Sunday, May 16, 2010

First Post - Life in Little Rock

I have lived in Little Rock, Ark., since January 2007, and given that I like to consider myself a writer, I figured it was finally time to start a blog. In all honesty, the final incentive came from my brother, who suggested it after I told him one of my many oh-so-Arkansas stories today. Being a Yankee in this town and state has meant that every experience has the chance to be novel. Fortunately, the jobs I've had at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the statewide newspaper, and the Arkansas Governor's Office, have provided me with frequent opportunities to explore the many unique and beautiful corners of the Natural State and meet its people.

Below, one of my favorite Little Rock sites, the Rock Island Bridge downtown, spanning the Arkansas River between Little Rock and North Little Rock. The former railroad bridge dates to 1899 and is on its way to being restored as a pedestrian bridge. This is just to give you a taste of the city I live in.

Over time, I hope to pull together some of my other memorable stories I've experienced since living here, and add them, even if they won't appear as they chronologically occurred.

Some friends and I took a little road trip to the town of De Valls Bluff, population 700 or so. We went on a mission to find fried pies, which I can't say I could picture ahead of time. We didn't exactly do our research -- that was part of the allure -- so upon arrival in the "sportsmen's paradise," we really didn't know what we were looking for. The first thing we saw was the old school, clearly now closed for business as inevitably the kids have been consolidated into a larger school elsewhere. The mascot? The Scrappers.

But I digress. Back to the pies. We knew Lena's was supposed to be on Highway 33, so we took it, for a loonnnngg while. We passed a few houses and pondered asking where the pies were, figuring anyone in this town knew their most famous tourist attraction, but we wanted to seek it out for ourselves.

Finally, we gave in and called, only to hear this:
"Hello. Sorry to inform you but Ms. Lena's is closed for good. We will no longer be making pies. Of any kind. Thanks for being a wonderful fan and customer. Again, we are sorry, but life happens, and sometimes we can't do anything about that. We appreciated your business."

A tad overdramatic, I thought.

Fortunately for us, there's a second pie shop in this town with so few commercial establishments, I could count them on one hand. We ended up at Family Pie Shop, owned by Mary Thomas since 1977:
Hard to miss the spray-painted sign. We walked inside to what is basically a shed converted into a one-woman bakery. There Mary Thomas was, filling pie crusts.

The menu:
We bought coconut pie, which was pretty much one of the best pies I've ever tasted. I think Arkansas must be known for its coconut pies, because the first one I ever had was also from Ambrosia Bakery in Hot Springs, and it too was divine.

It turns out that fried pies are like fruit turnovers, but fried. I tasted an apricot one, but would skip it next time and stick with the traditional pie. Next time, I'll try the buttermilk pie.


  1. I like pie and I like blogs. So, congratulations! I look forward to reading many more entries.

  2. You are a brave woman. I don't know if I would have stopped at that place. For one, because it doesn't look open (or like a pie shop).

    Now I'm in the mood for fried pie.