It is hard for me to believe that this is my 500th post on An Arkies Musings. Blogging has become a part of my everyday life. Just a few short years ago I had never hear of blogging and had no idea what a blog was. Since I started writing this blog in the fall of 2008 over 246,000 people have read at least one post. I have had visitors from 193 countries.
One day back in 2008 my friend Laurel was visiting in our home. She showed me her daughter's blog, Winter's Day In. Because she lived so far away from her daughter, she kept up with her through the blog. I had no idea what it was all about.
As I was reading the blog, I noticed at the top of the page that it had a link that said create blog. I had to see what it was all about, so I clicked it. In a few days I had my own blog, and I enjoyed writing and posting pictures to it. I had written a little before starting the blog, but definitely not regularly. I would occasionally write a column for the religion page of my local newspaper, and I had posted a few articles on the writing website Helium, but I had never had a "reason" to write before.
I have been asked why I call my blog, An Arkies Musings. I have to admit that very little thought went into the name of my blog. As I was looking at the create blog page in Blogger, just trying to figure out what it was all about, one of the first things that had to be filled in was the title. I spent about thirty seconds thinking, and typed An Arkies Musings. Arkie is slang word for someone who lives in Arkansas.
We used to be officially called Arkansawyers, but now the term is Arkansan. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, Arkansas and Oklahoma were some of the hardest hit states. Many people moved to California trying to get jobs. The terms Arkie and Okie were disparaging terms used by the Californians for people from Oklahoma and Arkansas. Now the term Arkie is most often used to describe a native Arkansan and is often still a bit disparaging. It seems to indicate that someone is unlearned and backward.
I have lived here for over 30 years. Though I'm not a native, I am proud to be an Arkansan or even an Arkie. You have to admit that An Arkansan's Musings just doesn't roll off the tongue.
What I enjoy the most about blogging is the people that I have met, around the world and close to home. It helps me have a greater understanding of the world as a whole. Most of us associate with and are friends with people who are very similar to ourselves. Blogging has broadened my horizons and really made me think. Before my blog, I had never experienced internet friendships before, but reading and commenting on people's blogs does help you get to know them.
My very first post was on September 6, 2008 and was titled Shelter From The Storm, and told the story of our experience with Hurricane Gustav.
My 100th post was on January 29, 2009 and was titled An Icy World Part Two. An ice storm here in Mena, Arkansas provided the opportunity for some icy photos.
On May 23, 2010 I uploaded post number 200, Ready To Kindle. I was excited about purchasing a Kindle e-book reader.
Post number 300 was the story of an afternoon trip to DeGray Lake, on in October 2012. The fall colors were beautiful and we closed the day with a sunset cruise on the lake.
During the summer of 2013 we attended my Aunt Opal's 85th birthday party. She gave me some memoirs that she had written, and I turned them into blog posts. Post number 400 was posted on August 1, 2013 and was titled Aunt Opal's Memories-Chapter 1-Part 2.
I have found it interesting over the years to see which post are the most popular. Here are the top 5 An Arkies Musings posts.
The most viewed post is from May 8, 2009 and is titled I'm So Sleepy. Over 10,300 people have viewed the post about the fatigue that set in after a tornado hit Mena in April, 2009.
With over 7,100 view, the next most popular is the January 11, 2009 post titled Christmas In Jamaica. We took a cruise and ended up being in Jamaica on Christmas Day.
The popularity of the TV show Duck Dynasty helped make my D is for Duck Dynasty post of February 5, 2013 the third most viewed post with over 6,100 page views.
The post titled U is for Unicorn has had over 4,200 visitors putting it in fourth place. It features the Unicorn Song by the Irish Rovers.
Over 4,100 people have read about the itsy bitsy spider and what the rhyme means in the post I Is For Itsy Bitsy Spider making it An Arkies Musings fifth most read post.
Tonight at around 7:30 the tornado sirens sounded here in Mena. Gina and I went to the safe place in our house, the downstairs hallway. About that time our electricity went out. The storm passed without damage here at the house. We were thankful that we were spared.
After the storm passed and the stars came out, I decided to drive into town to see if anyone had electricity. When I got to downtown, I started to see storm damage and saw that the authorities were not letting people proceed to the north side of Mena.
I drove to my parents house to see if they were OK, and they were fine with no damage to their house or property. I drove on to the church but saw no damage their. I thought that the storm may not have been to bad, but by the time I returned home, the phone was ringing off the hook with reports of severe damage.
The first news reports stated that the Polk County Sheriff's Department reports one person was killed after a tornado swept through the town Thursday night.
Severe storms moving through the area shortly after eight o'clock tonight spawned the twister.
As damage assessment began, KARK was told a 25 block area that included the Polk County Courthouse and Mena City Hall took a direct hit from the tornado. There are 12 minor injuries in the city.
Governor Beebe has sent 30 National Guard members to the city for help.
The Arkansas State Police tells KARK 4 there is extensive damage to homes and businesses throughout the city of Mena.
We received a call from a friend telling us that our good friend Deanna had a lot of damage to her house, and her car was totaled. Just before the storm hit, Deanna was on the phone with Gina telling her that she was in the closet and she was scared. We have not been able to talk to her since. We don't know what we will find when we are able to get into the the area. Just a couple of blocks from her house, there were 20 or more people in the Masonic Lodge when it collapsed. There is one known fatality on the street where Deanna lives.
We have had friends staying with us this evening, because they were not able to get home. The National Guard is in town and not letting anyone into the severely damaged area. There was damage at RMCC, the community college, and at Wal-Mart. There is damage at U.S. Motors where Gina operates the Credit Union. We have not been able to find out the extent of the damage.
I need to go to sleep, but probably sleep won't come. I don't know what tomorrow will bring.