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— By Jim Edwards

Special to the Camden News

Hey, ya’ll, it’s been awhile hasn’t it?

Although I’ve kept my hand in the newspaper business since retirement a few years back, we haven’t gotten together in this column space in some time.

So, I’m glad to have the opportunity to chat with you again and thought I’d start out with an update of what’s been going on since last I talked to you from Greater West Frenchport Heights.

Perhaps you remember, home there was in the old Burkett House, a structure built more than a hundred years ago on a hill just down the road from metropolitan Frenchport.

Maybe you don’t remember, but between Greater West Frenchport Heights and metropolitan Frenchport was Frenchport International Airport. If you don’t remember, don’t feel bad because there are people who say there never was such a place.

Whatever, after 20 years there and the things that transpire in all our lives, it came time to sell the Burkett House.

The most significant and saddest thing to transpire was the loss of MJ who shared those years in Greater West Frenchport Heights with me. She tolerated the nonsense I stirred up with the stories about the goings-on in and around Frenchport, including Frenchport International Airport and even participated by playing along when people would ask her about them.

So, with her blessing and your indulgence, I’ll relate the latest about my Greater West Frenchport friends. We stay in touch and they help me keep a finger on the heartbeat of real America.

Here’s a recent conversation:

“Hey, Jim, good to hear from you. I suppose you’re calling about the airport.”

“Not actually. Look, we’ve talked about this before. That airport doesn’t actually exist.”

“Ya got that right because we shut ‘er down last week right after that black helicopter with the letters DEA on the side swooped in, a bunch of guys in camo ran around, got back on the chopper and flew away. The only things there now are the armadillos, possums and coyotes.”

“So that’s the end of it, huh?”

“Oh, no. Might not be any aircraft – legal ones, that is – flying in and out, but we’re still using it for political purposes. We’re having our nominating convention next weekend and we’ll put together a platform for the coming election.”

“You mean somebody’s going to try to get elected mayor of Frenchport again?”

“Nah, every time we tried that, they laughed at us. Nope, this time we’re going for Congress.”

“Which party?”

“There you go switching topics. Yeah, we had the Super Bowl party there Sunday and we’re still cleaning up what the critters didn’t already eat.”

“Not that kind of party. I mean, are you guys running as Democrats or Republicans?”

“Neither one.”




“OK, I give up. What party are your candidates going to represent?”

“We’re Frenchportians.”

“And your party platform?”

“Not going to have one.”

“Well, if you’re going to get elected and go to Washington D.C., you’ve got to have some sort of platform or agenda.”

“That’s just it. We ain’t going to Washington D.C. All they do up there is bicker and holler and don’t get anything done. And besides, the traffic’s too bad. We’ll just shut ‘er down and keep our elected folks here at home where we can get our hands on them. I mean, where we can tell ‘em face to face each day they’re messin’ up. I tell ya, if those dudes in D.C. who didn’t get something done were down here instead and had Big Bubba with his deer camp morning-after breath in their face, they’d sure enough get down to some serious problem solving instead of what they’re doing now.”

“Yeah, I suppose, but how are you gonna raise the money it’ll take to run a national campaign and spread the Frenchportian Party across the nation?”

“We’ve already started. Fish fries, bake sales, raffles, the whole nine yards. And Bubba says if Arkansas ever legalizes recreational pot, he’s ready to make a hefty contribution.”

“Aren’t you afraid that if the Frenchportian Party catches on, people will be flocking to your quiet little community and it will never be the same?”

“Nah, if they can find Greater West Frenchport Heights, they’re welcome”

(Jim Edwards is retired after a lifetime in the newspaper business and for 30 years worked in various positions at the Camden News, El Dorado News-Times and Banner-News of Magnolia. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of this newspaper.)

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