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Pocahontas, Arkansas

For years I had to listen to my parents yap about how proud we should be to live in such a historically valuable location such as Pocahontas, Arkansas, which only led me to grow to hate it even more. The first for everything, my father would always say, referring to Randolph County to which Pocahontas was the county seat. One of the firsts was the old town post office in Davidsonville, which our parents forced us to travel to at least once a week to keep the old shack open. Sometimes I’d just throw my envelopes in the blue box at the end of our street and visit my friends afterwards, time it right, then come back home.

Sitting on my back porch in the breezy 70 degrees, I sipped on my sweet pink lemonade as I stared through the woods we called our backyard. The same woods which my father, Herman, wandered through for many years, in many attempts to “bring home the bacon”, but always came back unsuccessful and wrapped in his own traps from chasing an animal around in circles. They can run, but they can’t hide, I would hear him shout before I would be able to see him limping out of the woods, every single time.

Around this time, I would be heading down to Black River. It was always the hottest when the sun was at its highest. The only good thing about this place was it never got to 100 degrees, usually only reaching mid-90s.  My brother, Henry, and I made it a tradition to swim on the hottest day of each year, determined by the weather reporters, who were paid even if they were wrong. I enjoyed this tradition very much, which ended when Henry died playing chicken on route 90. It was his turn to race on the opposite side of the road, and he was too stubborn to move back over behind the car he was racing, when he saw a car coming head on towards him. Death was the only thing to teach him a lesson. Herman hated me for saying that.

He hated me for a lot of things, and I hated him too. We were the only ones left in a house that had been in our family for generations after my mother finally divorced him having been fed up with his anger issues. I don’t think I have ever witnessed a time when I heard my parents talking. After my mother left, Herman became a member of the Rolling Hills Country Club, finally having some freedom without being “tied down” by my mother. He used to go all the time with the mayor, Frank Bigger, who was his old childhood friend. Bigger could not be a better name for the mayor, who seemed to get increasingly larger every time he stopped by to scoop Herman on the way to the club. He must have thought he was in good shape standing next to Herman, who seemed to be competing with the mayor. Herman, always trying to be bigger everywhere else, my mother always told me. I am not sure if that was the appropriate thing to say to your daughter about your husband, but not many people stuck around to hear her talk, so who could blame her. Herman discontinued his membership at the country club after my brother died. He just couldn’t ride down the same route that killed his son.

His son, my brother, was the only member of my family I actually enjoyed being around. Since his death, there is no longer any reason for me to stick around. Herman certainly doesn’t make living here quite so pleasant. He’s as sour as the loaf of bread sitting on top of the fridge, since my mother took the bread box with her when she left. It was part of her half. Though, half seemed to be a lot less because all of this junk in this house is the result of Herman’s inability to determine the difference between trash and treasure.

Soon he will be having a lot more space to clutter, since I will be leaving in a couple of weeks, though he has no clue because I haven’t told him. Frankly, I couldn’t care less if he thought I fell flat off the face of the earth. He’s so stubborn; he thinks that still happens to people. Old Herman, he already has an ex-wife and a son he will never see again. Now it’s going to be the same for his daughter. And in about 6 months that will be the same with his grandchild; I’m not sure if it’s a boy or a girl. I’m hoping for a boy, though my boyfriend, Scott, is quite indifferent about it. Together we are moving into our own place, and I will be the first generation to not live in Pocahontas.

This statue represents the famous Indian Princess Pocahontas for whom the city of Pocahontas is named.

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