Monday, May 10, 2010

Coping with “gang aft agley” with grace and humor

“Are you a farmer?” The little boy comes up to my husband on the street at Hardy, Arkansas, early on Saturday morning. His question is pertinent. My husband’s usual uniform when we are not going someplace fancy is bib overalls. He explained that he was not a farmer.

Hardy exists to trap tourists, and like us, there were a few clumps of people, mostly adults with children in their wake, who had also shown up in town too early, and were drifting along the street looking a bit confused and annoyed about why the stores would wait until 10 a.m. to open on a Saturday morning.

This was yet one more occasion when Richard and I have attempted to have an adventure that just doesn’t quite evolve as it is supposed to. Our careful plans don’t quite work out.

And then the challenge is still having an enjoyable time while mulling over the alternatives.

Having felt most desperate to “get out of here” for a few hours, we decided to take Saturday off – both of us – and drive down to Hardy for my Mother’s Day treat. The border with Arkansas is about 48 miles away, and the lovely scenic Ozarks hills just get more scenic and more hillier as one heads south. The quaint little town we were headed for is maybe 20 miles past the border into Arkansas. It has a short downtown section with some very interesting antique shops and gift stores, and a very cool pottery shop, where I bought a gorgeous oil lamp a few years ago. On the edge of town, sitting on a high bluff above the river, is a thoroughly wonderful bbq joint on the river.

So the plan was to visit the pottery shop and buy another oil lamp, visit a few of the other shops, and have wonderful a bbq lunch. 

The first problem was that Richard totally misremembered how far away Hardy was and how long it would take to get there, so we left the house too early and arrived in Hardy at about 8:30 or so. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at the fast food place outside of town. Then we drove down Main Street. All of the stores were dark. Still a little early. So we continued on through town and stopped at the bbq place.

A woman, apparently the owner who lives on the premises, heard us pull in the parking lot and stuck her head out the back door and yelled – “We’re closed.”

Closed? Okay. Not all restaurants are open for breakfast. Not a big deal. Only it wasn’t that at all. The restaurant was entirely shut down for remodeling – “We will be open next week” she says.

This was a major disappointment. So we stood at the bank of the river and thought about it for a while and then began laughing. So we came up with Plan B – we’d head back home after visiting the pottery store and have lunch at a new bbq place closer to home.

We strolled long the river for a while and then drove back to the pottery place at about 9 a.m. only to find out that it didn’t open until 10 am. Another hour to kill. So we strolled very slowly up the street and looked at displays in all the windows of the other shops – and none of these opened until 10 a.m. either – and headed down the other side.

One lone soul out of step with everybody else was open. She was selling handcrafted wood items had opened. Really lovely things. I got my Mother’s Day present there.

Finally the pottery shop opened. There were no oil lamps. This was a major disappointment. But, Richard spotted a beautiful coffee cup, so I suggested he buy it for his Father’s Day present. And he did.

So we left Hardy and headed back home. We made a few spontaneous stops, which is rather hard for Richard to do, but made the day rather special.

Yesterday was a bit harder. The first Mother's Day without my mother. Whew. I miss her.


Cathy said...

Hello Leilani
Not a bad ending to a day that could have been miserable - could you explain the 'gang aft agley for me please - is it a locla expression or maybe Scottish?
Take care

Oklahoma Granny said...

Instead of being disappointed and just giving up you instead had a grand adventure. Good for you!

Leilani Lee said...

Ah "gang aft agley" is in the original poem by Bobbie Burns about the poor mousie whose home gets destroyed -- The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew.