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Genie asked if I had a good time fishing with the guys for a week at Leech Lake. I responded with a loud, definite, “Yes.”

She then asked if I had written about the fishing trip in this column. I responded with a loud, definite, “Yes.”

Genie reminded me that I had given the okay for her driving to Arkansas for a ladies’ retreat. I replied, “So?”

Genie reminded me that she had been to Arkansas and back. I replied, “So?”

Genie said, “So,” as she politely reminded me she would be writing about her trip to Arkansas in this column.

So—the following is Genie’s week of equality, beginning on a Wednesday and ending on a Wednesday:

My mantra for this journey is a paraphrase of the Serenity Prayer, “God, grant me a vacation to make bearable what I can’t change, a friend to make it all funny, and the wisdom to never get my knickers in a knot because it solves nothing and makes me walk funny.”

So, on my way to Marshall, MO—beautiful, sunny day—and I’m glad to get off I-35 into farm country. It’s getting hotter, more humid, but meadowlarks and cardinals abound. Everything is so green and lush, with lots of wild flowers in ditches.

Uh-oh, my car’s engine light on the dash goes on. We just had the car greased and oil changed, and it’s running okay.

In Marshall, I shop some. It’s almost too hot to shop—imagine that. So, I go to Pizza Hut for a personal size pizza for supper. The next day the motor light stays off until Springfield, MO. In Harrison, AK, I drive the car into a Chevy dealer and when they test it, the engine light goes off. I drive in and out of the Chevy garage—embarrassing! Drive on and carry on.

Fifteen women met in Jasper, AK, to eat at a local restaurant with lots of biker folks who love to go up the Ozark Mountains to enjoy some majestic views of Arkansas Grand Canyon. Up we go to Harmony Retreat Center, so peaceful and lovely. We cook, eat, snack, nap, Zumba, talk, decoupage, and go for walks. I saw a small, yellow snake cross our walking trail—not poisonous, they tell me.

We have a cat, Romeo, with us. He says in a camper, his palace!

Our campfire was really great this year. Bugs were not too hungry, and the whippoorwill sang for us at dusk—so cool!

Sunday we all go to Cliff House for breakfast—a feast, with awesome blackberry cobbler. Hummingbirds are feeding out on the deck that overlooks Arkansas Grand Canyon. Some pack up and leave after breakfast, and five of us stay one more day. 

Five gals became good friends—laughter, stories, fun, some food, and always a good coffee. 

Monday morning, it’s time to leave the Ozark Mountains until next time. We were blessed with good weather all weekend this year.

Back in Harrison, AK, I go with my cousin and friend to a luncheon honoring five women of Harrison, which is very nice.

Oh yeah, engine light is still lit on the dash. The car is harder to start, too. Maybe it’s the Arkansas heat and humidity.

Tuesday I leave for Marshall in sunshine, but hot. The car runs okay once it starts, and I eat supper in Marshall, MO at Pizza Hut again and watch a bright yellow crop duster plane work.

Finally, home sweet home—a good trip, and one new fuel pump—lights out!


Bob is a retired AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) agent, currently working on his master’s degree in Volunteering. His wife, Genie, is a retired RN, currently working on her doctor’s degree in Volunteering. They have two children, Deb in North Carolina, and Dan in Vermont. Bob says if you enjoy his column, let him know. If you don’t enjoy it, keep on reading, it can get worse. Words of wisdom: There is always room for God.

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