Grady Fish Fry a big hit again for the 56th time

AR Sen. Mark Pryor praises Barack Obama (and Clinton arrives

I was sad to learn that the 56th Grady Fish Fry fell on the week I was gone to Boston. Last year I got to go and enjoyed meeting all the politicians like Pryor, Boozman, Lincoln, Darr and many others. This year Pryor was back again.He has been faithful to attend the Grady Fish Fry almost every year. However, in the clip above you will see that he was endorsing candidate Barrack Obama in 2008. Little did he know that Obama would not even get 40% in Arkansas then and because Obama has done so badly on the economy, he will be lucky to get 30% this time around. Below I have some links to previous posts I have made concerning Senator Pryor.

Rex Nelson just posted a fine piece on his experience this year and here ia portion of it.

Hot catfish at Grady

For the 56th time, they held the Grady Lions Club Fish Fry under the big trees of the Ned Hardin pecan grove.

It’s always held on the third Thursday in August. Always.

It was cooler than usual last night.

The crowd seemed bigger than it had been in recent years.

The fried catfish, fries, hushpuppies and sliced watermelon were as good as ever.

I checked my old calendars and was able to determine that this was the 15th time in the past 16 years that I’ve been to Grady on the third Thursday night in August. The only fish fry I missed during that stretch was in 2004. I was Gov. Mike Huckabee’s representative on the board of the Delta Regional Authority at the time, and we were interviewing candidates in a Memphis hotel that day for the DRA’s chief operating officer’s job.

I’ve written before that my favorite annual winter event is the Slovak Oyster Supper and my favorite annual summer event is the Grady Fish Fry. Both are rural Arkansas traditions.

Bubba Lloyd was behind the wheel last night. I figure that if you’re headed to a catfish supper in southeast Arkansas, you at least ought to have a Bubba driving.

First-time attendees Blake Eddins and Randy Ensminger joined us for the trip south.

More than one person remembered Blake from his days as a Razorback basketball player for Nolan Richardson.

Randy, meanwhile, is a member of the board of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum at New Orleans, and we found a fading sign that we’re hopeful the Hardins will donate to the museum. It advertises sorghum, sweet potatoes, pecans, cane syrup — all things Southern.

I have a feeling that Blake and Randy will be back at this event next August. They took it all in — the prisoners waiting tables, the prison band playing, the politicians making the rounds, the folks from all over southeast Arkansas visiting with each other and enjoying themselves.

As always, we visited at length with Sen. Mark Pryor, who also makes it a point not to miss this event.

It’s like something out of a movie. If you have any doubts that the South still lives, all you have to do is show up at the Hardin pecan grove on the third Thursday night in August and erase those doubts.

They start serving the fish each year at 4 p.m. They stop at 8 p.m. In between, hundreds of people make their way through the line and watch the amazing hushpuppy machine (constructed years ago from salvaged farm equipment) drop the batter (two hushpuppies at a time) into the hot grease.

My love for south and east Arkansas — areas of the state that are losing population and often are overlooked by the so-called opinion makers — is evident to those who read this blog. There are fine people and rich traditions in these areas of our state.

I attended the fish fry on a day that had started on a bright note. While having my first cup of coffee, I read in the newspaper that W.O. Prince is reopening his classic Riverfront Restaurant and Fish Market where U.S. Highway 70 crosses the Cache River at Biscoe.

For years, one of my regular stops on the old highway to Memphis was the place known to the locals simply as W.O.’s. You would turn down the gravel road to your right just before crossing the Cache River bridge when heading east. You would order your supper in the bait shop. You would then walk down to the boat that floated on the Cache. They would bring the food down the hill to you. The steaks were as good as the catfish.

They’ll serve lunch on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

They’ll serve dinner each Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.

They’re supposed to open today. I’ll make a road trip soon.

In thinking about east Arkansas landmarks such as W.O.’s and the Hardin pecan grove, I go back to the points I made in a newspaper column earlier this week. I see nothing on the horizon that leads me to believe that the population shift in this state from the east and the south to the north and the west will slow anytime soon.

People go where the jobs are. It’s that simple.

Grady is in Lincoln County. Biscoe is at the edge of Prairie County (my mother’s home county) just before Monroe County begins on the other side of the Cache. Places such as Lincoln, Monroe and Prairie counties have been losing population since the end of World War II, when the mechanization of agriculture meant that thousands of sharecroppers and tenant farmers were no longer required. Monroe County, in fact, lost more population than any county in Arkansas during the previous decade — 20.5 percent.

The rural-to-urban trend, of course, is a nationwide trend. It’s hard to believe that rural America now accounts for just 16 percent of the nation’s population…

Even as the population of many east and south Arkansas counties declines, their value to the state’s overall economy remains strong. That’s a fact that shouldn’t be lost on this state’s growing percentage of urbanites.

For me, the Grady Fish Fry represents more than a chance to eat fried catfish.

It represents all that is right about rural Arkansas.

Dear Senator Pryor, why not pass the Balance Budget Amendment? (Part 3 Thirsty Thursday, Open letter to Senator Pryor)

Dear Senator Pryor, Why not pass the Balanced  Budget amendment? As you know that federal deficit is at all time high (1.6 trillion deficit with revenues of 2.2 trillion and spending at 3.8 trillion). On my blog http://www.HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com I took you at your word and sent you over 100 emails with specific spending cut ideas. However, […]

Time again for Grady Fish Fry on fourth Thursday in August!!!

I went to the Grady Fish Fry last year and got to visit with Rex Nelson, Senator Pryor and Boozman, Lt. Gov. Mark Darr and many others. Below is a story by Rex Nelson on last year’s fish fry: Back to Grady (and other Arkansas favorites) At the first of every year, I mark the […]

Senator Pryor asks for Spending Cut Suggestions! Here are a few!(Part 108)

Senator Mark Pryor wants our ideas on how to cut federal spending. Take a look at this video clip below: Senator Pryor has asked us to send our ideas to him at cutspending@pryor.senate.gov and I have done so in the past and will continue to do so in the future. On May 11, 2011,  I […]

Dear Senator Pryor, why not pass the Balanced Budget Amendment? (Part 2 Thirsty Thursday, Open letter to Senator Pryor)

Dear Senator Pryor, Why not pass the Balanced  Budget Amendment? As you know that federal deficit is at all time high (1.6 trillion deficit with revenues of 2.2 trillion and spending at 3.8 trillion). On my blog http://www.HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com I took you at your word and sent you over 100 emails with specific spending cut ideas. However, […]

Potential 2012 Headlines: Beebe beats Pryor, Hillary beats Obama

It is my view that if the economy keeps stinking that Republicans will have a field day  in November of 2012. However, the same principle holds true that challengers to Democrats will be  very successful in Democratic primaries. In Arkansas many have longed for another Clinton in the White House. Could it happen? It is my […]

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: