Arkansas, Missouri, and Mint

I knew, when I stopped Wednesday night, that I was close to the Oklahoma-Arkansas border, but I had no idea how close. I passed into Arkansas after a mere hour of driving Thursday morning–so fast that I didn’t get to take my obligatory I’m-a-tourist-and-need-a-shot-of-the-welcome-sign photo. I did, however, get a shot of the University of Arkansas sign in Fayetteville (which, on a totally unrelated note, has an excellent Arbys).

The drive across Arkansas and into Missouri was nice, but fairly boring–very geographically homogeneous. The highlight of my trip was going through my first tunnel (through a hill–it was very cool), and, of course, seeing my dear friends in Springfield, who have been kind enough to put up with me for 2 days now.

My time in Springfield has been punctuated by shopping–in the last 3 days I’ve toured a bookstore, a mall (the biggest I’ve ever been in), 2 ice cream shops, a bead store, a farmer’s market (wonderful–so much bigger than Austin’s, and with UNBELIEVABLE prices), and (apology extended in advance to my family) a walmart. My favorite purchase so far? Mint.

Originally from Louisiana, a couple moved to Missouri following Hurricane Katrina, bringing with them their mint plants and some varieties they picked up along the way from newly-drowned nurseries. The present-day result is a farmer’s market booth here in Springfield with over 20 varieties of mint, ranging from the typical Spear- and Pepper- to types like Banana (smells sticky and overwhelming), Moroccan (slightly spicy?), and Chocolate (which truly does smell oddly sweet/rich). I’ve been told that mint’s a hardy plant, and I hope it’s true–I’ve got 4500 more miles to travel with it!

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