The Sweet State of Arkansas

A Heartfelt Introduction To The Sweet State Of Arkansas, As Depicted By A California Native

City kids can have fun tipping cows too.


"Did you know eighty percent of people in Arkansas don't have a college degree?"

My AP Physics 2 teacher happens to be the ACT Prep, testing and advanced track teacher as well — he is in charge of getting the juniors rounded up, seeing who's performing and who isn't, and making sure they do what they're supposed to. Our physics classes, oft as not, start with some sort of pro-tip, lecture or Q&A; about college and our futures.

I've learned to expect these little factoids as gateways into a lecture, and I settle into my seat, prop my feet up and start chewing some gum. After twenty minutes of lecture, we dive into physics for the remaining eighty minutes of class. At 12:08, the bell promptly goes off, I spit out my gum, and I'm free.

Darby Haskel

I grab a bite to eat in the lunchroom, sit down with friends long enough to eat a banana and then stand up again to go. Parking spot 370 is pretty far from the side of school I'm on — my high school is built like an L, and I'm at the crux and having to walk to the end of the long part. The parking lot is full of two types of people: those that drive smaller, brighter-colored cars, and those that drive trucks. My black Chevy Silverado dwarfs the Honda parked next to it. I turn the key, and the engine growls with delight. I wait, finishing a protein bar as my phone connects to my car's Bluetooth.



The drive home is twenty-five percent suburb, seventy-five percent cow pasture. Bentonville West High School is the largest building in Centerton (or pretty close), and you can almost see it from the water towers. With Wolverine Stadium lit up at night, it's the town's very own supernova.

Darby Haskel

I turn into my neighborhood, take the winding road past the bridge, past the pond, and down my driveway. Coming through the porte-cochère, I can see a herd of cows barely a wire fence away. It's baby season, and most of the calves are in a pile sleeping in the afternoon sun. I say a quick hello to Stella, the only Portuguese water dog in Centerton, and Otto, the only black cat that I've seen almost anywhere. I give them treats, then I'm out the door, starting my truck and off to work.

I'm at the Mercy Physical Therapy Outpatient Clinic within fifteen minutes — I had to stop at a Neighborhood Market and grab myself and one of the PTs an Arizona RX Energy, the evolution of sweet tea.

The song stops.


Maybe not quite what you expected living in Arkansas was like. Believe me, this wasn't what I expected either, moving from Denver, and being from Southern California. I've lived in cities right up until junior year of high school. In Denver, there are five freeways you have to worry about. In Northwest Arkansas, you don' even take I-49 unless you're going out of state.

Northwest Arkansas is known as the home of Walmart to most anyone familiar with the region. The very first Walmart is still operational (and now doubles as a museum and the ice-cream-filled Spark Café) on the Bentonville Square. There's a Walmart for every person, dog, cat, bee, and cicada in a fifty-mile radius.

But. This place is so much more than a corporation.

Darby Haskel

It's the magnificent art museum tucked away in the hills, called Crystal Bridges and built like tortoise shells to blend into the landscape. It's Devil's Den down by Fayetteville. It's small town living with a modern twist, with cow pastures and coffee labs called Onyx snuggled up against each other. It's the Razorbacks and GO HOGS! and WOO PIG SOOIE! stickers under every Arkansas flag.

It's the Louise Thaden Field, which houses the restaurant Louise, OZ1 Flying Club, Summit Aviation FBO and flight school, and a rotating museum hangar. It's the Friday night lights, Bentonville versus Bentonville West for the conference championship. It's the hundreds of miles of mountain biking, river kayaking, lake boating and running trails that zigzag everywhere where there's nature. In the Natural State, that's a lot of places.

Darby Haskel

There's one thing Arkansans has in abundance that even Coloradans lacked: genuine pride for where they live and genuine humility about themselves. The bless-your-hearts and let-me-help-you-with-that never get old, the little comments about how lovely your outfit looks or just the small ways hospitality is displayed — that's what Arkansas is about. Sure, not everyone in the state has a college degree, but we have some of the best plumbers, electricians, stage techs and constructions workers you can find.

Small town? Yes. Rural? Yes. Hipster? Oh yeah. No, Arkansas can't be quantified, and Arkansans don't try to. Here, you live life in the moment, whether that means cow showing, track races or airplane aerobatics.

Darby Haskel

Popular Right Now

Top 50 Things You'll Hear A Southern Say


For those of you who may need a little help understanding the slang of a southern, I made a list of the top 50 phrases and sayings, along with their translations.

1. Bless your heart.

My favorite saying. It is an empathetic phrase that is usually uttered when the speaker believes the recipient to be sweet, but misguided or stupid. It can also be used if the speaker believes the recipient needs to grow up and deal with it, when the speaker says it in a sarcastic tone.

2. Barking up the wrong tree.

Means being misguided or mistaken.

3. Aren't you precious?

Mostly this saying is used in a sarcastic tone in response to someone being offensive.

4. Britches.

Pants or underpants.

An example would be, "Your britches are too short, you can't wear those".

5. Coke.

Regardless if it's Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, or another carbonated beverage, it's called Coke here in the South.

6. Fixin' to.

Simply means that you are about to do something.

7. Get the short end of the stick.

This phrase means that you basically got an unfair deal or cheated out of something.

8. Give Me Some Sugar.

Simply means give me a kiss.

9. Hissy Fit.

A hissy fit is a grown-up version of a temper tantrum that is as bad as one that a toddler would throw.

10. Hold Your Horses.

Be patient.

11. Holler.

When you say "holler" you are basically letting the other person know something.

Example: Holler at me when you are ready to get something to eat.

12. If the creek don't rise.

This saying simply means that if nothing bad happens, everything will go as planned.

13. You're as slow as molasses in the wintertime.

This phrase means that you are being EXTRA slow.

14. Muddin'.

Off-road four-wheeler riding with the intentions of getting mud everywhere and possibly losing control.

15. Skat Cat.

A phrase that can be used instead of saying "God bless you" when you sneeze.

16. There's Not A Pot Too Crooked That A Lid Won't Fit.

There is someone for everyone.

17. Pitcher.

We mostly mean a plastic container that holds sweet tea, not the position of a guy on the baseball team.

18. Reckon.

When you say "I reckon", you believe that something is true.

19. Hoot With The Owls, Soar With The Eagles.

This simple phrase means that if you are going to stay up all night, you should be able to get early in the morning.

20. Too Big For Your Britches.

Simply means that you take yourself too seriously.

21. Stompin' Grounds.

Your hometown or where you grew up.

22. Back In The Day.

Back in the day could be a month ago, a year ago, or 20 years ago.

23. You're A Spitting Image Of (Insert Family Member).

Yes, I know I'm a spitting image of my mother. "Spitting image" simply means that you look just like someone.

24. "Darlin, Sugar, Sweetheart"

These words are simply terms of endearment.

25. Buggy.

A buggy is a cart/basket at the grocery store.

Example: Who wants to push the buggy?

26. Quit Crying Or I Will Give You Something To Cry About.

This phrase simply means to quit crying and if you didn't then more than likely you got a spanking,

27. Where You Raised In A Barn?

If you are from the South, you have probably been asked this more than once, especially when you left a door open.

28. Close The Door. You Are Letting All The Good Air Out.

This southern heat is nothing to play with. It simply means to keep the door closed so the air (or heat if its winter) stays inside.

29. You Are Going To Make Me Lose My Religion.

When you say this phrase to someone, it more than likely means that person has done something to irritate you or made you mad. Thank goodness Jesus saves.

Example: You are going to make me lose my religion.

30. You Look Like A Chicken With Your Head Cut Off.

This is said when you are running around like a crazy person. It can be said if you are looking for something that you are searching for or if you are just really busy.

31. Y'all.

The southern way to say "you all".

32. You Can't Carry A Tune In A Bucket.

If you've ever been told this, it means that you can't sing.

33. Have Their Feathers Ruffled.

You normally have your "feathers ruffled" when you are pouting.

34. Two Peas In A Pod.

When you and someone else are "two peas in a pod", it means that either you almost always together or that you two are almost identical in the way you think and do things.

35. Well Butter My Butt And Call Me A Biscuit.

This saying can be used when you are surprised or excited.

36. Don't Let The Door Hit Ya Where The Good Lord Split Ya.

When someone say this they typically mean to get out and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

37. You're As Good As Gold.

When you are "as good as gold", it means that you are well-behaved and obedient.

38. It's Raining Cats And Dogs Out There.

This simply means that the rain is really coming down hard. It's not actually raining cats and dogs, people.

39. I'm Full As A Tick.

This phrase means that you ate too much food.

40. I'm Sweating More Than A Sinner In Church.

When someone says this, it means that they are really hot and sweating A LOT.

41. Pot Calling The Kettle Black.

This phrase is used when one person is guilty of the very same thing of which they accuse another person.

42. There's More Than One Way To Skin A Cat.

It means that there is anyways more than one way to fix something.

43. Shut Yo' Mouth.

Means to be quiet or hush up.

44. Whatever Floats Your Boat.

This saying means to do whatever you want to do.

45. Slap Yo' Momma.

This phrase means that something is good.

Example: This BBQ is slap yo' momma good.

46. She's Like A Bull In A China Shop.

When you tell someone this phrase, you are telling them that they are clumsy or careless in the way that they move.

47. Cuttin' A Rug.

Cuttin' a rug is used to describe dancing.

Example: Let's go cut a rug tonight.

48. Clicker.

A clicker is another name for a TV remote.

49. Slow Your Roll.

This also means to be patient.

50. You're A Hot Mess.

When you tell someone that they are a "hot mess", you are simply telling them that they don't have it together.

Cover Image Credit:

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

5 Vital And Helpful Tips I Live By When Packing For A Trip

Try and pack smarter, not harder.


If you are anything like me, you tend to overpack thinking you are being a great packer and being ready for any scenario that life may throw at you. Well, that is, unfortunately untrue, and I have learned that you are only doing more harm than good. Over the years, I have come up with five tips I always use when traveling and have been proven to work. You've heard of the five golden rules of life, and, well, these are the five golden rules/tips of packing.

1. Start with a packing list.

This is the best tip I could give to anyone else who is getting ready to travel. Making a list is very useful, especially when stressed about your travel. You will not forget anything because you have it all written down. A packing list is a great way to keep organized when packing.

2. Use space bags.

Now, this is a tip my dad lives by. Space bags are great when you are packing because it protects your clothes and makes room to put a lot in your suitcase. The crazy story of a time when my dad was traveling, and his friend's bag was soaked with the shampoo he brought on the plane. All his clothes and everything inside the suitcase was ruined. So always use space bags because you never know what could happen on the flight. You can buy a space bag here.

3. Pack the essentials first.

I will be honest and say that I do over-pack a lot. I use the line "just in case" as an excuse to pack my entire house. But I have learned that packing for "just in case" is a waste of time. When you first sit down to pack, lay out all your essentials. For example, clothes that you will wear during the trip. You will be surprised to see how effective it is.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Chicago Is The Best City In The World

4. ALWAYS pack an extra outfit in your carry on.

This tip is one that I have been very grateful that I used. A while ago during my trip to Canada, my check-in bag was missing and delayed for multiple hours. Luckily I had an extra outfit to keep me fresh and not feel gross. It is always crucial to this in your carry on In case of emergencies such as your bag getting lost.

5. Put identification on your suitcase.

Everyone in the airport somehow tends to have the same black or red suitcase that you have, which only means confusing when you're trying to find your check-in bag. To quickly identify your suitcase, put a sticker, or tie a ribbon on the handle. You can easily pick up your suitcase and leave. This will prevent any sneaky people trying to steal or claim that your suitcase is theirs.

P.S.: Use a bright color ribbon or a different sticker. Also, tie the ribbon properly to make sure it's secured.

I live by these five packing tips every time I travel so I hope you can use them the next time you take a trip!

Related Content

Facebook Comments