Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Eureka Springs and Shopping to Help Heal a Wound

At the Eureka Springs KOA, Eureka Springs, Arkansas...

You may think it odd that I would title this post as I did, as most guys would think of a shopping trip by his wife as anything but a healing process! Instead of healing anything, it could do serious injury to a bank account. But this was different. Very different.

If you've read this blog for a while, you know that we were victims of burglars twice in the last few years--at our residence and at our motorhome. On both occasions, the thieves stole mostly Sandy's jewelry that I had given her on countless occasions in the nearly 40 years we've been married. It was devastating for her, not so much for the monetary value, which was considerable, but mostly for the sentimental loss that she will never recover. Furthermore, our feeling of being violated is something that will probably never go completely away, and I am fairly certain the home invasion was more of a factor in our decision to sell the house than either of us will admit.

Fortunately, the thieves didn't find some of the most expensive pieces of jewelry that were kept in a safe, but those that were taken were some of Sandy's favorites. We have begun to try to replace some of them, but it is an almost impossible task. We both like pieces that are unusual or one-of-a-kind creations by designers and craftsmen, and it is their uniqueness, of course, that thwarts our finding replacements. We had bought many of the pieces that were stolen during our travels through the years, and it is at this point in the story that our current stop in Eureka Springs becomes relevant.

If you've never visited Eureka Springs, Arkansas, you have missed a fascinating place. It is a quaint and historic little town perched dizzyingly on steep hillsides in the middle of the Ozarks, and it reminds me of a tiny San Francisco in that regard. (The debauchery found on the left coast would hardly be tolerated here in the Bible belt, however.) 

Eureka Springs is quite a laid-back and quirky place, full of innocently colorful characters and countless little mom-and-pop shops that line both sides of the steep and narrow old streets. One of these shops is Zark's, a place full of one-of-a kind jewelry and decorative objets d' art, and where Sandy happened to find some of her favorite jewelry pieces on a previous trip years ago. These were among the ones stolen, of course, and that is precisely the reason I brought her back here, in hopes of replacing some of what she had lost.  

I'm happy to report that we hit the jackpot! Zark's still had a number of pieces of glass cabochon jewelry much like Sandy's originals, and I bought all of the ones that were similar to the stolen ones. Some of them appear below; I didn't get a photo of the earrings:

A characteristic of this type of jewelry is the changing colors when viewed from different angles. The photo doesn't really do them justice in that regard.

Zark's has a lot of beautiful things, and we credit our longtime friends John and Myrna for its discovery:

I know I've spent a lot of space on this story about "stuff" that really isn't important, but that's not the point. The point is that by being able to give Sandy back some items--and even a few more of them than she originally received--that were very similar to the stolen ones, we began to feel, maybe for the first time, that the thieves weren't totally successful in taking away objects that represented wonderful times and a long, loving relationship. It was certainly a psychological boost, and we even shared the story with the shopkeeper, who teared up a bit. Wiping one of her eyes, she looked at our selections and said, "Well, the thieves didn't win over love, did they?"  She understood. 

Afterward, Sandy and I came to the conclusion that we may not need to try heroically to replace many more of the lost items. We have each other and the good memories, after all, and this "win" today may have been enough for us to move on and get the matter behind us for good. (That doesn't mean we won't pick up a few more things as we continue to travel; she is a woman, after all.)

Eureka Springs is perhaps most noted for the Great Passion Play, performed from May through October, depicting the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. We haven't been able to see it yet, but we have that on our list. There is plenty to see and do otherwise, though. There is Christ of the Ozarks, a huge statue of Jesus erected in 1966 near the 4,100-seat Passion Play amphitheater:

The photo above was a very long telephoto shot taken several miles away at the top of the 1886 Crescent Hotel that overlooks all of Eureka Springs:

Historic 1886 Crescent Hotel-a must visit for lovers of old buildings
There are country music theaters that are also popular in season, as well as many historic homes and other venues for the history buffs.

We found a couple of surprisingly good restaurants: Fresh, a farm-to-table eatery that has never seen a canned vegetable,

Fresh Restaurant in Eureka Springs

and Ermiliano's, an Italian Restaurant that has the distinction of being touted as the best Italian restaurant in Arkansas:

The restaurants will go on our best restaurants list that has a link at the top of this blog.

It was a bit early in the springtime for Eureka Springs trees and blooms to be in full display, but everything was budding out, and the forsythia were in total yellow plumage:

If you've been reading this rag for a while, you know how I like to include photos of unusual or quirky things. Well, here is one that I saw in near downtown Eureka Springs. I don't think I've ever seen a Radio Flyer wagon quite like this (note the bridle on the front):

One final note: We parked at the KOA in Eureka Springs this time, but we recommend Wanderlust RV Park instead. It is much closer to town and much less hilly.

Thank you, Lord for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it enough each day.

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