Are We There Yet?

July 9-15, 2018

By Jay Edwards


We took an unscheduled two-day road trip recently into the Ozarks and that college town you can still find there. Much has changed since I was walking around the campus in the late ‘70s, with a B Law or Econ 2 book under my arm; or maybe it was Architecture Lecture, which was held in the Fine Arts Auditorium. I think there was a book for that. It was in the auditorium because it was one of those electives, along with American National Government, you knew you’d get a good grade in if you went to class. So everyone wanted in. I could have used a few more like those.


As I say, the campus has changed a great deal, even since we lived there 18 years ago. Time is moving awfully fast these days.


As KM and I drove up Maple from Vandeventer, where I lived my last year as a student in 1979, towards the stadium, we were amazed at all the construction for new sorority houses. And on the south side of the campus, especially along Center Street, that so many new apartments have sprung up. And then of course there’s the football stadium, with the multi-million dollar renovations to the north end zone. When this comes out we’ll be only around 50 days to the beginning of the Chad Morris era. WPS.


And congratulations to the Diamond Hogs for making it to the finals of the CWS. Very exiting stuff. Way to go guys.


So we spent the night at the Chancellor Hotel, downtown, close to the square. I should have listened to the bartender who told me to go to Vetro 1925, just a block up from the hotel. Instead we tried Fresco’s, also close by. But it wasn’t very good. A clue should have been all the empty tables on a Saturday night. But the atmosphere was nice, and the martinis and Caesar Salads were pretty good.


After dinner we decided to stroll around the square, and immediately heard a large group of loud voices nearby. We followed the sounds. KM said, “It’s the immigration protests,” and we went to check it out.


Suddenly we were passed by a hurrying woman, also on her way. Right after she got by us she screamed out a loud, “YEAH!” So I asked her what they were protesting. She looked back at me and the first thing out of her mouth was, “I don’t know.” Then she kind of laughed and so did I. Then, as if she had a moment to gather her thoughts, she said, “It’s to keep families together.” Which made me feel better about her. From her looks this wasn’t her first call to action. She appeared about my age, with very long, gray hair, that surrounded her weathered tan and lengthening crow’s feet. And I wondered if she’d been around, back in the day, when the Swinging Door was hopping to the sounds of Zorro or the Cate Brothers. Maybe she’d just never left. “There are worse choices,” I thought.


We got to the rally and read some of the signs, while we listened to a woman with the microphone, who sounded Hispanic, tell her own story of being an immigrant in America. KM wanted a closer look, and I told her I’d wait there, and I sat on the short stone wall that surrounds the Old Post Office, which still held the heat from the day’s summer sun. I looked to my right and saw that a few citizens had joined with three Fayetteville police officers in putting up a barricade to block traffic from the street, to keep vehicles away from the people; the people who were out there peacefully expressing their First Amendment right, which, at the end of the day, is probably the only way to still get things changed.


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  • Jay Edwards
    Jay Edwards