An Awesome Field Trip…

…and I forgot my camera! 

Oh well.  These things they happen. 

We are used to taking family days at least once a month, if not twice.  They are usually as low cost as we can make them and frequently include running an errand or two if we’re in an area where errands need to be run (aka Little Rock).  But, the main focus is on doing something as a family purely for the fun of it.

Well, as Christmas was rolling around we began to realize that we hadn’t had a “real” family day since our trip to the Air Show in early October.  And the most recent family day before that was a rather spontaneous – but greatly needed – day in Arkadelphia in early August.  I don’t think we realized just how much these days are true needs for us until we started to neglect to take them.  Oh, we’d been together as a family.  And we’d been out and about as a family.  But, it was always to fulfill obligations.  To run errands.  To be with extended family.  Little “extras” might be tagged on to those days just for the fun of it, but we were lacking in intentional fun mini-retreats for our family.  Top that off with the fact that we didn’t take our planned vacation this year (which, just for the record, I’m learning more and more is truly an essential), and it all boils down to the fact that we were just downright lacking in family retreat time.

So, the week before Christmas Doug and I started making plans.  The determination was that Jan 7 would be the date and a museum would be the destination.

After much contemplation, we decided to return to the Historic AR Museum.  We’d been there a couple of times before – including to see a model train display the night before the Air Show.  But, every time we’d been we’d not had the opportunity to go on the tour to see the outdoor displays.  Three houses and some outbuildings displaying residential life on that block in Little Rock in the early to mid 1800’s.  (Plus, the trains were still there, minus the one running set, so we couldn’t resist peeking in to see them again.)

The kids were thrilled to walk through the three houses, peek into the windows of other buildings, and catch a glimpse into what life was life for a German immigrant couple who built their home around their business and two well-to-do men who ended up journeying to California to open stores during the Gold Rush.  In one of the homes, a woman playing the part of a house slave greeted us.  She told of her life on a Louisiana plantation, and then told how upon the death of her master there she, her husband, and their two young children had been sold to different owners and separated.  It was a very powerful enactment, and I found myself completely caught up in her story as if we were truly listening to a heart-broken slave pour her life out to us. 

Yes, we still ran a few errands to avoid making a second trip to Little Rock in days to come.  But, the focus was the family day.  And it was good.  Very good.  We will definitely be getting back into the habit of this!  


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