Yesterday’s Journal: A Dull Tale of a Semi-Typical Day (and a rebirth of my interest in writing)

Yesterday morning, before we left for Little Rock for my wife’s blood draw, frustration was afoot because the medical folks had not confirmed that she had an appointment at 11:15. Because we did not want to miss that appointment, assuming it had been made, we left in time to make it.  During the drive, my wife received a call from the nurse who had arranged the appointment; “I faxed the order over and I got a confirmation that the fax was received.” So on we drove. My wife called the scheduler for the blood draw lab, but could not reach her; she left a message. And on we drove.  When we got there, the blood draw scheduler said no fax had been received. We could go to the nurse who had sent the fax, pick up a hard copy of the order, and return…but there was no guarantee my wife could be fit in. We drove over, picked up the order (and the fax confirmation sheet), and returned. Fortunately, the blood draw lab fit my wife in pretty quickly. But, really? If the issue had been a medical emergency, would these nitwits have been equally as inept? It’s fortunate that I did not intercede with my comments; I would have been ejected from the building by security and, quite possibly, arrested for disorderly conduct.


Despite the medical madness, we went on to have a nice day. Next stop was Ali Baba Mediterranean Restaurant and Market, where we had wonderful falafel sandwiches (I have to try something else from the menu one day, but I like the falafel so much I can’t force myself to change; maybe if I had lunch there five days in a row…). My wife bought a bottle of pomegranate molasses (I think to replenish the used-up supply at home), then we headed out.

Next stop was Sam’s Oriental Store, just up the street from Ali Baba. There, I bought a small container of Ajinomoto Soup Stock Hondashi granules to use in my miso soup, among other things. I also got a tube of harissa paste. I could not read most of the text on the box that contained the tube (it was written in Arabic), but the sticker attached to the box said the little tube contains 84 servings; must be very pungent stuff!  My wife picked up several envelopes of various pre-packaged Asian flavorings, each dedicated to a particular dish. I could have bought much, much more, but did not.

My wife found a recipe for kimchi-stuff meat balls; because I had already gone through some of the kimchi we bought during our last trip to Little Rock, she wanted more. She decided the containers at Sam’s were too big, though, so she suggested we drive the few block’s to Mr. Chen’s, which we did, where we bought another container for her recipe. From there, we headed to Whole Foods Market.

Fortunately, we packed our cold-food bag (into which we had placed our large blocks of blue ice, fresh out of the freezer) so we could buy foods that required refrigeration. We left the store with salmon patties, tequila-marinated salmon chunks, live (i.e., root still attached) cilantro, and who knows what else; several items for the cold bag.

We drove the few blocks to Colonial Liquors, where we picked up a bottle of Bombay Sapphire East gin. We had decided during the last trip not to buy the larger bottle, even though it was on sale; we had wanted the smaller bottle, also on sale, but it was out. We changed our minds and bought the larger (but not really large) bottle. We now have a collection suitable for the intended use: a gin-tasting that we’ll offer at auction for our church’s auction in April.

On the way home, but before we left Little Rock proper, we stopped at Kroger.  Greek yoghurt and bottled water completed the shopping spree. Thence, homeward bound.

During the drive home, we decided to have dinner at the Home Plate Cafe, which promoted via email to me their Southern Comfort menu, including options such as fried chicken livers, fried catfish, pot roast, and chicken & dumplings. They also offered my favorite, fried green tomatoes, but the price was out of my comfort zone. My wife loves fried chicken livers, so that was her choice. I opted to have half livers and half catfish; I am not as much of a fan of chicken livers as is my wife, I’ve decided. All in all, though, it was a good meal.

And, then, home. I spent the evening watching election returns and my wife went off to play cards with neighborhood women. And then, to bed.


I have more ideas for my story set in the fictional town of Struggles, Arkansas. Perhaps I will revise what I’ve written and expand it into a much longer short story or, perhaps, something even longer. My main character (Calypso Kneeblood) owns the Fourth Estate Tavern. In the story I’ve written thus far, we know nothing of his past. I decided yesterday he once owned and was the editor and publisher of the town’s only newspaper, which collapsed after the town’s major employer (possibly a huge lumber mill) abruptly closed, putting several hundred townspeople out of work. He may or may not have also owned the Fourth Estate Tavern at the same time. At any rate, the tavern is the go-to place for the town’s eccentrics and intelligencia. (Struggles, Arkansas is not the stereotypical hillbilly, backwoods town; it is a pocket of intellectual depth and progressive thought in an otherwise ultra-conservative landscape.) At any rate, my mind is percolating about Struggles again. I’m anxious to get my other obligations out of the way so I can devote uninterrrupted time to writing.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes "Intimacy is never wrong. It can be awkward, it can be unsettling, it can feel dangerous, it can seem out of place, but it’s never wrong."― John Swinburn
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