By Louie Graves
OUR THANKSGIVING meal was to be at night, so at midday Thursday, daughter Julie and I went out in search of a modest burger to hold us until turkey time.
Nothing was open in Little Rock. Nothing. Not a McD’s or Burger King or Sonic. Zilch. Nada. Nein.
“Let’s look for a Chinese restaurant or some Mexican place,” I wisely suggested. “They’ll be open because immigrants don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.”
There’s only one ethnic group which still dislikes Thanksgiving, I would come to realize.
That would be Native Americans, because that particular holiday just reminds them of when the foreign devils came and took away their country and slurred their image by giving college sports teams names like Indians, and Warriors and Seminoles and Redmen.
Little Rock has only one Native American restaurant. It’s named “Sitting Bull’s Eat Shop.”
It is located in a large complex of horse skin wigwams downtown near the Presidential Library, and Thank Goodness it was open on Thanksgiving Day.
Sitting Bull’s Eat Shop wasn’t the perfect answer to our hunger, as it turned out.
Our tummies were growling as we threw back the flap of the teepee and tiptoed into the darkness inside.
“How! Circle your wagons and sit on the floor,” the Maitre d’Brave told us.
The menu was extremely limited. It had no writing, only crude pictures. Prices were listed in Wampum, not Dollars. Or, you were invited to trade trinkets for food. Ten percent more trinkets for groups of more than 8.
You could choose from buffalo horn soup. Pemmican burgers. Chipmunk jerky. Hawk eggs. Armadillo. Large and small dog, of course, and some other stuff you don’t want to even hear about.
We were seated on some fragrant bison skins on the floor.
“Hi, I’m Little Feather and I’ll be your waitress today,” a young woman said. She told us that in her tribal language her name meant “Small fluffy thing with quills pulled from bird’s backside.” She was wearing beaded buckskins and had a wicked-looking tomahawk tucked into her belt.
What’s the vegetable of the day? I asked.
“Corn,” she answered. “You call it corn. We call it maize.” (I know some of you out there will recognize this comment from an old TV commercial)
I selected the campfire-broiled prairie dog, extra crispy. Julie decided to try a half order of frog smothered with cattails, and a side order of tree stump slugs. While we were waiting for the screaming prairie dog to be skinned, we inspected our surroundings.
We were in the restaurant’s Little Bighorn Room. It was decorated with jawbones and scalps and had a large autographed picture of Tonto sitting astride Scout, his trusty pinto pony. There was a very large “Wanted: John Wayne” poster. Also, there was a large Washington Redskins NFL poster with a wide red stripe painted across the name.
Sitting Bull’s Eat Shop had both peacepipe smoking and non-peacepipe smoking sections, and we were unfortunately in the smokers’ room. A thick blue haze hung heavily in the air. It smelled vaguely familiar, like an Italian cooking herb or alfalfa. There were lots of customers, but we were the only ones not wearing warpaint and loincloths.
I’m sorry that practically every eating place feels obligated to offer some form of entertainment these days. Sitting Bull’s Eat Shop was no different. Right after the woven straw baskets containing our food were placed on our laps, a six-piece combo began thumping drums and blowing whistles. A man wearing elk antlers danced.
“Hey, hey, heya ha ha ha,” they chanted.
Outside, it began to thunder and rain.
“Happens practically every time he sings that song,” Little Feather chuckled as she stabbed our ticket to the floor with a war spear.
Since I was fresh out of wampum, I had to use a credit card. “Or we could work out a trade for some firewater and repeating rifles,” Little Feather slyly suggested.
“Ugh! Great White Father in Washington no like me give’um you firewater and rifles,” I told her in sign language, but I did leave an extra beaver pelt for a tip.
As Julie and I walked single-file toward the wigwam exit, Little Feather yelled “Stick around. Bingo starts in the Happy Hunting Ground Room in just a few minutes. We’re giving away a Chevy Silverado today.”
Maybe next Thanksgiving, I answered.
“Nah, we’re gonna start closing on holidays,” she said.
THINGS I LEARNED from reading email: “The highest point in Pennsylvania is lower than the lowest point in Colorado.”
FILE THIS AWAY for next June or July when we’re desperate for a rain. All we need to do is have Gary Dan call his building renovation crew to come back for an outdoor project and it will rain, rain, rain every day they’re here.
WEIGHT WATCHERS. Unable to write about how I did over the past two weeks because of the conflict with Nashville’s Christmas Parade and Holiday Lighting in the Park. Also, last week’s weigh-in was cancelled by weather, and of course, Thanksgiving played a major role in whether I lost or gained weight. You’ll have to wait until next week to find out.
HE SAID: “When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” Tecumseh, Indian chief
SHE SAID: “Thank God we’re living in a country where the sky’s the limit, the stores are open late and you can shop in bed thanks to television.” Joan Rivers, comic
SWEET DREAMS, Baby
The 11th annual Scrapper Baseball Print Mania Winter Hitting Clinic will be held Saturday, Dec. 14, from 9-11:30 a.m. at the Scrapper Dome.
The camp is open to players ages 7-13. The registration fee is 440.
Only the first 40 campers will be taken.
Instructors include Kyle Slayton, head baseball coach at Nashville High School; Michael Milum, Houston Baptist graduate assistant; and Alan Copeland, player at Harding University.
Pee Wee basketball will not interfere on Dec. 14, Slayton said.
Participants are asked to take their own bats if they have them.
For more information, contact Slayton at 903-748-5277.
Registration forms may be sent to Slayton at 206 Staggs Drive, Nashville, AR 71852, or they may be taken to the office at Nashville Junior High School.
A Dierks woman pleaded guilty in Sevier County Circuit Court on Nov. 8 to the first-degree murder of her husband, who she ran over in August, 2012.
Bobbie Wilbanks, 48, was sentenced to 27 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections, according to a recent article in the De Queen newspaper.
Wilbanks was initially charged with second-degree murder of Robert Wilbanks, 55, but the charge was later amended to first-degree murder.
Bobbie and Robert Wilbanks had been arguing as they traveled in a 1998 GMC truck on Highway 24 near Lockesburg when Robert Wilbanks stopped the truck and ordered his wife out of the vehicle. “At which time she slid under the steering wheel in an attempt to leave and struck Robert Wilbanks who was later pronounced dead,” according to the Arkansas State Police.
A Nashville man who was behind the steering wheel during a wreck that killed his girlfriend has been charged in Pike County Circuit Court with second-offense driving while intoxicated and negligent homicide.
Jeremy Barfield, 34, was the driver of a 1973 Jeep that overturned the night of Sept. 27 near Murfreesboro on Highway 27. The wreck killed Terah Michelle Mumau, 32, also of Nashville, who was crushed by the vehicle.
According to the Arkansas State Police report, Barfield applied the Jeep’s brakes, crossed the centerline and overcorrected. The vehicle overturned twice, ejecting Barfield and coming to rest on its top.
Barfield was air-lifted to a Texarkana hospital and Mumau was pronounced dead at the scene by the Pike County coroner.
A state police investigation and a blood sample taken at the time of his treatment determined Barfield had a blood alcohol content of 0.19 percent. The legal limit for blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent.
The driving while intoxicated charge against Barfield is his second in the last five years. He had a prior DWI conviction in 2010 in Glenwood.
Barfield’s bond has been set at $10,000.