Mile 410 - Bill Clinton and Billy Bass
I am a conservative Southern Baptist preacher married to a formerly independent Baptist gal. Nevertheless, while passing through Little Rock, AR we went to the Bill Clinton Presidential Library; and they let us in. But that is not to say that they didn’t almost refuse to let us in. Not due to our conservative beliefs, but because Kiley believed that the really nice, glass rotating door was a toy. When a child sees a rotating door there will be fingerprints, there will be speed, and there will be multiple rotations of joy that are completely oblivious to the safety of anyone else wishing to use the door. The security guard grabbed the door to stop her and almost lost a finger. Rotating doors become guillotines going at the same speed as a 7 year old. Yet after a trip or two around, the guard kept his fingers, stopped the spinning doors, and forced Kiley to emerge. “This door is not a toy young lady,” he said. She just smiled at him as he ushered us on toward the metal detector. As we walked away I faintly heard him whisper, “Dang conservative kid.”
The Clinton museum was a relatively cheap ticket, an incredible facility, and an interesting chronicle of a Presidency. Along with the expected memorabilia and an interactive timeline of his time in office are built to scale replicas of the Cabinet Room and the Oval Office, each decorated and furnished as they were during the Clinton years. Throughout the archives are notebooks of Clinton’s daily schedules. Flipping through them makes you realize that being President means that you lead for four years five minutes at a time.
The third floor of the museum houses artifacts such as a table setting for a state dinner, a crystal Christmas tree, and hundreds of gifts to the Clintons from around the world. Shannon read a plaque that told the story of George Washington’s discomfort with receiving gifts as President. Because he could not find a tactful way to refuse them without offending the giver, Washington decided that all gifts given to the President would not be received as personal property; instead they would be received on behalf of the American people. So the good news is that you and I have some very cool swords bedazzled with expensive jewels, some odd things from China, Lance Armstrong’s bicycle, and a tiny golden Buddha. If you ever want to see your stuff, head to Little Rock, cross the river, and turn left toward the Clinton Library; a wonderful place for any American to visit on a road trip.
Apparently Clinton was a huge Elvis fan so the museum was also full of Elvis. We are 410 miles into this trip and we can’t get away from E.
Sidenote, we also can’t seem to escape the fly we picked up back in Bama. He survived the night in Memphis. He has survived the blazing heat of the van while we were in the Clinton Library. He has made it now into Oklahoma. He’s got to go.
For lunch we ate at a place near the riverfront in Little Rock called the Flying Fish. The food was good, but not unique. It was fish without a twist. In my book, fish needs a twist or it is just fish. The place however was unique enough to make the food better (if you know what I mean). I love local dives. The walls are covered with used fishing equipment and old things you would find around the dock. However the most notable wing of the restaurant is a small dining room decorated with every “Billy Bass” that has been donated to the restaurant since ’02. “Billy Bass” is that annoying motion sensor, singing fish you find at your local Wal-Mart. At The Flying Fish you donate your “Billy Bass” you get a basket of fried catfish. By far, a good trade! Those who donate their “Billy Bass-(i?)” not only get creative with the process but also get to sign and date the wall, forever commemorating the day The Flying Fish adopted their “Billy Bass.” Needless to say the result is an artistic and humorous museum of “Billy Bass” and a fun room in which to enjoy fried fish.
On to Oklahoma.