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The Arkansas Traveler

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The Observer gets letters from folks, either directly or through the grapevine. Recently, somebody forwarded us one written by a former schoolteacher, writing to her granddaughter, who is a new student at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in Hot Springs. The letter details a recent road trip through Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, and particularly those encounters spurred by her decision to wear a different Clinton for President T-shirt every day of her trip, and to spread the good word about Hillary any time somebody commented on her shirt. The letter is a real gem, but we can't run the whole thing because of space. An abbreviated version follows:

Dear S______,

Enclosed, you will find a pair of sea turtle earrings. I bought these for you on St. George.

I want to tell you of my adventures traveling through the Deep South wearing my Clinton T-shirts. Before the trip, I decided to take with me all my Clinton T-shirts and campaign pins. My plan was to wear a T-shirt each day and see what happened ... .

You will remember Journeys of St. George, the place where we sign up for boat trips and shelling excursions. We went into Journeys to arrange for a shelling trip to West Pass later in the week. The late-middle-aged man at the desk complimented me on my Clinton shirt and I gave him a pin. We visited for a while, and I reminded him that I had known Jenny who founded the business in the early 1980s. She ran a one-woman business with her mongrel dog named "Namaste." Once we had settled on the date and time for the trip, he said, "You'll be with Captain Jessie. Now, he's a bit of a Trumper." I said that wouldn't be a problem.

On the day of the trip, Jessie met us at the dock. Of course, I had on a Clinton T-shirt. Jessie said to me that the owner had said I had known Jenny and that I knew Hillary personally. I explained both circumstances, and he said, "Well, I'm sort of independent, but I will vote for the best man or woman for the job." I told him that was a good policy.

Jessie is about 35, a good old boy, and chewed tobacco all day, spitting out the juice into an empty Coke cup. We stopped in the bay for the girls to watch the mama and baby dolphins play around the boat. We had a good day shelling. At the end of the day, as we got off the boat, Jessie said he'd keep an open mind. I said to him, "Jessie, I taught high school English for 25 years. Do you remember the girl who always sat at the front of the class? She always did her homework. She always had her hand up when the teacher asked a question." Jessie nodded yes.

I said, "That's Hillary Clinton." He laughed and said, "I hated her."

Then I said, "Do you remember the boy who sat in the back and was always cutting up and causing trouble? The class clown?"

Jessie said, "That was me."

To which I said, "No, that was Donald Trump."

He looked startled. I finished by saying, "Now, which one of those students do you want to have his or her finger on the nuclear button?" He said, "Not Donald Trump ... "

So, if I had to write an essay on how I spent my summer vacation, I would entitle it "Witnessing for Hillary, or How I Risked My Life Traveling Through the Deep South to Help Elect the First Woman President."

Of course, you remember that Hillary and Bill Clinton were the reason Arkansas created the Arkansas School for Mathematics and Sciences (now ASMSA) and that I was the first teacher hired to develop the school and design the curriculum. It is so gratifying to me that you, my most beloved granddaughter, are beginning your studies at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in the very year that we elect Hillary Clinton as President of the United States.

Much love ...

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