Moving

In the summer of 1984, mom moved us in with her second husband, Neal, after her very quick, very spiteful wedding earlier in March. I watched her father, my Papaw, walk her down the Weyerhaeuser wooden steps off the back deck of her sister’s house […]

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Questions

“Are we having fun yet?” daddy used to ask his boat passengers as they raced across Lake Hamilton, balancing a mixed drink in one hand to avoid a spill as the boat hopped the wakes. I heard this question a lot growing up because it […]

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Hello

There was a time when you could call a person on their land line phone, and it would just ring and ring and ring all day as long as there wasn’t an answering machine or person to pick up the call on the other end. […]

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Drive

Lake Hamilton’s choppy waves slapped across the sides of the Act’n Up Ag’n as it hustled its way from Margarita Bay a little after 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 19, 1992. At 5:22 p.m., dad’s guest, Sandra Locke, borrowed his brick cell phone in a […]

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Balloons

Daddy throttled back his 32-foot Wellcraft Excalibur to a slow, wake-appropriate crawl as he and his guest, Sandra Locke, pulled into the cove around the corner from Beacon Manor where the Penningtons lived. “Johnny would come in and honk the horn for us,” Frances Pennington […]

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Sunday

It happens every year in the middle of the summer. Tomato plants bloom, the cicadas come out and the days are so hot you have to mentally prepare yourself with a pep talk for the walk across an asphalt parking lot to your car. When […]

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Keys

Carefully, the young, blonde Sandra Locke laid out the story for Det. Ronnie Smith of the Little Rock Police Department. An advertising account executive for a Little Rock television station, Sandra said daddy called her over to where he and his friends were sitting at […]

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Saturday

In May 1971 on my parents’ one-year anniversary, daddy brought home the traditional gift: paper. They lived in a small, rented apartment in Hot Springs, daddy’s hometown, and dad gave his wife loan papers to co-sign for their first boat. Surprise! Before buying a house, […]

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Bedsheets

Those were probably three interesting hours daddy and his estranged wife, Scharmel, spent together “discussing the divorce” on early Saturday, July 18, 1992. It appears daddy called her brother just after the sunrise to inform him about his sister being in bed with another man […]

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Sunrise

The Friday night of the divorce party, daddy drove all over Little Rock in his black 1990 Cadillac Fleetwood, as if “In the Air Tonight” played on a looped soundtrack in the distance. Review of witness statements put dad working at his liquor store in […]

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Photos

A 4” x 4” headshot in a wooden frame sits on a bookshelf in my office. The photo of me at 18 years old stares back, grinning with excitement about the future and eager to matriculate to higher education at the University of Arkansas in […]

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Tape

“This is Jim Blanscet. It’s Friday, July 17,” Jim’s recording began on the cassette. Earlier that evening, Jim played investigator and scoped out the cars parked at a party at dad’s house on Canal Pointe. He then met daddy at his liquor store at 1500 […]

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