So, my trip to Magnolia was short (five days) but successful. This was a non-crisis trip, a genuine visit, which made for a nice change. I didn't get around to some things (i.e., planting some rose bushes and catejasmine in the yard), and also didn't get to see two of my three nieces and their families (everybody was off and busy elsewhere), but otherwise got through most of the things I wanted to do this trip. I even discovered that Magnolia has a new restaurant that's pretty good, who I hope fare better than the last good new restaurant.
During the family visits, I found out some interesting things about my grandfather I hadn't known before; amazing how things turn up long after you'd expect any chance of learning new information had long since passed. I also got contact information on a cousin of mine I've never met on the other side of the family who I hope to get in touch with and exchange some family stories there as well. We'll see.
On my way out of town I stopped by to see the yard for one last look, as is my usual custom. Then it was off to swing by the cemetery to visit my father's (and grandmother's) graves; this visit was different in that I stopped next to the cemetery to rescue a turtle that was trying to cross the Old Eldorado Highway. I used to do a lot of rescuing turtles from the middle of the road back when I lived in the area; it's been a while. This particular pond turtle was still wet and, unusually enough, had a hitch-hiker of his own: a small snail hanging on to the top of his shell. Then it was gas-up the car and off back up to Little Rock -- this being the fourth time I've covered that two-and-a-half-hour patch of road this trip, and the first that I didn't have to do part of the trip through torrential rains from a thunderstorm.* And again as usual I pulled over in Laneburg to see if my grandmother Rateliff's house is still standing: it is, though hidden from the road by all the underbrush that's grown up around it. It amazes me that this little country house, which I don't think anyone has lived in since around 1976 or so, is still standing when my other grandmother's house, in which I grew up, is long since gone.
And then it was the usual: return rental car, check in, navigate security, fill up the thermos at Starbucks (yes, the Little Rock airport does have Starbucks, thank you v. much), and then off for the first part of the two-leg flight home, much of which I spent reading JRRT's commentary and notes re. BEOWULF . . .
*at least I now know what the Bryant, Arkansas tornado warning sounds like: a tea-kettle's whistle. And we did see a nice rainbox in Prescott on the drive back on Monday.