Arkansas Hometown Magazine
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Light Up the Night
Jimmy McDonald Turkey Day Controversy
Arkansas Hometown Magazine Created & Published by: Rich and Jennifer Niemeyer Next Step Publications PO Box 6533 Sherwood, Arkansas 72124 (501) 988-0999 Fax (800) 847-5250 www.yourarhometownmag.com Graphic Design by: Kaitlin Schmidt
features 5 Featured Artist: Jimmy McDonald 8 Light Up The Night in honor of Jennings Osborne 12 Fitness Corner 15 Turkey Day Controversy
Articles Written by: Sammy Andrews, Chuck Perinello, Kaitlin Schmidt Article Layout & Design by: Kaitlin Schmidt Photography by: DeWaine Duncan, Jeff Montgomery, Rich Niemeyer, Kaitlin Schmidt Cover Photography by: Rich Niemeyer, Kaitlin Schmidt Cupcakes prepared by Cupcake Factory (See page 5)
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Your Arkansas Hometown Magazine 3
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FEATURED ARTIST Mirror Design art with
Jimmy McDonald A quiet non-assuming 70-year-old home remodeler in North Lite Rock is one of the top 100 artists in the country, according to the White House. Jimmy McDonald calls it a passion that he just fell into more than 40 years ago. “I’m really getting a little old for the remodeling business and would love to do my art fulltime.”
But getting his portrait of soon-to-be president Clinton to the Clinton himself in 1992 proved difficult. “I had had it done for a while and was waiting for the right time to give it to him. Then he was elected president, and I knew he’d be leaving Arkansas soon. I couldn’t get to visit with him so I gave it to a Secret Service agent and hoped it got to the newly elected president.” It wasn’t until the note from Hilary that he knew for sure it was received. He said his trip to the White House as one of the top 100 artists in the country was one of his greatest thrills. “I never dreamed of such an amazing trip,” he said.
McDonald does glass and mirror “painting.” In the beginning he would take a mirror wrap it in a towel, shatter the glass and then use pieces to form a picture, painting and highlighting the back of the glass before he placed it in position. “Yes, you get a lot of small cuts, but I’ve never had a major wound. You get used to it,” McDonald said.
That artwork is currently archived at the Clinton Presidential Library. Another one of his works is on display at the Jacksonville Museum of Military History. “It is a portrait of two war heroes, two brothers,” he said.
For a house remodeler, his glass art has taken him around the country. “I’ve down a number of walls, especially in clubs in Oakland, California, that was 40 years ago and many of them are still there.” A glass portrait of President Clinton got him a Thank You note from Hilary and an invite to the White House.
Although others have tried to duplicate Jimmy McDonald’s technique, few have succeeded in attaining the level of artistic quality or distinguishing ability which Jimmy McDonald has perfected. It is an honor and a privilege to acquire any of the limited works of this one of kind. His work can be view on his Facebook page or at mirrordesignart.com -Chuck Parinello
He got started in 1973 when a friend was working in glass. “I was amazed and learned how to do it,” he said. About four years later he presented Marvin Gaye with a glass portrait of the singer. “I presented it to him on stage in Oklahoma. It was something,” McDonald recalls. Shortly after that he and his partner had a splitting of the ways. McDonald has continued to do various portraits, along with wildlife, landscape and just artsy designs. He has done portraits of Oprah Winfrey, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and singers Natalie Cole and Melba Moore. He presented both of them with the portrait. Est. 1973
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Your Arkansas Hometown Magazine 7
Light Up the Night In her father’s footsteps: Breezy Osborne-Wingfield celebrates third year for Light Up The Night 5k In 1986, Breezy Osborne-Wingfield made an innocent request to her father; she wanted to decorate their family home with Christmas Lights. Jennings Osborne--whose name is likely already familiar to anyone who grew up around central Arkansas--gladly indulged her by hanging roughly 1000 lights. The lights immediately became a family tradition, one that not only repeated the actions of the previous year, but amplified them. By 1993, the display had grown to more than three million lights. What had begun as a family tradition became an Arkansan tradition as countless people made special holiday trips down Cantrell Road (in what was then west Little Rock) to see the lights, and not just local residents. The spectacle grew so tremendous that six neighbors eventually filed a lawsuit. They complained that the traffic congestion had become so burdensome by the masses of people eager to see the lights, that even a short trip down the road took hours. In 1995, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled to shut the lights down. Jennings was not deterred. Feeling more
8 Your Arkansas Hometown Magazine
encouraged than ever, he returned the next year with an even larger display at a new location, Walt Disney World. “Every day is like Christmas to me,” he told the Associated Press. “I feel like I am on a fantasy trip, and I like to take people along.” Jennings Osborne passed away from heart problems on July 27th, 2011. A microbiologist by training, he was also a successful business owner, philanthropist, comedian, BBQ master and genuine soul. His motto: “Commit a random act of kindness today.” Just as he had lit his home to bring his daughter joy, he similarly gave enthusiastically to complete strangers. Many of us have fond memories of tailgating outside of War Memorial Stadium and enjoying Osborne’s barbecue--which he cut, cooked, and served personally and freely. He also provided the famous BBQ on numerous occasions to various small Arkansas towns affected by natural disasters. Most would find the idea of
giving away three tons of pork, chicken, and turkey preposterous, but not Jennings. To him, every smile and look of shock at the gigantic tray of home cooked BBQ made it all worth it. It is no surprise that Breezy would want to follow in her father’s footsteps, and in 2011, she organized the aptly named Light Up The Night 5k. “It came to me quickly that a run/walk would be ideal for many reasons; activity would have been something vital in dad’s life if not for his heart condition. Still, he tried to be as active as he could,” noted Breezy. The run/walk format means that the “event can involve everyone, however they’d like to participate.”
D E TA I L S
The third annual Light Up the Night 5k will begin December 14th at 5 PM in Little Rock’s River Market district. All proceeds will go to Our House Shelter for the Working Homeless and the Little Rock Animal Village. Participants will make their way to the Arkansas State Capitol and back while enjoying the Christmas lights that decorate the way. Everyone is encouraged to wear holiday-themed attire. Race organizers are also encouraging business owners in the River Market and along the racecourse to decorate their storefronts with holiday decorations and lights.
December 14, 2013 @ the Little Rock River Market Pavilion
“Nothing says Christmas more than seeing Little Rock lit up again,” said Breezy. While most events of this nature are run during the day, Breezy felt that setting the charity event in the evening--and against the backdrop of Christmas lights illuminating the way--would be a more fitting tribute to her father. Just as Jennings would have done, Breezy is giving all proceeds to Our House Shelter for the Working Homeless and the Little Rock Animal Village. The first Light Up the Night in 2011 had around 900 registered participants, allowing Breezy to donate $5,000 to each charity. “Carrying on the tradition he created with random acts of kindness will hopefully lead to many charities benefiting from our efforts,” she says. There is no doubt he’d be pleased. - Kaitlin Schmidt
Photographs by: Jeff Montgomery DeWaine Duncan
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• You can also register the day of the race in the River Market Pavilion for $25. • Registration fee includes a Light Up the Night tee shirt.
Your Arkansas Hometown Magazine 9
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Your Arkansas Hometown Magazine 13
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Turkey Day Controversy What do Plymouth, Mass., St Augustine, Fla., Santa Fe, NM. and the Palo Duro Canyon, Texas all have in common? All three lay claim as the country’s birthplace of Thanksgiving. What about the years 1959, 1863, 1621, 1598, 1565 and 1541? Again, all four could claim to be our first Thanksgiving. In fact, the one most of us celebrate, the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock in 1621 has the weakest claim to Thanksgiving. Historical sources say the Pilgrims never held an autumn Thanksgiving feast. The Pilgrims did have a gathering or feast in 1621 after their first harvest, but the feast was never repeated and was not called a day of thanksgiving by the Pilgrims. In fact, for the Pilgrims, devoutly religious people, a day of thanksgiving would have been spent in prayer and fasting, not feasting. A large group of historians believe the first Thanksgiving in America was in St. Augustine on Sept. 8, 1565. Pedro Menendez de Aviles and 800 Spanish settlers founded St. Augustine on Sept. 8, 1565. Records show that the landing party celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving followed by a meal. Menendez invited the local Seloy tribe to the meal. Dr. Michael V. Gannon, in his book, “The Cross in the Sand,” called the St. Augustine gathering “the first community act of religion and thanksgiving in the first permanent European settlement in the land”. But another group of Thanksgiving enthusiasts say the first Thanksgiving was actually near Santa Fe in 1598 when a colonizing expedition lead by Juan de Onate from Mexico City into the New Mexico area stopped to give thanks and celebrate the success of their journey. Still, Texas authorities say it was the famed Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado that started Thanksgiving. In 1541, on Ascension Thursday, Coronado paused to give thanks. With friendly Teya Indians, Coronado’s expedition celebrated a Eucharistic thanksgiving at daybreak in the spectacular Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo. About 300 years later, in 1842. Sam Houston, president of the Texas Republic, in the face of possible war, political problems and financial turmoil, proclaimed March 2 as a day of thanksgiving “to render evidence of national blessings. Six years later, Texas Gov. George Wood established the first Texas State Thanksgiving, making Texas the first state in the south to have an official day for Thanksgiving. On the national level, President George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving for Nov. 26, 1789 to honor the formation of the United States. But the idea faded until President Abraham Lincoln issued his “Thanksgiving Proclamation” in 1863. But those who love technicalities say the South wasn’t a part of the United States then, and what about Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska? So the first Thanksgiving celebrated by America as a complete nation didn’t happen until November 1959. What does it all mean as you are eating turkey and watching football this Thanksgiving? Simply that any day can and should be a day of Thanksgiving. So enjoy Nov. 28 and pass the rolls. -Chuck Parinello
Your Arkansas Hometown Magazine 15
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Your Arkansas Hometown Magazine October 2013