Enjoying the longest day of the year
The first day of summer; the longest day of the year; and it’s Saturday. There’s enough going on to forgo the usual Saturday sleep-in and head out the door to enjoy everything the gorgeous day had to offer.
My first stop, bright and early in the morning, was the Searcy Certified Farmer’s Market. The long, long winter had me craving truly fresh produce. When I say “fresh produce,” I mean stuff grown for its taste, not it’s ability to stand up to long hauls relatively unmarred but short on taste. The Farmer’s Market is just the place to go for locally grown produce, eggs, meat and wonderful jellies, jams, breads and scones baked right in a home kitchen.
Not only is the Farmer’s Market a great place for the freshest of fresh produce, but it’s also a place to bump into neighbors and friends. The market is from 8:00 a.m. until noon on the Searcy Courthouse Square. It sells out fast, so get there early.
My next stop of the day was Berryhill Park, Searcy’s largest city park. I sat on a bench just watching kids be kids and noticed something I had never noticed before: The kids seemed to take playing very seriously. This little girl stood contemplating those two swings for quite awhile before standing in front of her choice. That was when she called for her mother to come help her into the swing and push.
For these three kids, it took no time at all to decide that there would be a race to the top. King of the Mountain is alive and well. That was the challenge. I sat in awe at that, thinking that for me, the challenge would getting up to the first level of the climb, let alone the top.
This little girl won my heart and became the champion of the day. Her dad helped her up the ladder to get to the top of the slide and mom waited at the bottom to catch her as she came down. Even so, she hesitated a bit at the top. She turned back to find that dad had already left the ladder, so her choice was made for her. She had to go down, and slide down she did. What a champ!
My last stop of the day was the Fierce Grace event held at Spring Park to meet “The Blind Ninja,” Heidi Kottke. Here she is showing Warren Watkins some of her defensive moves. Mr. Watkins is the force behind the new Lazarus Church, sponsored by the First Baptist Church in Clinton.
Miss Kottke’s story is one of many trials and challenges faced by those growing up with a handicap in Arkansas’ small, rural communities. Faced with the local school district’s lack of education programs that would help her learn, her family faced the state’s threat of taking custody unless she was enrolled in the School for the Blind in Little Rock. Though she was able to be home in Clarksville on weekends, holidays and summer vacation, Miss Kottke hated all the frightening sounds of the big city of Little Rock. She became tough instead of letting her fears get the best of her.
Her family moved to Clinton, and when she hit high school, she discovered the gym and athletics. But, what she really wanted to do was martial arts and began learning with Mr. Pickles at the Christian Academy of Marshal Arts. There she learned tsu ryu jujitsu kenpo, known as the “judo cane.” You can read her full story at Searcy Living Magazine.
I ended the day inspired – and exhausted. It truly was a long, long day.
White County resident, freelance writer, photographer and blogger. Email her, visit her at A Bumpy Path and Out in the Back Yard for more neurotic enlightenment and visual stimulation.