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®

KRINGLE

December 2016 DoSouthMagazine.com


Fort Smith Public S

chools

P av i n g t h e R o a d to Success t h r o u g h WA T C Northside Southside and

and junior

seniors

will

earn up to 18 hours of college credit by the end of the spring semester thanks to special teamwork between Fort Smith Public Schools

and

UAFS’

Western

Arkansas Technical Center. Students secure core credit hours in their home schools for half of the school day and spend the remainder of the day working toward a college degree. It is possible for students to graduate with an associate degree and a high school diploma!

Classes offered: - Automotive Service Tech - Computer Engineering

- Drafting, Design & Architecture

- Graphic Communications - Health Science Technology

- Criminal Justice

- Electronics

- Digital Communications

- Entrepreneurship

Management

Fort Smith Public Schools

Research - Office Administration - Securities & Investments

The mission of the Fort Smith Public Schools is to ensure academic and personal success for each student —Today and in the Future.

STAY CONNECTED

- Marketing Technology &

@FSSchools

FortSmithSchools.org @FortSmithPublicSchools


CONTENTS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / OWNER Catherine Frederick CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Scott Frederick MANAGING EDITOR Marla Cantrell CONTRIBUTING WRITERS / PHOTOGRAPHERS Payton Allen John Blase Marla Cantrell Bob Dyer Catherine Frederick Dwain Hebda Amy Lloyd Rachael McGrew Rachel Putman Jessica Sowards Stoney Stamper James Stefiux

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

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INSIDE 26

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DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN? Even if the weather doesn't cooperate, you can build a snowman! All you need are a few items from the craft store and a little time to let your crafty self soar!

FINDING BEAUTY IN THE IMPERFECT Find out how Angier Meyer, owner of Wasted in Fort Smith, can take old, rusty things and turn them into new showpieces for your home.

THE ART OF FOOD AND DAVID SUN In David Sun's kitchen, an orange becomes a rose sculpture, a radish becomes a flying goose, and handmade noodles are turned into an edible bowl. You'll want to try all of his delicious dishes!

HOLIDAY HELPERS Let's get this party started! Wow your guests with BLT Bites, Fried Green Beans, and Apple, Bacon and Arugula Bites.

DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM

ADVERTISING INFORMATION Catherine Frederick - 479.782.1500 Catherine@DoSouthMagazine.com

EDITORIAL INFORMATION Marla Cantrell - 479.831.9116 Marla@DoSouthMagazine.com ©2016 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 Cover Image: Alina G.

FOLLOW US Annual subscriptions are $30 (12 months), within the contiguous United States. Subscribe at DoSouthMagazine.com or mail check to 4300 Rogers Avenue, Suite 20-110, Fort Smith, AR, 72903. Single issues are available upon request for $7. Inquiries or address changes, call 479.782.1500.


letter from the editor

F

Food. The holidays seem to

Not only is his Asian cuisine and sushi perfectly delicious, but his

revolve around it. And that’s

dishes look like art. He can turn a simple vegetable into a bunny

just fine by me. I mean, Food

sculpture, a rose, butterflies or even a pair of flying geese. (You'll

+ The Holidays = Why Stretchy

love the photos!)

Pants Were Invented. But we didn't stop there. We knew you'd want recipes to try at

It starts with Thanksgiving, the

home. Chef Goldwhite provided a shrimp dish you'll adore, and

green bean, and sweet potato

our food writer, James Stefiux, weighed in with three yummy

casseroles. The dressing. The

appetizers (think BACON!) and a cocktail called the Pom-Pom Fizz

gravy. The pies. Oh my, the

that's sure to be the hit of your holiday party.

pies. Then comes the weeks leading up to Christmas. Cookie baking and candy making. Delicious homemade treats from

I know what you're thinking. You need to work off all that great

neighbors. And more pie.

food, right? First, head out to see Fort Smith's newest Community Christmas Tree at GreenPointe Shopping Center, a great place to

When I was growing up, the cooking duties were spread out

stretch your legs and snap a holiday photo. Then, check out our

amongst all family members. Everyone brought a dish to holiday

calendar for twenty-five holiday events that will get you moving.

dinners, and we’d pile our plates high and eat until we felt as if we

(There's even a dance party!)

couldn’t possibly take in another bite. Then we’d sit and talk and laugh, and we’d nibble a bit more. After all, those kinds of feasts

And for all my fellow procrastinators, we're featuring a Gift Guide

only came around a couple times a year.

at the end of this issue, a place where you can find great gifts and support our local businesses. Keep it local this holiday!

When we were finalizing this issue, we realized that we must have had food on the brain! We featured Executive Chef David Gold-

But back to those stretchy pants. If you're already worried about

white, who grew up in England, trained in France, and is now

those few extra pounds, relax! We all know we've got to take care

working his magic at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Pocola, Okla-

of the one body God gave us! So, in January, we’ll be featuring

homa. We traveled to Hot Springs to meet Brooklyn-born Anthony

our Health and Wellness Guide, chock-full of advice from the best

Valinoti at his epic pizza shop, DeLuca's Pizzeria, and had some of

of the best healthcare professionals in our community. But for

the best pizza of our lives.

now, ‘Tis the season! Who’s ready for another slice of pie?

That was just the beginning. We'd been hearing rave reviews about a chef named David Sun, who came to the USA from South China when he was nineteen, and whose restaurant, Smile Bull,

~Catherine

Follow Do South® Magazine

is drawing in customers from all across Fort Smith and beyond.

To reserve this free space for your charitable non-profit organization, email: Editors@DoSouthMagazine.com

DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM

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UPCLOSE&PERSONAL

&

UP CLOSE PERSONAL

Isaiah Joe Shooting Guard Northside Grizzlies Basketball

You are a junior at Northside High School. How excited are you to already be recruited by the Arkansas Razorbacks? I've always dreamed about playing for the Arkansas Razorbacks since I was little and my mom and dad would take me to Razorback football and basketball games. I even played games at the arena when I was in elementary school, and I will always remember that. It's going to be incredible to play in front of the home state fans. Another cool thing will be that my family, most of whom bleed Razorback Red, will be able to enjoy this image Glen Gilly

DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM

adventure with me. WPS!


UPCLOSE&PERSONAL

WORDS TO LIVE BY:

Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. ISAIAH CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT:

iPhone, car, a basketball WHAT WAS THE NAME OF YOUR FIRST BASKETBALL TEAM?

HOW HAS YOUR FATHER INFLUENCED YOUR BASKETBALL CAREER?

My dad works with me on and off the court to be the best I can be as a person and a player.

YOU'RE OFTEN DESCRIBED AS KINDHEARTED. DO YOU THINK THAT QUALITY COMES FROM YOUR PARENTS?

Yes, my parents always expect me to be polite and to respect everyone.

Gerber at Stephen’s Boys Club, when I was five years old.

YOU ALSO PLAY FOR THE ARKANSAS HAWKS (A TRAVEL BALL TEAM). WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM BEING PART OF THAT TEAM?

WHICH PROFESSIONAL PLAYER DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?

Coach Kevin Howard and Bill Ingram and the other Hawks coaches show us the areas we need to improve on as basketball players. They have a lot of experience developing kids to play college basketball. They really care about all of the players on my team. I've learned about the importance of team chemistry on and off the court. Hawks stands for Hard at Work Kids, and we talk about the importance of outworking the competition on and off of the court all the time.

The fact they always want to do something together.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR FAMILY.

I love the coaching staff because they expect a lot. They seem like they want the best for the players in their program. They play up-tempo style of basketball, and I like that.

Kobe Bryant, because of his will to win and his hard work. HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND PRACTICING EVERY DAY?

Four hours a day. HOW DOES WHAT YOU'VE LEARNED IN BASKETBALL HELP YOU IN THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?

It teaches me to work hard in everything I do. It teaches responsibility and respect for others and leadership. WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING A SHOOTING GUARD?

It spreads the court out for my other teammates and gives them freedom to operate. WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE YOU'VE GOTTEN FROM NORTHSIDE'S COACH BURNETT?

Not necessarily advice, but he tries to teach us how to be young men by giving us extra responsibilities. Coach Burnett treats us like young men.

We spend quite a bit of time together. We watch a lot of movies at home. We love to eat out. Our favorite restaurant is probably Red Lobster. My brothers and I love to play video games. I have two younger brothers, Jacob and Jon, and they love to hang out with me. I have two great parents who give me good advice. WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?

Being at home and being able to sleep in. I like to hang out with my friends on weekends because we do travel a lot as a family. I don't always feel up to my workouts, but I go because I love the results. DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM

WHAT'S SOMETHING YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR TWO YOUNGER BROTHERS?

WHAT'S SOMETHING THAT DRIVES YOU CRAZY ABOUT YOUR TWO YOUNGER BROTHERS?

Sometimes it's hard to get away from them. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MEAL?

Either shrimp fried rice or steak. WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THE ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS?

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUNGER ATHLETES WHO HOPE TO PLAY AT THE COLLEGE LEVEL?

Work hard and stay focused on your goals. Listen and take advice from your coaches and don't argue with the coach because he or she is trying to help.

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poetry

Down Here LINEs John Blase

We are down here in time where beauty grows. We are down here entangled in the affairs of this life as is right for we are not soldiers but homesteaders. We are down here staking claims hanging windows of hope in walls of memory arranging our kitsch just so. So beautifully so.

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Remembering Patricia Brown-Crowe words Marla Cantrell imageS Nick Daniels

she adored, Michael Crowe, and I realized I'd never have the chance to tell another love story like theirs. There Patricia was, fighting for her life, and she had found her perfect love. When I visited their home, I watched the two of them. It was like On November 18, shortly after Patricia Brown-Crowe's passing,

looking at love personified.

one of her dearest friends said that she'd probably already secured the job as greeter in Heaven, her bright smile flashing

She told me that in 2012, faced with the possibility of dying,

each time someone approached the Pearly Gates. And every time

she'd asked God for four things, all of which came true. The

that happened, Patricia would walk away with another friend.

last prayer that was answered was Patricia's hope that she'd find a man who would love her beyond a season. On November

Anyone who knew Patricia, understood that if she wanted the

18, the thought occurred to me that their love had lasted far

job, she'd surely gotten it. "No" was not a word she recog-

beyond a season. That love is now eternal.

nized. Obstacles, to her, were just a signal she needed to work harder. That was one of the reasons we loved her.

When I interviewed her, I told her the marriage seemed monumental to me, and Patricia agreed, although she was not

For years, we'd followed her story. Her breast cancer diag-

surprised. She said she'd felt the hand of God in her life every

nosis in 2005. The victory Patricia felt when her first treatment

day since she was a child. And before I left, she talked about

ended. The shock when cancer returned in 2012.

her life, her grand adventure.

What made her exceptional was the joy that followed her into any

“I’ve had a front-row seat for miracles. If I die tomorrow, I’m good.

room, no matter what her prognosis, and how she shared that joy,

I’ve said thank-you, and I love you to the people who need to hear

helping everyone she could, especially others dealing with cancer.

it. I’ve asked forgiveness when I needed to. I’ve lived life large.”

In May, I interviewed Patricia for Do South. I wanted to tell her

Rest in peace, Patricia Brown-Crowe. We'll see you on the

story at that time because she'd just gotten married to the man

other side.

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calendar

THE 25 DATES OF CHRISTMAS! Gather your friends and family as we welcome in the holidays! We’ve rounded up twenty-five events you won’t want to miss, including a few celebrations to help you ring in the New Year!

December 1, 2, 3, 4 The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey Van Buren | $10 general admission 479.474.2426 Call for advance tickets and times. Head to the King Opera House in downtown Van Buren for a live performance of The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, a musical that will lift your spirits and bring you a big dose of holiday cheer. Advance tickets are recommended.

December 2, 3 Christmas in the City Shopping Extravaganza Fort Smith Shopping begins at noon on December 2 at the Ben Geren Events Building on the east side of the park. On December 3, the fun begins at 10am. There will also be door prizes, food, live entertainment, and a crazy sweater contest.

December 2 Victorian Holiday Open House 5:30pm-8:30pm Van Buren | Free Facebook/Drennen-Scott Historic Site The historic UAFS Drennen-Scott House is hosting a Victorian Open House, complete with period holiday decorations. Live music, eggnog, wassail, and the Drennen-Scott family's traditional sugared and salted pecans will be served.

December 3 First Lavaca Holiday Market, 10am - 5pm Lavaca | Free firstlavaca.com Find that perfect gift at the First Lavaca Holiday Market held at First Baptist's h2o Student Center. Great food, crafts, home décor, and Chick-fil-A combo meals available during lunch. Doors for the market close at 5pm. Girls Night Out with Dove Award winner Ellie Holcomb, begins at 5:30 and costs $10 to attend. Check website for details.

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December 2 Clayton House 4th Annual Gaslight Gala 6:30pm-10pm Fort Smith | $50 claytonhouse.org A delicious buffet, specialty drinks, live music, a live and silent auction, all inside the circa 1882 Clayton House in the Belle Grove Historic District. You can even have your portrait drawn and take a carriage ride at this annual fundraiser.

December 3 Living Windows 5:30pm Van Buren | Free vanburen.org Downtown Van Buren gets into the holiday spirit at 5:30pm, as shops unveil living window displays showcasing the town's history. At 6pm, it's the lighting of the courthouse. Santa will be on hand, and there will be free snacks and live music.


calendar

December 3 Warren's Rec Room Christmas Party 6:30pm-10:30pm Alma | Cost: New, unwrapped gift warrensrecroom.com This Christmas party at Warren's Rec Room has live music by Boss Tweeds, food, and tons of fun. Admission is a new, unwrapped gift that will be donated to Toys for Tots.

December 4 Christmas Tasting Extravaganza 2pm-3:30pm Greenwood | $5 greenwoodumc.net

December 4 Holiday Home Tour 1-5pm Fort Smith | $25 jlfs.org Looking for a dose of Christmas decorating inspiration? The Junior League of Fort Smith invites you to join them for their 2016 Holiday Home Tour! You'll visit four gorgeous homes and come away with some great ideas.

Greenwood United Methodist Women's annual Tasting Extravaganza will leave you full and happy. Sample great food, bid on the silent auction, and buy one of the Tasting Extravaganza's cookbooks for only $3.

December 9, 10, 11 Christmas in Oz Van Buren $12 in advance, $15 at door 479.208.3587

December 9, 10, 11 Keyboards at Christmas Fort Smith | Free oakcliffbaptist.com

At the King Opera House, the Wicked Witch of the West steals Christmas from Munchkinland. Not to worry, though. Good wins out in the end. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Sebastian County Emergency Shelter. December 9 at 7pm. December 10 at 4pm and 8pm. December 11 at 4pm.

The sounds of Christmas have never been sweeter! Four grand pianos and the Oak Cliff Baptist choir will perform with special guests Dr. Rosilee Walker Russell, and Gini Law. Performances December 9 at 6:30pm, December 10 at 2:30pm, and December 11 at 6:30pm.

December 10 Milk and Cookies with Santa 1pm and 3pm Fort Smith | Free 479.646.3945

December 10 Tuba Christmas Concert 11:30am Fort Smith | Free Facebook/River Valley Tuba Christmas Christmas music, cookies and hot cocoa, and a visit from Santa! Just bring a lawn chair to the Riverfront Pavilion. All tuba, sousaphone, baritone and euphonium players are invited to participate— regardless of age or skill level. Registration begins at 8:30am, and rehearsal at 9. Participants will be playing with special guests from the United States Army and Marine Bands.

Register your kids now for a visit with Santa, complete with milk and cookies, at the Miller Branch Library. Seating is limited, so call now. Two sessions available, at 1pm and 3pm.

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calendar

December 10 Polar Express 4pm-9pm Fort Smith | Free fstm.org The Fort Smith Trolley Museum presents Polar Express. Free cocoa and cookies, rides on vintage streetcars, and the chance to see Santa and have a photo made with him. The book, The Polar Express, will also be read, and the gift shop will be open.

December 10 Fort Smith Christmas Parade 3pm Fort Smith | Free A holiday tradition not to be missed! The Fort Smith Jaycees host the Christmas parade every year. Santa shows up in downtown Fort Smith to make sure everyone has a good time.

December 10 Christmas Parade 6:30pm Van Buren | Free vanburen.org Santa shows up for the parade in downtown Van Buren. Lots of holiday cheer, a ton of fun, and Christmas music.

December 11 Christmas at the Clayton House Fort Smith | Free claytonhouse.org Holiday crafts, refreshments, music, and songs from the Fort Smith Chorale at 2pm. Santa will be there to make this party one for the record books, all at the historic Clayton House.

December 10 The Nutcracker Fort Smith 7:30pm $25 adults, $15 children waballet.org Western Arkansas Ballet presents its annual performance of The Nutcracker at ArcBest Performing Arts Center. The cast includes local children and adults along with professional guest artists.

December 11 River Valley Community Band Christmas Concert 3pm Fort Smith | Free Facebook/River Valley Community Band What a great way to spend an afternoon! The River Valley Community Band will be performing Christmas music at the Darby Junior High Auditorium.

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calendar

December 17 Christmas Honors 11am Fort Smith | Free christmashonors.org

December 17 National Historic Site Holiday Open House 1pm-4pm Free nps.gov/fosm

There are more than 16,000 headstones at the Fort Smith National Cemetery, and when the day is over, each will be adorned with a Christmas wreath. Attend the ceremony at 11am, and then help place the wreaths as an act of respect and honor.

Free admission to the Historic Site, live music, cookies and punch, and a chance to take Christmas photos with Judge and Mrs. Isaac Parker. Kids can also decorate a Victorian Christmas card or make their own ornament.

December 3 Midnight Masquerade 8pm Fort Smith | $100 arcrivervalley.org

December 31 Last Night 7pm-2am Fayetteville | $5-$85 lastnightfayetteville.com

Help support the Arc for the River Valley at Midnight Masquerade on New Year's Eve. Music by Wingnut the Band, beer and wine, hors d'oeuvres, champagne at midnight, and live and silent auctions. Welcome in 2017 at the Doubletree Hotel while supporting a great cause!

Arkansas' largest New Year's Eve celebration, Last Night, takes place on the Square in Fayetteville with more than 100 performers. Eight stages with tons of entertainment, including kids' shows, comedians, circus acts, and music from groups including Arkansauce and The Silver Shakers. The Hog Drop is at midnight, along with fireworks.

December 31 CB Supper Club 8:30pm-1am Bentonville $225 non-members, $200 members crystalbridges.org The Great Hall at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art transforms into a speakeasy-style supper club for New Year's Eve. The menu consists of multiple courses paired with wine or cocktails. Entertainment includes jazz bands, torch singers, and dancing. Tickets include admission to the Museum Dance Party.

December 31 Museum Dance Party 9:30pm-1:30am Bentonville $60 non-members, $55 members crystalbridges.org Dance the night away at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The party starts in the museum's restaurant, Eleven, and spreads through the galleries. Cash bars available and appetizers and a glass of champagne for the midnight countdown are free.

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community

Oh Christmas Tree! words Marla Cantrell image Bob Dyer

At GreenPointe Shopping Center at 4300 Rogers Avenue in Fort Smith, Arkansas, there's a brand new community Christmas tree for all to enjoy. The Leyland Cypress, bought from an Arkansas tree farm, is more than twenty feet tall and was unveiled in November. For the holidays, it's decorated in Christmas fare, with giant wrapped "gifts" at its base. Everyone is welcome to stop by and snap holiday photos by the tree. While you're there, browse the shops at GreenPointe, and remember to bring a donation of non-perishable food with you, since the shopping center is a drop-off location for the Fort Smith Community Rescue Mission.

Community Christmas Tree GreenPointe Shopping Center | 4300 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith

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community

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entertainment

Page-turning Presents reviewS Marla Cantrell

After the Christmas wrapping has been tossed away and the day fades into night, those who've received books as presents will be tucked away reading. What a picture-perfect way to spend Christmas evening! Not sure which books will be hits? We have a few suggestions.

Young Kids

|

Older Kids

|

Adults

Merry Christmas, Stinky Face

Finding Winnie: The True Story

Dog Man

by Lisa McCourt and Cyd Moore

of the World’s Most Famous Bear

by Dav Pilkey

Merry Christmas, Stinky Face was re-released

by Lindsay Mattick and Sophie Blackall

Dav Pilkey, creator of the Captain Underpants

in September. This holiday story has Stinky

This award-winning book tells the true story

books, tells the story of Dog Man, part cop,

Face asking plenty of questions, including

of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.

part canine, in this madcap tale. Laugh your

what would happen if the wind blew down

Follow Winnie's journey from Canada all the

way through this story of the crime-fighting

the Christmas tree. Your little ones will love

way to the Hundred Acre Wood, and learn

sensation, and find out how he came to be.

this story, and will likely pass it down when

about the friendship between this lovable

They'll love this full-color comic!

they have kids of their own.

bear and the soldier who rescued her.

DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM


entertainment

Double Down

Moo

Magnus Chase and the

(Diary of a Wimpy Kid #11)

by Sharon Creech

Gods of Asgard,

by Jeff Kinney

Reena is twelve years old and has just

Book 2: The Hammer of Thor

Greg Heffley's mom wants him to walk

moved with her family to a coastal Maine

by Rick Riordan

away from his video games and explore his

town, where she's been tasked with caring

In book two of this series, Thor has misplaced

“creative side.” The thought is a scary one

for a cantankerous cow named Zora.

his hammer—again! It's fallen into enemy

for Greg until he's inspired to make his own

The author, a Newbery Medalist, tells the

hands, and if Magnus Chase and his friends

movie. Will he get rich and famous? You'll

story beautifully.

can't get it back, the mortal worlds won't be

have to read the book to find out.

able to fight off the giants!

The Whistler

Today Will Be Different

The Magnolia Story

by John Grisham

by Maria Semple

by Chip and Joanna Gaines and

Arkansas native John Grisham has a new

Maria Semple writes quirky stories that are

Mark Dagostino

page-turner! The Whistler, set in Florida,

sharp, funny, and impossible to put down.

If you love Chip and Jo-Jo on HGTV's Fixer

involves a corrupt judge, the construction

In Today Will Be Different, she introduces

Upper!, you'll love The Magnolia Story. This

of a casino on Native American land, and

us to Eleanor Flood, who decided to be her

heartwarming autobiography takes you

the mafia. The situation is a dangerous

"best self," even though her life is marked

back to the beginning of their love story and

one, and it grows even more so with every

by a continuing series of catastrophes.

chronicles their epic life together.

new revelation.

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shop

Gifts, Décor & More!

GREAT AMERICAN COOKIES Central Mall, Fort Smith 479.452.9999

words Catherine Frederick imageS Rachael McGrew & vendors

SUNSHINE SHOP AT MERCY FORT SMITH 7301 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith 479.314.6079

GALLIVANTING LADIES APPAREL

SODIE’S WINE & SPIRITS

4300 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith 479.646.7555

5401 Phoenix Avenue, Fort Smith 479.783.8013

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shop

Looking for that perfect gift? Or, perhaps new holiday décor? We’ve got it all, and it’s all local! Shop small and show your support for our community this holiday season!

JOHN MAYS JEWELERS

IN GOOD SPIRITS

5622 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith 479.452.2140

12100 Hwy. 71, Fort Smith 479.434.6604

DR. STEVEN B. STILES OPTOMETRY

JENNIFER’S GIFT SHOP AT SPARKS HEALTH

2401 S. Waldron Road, Fort Smith 479.452.2020

1001 Towson Avenue, Fort Smith 479.441.4221

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pets

A Forever Home for Christmas F

M

F

M

Lizzy

Weston

F

Kudzo

Princess

M

Pickles

Pixel

Bubba's Rescue Dog Shelter Our mission is to make sure that all animals have a loving and forever home. We can’t do this alone and we need your help. Donations are always needed and greatly appreciated. Physical: 131 Poplar, Waldron, AR 72958 | Mailing: 30423 Weeks Road, Waldron, AR 72958 | 479.637.0255 | Each month, Do SouthŽ 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 editors@dosouthmagazine.com.

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people

N

Christmas Present Christmas Past words Jessica Sowards images courtesy Mikela Sowards

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T

people

There is a particular feeling that inhabits my heart this time of year. I anticipate it from the very first cool morning in September. When pumpkin spice everything explodes in the stores and restaurants, I know it's almost here. Then October rolls in and the leaves burn crimson and gold, giving their lives for that satisfying underfoot crunch that marks a walk around the farm in the fall. Next, comes the cold. A hint of wood smoke mingles with the air. Mornings are marked with a whistling kettle and the necessity of slippers and sweaters over thermal pajamas. As the nation speeds into the hustle and bustle of the holidays, something absolutely beautiful happens inside my little farmhouse. When Jeremiah and I met, I was a Christmas fanatic, and he could have been aptly described as a Scrooge. He didn't mean anything by it. Christmas was never a big deal in his family. His parents had nine kids and no money, so the festivities were gener-

The Sowards

ally limited. I remember when he told me they'd never had a Christmas tree and my heart just broke. He

He could have been preceded by the booming declarations of

didn't seem to mind, of course, but I couldn't imagine, with my

heaven, demanding all the acknowledgment He deserved. He

rich childhood memories of the holidays, what it would be like

could have stormed the earth, captivating everyone in it. But

not to have a tree and gifts and traditions.

instead, He came as a whisper in the night. He came in the sweet and small cry of a newborn. He came to a mother and a father.

This difference actually proved to be a bit of a struggle in the early days of our relationship. My idea of giving seemed exces-

On the night the King was born, so was born a family. When

sive to him. His idea of Christmas seemed depressing to me.

I realized that, my heart and everything in it changed towards

The first years we were together, I was so determined to make

Christmas. I always knew we were celebrating the arrival of

him love Christmas, to buy all the right stuff and manufacture

salvation, but something in me really shifted when I realized that

all the right feelings, that I almost missed the true meaning of

God made more than one declaration in how He chose to send

the holiday. I would work so hard to make everything perfect,

His son. God was speaking of His heart for the family unit in that

spending money I didn’t have and putting my focus on all the

manger. When I began to focus on that, all the wonder that had

wrong things, that I would end up feeling deflated and spent,

been kindled in my childhood, all the joy of gifts and the love and

disappointed at the fleeting nature of what I had created.

celebration became mingled with something much more holy.

It was on a late December night, in the quiet calm that settles

In the years that followed that paradigm shift, our life has become

on a mother after her children are sleeping, that I sat in the

unrecognizable. We bought our farm, became homeschoolers,

warm glow of the Christmas tree and cried, realizing what I was

opened our family business. We welcomed our fourth and fifth

really celebrating. Jesus could have come any way He wanted.

sons. We made plans and strived to live more sustainably. I began

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people

traveling more for ministry and sharing our adventures as a big

the oven, and a pie cools on the counter, it's almost like a heart-

family carving out our own way in the world.

beat thumps out of that warm-tiled heart of my home. I hope and pray my sons remember Christmas in the kitchen. I hope they

We laid a foundation of faith and built on it a structure of family

remember being elbow deep in dough, wrapped up in one of their

and worship and service. And Christmas became a reflection of

momma's floral aprons. I hope they remember how pleasing it is

the rest of our life, like the year-end flourish on all the other days

to create comfort and familiarity in lovingly crafted food.

spent loving Jesus. It's always been my favorite time of year, but now it holds a special wonder. No longer is it a time of hustle and

We still buy some presents. We still decorate. I still start playing

bustle and striving, but a time that we land and rest. Something

Christmas music earlier than most people deem sensible. But

like a whisper in a manger, we are surrounded by smelly animals

everything is intentional. My Christmases aren’t created in a

and a family God put together, and we are thankful.

shopping mall anymore but are built from the stories of two families. One that existed two thousand years ago, and the one

Somewhere in the midst of it all, Jeremiah came to love Christ-

I'm living in now on this little Arkansas farm.

mastime. When everything changed, he started seeing the heart that went into the gifts and the food and the atmosphere,

Do you want to know my favorite part of it all? I love opening

and he realized that my love for the holiday was an expression

the door and sharing Christmas. This year our precious friends,

of my love for my family. He got on board. I watch him now

Daniel and Kassie, are bringing their fifteen adopted children to

on Christmas mornings, as he drinks tea and takes in his sons

spend a weekend at our house shortly before Christmas Day.

experiencing something he missed out on, and I praise God for

I love seeing Jeremiah’s wheels turning, making plans to have

giving us the things we don't even know to ask for. Things like

surprises under the tree for them all. I’ve already planned the

deeply rooted homes and rich memories.

food, and though we may have air mattresses covering all the bedroom floors, there will be more than enough love to make

And the memories are rich for sure, even though they cost very

up for the tight sleeping quarters.

little in material things. When the pumpkin spice and the wood smoke begin flavoring the season, my kitchen wakes up and the

We will have cookie baking marathons with my cousin Amy and

special feeling of home that comes once a year settles in.

her little girl. We will uphold our tradition of making popcorn strands for the tree with Grandma Jana. We will watch movies

I used to start shopping in October; now I start cooking. Canned

in pajamas and drink hot chocolate with the boys’ friends

jams, pear preserves, and apple butters begin lining my shelves.

visiting for a sleepover. And on December twenty-sixth, when

They have stories, the apples picked by little hands at the

everything is said and done, the feeling of deflation won’t exist.

orchard, seventy pounds of pears gifted from a friend, persim-

Rather, there will simply be a satisfied sigh of having given our

mons foraged from the woods on our ridge, all of them prepared

hearts to one another.

with care. I've bred chickens specifically for egg color, and in December the most gorgeous cartons of eggs will be paired

Christmastime is the most magical time of the year. I’ve loved

with the story-telling jams and home-baked bread, kneaded by

it my entire life. But it’s when it took the homespun form of a

calloused hands and infused with prayers. People we love will

manger and the hush of mother and father in awe of a Savior

literally be fed by the life we have poured ourselves into.

that Christmas transformed for me. Then, in all its simplicity and love and wonder, it surpassed any sparkling thing I could

It's not just the gifts that come from my kitchen at Christmas.

have made myself.

So much of the atmosphere of the holiday is set in that room. When the wassail punch simmers on the stove, cookies bake in

Merry Christmas, y'all, from my family to yours.

Follow Jessica on her blog @thehodgepodgedarling.blogspot.com

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diy

Do You Want

to Build a Snowman? words and images Catherine Frederick inspired by SmartSchoolHouse.com

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diy

MATERIALS 3 fish bowls (varied sizes for stacking) Christmas figurines Faux snow Black craft foam Christmas ribbon Scissors Glue gun and sticks

METHOD Add desired amount of snow to bottom of each fish bowl. Place figurines inside each bowl to create a Christmas scene (you can glue them down to the glass if you wish). Stack bowls to create the look of a snowman. Create the hat by tracing a circle on the foam larger than the top of the smallest fish bowl. Determine how tall the hat should be and cut a rectangle out of foam to size. Hot glue the short ends together to create a cylinder. Cut another circle from foam to create the top of the hat. Add a section of Christmas ribbon around the base of the cylinder to finish off the hat. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas to all!

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The Winning Season

words Marla Cantrell images courtesy Lucy Coleman

TEAM MEMBERS: co-captain Lucy Coleman, co-captain Kim Simon, Jennifer Bailey, Michelle Butler, Leslie Cramer, Barbara Cross, Christine Curran, Heidi Dougherty, Regina Koonce, Tami Martin, Cathie Porter, Susan Pruitt, Ellen Shields, Heidi Stojanovic and Katy Ward COACHES: Bobby Banck, Melissa Kelly

I

It was a sweltering September day in Palm Springs, California.

preparing for a day like this, perfecting their game and training

When the sun made its trek to its highest point in the sky, the

in weather so hot, the California sun waned in comparison.

temperature had reached ninety-nine degrees. On the tennis courts, with the sun bearing down, it felt a full ten degrees

The Fort Smith, Arkansas team was in Southern California to

hotter, but that didn't cause the Hardscrabble Country Club

play in the USTA League Adult 18 & Over 4.0 National Cham-

4.0 Women's Tennis Team one minute of concern. They'd been

pionships after a summer of victories. (4.0 is a designation that

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assesses a player's level. The National Tennis Rating Program starts with a 1.5 level, which is someone just beginning, and goes all the way to a 7.0 level, which is a world-class player.) The year before, the Hardscrabble team had lost at the State finals. While it was a setback, it didn't make them doubt that they could make a comeback. So, when they returned to Little Rock in June, playing in 105-degree weather, they stayed focused, played hard and smart, and won the State title. And that secured their spot at the Southern Sectional tournament in Mobile, Alabama, in July. The humidity there rivaled anything they'd seen in Arkansas, but it wasn't enough to affect their game. They won Sectionals and started getting ready for Nationals. Lucy and Cathie can't say enough about their coaches. Bobby, who Teammate Cathie Porter and co-captain Lucy Coleman will

once coached tennis greats Monica Seles, Mary Pierce, and Jimmy

never forget that win in Alabama. "They told us that the USTA

Arias, has the unique ability to remember every move his players

League has 330,000 players and only 5,000 of those go to

make. "He keeps all that in his head," Cathie says. "He makes me

Nationals," Cathie says. "In the 4.0 division that we're in, that

think about where I hit the ball and being purposeful about it."

number is 200 tops. "Everybody out there is hitting a great ball but they taught "And we were playing in the 18 & Over division. There's also a

us strategy, and the importance of being mentally prepared,"

4.0 40 & Over, and a 4.0 Seniors, which is fifty-five and older.

Lucy says. That strategy, including the science behind how they

For us, our average age on the Hardscrabble team is thirty-

stacked their line-up, proved invaluable.

eight or thirty-nine. At Nationals, we had much younger players competing against us."

Once in Palm Springs, their excitement intensified. When the Hardscrabble team advanced to the finals, they had to play five

While the younger players had fountains of fortitude, the Hard-

matches and win three of those. "The singles' girl came off,

scrabble team had experience, the power of deep friendships,

and she'd won," Lucy says. "The doubles' girls came off the

and great coaching. For months the fifteen women had been

court, and they lost. The next singles' court comes off, and

practicing five days a week. They'd start at noon or one in the

she loses. Our next doubles' team comes off, and they'd won,

afternoon and play until three or so. They grew used to the

so we're split now. Each with two wins, with our last doubles'

intense heat, the sweat that soaked their clothes, the way their

court playing. It was down to those two people."

muscles ached at the end of the day. So, there they were, this team from Arkansas, gathered around During that time, they were working with their coaches,

the court watching two of their players take on two great

Hardscrabble Country Club Tennis Director Bobby Banck and

players from Puerto Rico. "I think the team from Puerto Rico

Melissa Kelly, the director of tennis for the Western Arkansas

was about half our age," Cathie says.

Tennis Association. As the match started, Lucy and Cathie noticed many members "Melissa did High-Intensity Training that got us ready to play

of the teams they'd defeated earlier in the tournament, cheering

in the heat," Lucy says. "And both she and Bobby worked a

Hardscrabble on. Even the Southern men's teams had shown

lot on strategy."

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Lucy laughs. "It could be that they were cheering for us because

While the accolades are welcome, Cathie says there's some-

we were so much older." Cathie smiles wide, remembering that

thing even better about the Hardscrabble fifteen. "I've made

moment when the final match ended with a score of 7-5, 6-4.

some of the best friends in my life. Even when we're not

"A lot of them told us they were there because we were such

competing, we play tennis three or four times a week, even in

nice players," Cathie says. "After we won, our husbands said,

the wintertime. We know the whole tennis community. People

'You guys don't understand how amazing it is to win Nationals.

talk about having a best friend or two best friends, people they

Not that many people win Nationals.'"

can count on. I always think how sad that is. I have so many more. Anytime there's a crisis, we have friends who pick up the

Even now, as Lucy and Cathie talk about that victory, they

kids, cook meals, run errands, whatever needs to be done. And

appear just a bit stunned by it. "We only have two players that

that comes from being part of this team."

played Junior Tennis: Christine [Curran] and Kim [Simon]," Lucy says. "The rest of us were volleyball players, basketball players,

The two women have the kind of easy banter that comes from

cheerleaders. The majority of us, myself included, started

knowing someone for a long time, from feeling the certainty of

playing in our twenties. I was twenty-nine."

their devotion. Cathie stops for a moment, checks the time on her phone, and then Lucy does the same. It is Friday and Cathie

Cathie says, "I was in my twenties when I started playing, and then I stopped for a long time after I had my

is heading out of town to camp with her teenage son at Petit Jean—they are on a mission to camp at every

son. When I was younger, I didn't consider

state park in Arkansas, and they have only two to

myself an athlete at all. I think that's okay,

go. It is one of the great joys she shares with

that maybe you have to work a little

her son, this mission to explore Arkansas, to

harder because of it."

imprint its beauty on their hearts.

Working hard is something this team

Lucy shakes her head. Her daughters,

loves. Another secret to their success is

she says, aren't keen on camping. Her

how much everyone on the team cares

weekend will be filled with mornings

about each other. Cathie says Lucy is

and evenings catching up with these girls

the most selfless person she's ever seen,

she loves so much.

always putting the needs of the team above anything else. That opinion is widely held since

Come Monday, Cathie and Lucy will be back

Lucy has been named the Captain of the Year for Arkansas. She'll receive her award in January at a cere-

on the court, playing the game they adore, with friends who have become like family. Who knows where

mony in Little Rock at the same time the team is honored for

tennis will take them next. Who knows what grand adventure

winning the State Championship.

waits just around the corner.

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n i y t u a e B Findin g t c e f r e p m the I words Amy Lloyd, University Relations Coordinator images Rachel Putman, UAFS Photographer

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D

Dumpster diving and traveling to

With the advent of Pinterest, an online site where users post

yard sales and auctions may not

images of things like uniquely decorated homes, more and more

be the most glamorous way to

people were looking at vintage furniture and decorative items.

get through college while raising a daughter, but Angie Meyer

“The recession forced people to make do with what they

did it nonetheless.

had,” Angie said. “Then it just kind of became a trend. Now

Angie's

foray

stores sell items that are made to look rustic or repurposed, into

scavenging

but what I sell is cheaper and authentic.”

for junk began during the Great Recession when she struggled to

Still, Angie hasn't found the perfect word to describe exactly

find adequate employment. After

what she's doing. “It's hard to explain to someone who isn't

working low-wage jobs in the

involved in this line of work. I don’t know that there is a name

restaurant industry, she decided

for what I do yet. It’s just a way of expression and finding the

to enroll at the University of

beauty in the imperfect. I love stuff that is meant for one thing

Arkansas – Fort Smith to study

and now used for something else.

accounting in 2009. Still, she needed a way to bring in income while attending school. To do that, she began rifling through dumpsters and visiting yard sales and auctions around Greenwood and Fort Smith to find items to repurpose into home décor. It didn’t take long for her hobby to grow into a business. Soon after, Angie opened Wasted in Greenwood, a shop with the vision of

These days, it’s not who can buy the most expensive entertainment center, but who has the most creative entertainment center,” she continued. “It’s the rusty crusty stuff, rust used to be a negative thing and now you just don’t cover it up.

using salvageable goods to create crafts to keep the pieces from being wasted in a landfill.

"These days, it’s not who can buy the most expensive entertainment center, but who has the most creative entertainment

Her passion for painting and

center,” she continued. “It’s the rusty crusty stuff, rust used

drawing, and taking art classes

to be a negative thing and now you just don’t cover it up.”

in high school and college, gave Angie her creative eye to turn

Wasted became more successful than Angie had predicted.

what others saw as trash into

After more than three years of running her business, she

trendy décor. An old truck hood

outgrew her space in Greenwood and decided to relocate to a

became a chalkboard, an old

much larger space on Towson Avenue in Fort Smith.

ceiling fan a coffee table. Wasted now provides salvaged goods including architectural She didn’t realize it at the time,

salvage, fixer-upper furniture, upscale used décor and furni-

but her business was part of a

ture, as well as hand-crafted repurposed pieces. "You can find

growing movement nationwide.

everything you need for your rustic farmhouse, industrial, do-it-

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yourself project and eclectic décor here,” Angie said. “If not, I’ll help you find it.”

Angie Meyer

Her business has grown so much that she doesn’t have to dumpster dive anymore — instead, people bring her trailer loads of their old junk to sift through to find items with potential for repurposing. Though Angie didn’t get a job as an accountant after graduating from UAFS, she attributes her business classes to helping her become a successful entrepreneur. “Going to school gave me a lot of confidence to test my entrepreneurial side,” she said. “I learned a lot about business and motivating employees, but I also learned a lot about myself and about the world. I'm a better businesswoman, business owner, and person because of it.” Angie doesn’t just want to restore items to sell at Wasted. She also wants to revive historic Fort Smith — so much so that she plans on returning to UAFS to study engineering. “I love historic houses and want to be a part of restoring Fort Smith,” she said. “In a perfect world, I would love to buy whole blocks and restore them to their glory days. An engineering degree would help me understand the houses' structures better.” In addition, she's opening The Gathering Cottage and Wedding Place, a mini event venue, in Greenwood. The space will be used for showers,

me, that automatically makes you creative.’ Just look around

birthdays, parties and gatherings of up to thirty people. Her

you and see what appeals to you. There is probably a whole

vision for the venue is that it will be the site of all-inclusive and

new side of yourself you have yet to explore.”

intimate weddings by spring of 2017. No matter where Angie's entrepreneurial adventures take her, she hopes always to bring joy. “No matter what I do in life, I want to create an environment that enables people to have fun,” Angie said. “People come into Wasted every day and tell

For more information, contact Angie at 479.322.1257 or like Wasted on Facebook. Just look for Wasted Repurpose Marketplace.

me they aren’t creative. I tell them, ‘If you buy anything from

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people

HOME LESS words and images Payton Allen

I was scrolling through Instagram while I waited for my next class

with Officer Smith and Officer Boyd every Wednesday for an entire

at UAFS when I saw a picture of three girls in cut-off jean shorts,

semester. I was determined to meet people and tell their stories.

flannels tied around their waists. Each had one hip jutting out, and they were holding cardboard signs that read, “Will Twerk 4 Skolar-

In and Around The Mission

ship,” “Strugglin’,” “No fuud, mo $$$, Tank you,” It was a sorority

Paul introduces me to his group of friends as his new girlfriend. He

social event in another area and it had a theme: homelessness.

smokes the red pack of Pall Malls, and we talk about his former addictions to methamphetamine and alcohol. "Still a fan of pot,"

I was astounded that homelessness would be mocked and ridi-

he says. "Won't be sad when it gets legalized, here any day now,"

culed. I began researching homelessness in Fort Smith, Arkansas,

he says. He has a red beard that runs down his neck in short stub-

the same day. I contacted every local food bank, shelter, day room,

bles. His eyes are wild but beautiful. He walks with a cane, due to

and police officers who had worked with the homeless commu-

a recent surgery gone wrong. His coat is worn, but today he isn't

nity. After two interviews and signing a ride-along form, I was in

too cold. He isn't too hungry because he's at the mission. He is,

the backseat of an unmarked police car, camera in hand. I traveled

however, homeless.

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He is the first one to make me cry. His story. His love reminds me of my own father's love. He tells me of his daughter, working full time and competing for a spot in the nursing program at the University. She rode in the passenger seat of many drug deals. She grew up with a strung-out father. But she is strong, and her strength is why he lives today. She sounds like a woman I would love to meet one day. Ms. Kitt walks by excited about her new job at the chicken plant. I’m excited for her. She is a beautiful black woman with short, copper blonde hair. We make a plan to meet on the following Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. I wonder what she’s going to do for the holidays. I meet a young couple who seem happy to have each other. The man tells me that he went to medical school. The woman says she ran away from home. He says, "Don't ever think you're better than anyone else. Because it could happen to anyone, bro. It happens.” She says to me, “Don’t run away from home. Thank God for your family.” I leave feeling humbled and blessed. At the corner of a supermarket parking lot, I meet a man who calls himself "Happy." Whether he's a veteran or not is still a mystery—but it's what his cardboard sign reads, alongside a few peace signs. He tells me chocolate and deep fried candy bars are toxic to the soul. We disagree on that. He tells me that my soul is good. My heart is good and what I'm doing is good. He hands me a handful of crystals that he'd harvested from deep inside the Arkansas Ozark Mountains.

In The Woods near the Arkansas River With boots laced and long sleeves on I begin my trek through the deep woods. Mosquitos sing in my ear. I knock on a tent flap and ask if anyone is “home.” I am in South Camp, the Wild West of the Fort Smith homeless community. The only thing I'm scared of is finding a body, which I'm told happens sometimes. I am welcomed warmly. Some tell me their names, some don't, and that's okay.

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The man in this first tent is from Seattle. He says he once owned

out wide and says, "This is home. We watch a lot of the Nature

a Porsche. I ask him if there's anything I should know about

Channel," as he points to the squirrels in a nearby tree.

being homeless. He shrugs, frustrated maybe, emotion welling and says, “I don’t know. It’s kinda hard.”

A young man named John Boy has been in this homeless camp since he was a child. His teeth are uneven and yellow. I'm

Another man goes by the name of "Eagle." He wears a leather

told he's mean. He doesn't talk, and when he looks at me, he

hat like Indiana Jones. Turquoise and some sort of tooth hang

narrows his eyes, and I feel as if I have overstayed my welcome.

as a necklace around his leathery neck. He mumbles when he speaks but his voice is kind. "Young people have a choice," he says. "Sometimes stress is okay. Have some stability in your mind." He seems surprised when I extend my hand to shake

I spent a month, on and off, trekking through the woods,

his. He takes my outstretched hand. His is worn and warm. And

meeting those oppressed by hunger, cold, mosquitos, and

somehow I think his hands have been as kind as his voice is. He

joblessness. I made a few friends whose names I won’t forget.

says goodbye and tells me, "God bless you."

I know their dogs’ names. I know their plans for the future. I know that they are often hungry and don’t know when their

A couple look over their shoulders at me, walking along the

next shower will be, or where they will sleep for the night.

train tracks. They don't stop. And I do not chase them. I’ve learned how homelessness is about struggle and heartWanda has a raspy voice from years of smoking. She wears her

ache. It’s sometimes about mental disorders and sometimes

hair shaved but has left a small tuft and she constantly twists it

just bad luck. Homelessness doesn’t make a person illiterate.

between her slender, dirt-caked fingers. She’s often drunk, she

Homelessness sometimes comes with college degrees and

says, but stays out of trouble. She tells me her mother, “was

families left behind.

as I am,” perhaps hinting at her mental health. Wanda’s been here for seven years. She wears the name “Elliot” tattooed

I wanted to tell their stories, to offer insight into what life is like

on her chest. The ink is faded and blue-green. I wonder who

for them. I hope I did them justice.

Elliot is, or was. I walk up on a man listening to Garth Brooks off a TracFone from Walmart. "Family" is tattooed on his neck. He says, "Tell the young ones to stay away from the drugs. And the drinking. I'm checking myself into rehab soon. All of it is killing me." I make my way up the hill into the area called Independent Camp, which sits in a ravine. This is home to Allison, a woman

What you can do to help: Call the numbers listed below to donate or to see if there's a particular need at the moment, such as canned food items, bedding, or warm clothing. Monetary donations are always welcome since the charities can use the money immediately to fill the most pressing needs for those they serve.

with glasses that slip every time she talks, and she talks a lot so she is constantly pushing them back up on her thin nose. It's also home to Crazy Money, who has that very name tattooed on his left arm. He laughs and says, "Now they just call me Crazy because I don't have any money." He holds his arms stretched

The Next Step Day Room: 479.782.5333 Community Rescue Mission: 479.782.1443 River View Hope Campus: 479.782.4991 Children’s Emergency Shelter: 479.783.0018

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people

The Art of

Food And David Sun words and images Marla Cantrell

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people

Yu "David" Sun radiates happiness, his face glowing in the

"I was looking for a better life," David says, a statement heard

light that streams through the windows of Smile Bull, the Asian

over and over from those who find the USA a whirlwind of possi-

cuisine and sushi restaurant he owns with his wife Virginia, in

bility. In the San Diego area, he says he blossomed, but something

Fort Smith, Arkansas. It's Saturday, late-morning, and those in

was still missing. He wanted to experience the year's four seasons.

the mood for an early lunch are trickling in. David greets his

To wake up on a cold morning to find snow on the ground, to see

customers—he's been here since before daybreak—and heads

autumn turn mountains scarlet and gold and magenta. To see the

back to the kitchen.

flowers of spring pirouette across a country field.

Not long after, David returns, his arms loaded with white plat-

In Arkansas, he found it all.

ters, and he sets them down on a long table in the middle of the dining room. The food smells wonderful but more than that

When he opened Smile Bull several months ago, he wanted to

the plates look like small works of art. On each dish, David has

offer something Fort Smith hadn't yet seen. It took commit-

created small sculptures from fruits and vegetables: white geese

ment; David is the only cook at the moment, and his days are

with their wings aloft, a purple lotus flower, two green crabs,

long, often sixteen hours. Out back, he has an herb garden and

a pair of orange butterflies landing, a couple of rosy bunnies, a

tending it is one of his favorite stress relievers. In the kitchen, he

dozen roses in varying colors.

orchestrates a cacophony of sounds as skillets sizzle and knives clank and voices rise just above the clatter.

He watches as those gathered around ooh and aah over the edible sculptures, peering across their plates in delight. This is what he

As much as he loves his time at the stove, it's his trips to the dining

lives for, that moment when what he does surprises those he feeds.

room that make him the happiest. Customers almost always stop

David sees food as the greatest offering, and he feels

to take a photo of their plate before they dig in. Kids

a rush each time someone new tries his cooking.

clap their hands at the sight of the cucumber crabs or snow-white geese made from

As far as David knows, there's no other

daikon. If kids could cook, David thinks,

restaurateur in the area who carves

they would always add a portion of

radishes to look like roses or onions

whimsy to their plates.

to look like lotus flowers, or tiny tomatoes to resemble bunnies.

"Customers tell me the food is too

His orange sculpture uses an

pretty to eat or that they're in awe of

entire orange, cut in two; the

it or that it's beautiful," David says.

top half spiraled to look like the fanciest rose you've ever seen.

But David's success runs deeper

At the center is a maraschino

than his ability to create beauty. His

cherry, as red as Rudolph's famous

food is delicious. He makes everything

nose. While the orange-turned-rose is

from scratch, including the noodles he David and Virginia Sun

extraordinary to look at, it takes him only

can fashion into woven baskets to hold

a minute to create.

many of the entrees. As for the table he set earlier, the guests are still working their way

The secret to such a quick turnaround? David says he's had years of practice.

through the array of dishes. The BBQ Spare Ribs have disappeared. The Jalapeno Steak, served in a bowl fashioned out of rice and potatoes is nearly half gone, as is the Rainbow Sushi

His love for all-things-food came early, when he lived in South

Roll. The General Tso's Chicken has been obliterated, as have the

China and worked in the family restaurant. At nineteen, David

Sweet and Sour Shrimp and Grilled Lime Pepper Steak. Those

made the decision to come to America, ending up in California,

around the table push their plates away and then reconsider,

where he landed a job as a cook.

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David crosses his arms across his chest and watches. He looks benevolent, as if he's just given away something dear to his heart. As the compliments continue, he smiles wide. There is a gap between two of his teeth, a tattoo that shows, just barely, in the open neck of his shirt. His wife Virginia stands beside him, a full head shorter than David, and he wraps his arm around her slender shoulder. The Suns are the proud parents of a baby girl, born just a few months ago. At birth, she weighed more than eleven pounds, a fact that still amazes him. When he talks about his daughter, he considers what her life will be like when she grows up. While the idea of her as an adult seems far away, he does speculate on what she'll do. "She could be a lawyer," he says. "Or a doctor." Or maybe a cook? Only if that's what she loves. Asked what he'd do if he didn't cook, David stalls, the answer an impossibility for him. His life began in South China, surrounded by a family who cooked for a living. At forty-five, he can't imagine another path, a different outcome. He returns to the idea that serving food to others is an extraordinary gift. He is happy that he gets to do it. The customers who return again and again have become friends. For a man who spends so much time at work, this is another gift. Friendship in the workplace. David watches as another group of people walks through the door. He waves and says hello. "We've wanted to stop by for a long time," one of the women says, and David answers, "You're going to love it!" All the way to the kitchen, you can hear David humming, the tune unfamiliar but beautiful just the same. Soon, sounds from the kitchen sing into the dining room. Customers pick up forks and chopsticks. Outside, traffic rushes down Rogers Avenue, drivers anxious to

Smile Bull

be somewhere else. But here, inside Smile Bull, there

(Pier 91 Shopping Center) 9009 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith, Arkansas 479.452.8988 Hours: 7 days a week, 10:30am - 9pm | Open Christmas Day

is laughter and small conversations, and so much good food no one seems to be in a hurry to leave.

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people

A PREDATOR

in the night words Stoney Stamper images courtesy April Stamper

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Although my family says that I have a tendency to exaggerate

my buddies to hear come from my mouth. I was barefoot and

things a tad, it would not be an exaggeration for me to say that

in my underwear. I had been startled awake, and was perhaps a

some of the things that happen in our house are certainly out

tad disoriented, which, looking back on it, makes me a little bit

of the ordinary. When you put a group of five eccentrics like me

concerned since I was holding a loaded gun. Thankfully, before

and my wife and daughters into one house, you’re bound to

shooting a hole in my porch, I did have the forethought to shine

have some pretty crazy stories. Most of them involve an animal

my light on the snake, only then to find that it was actually the

of some sort, and this one is no different.

dog’s leash that Gracee had been playing with earlier in the day. To my credit, the way it was coiled up there on the porch, it really

We’ve got a small farm just outside of town. At any given time,

did look like a snake. I chuckled to myself for a moment, but then

we have anywhere from twenty to thirty animals of varied species

I remembered that there was likely a predator in the hen house,

running around here.

so I got back to business.

Although my wife, April, is a lover of all animals, she loves her

I turned my attention toward the chicken coop. The moon was

chickens more than anything. We don’t have a lot of chickens,

huge that night and the yard was fairly brightly lit. To my surprise,

usually just a dozen or so at a time, but she puts a lot of effort

I saw a coyote, lying on his belly and slowly creeping up to the

into them. She buys and sells and trades them to get exactly

chicken coop. I yelled and immediately headed his way, leveling

what she wants. She breeds the Silkies, and the Polish, and the Brahmas, and the Cochin so she can get the prettiest colors and the wildest feathers. I have to admit, at first I was annoyed when she would come home with a new chicken, as if we needed another animal to deal with, but once she began getting what she wanted, I liked how happy they made her. Every evening she will go sit outside with them and throw them scratch and watch them as they walk around her and peck the ground. It’s her way of decompressing at the end of each day. So if she loves it, then so do I. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? And as the man of the house, I am their official protector. The girls feed them and love them and care for them, and I make sure they don’t get killed. Our neighbors have dogs that like to visit on occasion, there is a fox that lives nearby, and of course the occasional possum likes to sneak in and eat eggs. Just a few weeks ago, we had an intruder. I was lying in bed, when suddenly I heard our gate to the backyard rattle loudly just beneath our bedroom window. I sat straight up in bed and listened closely. Then I heard our young basset hound bawl and I heard chickens squawking and carrying on. At 1:00 am, this is never a good sound. Something was definitely out there. I jumped up out of bed, ran to the gun cabinet and grabbed my .22, and then ran outside to the back porch. As I stepped out onto the back porch, I looked down and saw a big black snake, about two feet from my bare foot. I’m not too proud to say that it startled me enough that I let out a bit of a scream. It wasn’t a blood curdling scream, like if one of our daughters had seen a spider, but it was still a scream that I would never want any of DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM

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it seemed to pick up speed as it ran away. If I hit it, I certainly did not harm it too badly. By this time, I was standing beside our back porch. The hound dog, the ferocious beast that he is, had apparently hidden underneath it. Startled by the gunshot, I assumed, he burst from underneath the porch bawling once again, from fear or bravado, no one can be sure, running into my legs and getting tangled up in my feet. Adorable as he may be, smart, he isn’t. Doing my very best not to trip and fall, I stepped hard to the right to catch myself, and promptly stomped my foot directly onto a patch of sticker burrs that immediately turned my foot into a slice of Swiss cheese. I felt no less than fifty thorns become embedded in my foot, and with each step I took, they were pushed deeper and deeper into my skin. So then I found myself in my backyard, in my underwear, barefoot, bleeding, limping and stepping on more stickers, carrying a gun and using my phone as a flashlight looking for any blood that may have dropped from the coyote’s wound. There was none to be found. The hound still hadn't quit bawling even though he had absolutely no idea what he was bawling at. The horses were spooked and running laps around the pasture while snorting at me. I waited outside another few minutes until I was confident that the coyote wasn't coming back. I then hobbled back inside, picked as many stickers out of both feet as I could, put the gun up, and climbed gently back into bed. I found my darling wife lying dead asleep and snoring. She hadn’t moved one inch and had absolutely no clue what kind of debacle she just missed out on. And unfortunately, she didn't get to see the bravery and courage that I displayed to save her my gun on him. Of course, my scream startled it and it took off

chickens. And also, I really wished she'd been awake because I

like a shot. I quickly surveyed my landscape, mostly to make sure

needed some help getting all those damn thorns out of my feet.

there were no horses in my line of fire, and then took a shot.

It’s been three weeks now, and I am pretty sure I still have a

Judging by the yelping, I hit it, but it never missed a beat. In fact,

couple in there. But, I guess that’s just part of my job, huh?

Stoney Stamper is the author of the popular parenting blog, The Daddy Diaries. He and his wife April have three daughters: Abby, Emma and Gracee. Originally from northeast Oklahoma, the Stampers now live in Tyler, Texas. For your daily dose of The Daddy Diaries, visit Stoney on Facebook or on his website, thedaddydiaries.net.

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A British Chef

Just across the Arkansas border in Fort Smith sits Pocola, Oklahoma, a small town of approximately 4,000. In that small town

in Oklahoma

is the Choctaw Casino Resort, an entertainment venue that hosts

images Bob Dyer

tion Vanilla Ice, who is scheduled to perform on January 13. Executive Chef David Goldwhite

some of the region’s favorite acts including country star Lee Ann Womack, who played there in November, and the 1990s sensa-

While the names of the performers are well known, there's another name that makes the Choctaw Casino Resort - Pocola such a popular destination. Executive Chef David Goldwhite is the mastermind behind the resort’s menus. As a young boy, David began cooking with his Ukrainian grandmother in London, England. He recalls those days in the kitchen as some of the happiest of his life, and when he was ready to choose a career, he knew it had to be in the culinary arts. Chef Goldwhite attended professional culinary school for six years, studying, mainly, French cuisine. Before working his magic at the Choctaw Casino Resort - Pocola, he worked in prestigious restaurants in London, Paris, and Sydney. He even served for a time as the personal chef for the royal family of Jordan. We wanted to find out more about Chef Goldwhite’s fascinating career, so we asked him a few questions.

Do South: What brought you to Oklahoma? David: I was looking for a change from living in a big city. I moved to this area in June 2014 after living and working in New York City for the previous twelve years. I love it here. There is so much space, and it’s green and beautiful. Can’t beat the clean air, zero traffic, and great weather. Do South: Tell us about your family. David: I’m married to Shoshana; she is Israeli. I have two children: Hayley, born in Sydney, Australia, currently living in Israel; and Simon, born in England, currently living in Thailand. My parents and sister live in England. Family reunions are complicated to orgaTammara Robinette, Chef Goldwhite, Dusan Stojanovic

nize!!

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be doing right now? Do South: Is there something you still miss about England?

David: I would have become a dog trainer.

David: There’s no substitute for grass-fed Welsh lamb. It has a

Do South: How many cookbooks do you own?

wonderful unique flavor. David: I’ve never counted, but easily more than fifty. Do South: Is there a dish your grandmother taught you to make that you still prepare today?

Do South: What's ahead for 2017?

David: My grandmother was an amazing and inspirational cook.

David: In 2017, Choctaw Casino Resort in Pocola will be relocating

Her pickled Ox Tongue in a Madeira Sauce is unforgettable. When

the buffet into the Seven Ponies Restaurant. Gilley’s will be open

the family does get together, it's always served.

in the evenings with free live entertainment, an array of new craft beers and a new menu concept that will be unique to the area.

Do South: How many restaurants do you oversee at the resort, and what are your most popular dishes? David: I oversee Trophy’s Restaurant, the buffet, an extensive banquet and seminar operation, and twenty-four-hour associate (employee) dining. As for our popular dishes, right now it's steak and shrimp fried rice, BBQ spare ribs, shrimp scampi served over angel hair pasta, and chicken fried steak. Do South: Where do you find inspiration? David: We use the best seasonal produce when it’s available. When items like spring chicken, snow crab, wild asparagus, and raspberries come into season, I build dishes around these ingredients. Do South: What did you love about working in Paris?

Do South: Does the Choctaw Casino Resort in Pocola offer a special holiday menu?

David: Nobody can go to Paris and not fall in love with the city. It has everything: culture, history, cuisine, and architecture. I worked

David: The casino resort will be open for Christmas. The buffet

at a beautiful 3 Michelin Star restaurant in the Paris suburbs called

will have traditional holiday fare including roast, prime rib, roast

La Vieille Fontaine situated in an area called Maison-Laffitte. I was

turkey, smoked ham, green bean casserole and marshmallow

eighteen when I started working there.

glazed sweet potatoes. At Trophy’s, we're offering a special holiday roast turkey dinner as well.

Do South: What's the biggest difference in the way Americans and Europeans eat?

Do South: How do you celebrate New Year's Eve in your family?

David: Americans eat dinner very early. In Europe they eat dinner

David: Traditionally, we eat leek and potato soup, chicken liver

much later, starting their meals between nine to eleven at night and

parfait, roast goose (if we can get one) or roast duck. Both are

sometimes as late as midnight in Spain. The Europeans eat a lot of

served in a sour cherry sauce with potato pancakes, roasted Brus-

game and game birds which I haven’t seen people eat in America.

sels sprouts with walnuts and English trifle and mince pies, a delicious English dessert.

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Shrimp Fettuccine with Spinach and Parmesan recipe Recipe Executive Chef David Goldwhite, Choctaw Casino Resort - Pocola image Bob Dyer

INGREDIENTS

(serves 4)

- 8 oz. uncooked fettuccine

- 10 oz. medium shrimp,

- 6 oz. fresh baby spinach

- 2 Tablespoons butter

- 1 ¼ oz. Parmesan cheese, shaved

- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

- ⅜ teaspoon salt

- ½ cup of heavy cream

- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

- ½ oz. brandy

peeled and deveined

METHOD Cook pasta according to package directions, omit salt and

boil. Flame with a match (put a lighted match near liquid, it

fat. Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

will flame as the alcohol burns off the flame and will extin-

Add garlic to pan and cook for one minute. Increase heat to

guish very quickly). Add cream, then reduce heat by fifty

medium-high then add shrimp, salt, and pepper to pan. Cook

percent, stirring occasionally.

for four minutes or until shrimp are done. Add pasta, spinach, and garlic shrimps to pan. Cook one minute Remove from heat and add brandy to hot pan and bring to a

or until spinach wilts, toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese. Enjoy!

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Holiday Helpers recipe and images James Stefiux

Get the party started with one, or all three of these delicious appetizers. Happy holidays!

BLT BITES Ingredients ° 15 to 20 cherry tomatoes ° 1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled ° ½ cup mayonnaise ° ⅓ cup chopped green onions ° ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese ° 2 Tablespoons snipped fresh parsley

Method Cut a thin slice off of each tomato top. Scoop out and discard pulp. Invert the tomatoes on a paper towel to drain. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Spoon into tomatoes. Refrigerate for 3 hours. Yield: 16-20 appetizer servings.

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APPLE, BACON, AND ARUGULA BITES Ingredients

Method

° Red Delicious apple slices

Toss apple slices in lemon juice; pat dry. Spread

° Lemon juice

each slice with about 2 teaspoons of the garlic-

° Garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese

and-herb spreadable cheese. Top with bacon, baby arugula sprigs, and freshly cracked pepper.

° Bacon, cooked and crumbled ° Baby arugula sprigs ° Freshly cracked pepper

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FRIED GREEN BEANS Ingredients ° 3 cups all-purpose flour ° 2 teaspoons salt, divided ° 2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided ° ½ teaspoon black pepper ° ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper ° 2 teaspoons white vinegar ° 1 large egg ° 1 Tablespoon baking powder ° Vegetable oil ° 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed ° Ranch dressing

Method In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon black pepper, and cayenne pepper. In another medium bowl, stir together 1½ cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and vinegar. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and baking powder. Whisk into water mixture. Pour 2 inches of oil into a Dutch oven. Heat between 350-375°. In batches, dip green beans in egg mixture and then dredge in flour mixture. Dredge in egg mixture a second time and then in flour mixture a second time. Fry beans for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Season to taste with salt and serve with Ranch dressing.

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Pom-Pom Fizz -

1 ½ oz. gin 2 ½ oz. pomegranate juice ½ oz. lime juice ¼ oz. Agave syrup Club soda Rosemary sprigs (garnish) Pomegranate seeds (garnish)

Method

image James Stefiuk recipe adapted from Pearl’s Rooftop

Ingredients

56

Add gin, pomegranate juice, lime juice, and Agave to a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Pour over ice-filled glass. Top with club soda. Stir gently. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and rosemary sprig. Drink responsibly. Never drink and drive.

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travel

Hot Springs

ON THE HUDSON words Dwain Hebda images Dwain Hebda and courtesy Jeff Fuller Freeman

Zach

Anthony

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Four nights a week Anthony Valinoti stands at the center of a hurricane, a six-by-eight patch in the back of DeLuca’s Pizzeria, the joint he founded three years ago in Hot Springs, Arkansas, named for his grandfather. In front of him sits a small prep table; to his right, a glowing double-decker brick oven and behind him, first mate Zach Nix keeps things stocked and moving. Flour hangs in the air that is heavy with heat, aroma and the Rolling Stones at full blast. A smile carves through Anthony’s face as Mick Jagger’s famous drone struts out from speakers hidden somewhere in this tiny kitchen. One shoulder creeps up to his ear, a knee bends, he’s bouncing, bobbing, singing along.

THE GREAT PEOPLE OF ARKANSAS HAVE SHARED THEIR FOOD WITH ME, AND I’M SHARING WHAT I LOVE. THEY’VE BEEN VERY, VERY RECEPTIVE TO IT.

At the hook, he howls. To his left—out THERE—the people just keep coming. It’s Thursday night, normally the slowest of the week, but an unexpected group of about twenty teachers, in town for a national convention, have decided to give DeLuca’s a try. Anthony, fiftythree, has been in Saturday-night gear for more than an hour. “I’m sorry,” he says. “Let me get caught up here, and I’ll cook something for you.” The apology is, of course, unnecessary, but get to know Anthony, and it’s not unexpected. DeLuca’s is not your average pizza parlor; it’s more like being invited into Anthony’s home. That’s

“I say this without ego, but what I do, it just wasn’t seen here,

been the vibe since Day One even as word keeps spreading and

and I don’t know why that is,” he says. “It is so completely

rave reviews stack up. Come in here, and if you’re not family,

different than anything people here are used to.”

you’re pretty darn close. Few pizza places will run out of dough, for example, and if they “I see it as sharing something,” he says. “I didn’t know what

do somebody’s in trouble. DeLuca’s says right up front that this

barbecue was until I moved here and ate at McClard's; you

is a possibility and while it’s rare, it does happen. Anthony makes

can live in New York, and you’ve got all these places, but

the dough fresh every day, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. He’s

you have to come here to discover what Southern food really

got a pretty good idea what will cover any given crowd, but an

is. So, the great people of Arkansas have shared their food

unusual night like tonight means constantly dispatching someone

with me, and I’m sharing what I love. They’ve been very, very

to the cooler for a dough count, like a fox-holed Marine checking

receptive to it.”

how much ordnance he’s got left.

If DeLuca’s Pizzeria seems out of place in Hot Springs, it’s

“The dough,” he says, “is everything.”

because central Arkansas has never seen anything quite like it. The pizza here is related to local fare in name only, which

Anthony scoops each silky, sticky mound onto his prep table,

is not to say that you can’t find really great pizza elsewhere;

douses it with flour and goes to work. This isn’t one of those

it’s just that Anthony's species is something radically unindig-

places where he’s in an open kitchen performing for the crowd.

enous to local palates.

No dough gets tossed skyward to flatten it out. His technique is

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rough-hewn and efficient, pounding the dough with his fists, the

On this night alone one guest wants a pizza with no crust.

yeasty pellet coughing little plumes of flour with each blow until

Another orders a whole pie where two of the slices have no

it yields the desired thickness.

cheese on them and do not touch the other pieces that do, telling the server she’s brought her EpiPen “just in case.” Anthony has

Or thinness, to be more accurate. The dough at Deluca’s comes

no friggin’ clue how he’ll do either.

out thin and resilient with a great crunch yet chewy and pillowy throughout. The physics of it demands two hands to eat and

“Who needs pizza that bad?” he asks. Another shrug – the

leads into one of the other distinguishing characteristics of the

customer is always right. Whattayagonnado?

place. Don’t expect the kitchen sink; they don’t make it. In fact, servers will try to wave you off ordering more than three premium

At peak times, the kitchen is a blur. Anthony's head stays

toppings per pie. The crust just can’t take it, and besides, Anthony

down, and his hands fly, Zach watches the oven and barks for

doesn’t understand why you’d want to anyway.

servers to fetch orders. Passion bubbles like the pies flying out of the oven and everyone is held to account. Take down an

“My favorite pizza? Plain. If I had my way, I’d make four pizzas.

order wrong, move slow or generally get in the way back here

Plain cheese, a pepperoni, a sausage, and a mushroom. But…”

and you deserve whatever happens to you.

He shrugs. A towering waiter with a half-sleeve tattoo grabs a pie and, Part of what keeps this kitchen on the rails is the faith he has in

noticing a visitor, pauses for a split second. “You’re brave

Zach, a central Arkansas native who’s cooked in resort and fine

coming into this kitchen,” he says, then disappears into the

dining kitchens from the Pacific Northwest to Garland County.

front of the house.

In Nix, Valinoti gained a food guy, someone who knew what an idea tastes like, how to stretch a vision out on a board and bake

Anthony was born in Brooklyn, a self-described Italian mama’s

it in an oven until the edges pop to the touch. Though Anthony

boy and wild child. He spent twenty years as a stockbroker and

is nearly twenty years his senior, there’s a palpable bond there.

businessman until the death of his parents sapped his appetite for Wall Street and led him to see the world. Drifting through

“Tony has really shown me the value in doing one thing and

Europe, he found himself enthralled by Naples where he rented

doing it better than anybody else,” Nix says. “For us to do this

a room from Ann Cimmina, a culinary professor who would

and do it consistently is really hard.”

become his teacher and muse. DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM


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“She became this beautiful light in my life, she was that mother

always.” Anthony greets him warmly and sends him home with

figure I was looking for,” he says. “And it also turned out that

a bear hug. He feels most at home among such patrons and the

she was one of the best cooks I’d ever seen.”

encounter draws out a dry half-grin and a wave of his flourstained hand.

Anthony reluctantly came home, but his restlessness hadn’t let loose of him. The idea for a California restaurant dawned but

“Ann [Cimmina] taught me the greatest thing ever,” he says.

after the deal fell apart he was left without a next move. He

“She said when you cook you display your emotion. I never

went to Las Vegas for some recreation, got wiped out at the

really understood what that meant. I was so very, very technical

tables and wound up chatting with an old casino fly who sold

about what I did.

him on the beauty of Hot Springs. With no better options, he “About a year and a half ago I started to change my thinking

hopped a plane to Arkansas.

about what I do and I started to understand what she meant by “I don’t know what I was thinking about three years ago. I

that. It’s not really recipes, it’s not really this, it’s not really that.

really don’t know,” he says of his decision to stay and open

You have to show your emotion through your food.”

DeLuca’s. “It was just this crazy thought I had, a random, crazy thought that I just wanted to do. I think about that a lot.” Anthony stuck out in the Spa City and his charm and authenticity helped him make friends easily. It’s on display tonight, just like every night. True regulars pop into the kitchen to pay their respects, but the first-timers, he goes to them, working the tables, shaking hands. EpiPen Lady asks to pose for a picture. Everyone gets the same question, “How was it tonight? How was your food?” The answer is always raves, but he asks anyway and genuinely. He still can’t believe where all this has led. “How is this place still open?” he says later, cooling his heels behind the restaurant on a wellearned break. “You couldn’t have done this any more blind than I did.” A regular comes out to say hello; says in a soft Arkansas drawl tonight’s fare was “great, as

DeLuca’s Pizzeria 407 Park Avenue Hot Springs, Arkansas 501.609.9002 delucaspizzeria.com

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Hot Springs for the Holidays! If you're heading to Hot Springs to try DeLuca's Pizza, consider coordinating your trip to take in some of the great holiday events going on in Spa City!

Annual Historic District Luminary Display Through December 31 Downtown Hot Springs | Free Head downtown to see the homes in this historic district dressed for the holidays. More than 350 homes in the neighborhoods along Prospect, Quapaw and West Grand will be outlined in candlelight luminaries, beginning at dusk. A must-see!

Holiday Lights at Garvan Gardens Through December 31, closed on Christmas 550 Arkridge Road | $15 adults, $5 ages 6-12, free ages 0-5 | garvangardens.org Before heading out, buy advance tickets online. You'll be dazzled by more than 4.5 million lights that illuminate the seventeen glorious acres at Garvan Gardens. Try the complimentary hot chocolate. And be sure to stop by the Chipmunk Cafe where you can order hot sandwiches, soups, and snacks. No dogs allowed during Holiday Lights, except during the Jingle Dogs Pup Parade on December 5.

Ugly Sweater 5K Run/Walk December 10, 9am Garvan Gardens | $25 | ourpromise.info Your ugly Christmas sweater will be a hit at this 5K Run/Walk at Garvan Gardens, and your entry fee will benefit cancer patients who need help with things like household bills, wigs, or even gas cards to help them get to medical appointments.

Reels & Wheels: The Polar Express December 23, 6pm Hot Springs Memorial Field Airport | 525 Airport Road | Free What a great way to spend a night with family and friends. Load up your car and head to Hot Springs Memorial Field Airport for a free showing of The Polar Express on the big screen. Sit back, tune your car radio to the assigned station and get ready for a night of holiday fun.

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southern fiction

FICTION Marla Cantrell

It is still the quiet hours of Christmas morning, just after three,

a stand between them, two Coca-Colas in glass bottles sitting

and Annie Mac tosses in her bed. She has fallen asleep in the

beside red plates.

dress she'd worn to her boyfriend's mama's house, and now it is tangled, the wide red skirt wound around her legs as tightly as a

What Boone had said as she was leaving was this. "She only says

folded umbrella.

that because she's mad Daddy died. She takes it as a personal insult, him leaving her like that." Boone had shaken his head, his

She rises, shakes out her skirt, goes to her bedroom window and

shaggy brown hair falling across his eyes when he did it, the light

adjusts the blinds so she can see outside. For a moment, the light

catching the open collar of his shirt, showing off his perfect neck.

from the moon makes the clouds glow, and the sky looks other-

"Daddy dying ruined my mama's life. Flat out ruined it."

worldly. Annie Mac rubs her eyes and sighs. Annie Mac had known what was coming next; she'd heard it After dinner, her boyfriend's widowed mama had been drinking

before. She'd folded her arms and waited. "Which is why I can't

whiskey sours and playing Roy Orbison, the old vinyl records

seem to take the leap," Boone had said, meaning he could never

scratchy, and she'd talked about the past like it was so close she

marry because then he would die, and dying would ruin everything.

could walk right back into it. "There was a boy when I was seventeen," she'd said to Annie Mac's boyfriend, Boone. "I should have

She'd run her hands down the side of her satin skirt and felt the

married him instead of your daddy." And then she'd cried.

fabric glide across her fingers. Earlier, as she'd gotten ready, she thought she looked beautiful. Maybe ten or fifteen pounds too

That sentence ended the night early and on a sour note. Annie

heavy, but still. In that skirt, with her black hair up, she could turn

Mac ate the last cheese straw, gathered her things, hugged

heads. She'd put on her new lipstick called Sleigh Him!, dabbed

Boone's brittle mama and said good-bye.

Chanel No. 5 on her wrists and felt hope rise. "Thirty-four ain't so bad," she said to the mirror, and then winked at her reflection.

Now, in her one-bedroom house, she looks around. Her Christmas tree is made of silver tinsel. The ornaments are from

But hope had faded the second Boone mentioned marriage.

the 1950s: ceramic skaters, felt elves with plastic faces, card-

She'd watched him as he spoke, saw the crease form between his

board churches sprinkled with glitter. She's collected them

eyebrows, saw his dark eyes grow even darker. She supposed she

over the years, these bits of the nostalgia, and even now, they

was supposed to feel sorry for him, but she did not.

make her feel as if there's order and wonder in the world. On her small kitchen table is a tablecloth printed with Mr. and

"I have to go," Annie Mac had said. They'd been on the front

Mrs. Claus dressed in pink, circa 1942, and she imagines two

porch by then, and she'd tripped on the last step, recovered, and

people sitting there, hands clasped, listening to Bing Crosby

drew her shoulders back, in case he was still watching. She'd

sing "White Christmas," a cake with seven minute frosting on

parked on the street, and as she walked toward her Chevy, she'd

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southern fiction

smelled the exhaust from someone's clothes dryer, the floral scent

Annie Mac has her hands behind her. She has her keys worked

of fabric softener rising in the early night.

between her fingers in a way that could make them a weapon if need be. "Is that jacket fur?" she asks, and the man laughs.

Now, she stands by her bedroom window. No chance of snow this year. Too warm. Too dry. Annie Mac lives a few miles from

"It is. As are the pants." He reaches in his coat pocket, pulls out a

Creekmore Park, the city's crowning jewel at Christmastime. It's

white fur hat and slips it on his head. "As is the cap."

too late to see the light display, the thousands of twinkling bulbs that make every shrub and tree look like sculpture.

"It looks like you're wearing a costume."

Still, the idea of the park draws her in. She grew up in the country,

"Not at all. These are my vacation clothes!"

needs the country, and the park is the closest thing to those planted fields and dirt roads and the woods where she'd once

"A little warm for Arkansas," Annie Mac says.

built her own tree house. Annie Mac washes her face, lets down her hair, scoots into jeans that were loose before the holidays.

"I'm leaving in a while," the man says, and then extends his hand. "The name's Pere."

Driving in the early morning on the biggest day of the year feels like being in a movie, the streets bare, Christmas lights glowing on

"Perry?" Annie Mac says, and the man laughs again. "Close

storefronts and across the eaves of houses. At the park, she walks

enough," he says.

the trail that goes by the swimming pool, the tennis courts, the playground. A squirrel skitters down a nearby tree and startles her.

"I'm Annie Mac."

The moon casts enough light for Annie Mac to see fairly well, so

"What a lovely name," Pere says, and Annie Mac feels a moon-

she veers off the concrete path. Fallen leaves cover the ground

beam of happiness enter her chest.

beneath the trees, and her boots sound against them. She breathes in the cold air, the dry leaves. A nearby bakery is already at work,

"I love this place," she says, and just then she hears a cat calling

the smell of donuts rising above everything else. If she could bottle

through the darkness.

the scent of this night, she'd never wear Chanel again. "Let's walk," Pere says, and Annie Mac pushes her keyed hand in She decides to sit and then leans against the trunk of an oak. An

her pocket, just in case.

acorn falls and then another. Annie nods off, wakes up, takes a "You should see it when the Christmas lights are on," Annie says.

scarf from her pocket, tucks it around her neck.

"Amazing." And that is when she sees him, this old man walking toward her, dressed in white, his long hair white. Annie Mac checks her pulse,

Pere studies her face for a moment. "What brings you here at such

making sure she's still on this side of the Great Divide, thinking

a disadvantageous time?"

he might be an angel come to get her. When she feels her heart pumping, she exhales and inches her way up on shaky legs.

"I have a boyfriend who won't marry me."

"No need to fret," he says as he approaches. He points to the

"Whyever not?"

gazebo behind him. "I was sitting over there, getting a modicum of rest after a long night, and I saw you, right there." He points

"His daddy died."

again, this time to the trailhead. "But then you walked off the path and didn't reemerge." He scratches his head. "I didn't want

"Just now?"

to frighten you, but that was a while ago, and I thought you might be in distress. So I decided to come see."

"Thirteen years ago." DOSOUTHMAGAZINE.COM

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southern fiction

"I don't understand."

with shelves where people leave food for those who might need it, Pere stops. "What is this?" he asks, and Annie Mac explains.

"Me either, Pere."

"How magnificent," Pere says and claps his hands. "I love it!"

"Well, you seem like the kind of girl hundreds of men would want

He opens the glass door and grimaces. "It's almost empty!" Annie

to marry. You have a sweet heart, I can tell. You have a kind face."

Mac says, "Not for long. This lady named Barbie oversees it. She or one of her volunteers will be by come daylight to refill it. I can

"I don't feel so sweet anymore," Annie Mac says. "My heart feels

promise you that."

like a hole lately." "But what if someone needs something now?" Pere asks, raising Pere is walking with his hands behind his back, his head down.

his hands.

"Happens to all of us." He laughs. "Even more so in election years. Not to worry, though. Hearts have a way of mending."

Annie Mac looks around at the barren park, the empty street, the quiet playground. "I think it's okay," she says, but already Pere

"A hundred percent of the time?"

is holding his right hand out, his eyes shut tight, and already the shelves are filling as if by sheer force of will, with Christmas candy

"No, Annie Mac, but awfully close."

and wrapped presents and stockings filled to the top.

"I don't even know if I want to marry Boone," Annie Mac says.

"There," Pere says, clapping his hands. "That's much better."

"I don't believe you do."

She takes two steps back and stares at the pantry. "That was..."

Annie's boot catches on a tree root, causing her to stumble. Pere

"Oh, that was nothing, really."

catches her, then wraps his arm through hers. "I've been wanting to move to the outskirts of town," she says. "Maybe start an

Annie Mac covers her eyes, uncovers them. The pantry looks like a

organic farm."

store window advertising Christmas.

"Ah," Pere says. "I can see you there. A checkered shirt, overalls,

Pere touches her shoulder. "Some advice, if I may," he says, and

a litter of chickens. It's important to do what you love. Life, as a

Annie Mac blinks hard. "Don't give Boone a second thought.

general rule, doesn't last forever."

Move. Start your farm. See what happens."

A bread delivery truck rolls by on Rogers Avenue, its sign visible

Annie Mac can see the future, so close she could open a door and

as it passes beneath the streetlights. "Have you always done what

step through it.

you love?" Annie Mac asks. "And now, for you," Pere says, and at that moment, the Christmas Pere pats her hand. "I've done what I was called to do. I believe

lights come on all across the park. One of the displays is Ten Lords

it's the same thing."

A-Leaping. Annie Mac laughs, wipes her eyes. She feels as if she could leap herself, and so she tries, her feet leaving the ground as

The concrete pathway sparkles in the moonlight. The trees moving

she does, her body rising until she is looking down on everything

in the breeze sound like whispers. A bird calls out. Another squirrel

below. For that moment she is part of it all, the lights, the moon,

runs by. A rabbit appears and then disappears in the time it takes

the mighty oaks. She calls to Pere, but he is long gone, so she

to take a breath.

floats for a while in the place of perfect beauty, on this day set aside for miraculous works of incredible kindness.

When they reach the Little Red Pantry, a small box sitting on a pole

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

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See what we mean? Something for everyone! All you need to do is keep it local when doing your shopping this season.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!


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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Center for Hearing centerforhearing.net 479.785.3277 Christmas is that special time of year when we look forward

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to gatherings with our friends and family. Sometimes hearing loss complicates our ability to keep up with conversation and therefore isolates us from the very things we enjoy the most. We have amazing hearing aid technology available at Center for Hearing. They can help you hear your best in the most complex listening situations and connect to many of your favorite devices. Give us a call today and find out how we can help you stay engaged this holiday season! We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

D&D Floor Coverings ddfloorcovering.com 479.474.0533 Think outside the box this Christmas! Give yourself or someone you love the gift of new window coverings by Hunter Douglas from D & D Floor Covering! Our designers will help you with the perfect selection for color, style, function, and energy efficiency. We will measure and install too! Visit our showroom at 1323 East Main in Van Buren, to see the entire line of Hunter Douglas window fashions and give an unexpected gift this year!


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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Farmers Coop farmercoop.com 479.474.6622 Did you know Farmers Coop is your one-stop shop for all your holiday gift-giving needs? We're much more than

Our skincare products make great holiday gifts! And, if you

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aren’t exactly sure what to buy for those on your list, grab one

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

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Sure, Kybella, Skin Pen, Botox/Dysport, fillers, and skincare

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

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

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Friddle Dentistry thefriddlesmile.com 479.452.8800 COPY

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John Mays Jewelers johnmaysjewelers.com 479.452.2140

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As always, we offer our beautiful holiday gift wrap for any

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Make sure you look your very best this holiday season with a

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new color and style from La Villa Salon! We are master colorists

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Paperwerk Fine Stationary, Gifts Invitations paperwerkfs.com 479.648.0558 Paperwerk offers custom invitations, gifts, stationery, workshops and more! We have gifts for everyone on your list, from your boss to your BFF! Shop with us in-store at our new location or online.

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Shop Persnickety A Women’s Boutique Find them on Facebook 479.252-6680 Get your perfect outfit and/or gift at Shop Persnickety this holiday season. Find all the latest styles to suit even the most “persnickety” ladies on your Christmas list! Shop Persnickety offers a variety of women’s clothing & fashion accessories. We also offer gift certificates and a friendly staff to help pick the perfect outfit or gift. Now open Mondays for the holiday season from 11 to 6!

Shop Persnickety Plaid button up with fringe $36 | Faux fur vest $54 Distressed denim $40 | Fringe booties $38

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

T. Glasco Designs Sodie’s Wine & Spirits sodiesliquor.com 479.783.8013

T. Glasco Designs tglascodesigns.com 479.646.3949 With the holidays soon upon us, you might find yourself in

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need of something new to dress your tabletop or want to Let Sodie’s Wine & Spirits assist with your party planning needs

make a few changes to your décor. We carry many lines of

this holiday season. Sodie’s can help you choose the right prod-

fine lamps, art, and accessories. We've also added several new

ucts at the right price. We have a huge selection of wines, beers,

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spirits, cigars and gift sets as well as gift cards; or call and let us

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put together a personalized gift basket. For larger events let us

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accents make great gifts too.


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

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