Watch Geoff visit the Edge of Arkansas on Sat, Feb. 16 @ 2|1c.
Is there a state with as bad a rap as Arkansas? Childhood obesity. Poverty. Gennifer Flowers. A cultural backwater like no other, right?
This is why Arkansas is such a perfect place to prove one of Edge of America’s central points. That instead of judging the Earth from the snooty, big city, New York/Chicago/Los Angeles perspective, we should approach every state, every small town, every hamlet with an open mind and an open heart. You never know what you’ll find.
In Arkansas, I found one of the most beautiful states in the country, a place with mountain vistas, rolling meadows, ice cream shops, ranches and old time musicians gathering to play outside, for free.
If salaries are lower than they are in Boston, so is the cost of living. At one point, we drove by a charming country house — all wood, big windows, wrap-around front porch — with a for sale sign outside. I looked it up. $89,500. Now I get it. The reality is that you are not going to see ‘Melo jaw with KG at the Garden, and Bruno Mars ain’t coming to town. But you’re also not going to throw down $650,000 for a 2-room walkup in Chelsea with a brick wall outside your bedroom window and a cranky woman living below you who can’t stand the fact that you have a friend with a baby staying over and “Damn, does the kid have to walk across the floor at 7:30 in the morning?”
Fact is, these Arkansans might have things figured out better than we. They’ve got beautiful homes, family and friends all around, and instead of generic entertainment, they know how to make their own fun.
Tommy Rand taught me to tackle a cow. I have a hunch I’ll never use that skill again. But you get to see it in our episode. A pair of local Arkansans gave me the honor of pushing their outhouse. Don’t ask. You’ll just have to see it. And I found myself in the woods with a kinder, gentler version of Roger Clemens, who let me get behind the wheel of his jeep to rock crawl, which is basically climbing up the side of a mountain in a monster truck. Blue sky. Clean air. Smiles all around.
Out there, in my rock crawler, the last thing I was thinking of was crowding into an arena to catch Neil Young for the umpteenth time.
- Geoff Edgers