We have long been saying that if you don't like the weather in Arkansas today, just wait 'til tomorrow. It will probably be different.
It was only two or three weeks ago that we were seeing temperatures below zero and snow and ice everywhere. Now, just a few days later, we see signs of spring all around.
One of the first signs of Spring that we always look for is the blooming of Effie Johnson's flowers out on the hill on the Pea Ridge side of Brush Creek. The Easter flowers are in full bloom not only from the old Johnson house site, but out onto the highway right-of-way and down the hill to the neighbor's driveway. The whole hillside is a cascade of bright yellow blooms. As I recall, in Effie's lifetime the flowers were confined to the area along the drive up to the old house, and along part of the highway frontage. But over the 60 or 70 years since then, the flowers have spread widely up and down the hill.
Back in Pea Ridge, I notice that as one drives up Easley Hill from the Little Sugar Creek bridge, beginning the south grand entrance into Pea Ridge, you can see June Easley's Easter flowers blooming on the hillside to your right. Some of the lawns on the approach to town on South Curtis Avenue also have rows of yellow flowers. Even our own flowerbed out front of the house has a nice clump of the jonquils.
Another lawn I always take note of is that of Johnny and Mayda Clanton, located on McColluch Street near the Dodge Street entrance to the cemetery. Mayda's and Johnny's front lawn was lined with the beautiful jonquils across the front, and over to the location of Johnny's old welding shop. Interestingly, Effie Johnson was a sister to Johnny Clanton, and I wonder if Mayda and Effie may have sometimes put their heads together about their flowers? Both the Johnson house and the Clanton house are long gone now, but their Easter flowers year by year mark the spots where these lovers of beautiful things used to reside.
I noticed during the week just passed that two of my neighbors have already brought out their lawnmowers. I'm still trying not to notice my own lawn as it begins to suggest that I should start mowing soon. I'm always glad when I can lay aside the lawn mowing, like we used to lay aside our corn crop (when we had cultivated for the last time), and I am always reluctant to get the lawnmower out again after confining it to "storage" through the wintertime. But, even the mowing chore can be rewarding, since the lawn always looks so good after a mowing. I seem never to have time enough to do the kind of garden I would like to do, but I may give it a try again this Spring.
I'm a bit conflicted about the makeup of the grasses and other things in my lawn.
Several of my neighbors have engaged professional lawn services to chemically suppress certain growth, and to promote the lawn grass as primarily Bermuda grass. I have been reluctant to try to kill out the various plants that make up my lawn, some of which you would probably call weeds. Some of these early plants, (I won't call them grasses), will bloom in purple and other rich colors. I enjoy them, even if they are weeds, and I note that they turn green while other nicer lawns are still brown. I'm never sure whether to call things like daisies or blackeyed Susans or Queen Anne's lace flowers or weeds. It could be they are flowering weeds, so that both terms apply. Even the dandelions, nuisance as they are, have a certain attraction about them. I am always fighting them in town and the thistles on the farm, but both have beautiful blooms. Since the Windmill addition is a development on old-time farm property belonging to the Victor Miller family, we even have some red clover in our lawn, carrying over from the hay fields that were here in the years gone by.
The coming of Spring should have some positive effects on our moods. Wintertime, even with certain features that can be enjoyed, is still a drab and dreary time, with very little to inject the sparkle into our frame of mind. Springtime, with its greening of the surroundings, the reappearing of leaves on the trees and flowers all about, and the return of the sunshine, should have a cheering effect on us.
We, of course, hope that we can continue to see a lessening of the covid-19 threat, and a return of more promising opportunities to make life in our families and communities prosperous and cheerful.
Editor's note: Jerry Nichols, a native of Pea Ridge and an award-winning columnist, is vice president of Pea Ridge Historical Society. Opinions expressed are those of the writer. He can be contacted by e-mail at [email protected], or call 621-1621.