We met John’s cousin and wife Susan for lunch in Nashville. Freddy is an orthodontist whose main hours are in the afternoon, and Susan works from home. They are much more flexible than we were at their age.
Freddy can be serious, but we are more often treated to his lighter side. The subject of height came up, and Freddy asked if we knew what his nickname in school had been. Motioning toward his ankles, he said, “Highwater. My nickname was Highwater because I was always growing out of my slacks, looking like I was ready to wade in a flood.”
What I most enjoyed hearing Susan talk about was the neighbor who lives in the house behind them. His name is Igor, a Russian who is a portrait painter. I suspect many of us have seen his work at one time or another, because he has painted presidents and popes. The man’s studio faces their back yard. They’ve noticed he sometimes paints through the night, several nights in a row, judging by the light coming from the large windows.
All too soon it was time to go. It really felt odd to breeze through Memphis without stopping. When John began planning this trip, he put Uncle Howard’s name down for the evening. We would have had dinner with him and stayed the night if he hadn’t died. As it was, we opted not to go to the cemetery.
Arkansas was very flat and dusty. Tractors working in the fields stirred up clouds of dirt along I-40. We passed Little Rock before stopping for the night. A list of restaurants in the motel included a barbecue place, and we had a pulled pork sandwich. Of course, it wasn’t called pulled pork. I think that is a dandified name from someone who did not grow up in the South. We simply ordered a sandwich with slaw, a downhome delight!