06:33 The train attendant, Tom, taps me as he walks by saying, “Time to wake up and sit up.” I’m exhausted, irritated, and there’s no one even in the car yet, but this is his train, not mine, and I will listen even though I don’t want to. I sit upright and fall asleep for another hour.
07:50 The banks of the Mississippi are high and dry. We’re passing a lot of very interesting things right now: a beautiful ridge, a barge has been half beached on the shore by the falling water level, a man-made swimming hole with a tall wooden tower by some trailer homes, a mine, an oil or gas pipeline that runs through the woods and right over the tracks, a set of beautiful white fence horse paddocks, a casino in the middle of nowhere.
08:45 I’ve noticed this morning that several freight cars have a warning emblazoned on the side, “Do not hammer on side”, which I would never have done before but now really want to now.
10:33 It is hard to describe the relief I feel to be out of Arkansas. Here is a list of the individuals I failed to meet in Malvern, the number of times I tried to meet them, and the reasons why they were unreachable:
- Mayor (4): kidney stone issue, not in, lunch, went home early
- Commerce Director (1): convention until monday
- Commerce Secretary (1): doctor’s appointment
- Paper Editor (3): lunch, lunch, meeting
- Housing Authority (4): family death, bad #, closed, on the phone
- Librarian (1): book run
12:16 I just finished transcribing all the notes from my phone onto my computer! Victory with aching fingers!
15:32 The workers at the Protein Bar tell me they process about five thousand orders every week. This is at a place that is open about twelve hours daily but only on weekdays. The owner, a single guy who has paired with venture capital for funding, is doing well for himself.