Every high school has an ugly duckling. Someone who made a reprehensible mistake in their past and cannot seem to lick that obstacle. Whether it was peeing their pants in 1st grade and being forced to wear pink sweats for the rest of the day or getting a bad case of lice in 4th, that person's name is always accompanied by a cringe. Sometimes they are the butt of others' jokes. Sometimes they are forgotten until a popular kid mentions their name by accident, juxtaposed with rolling eyes and pretentious laughter.
As you privately get to know this ugly duckling however, you realize that the condemning deed was actually just childhood folly. Yes, (s)he still has some of the quirks that has followed for many years, but overall, this ugly duckling is actually pretty cool. But how do you explain that to the prevailing high school royalty? You probably don't, allowing this ugly duckling to handle the unwarranted ugliness on their own.
This week, we met an ugly duckling. And instead of allowing her to continually receive undue mockery, I'd like to be forthcoming with the remarkable qualities that are so often overlooked. Her name is Arkansas.
Yes, that Arkansas.
The what's there to do in Arkansas? Arkansas.
The why are you making pilgrimage to Bill Clinton? Arkansas
The there's nothing but a bunch of hillbillies and racists and cousin couples there! Arkansas.
The moonshinin', corncob pipin', bacca chewin', dirt eatin' Arkansas Arkansas
Yes, that Arkansas. And (most of) it is undeserved.
Our quick vacation to Arkansas found us yearning to live there. The lakes were gorgeous and small enough to feel like wide, winding rivers. The trees which I sadly cannot identify, invited a serene ambiance to this underrated state. Southern hospitality was in full force and while we did in fact meet a hillbilly, we only met one and he was wearing shoes and had what appeared to be all of his original teeth. Sorry California, I know you love yourself (and we love you, too), but you've been harsh with our southeast friend.
Arkansas, we adore you.
(Pictures to follow as soon as the boy naps, which could be measured in hours or in days. I would suggest not holding your breath)