Bathhouse Row

This was my first time to visit the historic Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs, AR. Tiffany, Katarina and I had a wonderful stroll down, up and back down Bathhouse Row. We were late to town and ended up only having a few minutes in the National Park Visitors Center. It was still worth the visit and gave us a glimpse of what once was at Bathhouse Row.

The beautiful old structures had gilded fronts and architecture honoring the Spanish missions and the ancient Roman bathhouses. The interior was dominated by marble, brass, and steel.

The thought that returned to me again and again, when we visited each ornate structure, was “how this must have looked like in its heyday!”. Looking at the historical visitation records it may not be impressive that 265,000 people visited in 1926, but considering the limitations on transportation at that time, Bathhouse Row would have been a magnificent sight. I imagine it full of people and energy, just bursting to the seams with excitement. In one of the bathhouses, it was written that ladies had waited for hours for an available bath.

I felt like Bathhouse row was just a frame of what it used to be. Walking amongst the buildings was like looking at an old photograph, quiet and lonely now, which had once been beautiful and bustling.

I want to visit Hot Springs again, I want to breathe more of it, and I want to be in the history of it.

Out front of The Arlington, that old castle of Hot Springs Arkansas

Anna’s Canyon Cafe

We parked on the historic route 66 in Williams Arizona and found cold and clean air a refreshing change for the morning.

Walking just around the block, we stopped in at Anna’s Canyon Cafe for breakfast. It was still early, and the only patrons in there were a couple members of the Sheriffs department and an elderly couple.

The decor was simple and antique Western just as you’d expect. Gilded mirrors and western photos adorned the walls. The old wood floor and bar, with a green chair rail all around, and swinging double doors to the backroom, made it feel like a saloon.

Sourdough toast is always a hit with our little SOE Agent (not really an SOE agent, we just like to pretend she is)

I had the veggie omelette, Tiffany ordered the sausage, biscuit and gravy, Katarina ate from both of our plates we all three enjoyed our food. If you like a quiet place for a hot comforting breakfast (crispy and oily hash browns were in both our dishes) check out Anna’s Canyon Cafe. They’ve taken care to save some of that old wild west feel.

I Found You!

Parenthood has forever changed me, kind of like marriage did.

Back when I was a single man, I had so much time alone. Evening after evening, if I didn’t have plans with friends, I went to sleep in silence. I often ate my supper alone. I watched the television program that I wanted to, or listened to the music that I wanted to (I must have played Emotionalism a couple hundred times). My bathroom cabinet was stocked only with products that I used. The blankets and sheets on my bed were the blankets and sheets that I chose. Yes I was limited by budget and location, but other than that I had full autonomy. I could get anything I wanted from the local Salvation Army, and decorate my apartment in the best way I saw fit.

After marrying, I found a forever date. Dinner out – now always for two. I get to consider someone else in every decision.

Now that we have a baby, the dynamic has changed again.

It’s a whole new level of taking another into consideration.

Even when my wife and I step out on the porch for a few minutes of coffee and contemplation, and our little one is happily playing with her cousin and auntie Emily, she will find us. She is not easily dissuaded.

How To Leave Well?

When is the best time to leave?

How do you say goodbye?

When you’re having a wonderful time, but you must end it soon, how do you do so graciously?

On a couple of occasions, I have quietly gone without saying any goodbyes, and I avoided the immediate pain that way. There is an absolutely beautiful wedding arc in the BBC production of Sherlock, and Holmes himself leaves that way.

That made it much easier for me. My uncle Gordon was known for that, he never said goodbyes, just slipped away. For a while I had planned to make that my life routine. In the summer of 2010 I worked on a Resort Ranch with my dear friend Audra. She teared up when I told her I planned leave that way, and she said would really hurt her if I did that.

The last twelve days we spent in Ohio, and it was a flurry of visits to so many people we dearly miss and don’t get to see enough. We said goodbyes dozens of times over and it was no fun.

There is something beautiful in a goodbye. They hurt. That very pain reminds us that we are still connected to them. That we care about them. I don’t ever want to be happy about saying goodbye to old friends or family. Yes I want to be happy for them, and for the better places they are heading, but not happy about our paths diverging.

In The Neighbourhood

We traveled from Bladensburg to Gallipolis Ohio today. I have made that trek dozens of times before, but I went a different way today.

On one of our windy country roads, we saw signs for Ravenwood Castle only a few miles away. It brought back memories for my wife and I.

Four years ago we visited this charming location.

Just before proposing to my girlfriend, we stopped in at the castle and I tried to subtly inquire about Ravenwood as a venue for “events”. My thinly veiled attempt was thoroughly pierced by the receptionist, who quickly asked “Like a wedding? Are you two getting married? Congratulations!”…. I am still trying to play it cool, when she says “oh we are having a wedding reception right now, try some of the cake!”.

Today we laughed about that trip, and about how awkward Tiffany felt at that time as we were not yet betrothed. We decided to visit again and look around.

Coming here with our daughter is unbelievably different, and we want to bring her here when she is a little older, when she can all dress up like royalty, and Katarina can feel like a Princess in her castle.

P. Graham Dunn

I got to spend over an hour in the P. Graham Dunn shop today. The cheery decor and inviting charm were overflowing the unbelievably large facility. Elegance seemed the hallmark of the entire store.

Ten thousand photo frames and painted wooden signs adorned the displays and walls. Twine, wire, crystal, leather, ceramic, copper and slate were also commonly incorporated into the products. Not once did I like at something and feel it to be baroque.

Harry, the general manager of the twenty thousand foot retail store, introduced himself soon after we entered. He chatted with us for twenty minutes and told us about the P. Graham Dunn story, and of his own life journey.

This mug was the only thing we ended up purchasing, but we had a great time visiting.

Extended Breakfast

We went to Newt’s Place, in Navarre Ohio, this morning for a 09:00 breakfast. Well we had scheduled it for 09:00, but we didn’t all actually arrive till half past the hour.

Four generations sat around the table for two hours and shared a little bit of life. Coffees all around, and the table was covered with plates of eggs, bacon, sausage gravy, home fries, and toast in various renditions.

There’s no substitute for spending time with our families. It doesn’t have to be in a restaurant. It certainly doesn’t have to be fancy or pretty, but it must be at the cost of giving something else up. To open our schedule, to make time, means to sacrifice something.

We have to give up some other activity of value, for this one that is even more valuable.