Willie's song keeps echoing

By Tim Smith

Where A r [ts] Thou?

Of all the songs that Willie Nelson recorded, the one that seems to jump to the fore every time we hit the highways, and the by-ways, (are those still terms?) – is his Oscar nominated, “On the Road Again.” And that we were.

“The family is the true society.” (Pope Leo XIII, 1810-1903)

Last week we traveled some 2,000 miles across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri with the final destination of central Illinois – and back home in reverse order. Family matters took us hence, and all went smoothly, even when you consider setting up a new “smart” television on cable and adjusting bank statements and account information as relaxing, and for the record, my lovely wife did a yeoman’s job on those items. I was there for moral support, as my 98-year-old Mom looked on.

Other down time was more soothing, catching up with our great nieces on school and extracurricular activities. My, how time marches on, one will earn her teenage wings this November. Hope her parents are ready; were we ready – and we had sons – probably not.

Anyway: This same week was to have been when my alma mater, Drury University, would open the campus for their cluster reunions program, and my Class of 1971’s 50th was going to be a bookend for this trip. Then, a few weeks ago, with apparent virus upsurges, it was rescheduled for next year.

We decided to stop on the return trip for a few hours and take some pictures and reflect on days long since gone, but never diminished in their personal impact.

Adding a simply beautiful early fall day on top of all that, my reflections were even more heartwarming, especially as we were able to gain entrance to the theater where I had performed in so many productions. Standing on that stage center, (and where else, right?), and looking out over those silent seats, was for me, a magical experience. Time stood still, yet those once youthful actors did not, in my inspired memory, and I was home again.

This past September 18th, the City of Grapevine, Texas dedicated the Peace Circle monument. Quoting directly from its onsite informational plaque:

“Peace Circle, comprised of eleven monumental statues created by artist Linda Lewis at the Grapevine Foundry and completed in 2021, commemorates a moment in time that occurred on the Grape Vine Prairie in August 1843. That day, General Sam Houston, President of the Republic of Texas, addressed the leaders of ten American Indian nations who had gathered to meet with him to sign a treaty of peace and friendship.”

The citation continues: “Over the next few weeks, the Indian Commissioners traveled throughout the Grapevine Prairie collecting signatures from the Nations with the final signing by the Republic of Texas Commissioners General E.H. Tarrant and General G.W. Terrell taking place at Bird’s Fort on September 29, 1843. In all 10 American Indian nations signed: Delaware, Chickasaw, Waco, Tawakoni, Keechi, Caddo, Anadarko, Ioni, Biloxi, and Cherokee. Two other nations, the Comanche and the Kiowa did not sign. This treaty was ratified by the republic of Texas Legislature, and the first wagon train of settlers soon arrived at present-day Grapevine in 1844.”

The majesty of these original statues must be viewed in person, resplendent in their native dress. When you stand in the center of their historic presence, time softens, and you can almost hear the sounds of late summer, on that day, 178 years ago.

Traveling through Northwest Arkansas, I paid a visit to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and enjoyed some new works and learned about the museum’s expansion plans to provide increased gallery space. I wish our travels would have been a few weeks later to catch the fall foliage.

Upcoming: Looking forward to our trip to Disney World. Stay “turned in” here.

Seinfeld has moved to NETFLIX: Check out the truly inspired, and Lego themed announcement, on YouTube. How did they ever keep that advertisement a secret?

Next week: Sharing stages-affirming realizations, and “happier days are here again”–interest in the new book, “The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family,” penned by Ron and Clint Howard.

Connections made, locally inspired, in our towns, since 1/06.

See you at the local newsstand.

tA s

[For EFA-62]

(PS: Leave It To Beaver premiered on 10/4/57 – see, additional happier days!)

(This is the Where A r [ts] Thou? Column, #818 – Year 15)

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