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To The Big Apple And Back Home Again

In this month's installment of These Ozarks Hills, Marideth Sisco tells us about her jaunts around the country, and coming back home again.

This is Marideth Sisco for These Ozarks Hills. Most years, I really don't like summer all that much, because I have to spend my time indoors under the fan, instead of outdoors in the garden. But I'm seeing it differently this time, because I've just come back from a very busy week in New York City and a week before that in Little Rock, promoting the movie “Winter's Bone.”

If you haven't heard of this film by now you must be out of the country. Because it was made in the Ozarks, it is about a part of the Ozarks, and the book from which it was taken was written by Ozarks native Daniel Woodrell.

And I have to say – it was a very good book and now it's a very good movie. And I was in it, I was the old lady singing in the picking session and other places. So this past month I was out plugging the film, first at another film festival, and then at the New York openings.

Speaking of New York City, even though I was filled with pre-conceived notions, it was a pure delight, and caused me to change my somewhat snooty thinking about the essential inferiority of urban life.

New York City is its own world. The food at its worst was terrific, and was at times too good for words. The accomodations, down in lower Manhattan, were cozy, and offered a view of an old, old part of the city, that was once a thriving garment district. Most of the roofs still had their old water tanks on stilts, from which they still draw their gravity-fed water.

And right among them in that homey skyline view, stood the Empire State Building. I have to admit I was charmed. And I'll probably go back.

I figured out what you do about the traffic. You don't drive. You hire someone else, an expert who can perform an elegant high-speed slide between delivery trucks and pedestrians and get you to your destination, untouched and on time. They're magicians, but they're called cabdrivers.

As you can tell, I had a very good time there.

I'll return to Little Rock sometime as well, because I didn't get to see nearly enough of the Clinton Library, and I didn't spend enough time at the River Market, down the street from my hotel. The hotel, though, even with its marble columns and all the trappings of southern culture, turned out to be just a little rich for my blood.

Now I must say, the accomodations were great, they were paid for by the festival, and I am definitely not complaining. The large room was outfitted with a comfortable bed, as well as a couch, coffee table, dining table, desk, large TV and two maids a day. One called in the morning with two newspapers and advice on where to go for breakfast. She tidied up the room and made the bed. The other brought smiles and delicious sweets, and turned the bed down in the evening. But I gotta say, the both of them had accents and manners way more like mine than anybody I met at breakfast.

The film festival itself was well organized and great fun, and they took wonderful care of me, and I'd say that even if we hadn't won the “Golden Rock” for best film. More unusual than the bronze trophy that came with the award, though, was an item in the gift basket sent to the hotel by the festival management along with my credentials.

It was a talking action figure doll with its own stand and certificate of authenticity from an outfit called "Toy Presidents." Yes, it was Mr. Bill himself, in suit and tie and a button under his lapel that when pressed, issued a tinny, very eery comment once uttered, and evidently recorded, spoken by the president himself.

It made me wonder what the toy George would say. Washington, not Bush. But it is just such as that, apparently, that is show business.

The trouble was, when I got back from Little Rock, I just about had time to repack and run through the shower, then it was off to the Big Apple. I don't usually move that fast.

But It was certainly two weeks well spent, and I'd do it again for this movie in which I played such a small part and feel such great pride. But there was nothing that could beat landing again on Ozarks soil, and making my way home out of the Branson hills and across the southern tier of counties down to my little farm below Hutton Valley.

All that runnin' around was fun and maybe worthwhile, but it sure is good to be home, even in summer, here in These Ozarks Hills, where nobody has an accent. This is Marideth Sisco. Thanks for listening.