But then... then Oz and I walked back out to head into town for some shopping, and we were greeted with these:
Even better, right?!? I loved watching the deer, but I also wanted to keep moving and go get some souvenirs for the kids. We found a store that held something for M2 first, and I heard - for the first of many times that weekend - the ubiquitous phrase, "So where y'all from?" And we learned just how personable most people in Eureka Springs are. In the next store, Nature's Treasures, we found a very chatty owner who was thrilled to learn that our purchases were for our 8-year-old son.
"I was that 8-year-old boy," he proudly told us as he gathered up and scrawled down information on cards to go with our selections. He was hilarious. We learned that he's now an actual archaeologist who very much believes in omens... so much so that he postponed a flight to Vegas. We learned that his store was reportedly the deathplace of John Chisholm, of Chisholm Trail fame. And the first time he saw John Chisholm at the front of his store... well, that was quite a shock to him, too.
At another store, we met Eureka Springs' working rabbits, Pepperoni and Tofu, and their eclectic owners, who love their bunny wabbits dearly.
The cats, of course, were my favorites. This pretty kitty was out in front of the Catholic church. She had no intentions of coming to say hello, though she did dig herself out of the bushes to provide this perspective for a photo. So classy. Our B&B owner had a cat tucked away in the front room. And the winery that we visited had a fairly young kitty-fluff named Brie who apparently loves skirts. She sat under mine for a good portion of the tasting before hopping into my lap and playing with the tassels on my shirt. When I told her no-no, she proceeded to stalk away... across all three other laps (Oz's and the laps of the other couple... who came from the same town as one of my aunts, of all the odd coinkydinks in the world). Brie cracked me up.
Her owner was memorable, too. The owner of the winery was named Edwige. She's French, though she was surprised when I asked her where she was from and didn't really believe that I could hear her accent. She was a powerful but very sweet woman. Very tall. Very chic. And on Friday when we went to dinner, we met her opposite - a short American chef in red shortalls who was running a local restaurant called The Garden Bistro, where they serve local veggies and bread with every meal. Oz declared her bread to be "the best bread in the world," and I couldn't really argue. The red shortall chef's waitstaff included what I suspect is the French version of Manuel from Fawlty Towers, a tall dark girl that I've nicknamed the pixie, and our waitress who I have nicknamed Mama. Dinner was delicious. On Saturday, when we went to another place for dinner, we had a waitress who looked like she'd been reliving Woodstock for the last 40 years, and she was a riot. All in all, personality was the name of the game in Eureka.
Still... it was nice to get back to the B&B and enjoy the animals in the peace and quiet. It's been nice to get back home to my own menagerie, too. I love vacations and meeting the people (and their pets!), but I'm a homebody at heart. One last big kiss to Oz for taking me!