we weren’t allowed to touch. Eventually, we kids would calm down and watch our favorite Christmas movies, Rudolph and

book recommendations for everyone on your Christmas list, a cookie recipe Santa will adore, and gift ideas for the men on your list.

Frosty, and Charlie Brown Christmas. That’s the thing about the holidays—they are so very nostalgic.

“Santa Baby” is playing as I write this last letter of 2017 to you. That song always makes me smile. It’s cold outside and is

The same is true for guest writer Chad Colley, who shares

expected to be colder tomorrow. You can just feel Christmas

a heartwarming story from his childhood, set in Germany.

in the air. I wait all year for this time, when family draws close,

That year, he learned the true meaning of Christmas, one that

and busy friends reach out to reconnect.

has stayed with him all the years since. Sean Dietrich, a.k.a. Sean of the South, shares his gorgeous Southern story set in

I hope the season finds you happy, healthy, and full of good

Alabama that shows the strength and beauty of a woman

cheer. I hope you make beautiful memories that last a lifetime.

whose faith takes her through every day.

I pray you stop and celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Blessings to all of you who make my life so much fuller.

Closer to home, we have the story of Fort Smith’s Jean Green, a local hairdresser who’s been turning clients into dear friends for nearly forty years. We have the story of That Cookie Lady, Amy Casalman, whose love for decorating cookies is leading her away from her career in accounting to a world of absolute sweetness.

And Merry, merry Christmas!


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Advent Lessons and Carols Fort Smith An afternoon of Christmas carols and Advent lessons at St. John’s Episcopal features musicians from St. John’s, 1st United Methodist, Goddard Methodist, 1st Presbyterian, Central Presbyterian, & St. Bartholomew's Episcopal, 3pm.

4-6 15-16 TH

The Junior League of Fort Smith is hosting their Holiday Home Tour, which includes five beautiful houses decorated for Christmas, as well as a special VIP holiday lunch. See website for pricing.


Pajama Train Van Buren The Van Buren Pajama Train runs December 4-6. Enjoy hot chocolate, cookies and a visit from Santa. See website for details.

14 Holiday Home Tour Fort Smith

Submit your events to


Christmas Honors Fort Smith Holiday Market Van Buren The Van Buren Center for Art & Education is hosting a holiday market with handmade gifts, including original paintings. See website for details. DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM

Transform the National Cemetery by helping make and place Christmas wreaths on headstones. Wreath-making session on the 15th, placing wreaths on the 16th. See website for details







The Nutcracker Fort Smith The Western Arkansas Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker includes a cast of more than 100 local kids and adults. See website for details.

Christmas Parade Fort Smith



Marching bands, festive floats, and a visit from the Jolly Old Elf, all in downtown Fort Smith beginning at 3pm.

Finding Neverland Fayetteville Finding Neverland will have a 7-show engagement at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville. This iconic show follows the relationship between playwright J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan.


25 T H Landing at Belle Point Reenactment Fort Smith Reenactors portray the landing of settlers at Belle Point on the Fort Smith Historic Site at 2pm. Following the reenactment, there will be a reception hosted by the Museum of History.

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Last Night Fayetteville Fayetteville The largest New Year's Eve celebration in Arkansas takes place on the Fayetteville Square. Live music, performers, artists, and tons of fun. See website for details about the event.




She’s almost ninety-six. And when she talks, it sounds like lightning bugs, swarming over a mossy pond.

She admits, most days she doesn’t do much talking. She sits beside her window, reading, or sleeping. But she has good eyes, she has her mind, and she still has a voice.

“Started making up songs when I’s a girl,” she says. “They helped me through some very hard times.”

The hardest of times, you might say. She asks me not to dwell

on this part of her story—so I won’t. But when she was ten, her father killed her mother, then himself.

Her brother and sister raised her. Her childhood was spent in a plain, plank house beside a creek. She led a lonely life—kids her age rejected her.

Her first made-up song was meant to help her sleep. “Got so dark in my bedroom,” she says. “Thought I’s seeing ghosts and spirits, it was terrible.”



She sings: “Don’t wanna be afraid, So I won’t be, I won’t be,

LINEs Sean Dietrich

Not gonna be afraid, no, no, Nobody here but me…” Her voice is cracked and old. Sweet, but sad. I wish she’d hold me.



After the War, she fell in love. They settled and had two kids. She helped him forget a battlefield. He helped her forget childhood trauma. He played guitar. She sang.

She made many songs with him. Like the one for her son, when he fell from a tree.

home. Wheelchairs gather in a main room. She conducts. Nurse Amelia plays the piano.

The old people sing—but each sings a different song. Twenty white-hairs, blurting whichever lyrics come to mind.

Later that day, she remembers a tune she wrote last February. It was a song that came to her when she was ill, and thought

“Oh, John, don’t you frown,

she was on her way out. It ain’t right to get so down,

“Time here is over and done, Dosey-doh, and don’t you know, Over and done, over and done, There’s always someone sadder…” But the secret, child, to living, Her voice is the Great American South. It’s tiny meeting

houses, hardware stores with live-bait wells, fiddles playing

Is don’t stop giving, don’t stop giving,

on porches, and raw tomatoes with salt.

Don’t stop giving, When she was in her thirties, her pastor asked if she’d lead the Sunday singing. She did.

Don’t ever stop giving.

She played piano for nearly twenty-five years. And on rare

And don’t stop having fun.”

occasions, she would sing her own songs before the church.

“I’d never tell nobody they’s my songs,” she says. “I sung them to people who needed cheering up.”

Last Christmas, her son bought her an iPad. He taught her how to record her voice. She’s already recorded homemade melodies for her family. Many of which date back to the nine-

She adds, “Maybe you know someone who needs that song. If you do, you can give it to them.” Yes, ma’am. I’ll do that.


“Wish I could remember EVERY song I made up,” she says. “But I only remember ones that helped me most.”

Sean Dietrich is a columnist, and novelist, known for his commentary on life in the American South. Follow him at, or on Facebook at Sean of the South.

Sometimes, she still leads singing for her assisted-living DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM




Get Bookish This C hristmas reviews Marla Cantrell

Books last a long time, and every time we see them, we’re reminded of the people who gave them to us. This year, I’ve gathered nine for you to consider for Christmas giving. If these don’t fit the bill, head to a local bookstore and browse! You’re sure to find something for everyone on your list.

Young Kids | Older Kids | Adults

Top Elf


On a Magical Do-Nothing Day

by Caleb Huett

by Julia Denos (Author), E.B. Goodale (Illustrator)

by Beatrice Alemagna (Author, Illustrator)

This middle-grade book will keep you in

This book is the perfect bedtime story for the

This thoughtful picture book for kids ages

stitches! Elves Celia and Ollie can’t believe

little ones, three to seven years old. It follows

four to eight, takes on the challenge of

Santa is thinking of retiring and is looking

a boy and his dog as they walk down the

getting children to unplug from electronics

for a replacement. The two elves decide to

street, looking at the light-filled windows of

and reconnect with the outdoors. If you

apply, and when they do, they find out just

his neighbors’ houses. The author calls this

want to explore the joy of nature with your

how hard the job is. Who can possibly eat all

time “almost-night,” a magical period when

kids, this is the perfect book.

those cookies in one night?

the world is softened by the waning light.



Turtles All the Way Down

A Million Junes

Nevermoor: The Trials of

by John Green

by Emily Henry

Morrigan Crow

I’m hesitant to call John Green a young adult

Think of Romeo and Juliet set in modern

by Jessica Townsend

author since his work transcends boundaries.

times. June O’Donnell knows to stay away

Morrigan Crow is having an epically hard

He tells the story of Aza, who’s mourning

from Saul Angert, the son of her father’s

time. Everyone around her blames her for

the loss of her father, and who is dealing

biggest foe, but as the two grow close, the

whatever bad luck comes their way, and

with OCD and anxiety. Couple that with the

source of what caused their families to feud

now they’ve sentenced her to die for it.

mystery of a missing billionaire, and you have

is slowly revealed. Of course, there’s also a

That’s when Jupiter North steps in, whisking

a book that gets better with every paragraph.

little magic thrown in.

her away to the magical city of Nevermoor.

Following Atticus

Eleanor Oliphant is


by Tom Ryan

Completely Fine

by Ron Chernow

Tom Ryan, a small-town newspaper owner

by Gail Honeyman

Ulysses S. Grant, our eighteenth president

in New Hampshire, was overweight, stressed

Eleanor Oliphant works in the accounting

and Union general in the Civil War, was a

out, and lonely when he adopted an aging

department of a graphic design company in

largely misunderstood man. Chernow, the

schnauzer. Life got better, and after that

Scotland. She lives a solitary life filled with

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, brings him to

sweet dog passed on, Ryan searched for

vodka and frozen pizza. But after she hears

life, starting with his childhood, to build a

another schnauzer to befriend. When he

a local band, she becomes obsessed with

story that allows us to understand both his

found Atticus, life opened up.

the lead singer and sets out to win him over.

failures and triumphs.





does it work?

Do South® Magazine Reviews The Baseboard Buddy words Catherine Frederick images courtesy The Baseboard Buddy

What’s the deal? The Baseboard Buddy is a cleaning tool created to clean baseboards and more with ease.

What’s the claim? The claim is to make a dreaded household chore faster and easier and save your back and knees in the process, as you’ll no longer need to bend over or get eye level with the baseboards to clean them. Can be used wet or dry and glides easily on baseboards, conforming to their shape. The telescoping handle makes it easy to use up high or down low. All you do is walk and glide the Baseboard Buddy over the surface. Baseboard Buddy also works well on other hard surfaces.

What’s the cost? I paid under $20 at my local Bed, Bath and Beyond and purchased additional cleaning pads there as well.

What’s the verdict? Although most of us don’t think about cleaning our baseboards on a weekly basis, it’s a strenuous chore when we do. With the Baseboard Buddy, I use it often and with ease. It’s easy to operate and can be used dry, or sprayed lightly with cleaning or dusting solution. I even use it on my ceiling fans and my cabinets and doorways. The handle is telescopic for easy storage and Baseboard Buddy contains a swivel head so you can use it at any angle. I’ve even reused several pads by running them under water until clear and letting them dry. I highly recommend adding this to your cleaning closet!

Have a product you’d like us to review? Send your ideas to



Words Megan Lankford, Lead Gardener, Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

December in the Garden THE DIRT: The days are short and the nights are long. While most of my favorite plants are deep in their

winter slumber, my houseplants keep me content until the arrival of spring. My bedroom becomes a veritable jungle along the south and west facing walls, ensuring that my lovelies get enough light in their winter home. TIPS:

Houseplants and I have had a rocky relationship over the years. My gardening prowess is typically outside, and thus I have had to find a fair number of houseplants that do well with very little care. In truth, if they can’t go at least a couple of weeks, if not a month without water, they won’t live very long at my house! Of course, there are the tried and true houseplants we all know and love, such as peace lilies and ficus. However, I have found some pretty tough and not so common houseplants that do well, even under less than ideal conditions. The first is the Silver Spotted Philodendron (Scindapsus picta ‘Argyraeus’). Although one typically doesn’t associate philodendrons with vines, this little beauty will wind its way into your heart. With its succulent, silver spotted leaves it is sure to brighten any room. Leopard Lily (Ledebouria socialis) is a tough, cultivated bulb, with delightful foliage and delicate flowers. Potted alone or with other houseplants, this is definitely a conversation piece. Last but certainly not least is the Black Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri). Most of the year this looks like any unassuming large leaf houseplant, but when it blooms it is outstanding. The unique flowers are magnificent to behold.


Unless your houseplants are root-bound, don’t repot them until spring. They won’t grow much during the winter, and a pot that is too large can cause root rot. However, this is the perfect time to plant any dormant trees, shrubs, or perennials that are at least one hardiness zone north of your own.





Make Their Holidays Bright! M




Chicken Nugget








Almost Home Shelter and Rescue 3390 Pointer Trail East - Van Buren, AR | 479.462.3122 or 479.629.0056 | Almost Home Shelter and Rescue is a 501C-3 Non-Profit all volunteer staffed facility. They work in partnership with Van Buren Animal Control to find loving, forever homes for the dogs in their care. All dogs will be spayed or neutered and up to date on vaccines when adopted. The shelter is newly formed and has very limited space. Please consider adopting or fostering one of their sweet pets. Each month, Do SouthÂŽ donates this page to local and regional non-profit animal shelters. If you work with a shelter and would like to reserve this space, please email DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM

taste pets

Fab 5 for furbabies

words Catherine Frederick images courtesy manufacturers

Fido and Fluffy deserve a Christmas to remember. We’ve searched high and low to bring you Do South’s® top five picks for unique and interactive gifts for your best furry companion. *Toys available at

OxGord BazooK-9 Tennis Ball Launcher $14

K H Crinkle Sack Cat Bed $20 &

Pet Cube Play Pet Camera $178

Playing fetch with your dog just got a lot easier and more fun. Keep your high-energy pet happy and active with the BazooK-9 Tennis Ball Launcher which comes with two tennis balls and storage for two more.

Cats love bags and we’re sure your kitty will love this soft crinkle bed for play and sleep. The interior of the bed is lined with lamb wool Sherpa with an overstuffed bolster to keep the sack open for easy entry and exit. Machine washable.

You’re never far away with the Pet Cube Play! It’s a pet camera with 2-way audio, night vision, and laser toy that works with Alexa so you can auto play games with your pet. Watch, talk and play with your furry friend from anywhere so you’ll never be apart!

Catit Senses 2.0 Wellness Center $25

The ultimate in pampering! The Wellness Center features a variety of textures and brushes along with massage ridges to help your cat groom and relax, including a gum stimulator, catnip, grooming combs, cushion and multi-purpose massager.

Snow Bites Gourmet Dog Treats $13

It’s the perfect stocking stuffer! Nine soft yogurt treats in each gift box to keep your pup filled with pep this Christmas. Handmade in Maumelle, Arkansas, by Claudia’s Canine Bakery.


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Words and image Chad Colley




Fortunately, most Americans have, at some time, experienced the majesty of Christmas. As we think back, there are some years that stand out for any number of reasons. It could be a first bicycle, or the family’s first television set. However, for most of us, it is hard to recall what happened to that special gift. The “one gift” that must be received for Christmas to be, well, Christmas. Truth be told, just a few of these treasures made it beyond a season or two. Like most Christmas offerings, they soon rusted, fell apart or became outdated or tiresome. Such it is with tangible gifts. But there are other gifts that can’t be wrapped in bright paper, colorful ribbons and placed under the Christmas tree. Their true value may not even be noted or appreciated at the time, but their worth is sufficient to last a lifetime.

Mrs. Cathy Colley

The Christmas of 1956, my eleventh, was just such an occasion and just such a gift. My father was a captain in the Army, and the previous autumn the entire 10th Infantry Division had moved to Germany from Ft. Riley, Kansas. In the years immediately following the Korean Conflict, retention in the Army and morale were drivers of moves such as Operation Gyroscope, which reassigned the units together, thus sparing the soldiers from becoming the “new guy” and having to reacclimate. It proved to be highly efficient and most appreciated by the men and officers and their families. In the context of this narrative, we need to picture the challenges of travel over six decades ago. Travel by air was limited, expensive and unfamiliar to all but a few men and women of the 10th Infantry. They had arrived by crossing the Atlantic in a troop ship with a train ride at each end. The idea of flying back to the United States for a wedding, funeral, or Christmas was beyond consideration. None had any expectation that their return home would be any sooner than the three-year tour to which they were assigned. The first Christmas in 1955 passed with just a little angst, but the following year it was fraught with a sense of gloom and homesickness. Most of these young men had not traveled more than a few hundred miles from home until they went to work for Uncle Sam. Yet here they were, thousands of miles from home in the dark of winter, with scant indications of the holiday season to which they were accustomed. Who wouldn’t be homesick and longing for a real Christmas? What they had experienced the first year away from home could best be described as institutional. The dining hall had contained the requisite decorated tree, ornaments, seasonal pictures and a four-foot plastic Santa Claus. The Christmas Day meal offered a menu appropriate for an occasion with DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM




delights not generally afforded in the mess hall. No reason to

what they called them) and boasting and disputes as young men

expect anything but the same the second year away from family.

are want to do. Just the kind of thing these guys would have been doing back home with siblings, cousins, and friends.

My father was the Commander of a Heavy Weapons Company that was composed of 120 or so men divided into four platoons.

Rising above the din of these activities was the singing of Christmas

And these men were the focus of a Christmas surprise! Mom and

carols around the piano in the living room. The sounds, smells,

Dad had caring hearts and a willingness to be of help with

tasty desserts and the joy of every man and boy in the lot,

no expectation of a reward, just the satisfaction

were certainly in evidence that Christmas.

of loving God’s children. They didn’t follow rigid propriety that typically kept officers from socializing with enlisted men. Not when it interfered with helping meet the needs of a weary soul. We lived in a modest, at least by today’s standards, three-bedroom, one-bath apartment. Probably between 800 and 900 square feet. The kitchen was quite small and therefore a challenge to undertake any serious entertaining. The dining

As the party neared the third hour with all

"These are the six aspects of my best Christmas gift ever: the gift of empathy, the gift of joy, the gift of brotherhood, the gift of sharing, the gift of the possible and the gift of self."

table seated six and was at one end of an

the dishes cleaned, order restored and well wishes extended, the soldiers departed for the walk back to their barracks. A jovial, if not rowdy, group of young men celebrated the coming Christmas with joy and a sense that there could be peace on Earth even if far afield. Countless times over the years my mother has questioned my brother and me to see if we felt slighted because the

open living room.

gifts under the tree that year were affected by the significant expense for the party. She can stretch a

On Tuesday and Friday of the second and third week of

dime further than the great majority of folks, but a captain’s pay

December respectively, my family hosted each of the four

in 1956 was still pretty miserly.

platoons to a down-home Christmas party. There were familiar homemade fixins, and some recipes required the men to jump

Of all of the Christmases I’ve celebrated and all the gifts I’ve ever

in and lend a hand. They certainly got into the swing of things

received, which one is, without equal, the most loving, mean-

and spirits were high, the sounds joyful and a sense, I believe, of

ingful, instructional and lasting gift? Why it’s the one I celebrated

family was not unlike what they were accustomed to at home.

with more than one hundred big brothers!

The meal was more like a Christmas picnic given that some sat

These are the six aspects of my best Christmas gift ever: the

on the floor with their plates while others rotated through the

gift of empathy, the gift of joy, the gift of brotherhood, the

few seats at the table. Oh, but the desserts! They were epic. Six

gift of sharing, the gift of the possible and the gift of self. This

or eight pies of several flavors, cakes, cookies and homemade

gift has shaped the character of my brother Ken and me for

candies. We do like our sweets! Who could confine themselves

our whole lifetimes.

to just one flavor? So, it was a little of this a little of that until a surfeit of such tasty fare was reached.

Do you wonder how these young men felt toward this experience? Aside from the numerous men whose paths crossed

While this was going on, my brother Ken, four years younger than

with my dad’s until he retired, ten or more have come to my

I, entertained and played with all comers, sharing a plethora of

parents’ home with gratitude. Some came on numerous occa-

toys. An electric train, little wind-up cars, a trumpet and drums,

sions. Often Dad would receive a phone call that started with,

three-dimensional wooden interlocking puzzles. The puzzles were

“You probably don’t remember me, Sir, but in 1956 …..”

a big hit because we timed our guests, pitting one three-man team against another. There was a lot of ragging the slow group (not

It really doesn’t get any better than that.





A Woodland Christmas words and images Yvonne Pratt

Christmas decorating made easy. Doesn't that sound marvelous? Pillows are a fabulous way to add a touch of Christmas cheer to almost any room. Deer icons are on trend, as is plaid, so let’s combine them for a pillow that is not only easy to make, but also looks like it came out of a high-end catalog. The best part is you don't have to sew a stitch! What could be easier? We’ve also included a tree template as a bonus! Instructions page 23.









Pillow Instructions


- 1 pillow cover (I chose an 18'' plain linen woven pillow cover) - Scissors, Sharpie® - Plaid flannel, ¼ yard - Iron, hot and NO steam - Fusible webbing or Wonder Under® - Template

METHOD 1. Print deer or tree pattern. (see pages 21 & 22) 2. Using a Sharpie®, copy the chosen template onto the paper side of the fusible webbing. 3. Cut around the template, as shown, and iron the image to the WRONG SIDE of the flannel according to directions. If you’re using plaid, make sure the plaid is straight and not crooked on your template. 4. When the template adheres to the flannel, let it cool for a few minutes. When it’s cool, cut out the template. 5. Very gently peel off the paper backing. 6. Center the cutout on the pillow cover. Using a hot iron on the “no steam” setting, iron the cutout to the pillow cover, according to the directions, until it adheres. When cool, stuff the pillow with an insert.





jean green keen

Words and image Marla Cantrell



n the summer of 2014, after Jean Green’s husband Bill passed away, she considered closing her salon, the Klip n Kurl, which she’d

owned for more than thirty years. Her heart just wasn’t in it, and instead of opening shop she’d find herself at the Fort Smith National Cemetery, staring at Bill’s headstone, at the inscription that announced his service in the U.S. Navy in World War II, at the lettering below that read simply “loving husband.”

people people taste

in the easy conversations that happen when someone gives themselves over to a stylist, trusting that they’ll look and feel better by the time they leave. Plus, all of her clients had transitioned into friends over the years.

That desire to make the

Jean is explaining this time of her life on a Friday afternoon. Her voice is filled with Arkansas’ hills and hollows, with the drawn-

world better, one perm

out syllables that make conversations sound as if they are steeped in honey. In her stylist’s chair sits Wilma, whose dark hair defies her age. She met Jean years ago when she worked at the office

and one conversation at a

at Desoto Furniture, which had previously been the Ward Furniture manufacturing plant. Jean had been the company nurse, and Wilma had worked in the office. “We’ve been best friends

time, has earned her quite

for forty-two years,” Wilma says, her cheeks rosy. Jean pats her friend’s shoulder. And then she explains her transi-

the reputation. Stories

tion from nursing to hairdressing. “Nurses didn’t make a lot of money back then.” Plus, Jean adds, hairdressing is in her blood. Her grandfather was a barber. Her brothers and sisters got into

of her kindness ripple

the business as young adults. Jean ticks off their names on her long fingers that are holding a comb, adding nieces, an uncle, a cousin, and a sister-in-law. She laughs and says, “When we get together for family dinners we talk hair!”

through Fort Smith, one

The first week she was in business, thirty-seven years ago, she made sixty dollars. Her first customer was a woman from

client telling the next.

Arkoma, Oklahoma, just across the Arkansas border and minutes away from the Klip n Kurl. “Every week I made a little more, working ten-hour days, five days a week.” While Jean’s bank account was growing, so was her connection to her clients. Jean is an easy confidant, a woman who wants to help. Even as a child, she remembers following her mother, asking to pitch in. “Mama always said that about me, how I wanted to help,” Jean says and runs her fingers through her

But then Jean visited her doctor, who advised her to reconsider.

highlighted hair, the light of memory filling her face.

He was certain that someone like Jean, who thrives around That desire to make the world better, one perm and one conver-

people, would wither at home.

sation at a time, has earned her quite the reputation. Stories So she returned to her haven, just behind Taco Bell and McDon-

of her kindness ripple through Fort Smith, one client telling the

ald’s on Towson Avenue in Fort Smith, Arkansas. When she

next. “I don’t think I do anything special,” she says.

flipped on the lights, the place looked much as it always had, its paneled walls comforting. When her first client came in that

When Jean says this, another customer and friend, Barbara

day, she knew she’d made the right decision. There is comfort

Elkins, who’s sitting in a globe of sunlight by the wide window,


55 25 31



says, “You sure are special, Jean!” In Barbara’s hand is a small

Barbara sits with her feet crossed at the ankles. She’s retired from

candy bar Jean had given her just minutes before. “She’s always

the Dillard’s cosmetic counter, and her skin is smooth, her lipstick

giving me something,” Barbara says and smiles.

expertly applied. Lately, she’s been wondering if she should color her now-gray hair. Chris, another regular, recalls the time she

The stories start then, with Wilma and Barbara adding incident

went gray. She pats her blonde hair, as if she’s grateful for the

after incident. And then Jean says, “I had one lady who recently

vibrant color of it. The subject turns to classic hairstyles, which in

went to the nursing home, but before that, she spent every

turn brings up the subject of Ann.

Thursday with me. She’d say, ‘If I can just get to Jean’s I’ll be OK.’ I still go see her.”

Ann is a client who was in the shop the day before. She wears her hair in a French twist and has for all the decades Jean’s

Then there are the customers Jean buys lunch for every Friday.

known her. “She gets nice comments on her hair all the time,”

“Well,” Jean says, “I’d go to McDonald’s, and I couldn’t very well

Jean says. And then she pauses. “Not that I haven’t tried to get

eat alone. I have an elderly couple that eats with me every week.

her to change. I think she’d look pretty in some soft curls, too.”

The gentleman, he likes an apple pie, coffee, and french fries.” On the wall behind Jean is a sign that reads “I’m a Beautician Jean is rolling Wilma’s hair with hard plastic curlers. Jean says,

Not a Magician.” And near that is a certificate that shows Jean

“A drunk man walked in one day, and he was crying. He said,

got training from a hair wizard whose client at the time was

‘My mama don’t love me, my daddy don’t love me, my kids

country singer, Crystal Gayle, known for her long, dark hair.

don’t love me.’ He was just bawling and carrying on. So, I said,

“He’d crimp all that long hair of hers,” Jean says, and then

‘Set down and I’ll try to help you.’ I finally got on the phone

throws out what he got paid to do it, the number large and

with his mama, who was an elderly lady, and she said, ‘Honey,

inflated, even by today’s standards.

we’ve tried ever alcoholic place in the world, the most expensive there is, and he can’t be helped.’ So, I called his brother,

Jean never set out to make that kind of money. She wanted

and he came by an hour later to get him.

her own business, a place where folks would leave happier than when they came. She once thought of remodeling, but her

“Well, I had this real prominent lady in the chair, and she stood

clients threw a fit. Everyone wanted the Klip n Kurl to remain the

up and she said, ‘If you don’t stop that drinking, you’re going

same, just as they wanted Jean to do.

straight to Hell!’ And then she said, ‘We love you, and we don’t want you to go to Hell!’ And he was crying, saying, ‘I don’t

At seventy-three years old, Jean seems as energetic as

want to go to Hell either!’ And she quoted him some scriptures.

someone half her age. But she does think some days of

That was quite a day."

retiring. Then she remembers days like this one, the shop abuzz with laughter and stories, with friends that make the

Jean’s voice catches, and she has to stop for a second. She wipes

time fly by, and that thought dissolves, a hazy cloud obliter-

her eyes and says, “I can’t hardly talk about it. Anyway, his

ated by the bright and shining sun.

brother ended up buying him a little two-wheeler, I think you call it, to live in, and he came by to tell me he had a home, and he brought me a cookie shaped like a pink rose. I was so touched by it, I couldn’t take a bite. He told me he’d got his life together.” The story is an example of how Jean sees the world. Another

Klip n Kurl is at 4824 South 11th Street in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The phone number is 479.646.8622.

person might have asked the man to leave, frightened of the outcome and rightfully so, but Jean saw it only as an opportunity to make someone’s life better.






Words and images Jessica Sowards




For the majority of my life, in one way or another, I have kept a written record. It started in a sparkly, Lisa Frank diary with a small, golden lock. It matured into multiple Rubbermaid containers underneath my king-sized bed, packed with composition books and Moleskines filled front to back with my handwriting. In these journals, I record memories and milestones. I take notes of sermons and seminars. I write out my prayers, pages and pages of letters to God. I remember promises He has spoken to me. I keep my dreams there. I capture fleeting ideas and line out revelations. On these pages, I celebrate

He told me to speak to the masses as if I were confiding in a just-for-me journal, and He promised me He would be my refuge in the midst of it.

words. Oh, I love words. They are so often my medicine. No, He didn’t call me onto a stage to read a script. I think I I tell you this so you can understand, every line in those

might have been comfortable in fiction. I think I could have

journals was written for me. See, I was always the kind of

hidden my brokenness in the name of calling it a make-

girl who wrote for no one else to read, and I was never the

believe story. But He didn’t call me into make-believe.

kind of girl who yearned for a stage. If I’d found that the

Instead, He called me into the hearts of strangers so that I

privacy of my written world had been breached, if I found

might bleed on their carpet. There He told me to talk about

that someone had picked up my journal and dove headlong

my divorce, my fear, my failure. To talk about my struggles,

into my heart, I would bar the gates. I’d shut down. I’d stop

my weak faith and my easily defeated mind. He told me to

writing until I could recover from the assault, until I could

talk about loss and laziness and how utterly often I beg Him

feel safe again in my secrets.

just to let me give up. He told me to speak to the masses as if I were confiding in a just-for-me journal, and He promised

In the realm of just-for-me, I stretched my legs and learned

me He would be my refuge in the midst of it.

to play in language. I waxed poetic with no apology, rode the waves of everyday romance, and spilled out my bleeding

When I first heard His voice beckoning me to life-out-loud,

heart with zero fear that it might stain someone’s carpet.

my life was very different than it is now. My days were spent in a suburban home, staying at home with my sons. I was a

Then, somewhere along the way, I felt that coaxing of a

student and a small business owner, working weekends as a

comforting God who said, “Come on out here and shine,”

photographer. The journal collection under my bed wasn’t

and then in what felt like an instant, the private escape of

quite as expansive as it is now, and it was stacked next to

writing turned into a stage, and it was no longer just mine. In

the piles of homesteading books I’d accumulated through a

some unexplainable way, I always knew it would end up like

decade of desiring a farm. The life I live now, homeschooling

that. When I was a girl, I’d write stories and imagine someday

my sons on our little homestead and traveling the world for

signing glossy-covered paperbacks. I just always assumed

ministry, was far beyond what I even dared to dream back

when it came time to share, it would be a controlled thing.

then. But I did dream. And I did talk to God.

I thought surely I would feed an adoring audience stories

One particular conversation took place after I read a book about

with made-up names, carefully devised plot twists, and

purpose. I became obsessed with purpose and calling, and I began

happily-ever-afters. I imagined they would be nice and neat,

to fervently pray that God might make mine clear and then equip

they would be wildly celebrated and they would cost me little

me to walk it out. I’ll never forget what He impressed upon my

in the way of vulnerability. God has never been so easy on

heart. He spoke in that quiet whisper that comes as an unexplained

me. He is good, no doubt, but in my experience, obedience

knowing, and He said simply, “Always live in a glass house.” If I’m

to Him costs everything, or it isn’t obedience at all.

being honest, I didn’t know exactly what that meant.





I couldn’t have fathomed then what God had in store for our family. I never imagined a growing YouTube channel and an Instagram with followers in the thousands. I would never have guessed I would one day share my heart in Do South® monthly and wake up daily to an inbox full of messages from strangers with testimonies of being touched by my candid and honest account of life and walking with Jesus. Life these days has indeed surpassed my greatest expectations, but it isn’t always easy to allow the world to look through the glass walls. When I think of the many mistakes we’ve made, I sometimes wrestle with seeing our life as the lovely, gracewashed thing it is. More so than shame, I wrestle with that lie that it doesn’t make a difference. The incredible thing is though, it does. It makes a difference. I have just had to come to the realization that the stories of my life, the honest truths, the struggles and the victories, they matter. Maybe they don’t matter to everyone, but when I am faithful to share them, they always matter to someone. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we all lived in glass houses. During seasons like this one, when the holiday hustle has a way of sweeping humanity into a frenzy, and many people feel lost in the current of it all, what if we shared our bleeding hearts? What if we shared what deeply touches us, what moves us, and what still hurts? What if we engaged in the beauty of this season and asked God to take us on an honest journey through our own mind, just to see what could be found there? I think, just maybe, a world full of glass houses would be a beautiful place to be.

Follow Jessica





words Marla Cantrell Images courtesy Amy Casalman


people taste

In 2010, Amy Casalman took a cake decorating class at Michael’s in Fort Smith, Arkansas. While she enjoyed the creativity of turning cakes into works of art, she realized almost immediately that it wasn’t something she’d keep doing after the class ended. But not long after, a friend had a baby shower, and Amy decided to make cookies for it. The decorating skills she’d learned in class transferred easily, and Amy was thrilled by the reception she got from those gathered to celebrate with the mom-to-be. Bolstered by that experience, she then made Fourth of July cookies for her hairdresser. The cookies were decorated like U.S. flags and hearts with USA written on them in icing. “Those were very simple,” Amy says, “but I probably spent all night doing them.” Today, Amy’s sugar cookies are little works of art, so intricate they seem like the tiny canvases of an artist. And while Amy, an accountant by day, grew more adept at decorating each time she tried, it took her seven years to perfect the cookie recipe. The biggest challenge was keeping the cookies from spreading during the baking process. If they did, they might not resemble the outline of the state of Arkansas, for example, or even a simple circle. Through trial and error, Amy tweaked her recipe, the cooking time, and every other variable she could think of. Today, she bakes confidently, knowing the outcome will be uniform. Those years of experimentation, of nights spent in the kitchen near tears, is why she’s not sharing her recipe with anyone. She will, however, show you how to decorate them. She schedules classes at Fulmer Candy Company in Fort Smith, a peanut brittle manufacturing kitchen her family owns, and soon to be the new permanent home of That Cookie Lady, which is the name of Amy’s business. The name came easily. In her first months of baking cookies to sell, that’s how she was known. People would see her at events, maybe a wedding she’d supplied cookies for, and they’d ask, “Aren’t you that cookie lady?” Amy smiles at the memory of those early days. She started baking because she was reeling from an empty nest. Both her DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM

55 33



daughters had gone off to college, and she was left with more time than she wanted. Her job as an accountant at Golden Living, a healthcare company with an administration center in Fort Smith, fueled the analytical part of her brain. She loves spreadsheets, financial projections, the order and logic of numbers. But Amy also loves crafting and cooking. The more she baked, the more she realized the Zen aspect of it. Spreading icing across a perfect cookie, watching it flow to the edges, is mesmerizing. Concentrating on the making of dough, letting that be the only thing you’re thinking of is akin to meditation. In the back of her mind, she wondered what the future held for That Cookie Lady. It was a great sideline from her regular job, but she was also devoted to accounting and proud of her work at Golden Living. Then rumblings started about downsizing at the office building that employed approximately 900 people, and Amy worried. A woman of faith, she knew her future was not determined by a place of employment, but rather by God Who held Amy in the palm of His hand. But living with the knowledge that your job is in jeopardy, that the career you’d studied so hard for and planned so carefully for might end, is a fretful thing. To ward off the fear, she started putting more hours into her cookie business. “I told myself I needed to make sure my cookie business was where it needed to be by the time I left Golden Living, which I didn’t know at the time was going to be this December. My husband said, ‘You’re making yourself crazy. It will be there. It will be there.’ I’ve had to step back and let God lead. And He already has. There are people I work with that when the twenty-eighth of December hits, they don’t know what they’re going to do, and they’re the only breadwinner in their home. So I can’t complain about what’s happened to me. “I’d known for about a year that this was happening, and then I got my formal letter sixty months out, and it was hard to take. I’d gotten a degree. I’d worked hard. I’d done everything right. I had a pity party for a few days, and then I just said, ‘Get over yourself.’


people taste

“My job at Golden Living helped me get my girls through college. And that’s over with now, so the timing for me to make a change is just right. And since I’ve started selling cookies, I’ve gone from ten dozen a month to twenty-one dozen a week.” As Amy came to terms with her job ending, excitement began to build for That Cookie Lady. She thought of all the new classes she could teach, such as girls’ night out classes, or even going to someone’s home to teach cookie decorating. She’s going to travel to Northwest Arkansas and Conway to teach. And she’s going to add cake pops to her menu, and cookie bouquets, and customers will be able to walk into her shop inside the Fulmer Candy Company to purchase cookies. The thought of all these possibilities keeps Amy up at night. There is so much to do. There are so many plans to make. She keeps track of everything with the precision of the accountant she is and sees how all her work and education is going to help her succeed. When she talks about trusting God, her eyes well with tears. It is easy to get in your own way, she says. To see a problem, like a job you loved coming to an end, and crawl into bed for a day or two. But when she looked closely at her circumstances, she saw how the Lord opened door after door for her. First, when she took a cake decorating class that sparked her interest in edible designs, and later when she began to decorate cookies for her friends. She couldn’t have seen how the talent she was developing would become the parachute that allowed her to land safely from a job she had no idea would be ending. But now Amy sees it, in all its beauty, this plan that was forming as she stood in her kitchen trying to come up with the best sugar cookie she could, failing sometimes but never, ever giving up.

Find Amy on Facebook at That Cookie Lady.


55 35



holiday words and images Janna Wilson




pice up the holidays with this easy DIY gift idea. Pair these festive mulling spice-filled ornaments with your favorite fruity red wine or a delicious half gallon of fresh apple cider. Perfect as a hostess gift or for your neighbors or co-workers. Be sure to make extra to keep on hand for those chilly evenings. As a bonus, this DIY will have your home smelling heavenly for Christmas.



Glass craft ornaments

10 cinnamon sticks

Mulling spices (homemade or purchased)

2 tsp. whole cloves

Spice bags

2 tsp. whole allspice berries

Red wine (750 ml bottle) or apple cider (1/2 gallon)

Orange peel cut into pieces (the peel of one orange, dried

(We love local wine like Wiederkehr’s Beau Noir.)

overnight for best results)

Packaging materials (gift wrap, ribbon, trims, twine) Basic craft tools (scissors, tape, pens, etc.) Oil based paint pen (we used gold) Paper funnel (8 x 8 square paper) Mallet

Break cinnamon sticks into small pieces with mallet. Mix all ingredients into a small mixing bowl and combine thoroughly.

Tip: If you’d rather purchase ready-to-use mulling spices- check out Davidson’s Organics on Their ready-made Herbal Mulling Spice Mix in a 1lb package is around $15.










• Remove metal tops, wash and dry ornaments.

mulled apple cider

• Create paper funnel to match the opening in craft ornaments

and tie closed. Combine 1/2 gallon (2 qt.) apple cider and spice bag

from a piece of 8 x 8 paper. • Funnel mulling spices into ornaments—about 3 Tablespoons filled ours.

Transfer mulling spices to spice bag

in a large pot on the stovetop. Simmer just below boiling point for 30-40 minutes or until hot. Remove spice bag and discard. Serve hot. Garnish with orange slices or cinnamon sticks.

• Replace top and tie pretty bow to top of ornament. You could also use a paint pen to add polka dots to decorate the ornament.

mulled wine Transfer mulling spices to spice bag and tie closed.

• Wrap wine bottle/cider jug with gift wrap or fabric (we wrapped

Heat 1/2 cup water or apple cider and 1/3 cup sugar over stovetop.

our cider jug in burlap secured with a safety pin in back).

When sugar is dissolved add 1 bottle (750 ml) red wine and spice bag

• Attach ornament with spice bag to bottle/jug.

to liquid. Reduce heat to low and simmer (don’t boil) until wine is

• Pen a holiday sentiment on kraft paper or clip out our gift tags

hot. Discard spice bag and serve hot. Garnish with orange slices or

with recipe and add to your packaging.

cinnamon sticks.

Janna Wilson is a long-time crafter, graphic designer and teaches calligraphy workshops locally. Find more inspiration on her blog at

mulled apple cider

mulled wine

Transfer mulling spices to spice bag and tie closed. Combine 1/2 gallon (2 qt.) apple cider and spice bag in a large pot on the stovetop. Simmer just below boiling point for 30-40 minutes or until hot. Remove spice bag and discard. Serve hot. Garnish with orange slices or cinnamon sticks.

Transfer mulling spices to spice bag and tie closed. Heat 1/2 cup water or apple cider and 1/3 cup sugar over stovetop. When sugar is dissolved add 1 bottle (750 ml) red wine and spice bag to liquid. Reduce heat to low and simmer (don’t boil) until wine is hot. Discard spice bag and serve hot. Garnish with orange slices or cinnamon sticks.



Hand Dipped


Chip Cookies recipe and image James Stefiuk








>> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

¾ cup granulated sugar

chocolate chips (2 cups)

¾ cup packed brown sugar 1 cup butter or margarine, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 egg 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet


>> >>

1 package (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips Chopped walnuts to taste – at least 1 cup

METHOD Heat oven to 375°. Mix both sugars, butter, vanilla & egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt (dough will be stiff). Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded Tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown (centers will be soft). Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack. Melt milk chocolate using microwave method: Place the chocolate chips into a wide, shallow microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate on medium power for 1 minute, then stir. Continue heating the chocolate at 10 to 15-second intervals, stirring between each one, until it is almost melted. Remove from microwave and stir until no chunks remain. To decorate: Dip cookies into melted chocolate and then into chopped walnuts; cool on platter.





Image James Stefiuk

• 2 Granny Smith apples, chopped • 1 cup whole fresh cranberries, pierced • 1 cup green grapes, halved • 1 cup pomegranate seeds • 1 cup sparkling white grape juice, chilled • 1 bottle Champagne or prosecco, chilled

METHOD Pierce cranberries with a fork. Add fruit and pomegranate seeds to a punch bowl or large pitcher. Just before serving, pour sparkling grape juice and Champagne into the container. Stir gently. Serve immediately! Please drink responsibly. Never drink and drive.



Image Catherine Frederick





Hot Springs:

THE CURE FOR COLD WEATHER words Dwain Hebda images courtesy Visit Hot Springs, and Garvan Woodland Gardens, and Arkansas Dept. of Parks and Tourism


travel taste


ot Springs has always defied an easy

is the perfect place to kick up your heels. The scenery alone is

description, in large part due to its

worth the drive, although outdoor enthusiasts love the hiking

eclectic offerings. You can drink a

too, especially up to Mountain Tower, which stands 1,256 feet

beer in Al Capone's watering hole of choice,

above sea level where you can see for 140 miles. Visiting the

the Ohio Club, ride a roller coaster at Magic

top of the tower is a Hot Springs tradition. And, as Steve noted,

Springs, and enjoy Steinhaus Keller, German

there's even more back-to-nature adventure on the way.

biergarten, all in the space of a day. "We’re getting ready to announce a mountain biking trail You can work the kinks out in an art

system that we’re going to start next month," he said. "We’re

deco bathhouse such as Quapaw Bath

going to build what will probably end up between fourteen

and Spas or Buckstaff Bathhouse, spend

and sixteen miles of trail which hopefully we’ll have open by

an awe-inspiring evening at The Maxwell

next fall. That’s just the first part of a forty-mile trail system

Blade Theatre of Magic, a mainstay for

that we’re going to do which is minutes from downtown."

twenty years, or visit the long-lived Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum, all within the

The local business owners who’ve invested in this picturesque

confines of a National Park.

town are excited about the growth that’s happening here, not just for outdoor enthusiasts but in the retail venues as well.

"It’s tough to put us under one heading," says Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs. "Our appeal has become broader, I think. In the past it used to be when summer was over, school went back and all you’d see were the older, retired people that were traveling. Now you don’t see that. Now on weekends you see families, youth groups, just a little bit of everything." Trips to the city are particularly festive in December, when Garvan Woodland Gardens decorates for the holidays. From now through New Year’s Eve (they’re closed Christmas), more than 4.5 million lights adorn this winter paradise. There’s a fifty-foot holiday tree which plays music to an animated light show, and it feels like magic walking through the gardens beneath the canopy of sparkling lights. But lights are only the beginning. There are holiday high teas, choral concerts, and visits with Santa. There’s even a Jingle Dog Pup Parade on December 4. When you come to see the lights, bring your bicycles and your hiking boots with you. Hot Springs, nestled in the Ouachitas, DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM

47 55



Paul Lynch, owner of State and Pride Provisions Company, and president of the Downtown Association of Hot Springs, is a prime example of that growth. Originally opened as a purveyor of Arkansas-themed clothing and gifts, State and Pride doubled in size in a year and added an entirely different line of apparel targeting the hiker, camper and mountain biker, merchandise one might find at a specialty outdoors outfitter. "We've tried to provide an upscale experience for people that goes beyond a souvenir shop where you go in and your choices are a five-dollar t-shirt that you're gonna wear once, and a shot glass," he said. Visit State and Pride Provisions Company and all the other great shops when you reach Hot Springs, but save time to investigate the town’s history, which has been dutifully archived by the Garland County Historical Society on Quapaw Avenue. The city was as wild as the Wild West got with rival local factions fighting over gambling rights. During a remarkable fifteen-year period, from 1884 to 1899, duels, murder, corruption and graft made the city synonymous with lawlessness, all the more so because the culminating event—The Hot Springs Shootout of 1899 that killed five—was, incredibly, fought between local and county law enforcement officials. It's probably fitting, then, that the city would enjoy a second, more contemporary notoriety as a hangout for some of the most fabled gangsters of all time. Owney “The Killer” Madden moved to Hot Springs in 1935 seeking a change of pace from the rough-and-tumble of New York City and it wasn't long before other mob heavies were using the city as their playground fortified by illegal gambling, speakeasys and a city administration willing to look the other way. The city's Gangster Museum of America details these colorful times, and you can still party like a kingpin in town. While checking out the Ohio Club, imagine Al Capone sitting nearby with his pals, including the aforementioned Madden, Charles "Lucky" Luciano and the volatile Ben "Bugsy" Siegel. You can also place a bet at Oaklawn Racing and Gaming or sample house-made suds at one of five microbreweries in town including the original, Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery. DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM

travel taste

Of course, all of the gangsters' former diversions are legal now, save one. The city's red light district is long gone, but you can read all about it in Maxine “Call Me Madam”: The Life and Times of a Hot Springs Madam, the memoir of Maxine Temple Jones. You can even get a burger and drink at Maxine's, a landmark music venue that occupies Jones' former brothel. Truthfully though, most of the city's nefarious past has been scrubbed away. In its wake are fun family spots like Mid America Science Museum and Magic Springs amusement park. The surrounding lakes have brought in hordes of tamer visitors, many of them families, a demographic that Paul said is gaining steam. Finding something you love in Hot Springs is as simple as showing up and looking around. And December is a great time to do it. The lights of the season make the town especially festive, plus there’s tons to do. If you can’t make it this month, make plans to visit next year. Any season is a good season in

For more information on Hot Springs, visit To book your visit to Garvan Woodland Gardens to see the lights, visit

this gem of a city in Arkansas. DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM

49 55


southern fiction


ecember D FICTION Marla Cantrell


t was the first week of December, and we’d already been

“Been to the foothills of the Smoky Mountains,” Julius said when

getting Christmas gifts at the city water office where I work—

he stopped by. He was wearing a black cashmere knee-length

homemade divinity, cookies with strawberry jam centers, sugared

coat, the button at his belly straining, a gray cowboy hat, a red tie.

pecans. Our customers brought the sweets, sweet people them-

I knew if he took off the hat, his silver hair would stand up like a

selves who paid their bills without complaint. The wine, though,

rooster’s comb. He was about ten years older than me, best I could

came from Julius Brooks, who owns the canning plant that uses

tell, and not really handsome, but sturdy looking, substantial.

the most water in town, tons of the stuff, whole rivers of it. Julius got a discount on his bill for bringing jobs to town, and I disagreed

“Took a tour of Spout Springs Winery way up there on a moun-

with the perk. Widow Tanner, who, at eighty, did laundry for a

taintop in a little town called Blaine. Fell teetotal in love with this

living and could have used a cheaper bill, for example, didn’t get

wine called Kate, named after the owners’ cat, a gray fur ball

a break, a point I argued during a staff meeting. But I was just the

that climbed right up on my lap and watched the sun set with

lowly clerk, so my opinion didn’t count for much.

me.” Julius was tugging off his black leather gloves. “You ever been to Tennessee, Minnie?”

Anyway, Julius had visited eastern Tennessee recently and brought us back a case of local wine, so smooth it went down

“Never been, Mr. Brooks,” I said, and he said, “Now, Minnie, you

like Kool-Aid.

know I’d rather you called me Julius.”


southern fiction

It was nearing five o’clock, the velvet light of evening already

“How does she get past the scripture about turning water

falling. Above the door, we’d hung a wreath made of green glass

into wine?”

water bottles affixed in a circle with bailing wire, a red bow at the top. Twinkly lights flashed around the doorframe. Lavelle,

“Says it wasn’t turned into wine. Says it was straight-up

my boss, stepped around the corner, said hello to Julius and

grape juice.”

announced she was heading home. “Brought y’all some wine,” Julius said, and Lavelle waved her hand, a dismissal, just short of

Julius smiled. “I love people like Lavelle. They don’t never doubt

a rebuke. “I’m a washed-in-the-blood Southern Baptist,” Lavelle

a thing.”

said. “Never touched a drop of liquor. Never will.” “Yeah,” I said, “she’s a peach.” I was thinking about how the Julius looked at his cowboy boots, their shine reflecting the

hard corners of her beliefs kept her at a distance even though

nearby Christmas lights. “Never meant no harm. Plus, I know

we’d worked together for seventeen years.

plenty of Baptists who imbibe.” Our office is close to the highway, and in the background, I “Well, at my church we’d vote ‘em out in a New York minute,

could hear the whoosh of tires on the pavement. The sound

but that’s neither here nor yonder,” Lavelle said. She seemed to

system was playing “Silver Bells,” a song that took me back to

take in Julius for a second, her head tilting just a bit. “But thank

a Christmas concert when I was in fifth grade. I’d worn a silver

you for thinking of us.” She pointed at me. “Minnie’s been

dress, silver shoes, a red poinsettia blossom in my hair. “I love

known to order a margarita at our yearly meeting in Little Rock,

that song,” I said.

so I’m sure she’s game.” “I got a lot of money,” Julius said, the sentence coming out I spoke up, ready to break the tension that filled every corner of

of nowhere. He spoke faster. “I own other things besides the

the room. “I sure would, Julius. I have a couple of glasses back in

canner. A Rite Aid in Kentucky. A Kentucky Fried Chicken in

the breakroom. Let’s you and me open a bottle.”

Ohio.” When he said Ohio, he pronounced it Oh-High-Oh.

“Y’all go right ahead,” she said. “I’m heading home to the Mister.”

My glass was nearing empty, and Julius poured more wine for both of us. “I own a 1994 Honda from Japan,” I said. “That’s

It was a Friday afternoon. All I had waiting at my apartment was

about the extent of my holdings.”

a stack of dirty dishes and a white cat named Mr. Alabaster who sometimes welcomed me and sometimes bit my ankle. I pulled

“My first car was a 1973 Pinto wagon. My payments were

two tumblers from the cabinet and set them on the table.

fifty-seven dollars a month. I was eighteen, still living in Jasper where I was born.” Julius waved his hand in a half circle. “My

Julius poured the wine, swirled his in his glass and took a sip. I

people were farmers all the way back. Always lived near the

was itchy to drop a few ice cubes in mine—that’s how I drink it at

Buffalo River. Loved the water. Loved the land.”

home—but I resisted. The wine was sweet, the way wine should be. I tipped my glass, tasted the wine, closed my eyes against the

“Did your family have money?”

perfection of it. Julius laughed, and his cheeks turned into apples. “Not a penny “You really think Lavelle’s never drunk a drop?” Julius asked.

extra, but they knew how to work. And they understood that you take care of what you love.”

“She won’t even take cold medicine if she thinks it might have alcohol in it.”

I’d eaten lunch at eleven, and now, on my empty stomach, the wine was loosening my joints. I leaned in and asked, “And what did you know, Julius?”




southern fiction

Julius’s voice was a low rumble. “I know how to ask for

Julius grinned, and in grinning, I could see all the years that led

what I want.”

to this one night in December. His eyes were icy blue with flecks of darker blue surrounding the pupils. His hands were rough,

“I can’t ask for anything, not even for someone standing on my

but his nails were neat and white. He said, “Or we could call a

toe to get the hell off it,” I said.

cab, and you and me could head up the hill to Fayetteville, see the Christmas lights on the Square, ride one of the camels they

“Try with me,” Julius said. “Ask me for something.”

bring in every year, get us a bite to eat.”

I stood up, walked to the refrigerator, opened the freezer door

I had been in a cab only once in my life. On my honeymoon,

and grabbed a handful of ice. I dropped the cubes in my glass,

when me and Edwin had gone to Chicago. I had not liked

and sat back down. “There’s this old widow lady, Emma Tanner,

Chicago, but I’d loved Edwin, God rest his soul. What would

who takes in laundry to keep the lights on.” I pointed toward the

he say if he could see me now? His wife, well, widow, acting

north wall. “She lives out on Old Graphic Road. Well, anyway, she

like a schoolgirl?

could use a little help.” I stared out the window, looking at the moon. There was a fuzzy Julius leaned back in his chair. He’d unbuttoned his fancy coat,

ring around it, a halo of spun sugar. “Call the cab,” I said.

and I could see his initials embroidered on the pocket of his white starched shirt. “If a genie ever shows up here and offers

The taxi took thirty-five minutes to arrive, and all that while

you three wishes, you’d best call me first, Minnie. I suspect

Julius and I sat side by side sipping coffee, our feet balanced on

you’d give ever one of ‘em away.”

the two empty chairs on the other side of the table. He held my hand, and the warmth of it was like the glow of a fireplace on a

I met his eyes, emboldened by the sparkling lights overhead,

freezing night. He set his phone to record, and he and I listed all

and the electric feeling that was building in my chest. “Is that

the things he could buy for Widow Tanner, all the things he’d

a no, Julius Brooks?”

have delivered on Christmas morning.

The parking lot is made of gravel, and just then I heard the crunch

I could imagine her waking up, the world looking the same

of it, maybe footsteps, I thought, and stood to look out the

as it did any other morning. I could imagine her sitting at her

window. A deer—a buck—was walking by, its antlers catching

small table with a cup of tea, the local news on, maybe a load

the glow from the security light. It moved the way royalty might,

of someone’s laundry waiting to be folded in the cubby where

as regal as a king, off into the woods behind the office.

her washer and dryer sat.

I turned to look at Julius, who was looking back at me. “Minnie,”

Then Santa would knock on her door, his sack filled to the top

he said, “I wouldn’t think of saying no to you.”

with gifts just for her. She’d probably touch her throat, push back a lock of white hair, button the top button on her robe.

A memory of what it felt like to flirt flashed across my brain. How

Then she’d smile so wide the entire universe would warm

long had it been since I’d been on a date? Eight years? Ten?

a little. I could see it so clearly, the incredible beauty of it. My eyes misted up. I leaned my head against Julius’s broad

The breakroom was stocked with cans of tuna, peanut butter,

shoulder and let the tears fall across his perfect shirt, his tidy

nearly-fresh bread. “Julius,” I said. “You and I have a situation.

monogram, his heart that I was just beginning to know. I felt

I can’t let you leave here after having more than a glass of wine.

his hand on the top of my head, and it seemed as if I was

I could make us a sandwich, some coffee, and we could talk for

being brought back to life. Maybe I was. Maybe I was being

a while. And while we do it, we could figure out how you’re

born all over again.

going to help Widow Tanner.”






Oh, how we love this season! Christmas music plays over the sound system at work, twinkling lights frame doorways and windows and eaves all across our neighborhoods, and we sing the carols of our childhood at church on Sundays. Right now, we’re making our Christmas lists, jotting down gift ideas for those we hold dear. For some, those ideas come easily. For one of our aunts, for example, it’s as simple as renewing her subscription to Do South®. (Always a great gift idea!) For others though, finding the perfect present gets trickier. That’s how we can help. In the following pages, you’ll find local businesses that provide unique products that will wow those on your list. Farmers Coop offers everything from Muck Boots to nostalgic toys to gardening items. The Fort Smith Popcorn Co. is the perfect place to pick up gifts for co-workers, friends, the kids on your list, and even holiday and school parties. Dr. Gast steps in with gifts that will make the recipient look and feel better. Better still, she and her staff use the products they endorse, so they know how well they work. Sodie’s Wine & Spirits is your go-to stop for parties, spirited gifts, and for stocking your home for all the guests who’ll be celebrating with you. And finally, John Mays Jewelers will help you select gorgeous jewelry and watches that will sparkle and shine for years to come. Thank you for shopping local this holiday season. And Merry Christmas everyone! It is the most wonderful time of the year!





8500 South 36th Terrace, Fort Smith 479.648.1800

Farmers Coop 479.474.6622


Beauty through Health

We’re busy this time of year and can struggle to find gifts for friends and family. Let us help you give the gift of health!

Did you know Farmers Coop is your one-stop shop for all

Beauty starts with a healthy body, especially the skin. We

your holiday gift-giving needs? We're much more than

offer ThermiVa, ThermiSmooth, and Silhouette Instalift, all of

just farm supplies and equipment! Farmers Coop carries

which make the skin healthy, giving a younger appearance. Dr.

fun toys for the little ones, and even a large selection of

Gast is passionate about improving your health whether via

food, toys, and unique items to keep your furry, four-legged

our Cancer Screening Clinic, Fibromyalgia Clinic, or Aesthetic

friends warm and content. For those on your list who love

Medicine Clinic. All services and products offered are used by

the outdoors, check out our selection of Muck boots, Noble

our staff and Dr. Gast, because she believes in them. Ask about

Equine gloves, Boker knives, and Yeti products. We even

gift certificates for your loved ones today!

have gifts for sports fans, bird-watchers, and gardeners. Visit one of our 18 locations today!



63 South 6th Street, Fort Smith 817.676.4104

5622 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith 479.452.2140

At Fort Smith Popcorn Co., we are professional popcorn

The holidays are upon us! Office parties, charity events, and

delivery experts. This Christmas season, we will deliver in

family get-togethers are just a few of the times you’ll wear

elf costumes! It will be super fun! Have our Christmas elf

some of your more special pieces of jewelry. This is a great

delivery driver hand deliver your corporate holiday gift tins

time to stop by and let one of our jewelers clean and check

this year! Our tins include free delivery! 2 gallons - $20; 3.5

those pieces, before your special events, so you’ll look your

gallons - $30; 6.5 gallons - $40. Message us on Facebook at

best. Missing that special piece for your collection? John


Mays Jewelers has some rare one-of-a-kind pieces in stock that fit nearly every budget. Merry Christmas from John,


Kathy, John, and Kevin.

The American Gem Society ™ Announcing Announcing That That

American Gem Society® JOHN MAYS JEWELERS CONGRATULATES KEVIN is awarded toMAYS Registered Jeweler


Registered Jeweler CERTIFIED isGEMOLOGIST awarded toAPPRAISER Registered Jeweler American Gem Society American Gem Society®®





















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Holiday Open House | December 15 – 17 TY


Consumer Protection Since 1934™





G card E M with any Enter for your chance to win a $1,000 gift Hearts on Fire purchase during the Trunk Show!

Holiday Hours 10am – 6pm FRIDAY | 10am – 5pm SATURDAY & SUNDAY

Certified Gemologist 5622 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith | 479.452.2140 |



Make their Christmas magical! Join us during our Holiday Open House and let us help choose the perfect gift for the one you love.

(N co


5401 Phoenix Avenue, Fort Smith 479.783.8013 Sodie’s Wine & Spirits wants to make this the easiest holiday season ever. Our new mobile app allows you to search our


Right to your door. One full year only $36.

inventory, drop your favorite products in your virtual cart and pick them up at our drive-thru. We also have custom gift baskets available. Call or come by and tell us what items you would like in your gift basket and we can make it special for you. From


corporate gifts to stocking stuffers, Sodie’s has you covered!

Subscribe online or send a check to Do South Magazine 4300 Rogers Avenue, Suite 20-110 Fort Smith, AR 72903



GOD in the highest, AND ON EARTH

PEACE, toward men. LUKE 2:14


good will



Man You Love

It doesn't matter whether it's your father, grandfather or spouse, men are often difficult to buy gifts for. Because how many ties, sweaters, or bottles of cologne can you dole out to a man before he comes to feel like they are worn out consolation prizes? This year, why not do something different? Give the men on your gift list something that'll elicit surprise and enthusiasm for your thoughtfulness. words Kimberly Blaker

Gadgets Golf Package Give a round of golf at an elite course he's been dying to play, or a weekend away at a favorite golf resort.

A man can never have too many of these. How about a Bluetooth speaker or headphones, multi-device charging valet, night vision binoculars, heated ice scraper, smartphone Wi-Fi storage, espresso maker, or wireless TV speakers?

Sporting Event Tickets Whatever his favorite sport, a pair of tickets, particularly to one of the top rival games, is sure to be a hit.

Concert tickets


Whether the man on your list is a rocker or symphony fan, a pair of concert tickets will be a sure pleaser, especially if you can swing best seats.

Record player & LPs These are again gaining popularity. Collectible vintage model record players to brand new ones can be found online. Look for LPs at brick-n-mortar vintage record stores, antique malls, or online.

Dinner at a Posh Restaurant

Massage Certificates

The old adage goes, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. So buy him a gift certificate at a top-notch restaurant he's been reluctant to splurge on. It's the perfect way for a man to enjoy a gourmet meal without guilt.

This luxury is sure to please any man and can be had fairly inexpensively through Groupon.

Music Download Subscription It's nearly impossible to ever have too much music. Subscriptions for music downloads can be found at Amazon, Napster, iTunes, eMusic, and Spotify, to name a few.

Who says kitchen appliances and gizmos are for women only? If the man on your gift list loves playing chef, consider a top-quality butcher block knife set, rotisserie, smoker, or the latest gadget.

Remote Car Starter This is an excellent gift for both hot and cold climates. With a remote starter, your gift recipient will be able to heat or cool his car before he steps out into unbearable temperatures.


Chef Supplies

Magazine Subscription

Museum Membership Is the man on your list an art enthusiast or history buff? If so, look into museum memberships in your nearby metropolitan area. In addition to free entrance, museum memberships typically offer extra perks such as entry into special exhibitions, discounts on special events, and periodic newsletters.

Make the man on your list a card-carrying member of the National Audubon Society, Earth Policy Institute, Republican National Committee, Democratic National Committee, National Coalition for the Homeless, American Humane Society, or whatever organization he takes a strong interest in. Memberships to most organizations include periodicals among many other benefits.

Audiobook Subscription If the man on your list loves reading but doesn't have the time, an audio subscription may be the perfect alternative. He can download books to his smartphone or iPod and listen while working out or on his drive to work.

A Trip or Weekend Away This gift could be as simple as a weekend away nearby for some rest and relaxation to a week-long trip to a favorite destination. Keep your eyes out for travel deals at Travelzoo, Travelocity, Google Flights, Airfairwatchdog, and Kayak.


Annual Non-Profit Membership

Whether the man you're buying for is a sports fan, outdoorsman, world traveler, hobbyist, professional, or business owner, there's a magazine out there for every niche.


Want More Gift Ideas? Shop local for these gift sets and shades, all-natural products, home décor and so much more! words Catherine Frederick imageS Amanda Grist and courtesy vendors

Adorable Seasonal Home Décor

Holiday Gift Sets


IN GOOD SPIRITS 479.434.6604


Harry Kotlar Platinum and 18kt. Yellow Gold 7.89ct. Yellow Diamond 8.62cts.




Holiday Gift Sets

SODIE’S WINE & SPIRITS 479.783.8013

Tom Ford Sunglasses


Anti-Stress Drink, Bone Broth Protein, Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey Tonic, Vitamins, Smoothie Mix

OLD FASHIONED FOODS 479.782.6183 / 479.649.8200

From Our Family to Yours!

Read Chair Publishing, LLC 4300 Rogers Avenue, Suite 20-110 Fort Smith, AR 72903

Sugar - December 2017  
Sugar - December 2017