Ashely and Tony are some good friends of mine; Ashely worked at the restaurant many years ago, and married a good ol' local boy 5 years ago. As a matter of fact, their anniversary was this past weekend, and it's Ashely's job to plan what they'll do every year to celebrate. A couple of things you should know about them: Ashely has a salon in Marshall (she's the one who does my hair), and Tony is significantly older than she is. A couple weeks ago, Ashely asked me if I would be willing to trade some picnic supplies for a hair session, and, duh, of course I'm willing. Bartering is one of my favorites.
Since I picked this silly title for this post, I should probably interject here that my hair color is a favorite topic of conversation between me and restaurant customers. They ask. A lot. I guess because my hair is a weird color and they've heard enough about my kids and grandkids. I have another really great friend who also owns a salon in Marshall, so if you're looking for a first-class hair stylist around here, call Ashely at "All About You" (870-448-2000) or Trish at "Trish's Before and After" (870-448-4499). OK, back to the adventure at hand.
Tony and Ashely's adventure was this past weekend, and my hair appointment was Monday, so I got the scoop. Y'all. It made me super jealous. Now these Hortons (if you're from Searcy County, you know you can't swing a cat without hitting a Horton) are fairly outdoorsy, but aren't gonna get too serious about it. They're "minimalist campers" if they're only staying out a night or two. They took an inflatable mattress that fits right in the back of their Durango, the grate off their BBQ grill, a couple of short, sturdy blocks of wood for a table, and a skillet. I'm assuming some drinks got thrown in there, too...
The weather this fall has been unseasonably scorching, but the evenings are tolerable, just right for a little car camping. Ashe had me pack her up about half a pound of sliced ham, the same amount of cheese, and a sliced venison summer sausage for snacks. She picked up crackers and bread at Harp's, and I think she said she grabbed some eggs for breakfast. I put half a rack of ribs and a half pound of brisket in little foil packs that could just be thrown right over a fire.
They came up Friday night and had dinner at the restaurant, picked up their snacks, and headed out for adventure. Since it was pretty late already (I mean, they both worked all day Friday), they just headed down to the Tyler Bend campground for their first night, then got up and had breakfast at Ferguson's. Tony wanted biscuits, and that kind of trouble was definitely not on the agenda for the weekend. From there, they headed out to the Ozark National Forest and the elaborate network of back roads there. If you've never been, the Forest actually starts about half an hour from St. Joe, and you can spend days and days exploring by car. There are off-road trails for ATV's, hiking and horseback trails, campgrounds... But for this adventure, Tony and Ashely just drove around and enjoyed each other's company. Remember, I did say Tony was a bit older. Hiking was not really what he wanted to do with his weekend.