Mission style

by Andrea Elizabeth

Mount Magazine State Park lodge near Paris, Arkansas, doesn’t feel like a state park. It feels like a very nice resort, but with a state park lodge price. All the rooms look out over Petit Jean valley, whose depth cannot be conveyed by pictures. Perched up here one can imagine feudal times where the lord of the land looked over the farming valley dwellers with sovereign smugness, or during famine, omniscient worry. Would the peasants try to scale the shear cliff shelf lining the top of the mountain to beg for crumbs off the lord’s table? Would he give them?

Most unusual sight at this park: a sign saying, “hang-gliding launch”.

We arrived just before sunset as planned after driving 6 hours though freezing rain, but no mishaps. The chill wind wasn’t so bad on our brief exploration of the old lodge trail after we got in among the trees. The old lodge burned down in 1971. The current one took 30 years to rebuild. They copied the ’30’s WPA mission style right before the economy busted in 2008. I don’t think they could have done it after. Thank goodness. Sometimes angels know when to get things done.

Angels are helping me with this trip. Right after I bought a hooded jacket last Thursday, it started to rain. I’ve needed the hood several times since then. As we left the driveway they reminded me that I forgot my cross stitch scissors in the passenger seat pocket of the other car. When I went to get them, my head scarf tie was sticking out of its cubby, waving to me. I’ll need that Tuesday night when we stop for Vespers at The Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pa. The Long John Silvers in McAlester, Ok, has the best onion rings ever. Of course all this might not be the workings of angels, it could be my mother in law, whose one year anniversary of her passing we are commemorating with this trip. Or Sister Elizabeth, whose 40 days my son, two daughters, and their friend just passed with other Orthodox friends Saturday at the Monastery of the Nativity in Kemp, south of Dallas, also with Metropolitan Jonah and former Abbot Gerasim.

It’s been a blessed weekend.