Hope

by Anne Bennett on August 29, 2012

Dick, a very happy man at his mecca.

Nine hundred miles, four hotels and three McDonalds grilled chicken snack wraps (no sauce) into our trip, I can unequivocally state that Arkansas isn’t what I expected.

You’ve probably heard at least one of the jokes (An Arkansas state trooper pulls over a pickup truck on I-40. He says to the driver, “Got any ID?” The driver says, “Bout what?”).

Arkansas doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation for being cool.

Dick Levinson and I have visited Clinton sites all over the state, including his presidential library in Little Rock, his birthplace in Hope, and the Clinton House Museum in Fayetteville, the first home Bill and Hillary bought and where they were married in 1975 (in the living room).

Kate Johnson, the spirited 37-year-old director of the museum, grew up in Fayetteville; her parents were  friends of the young Clintons. Kate enthusiastically regaled us with fascinating, behind-the-scenes stories of Bill’s early days in politics. 

McClards

Bill’s former favorite haunt in Hot Springs. The waitress says he’s vegan now.

When she discovered that we had parked a good piece away from the museum, she insisted on giving us a lift back to our car.

This is where I want to make a point: the people of Arkansas are friendly. No, it’s more than that, they are proud to be Arkansans and they want everyone else to know that Arkansas is a worthy place.

I have found most of them to be not just good people, but educated, diverse and unabashedly sincere. When we readied to leave the Clinton House Museum, Scott, one of employees, gave me a hug and said, “You all hug in Kansas, don’t you?”

Indeed we do, but I must admit, not with the spontaneity of the hug I got in Fayetteville.

 

 

 

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