In the spirit of celebrating our 20th anniversary all year, we're resurrecting an old series, Day in Little Rock, where various central Arkansans reflect on their memories, pastimes and adventures in the capital city. Up this month is Gedidiah Starks, aka The Stylish Writer. Take it away, Ged.
I was born and raised in Little Rock, where I thoroughly enjoyed growing up. However, as our family traveled every summer for AAU basketball, I started to like those other cities we visited. I even moved to Los Angeles for two years in my early 20s and loved it, but Dorothy was right. “There’s no place like home.” I used to think there wasn’t much to do here, but sometimes everything you need is right where you are.
Smack dab in the middle of a pandemic, I had one of the best days/nights in Little Rock. I scheduled a date night to forget about everything that was going on in the world and just have fun for one night. My girlfriend and I hadn’t been out much during the pandemic, so this anticipated good time was needed.
OK, so follow me.
The day started with a beard shape-up at Mr. AL’s Barbershop — always great conversation, great laughs and an overall great experience. Feeling fresh, my next stop was Tipton & Hurst in The Heights to set the tone for a great night with a dozen roses.
Fast forward to the evening, we were excited like children on Christmas Day, all dressed up and ready to have fun. I have enjoyed plenty of downtown Little Rock nights, but this was different, we were headed to the Robinson Center Music Hall to enjoy a tribute to Aretha Franklin by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.
We pulled up to the auditorium, happy to be out and not at home falling asleep watching trailers on Netflix again. Once inside we got settled in our seats, and as the orchestra began to play we thought for sure there would only be live instrumentation. To our complete surprise, this turned into a full-blown concert with two vocalists. They rocked the house all night with a medley of hits that we sang and clapped along to until the very end. Their performance commanded a three-minute standing ovation from the entire crowd. We kept looking at each other wondering if anyone else in the crowd expected to be blown away by such a great performance at a much needed time, right here in downtown Little Rock.
We left the auditorium and capped the night off with a stroll down Markham past all of the restaurants and live music to Kilwins ice cream shop, one of my favorite places downtown. I don’t really care how cold it is — and it was cold this particular night — I love the vanilla shake from Kilwins, it’s one of one.
We took our desserts to go, and we had an Aretha Franklin karaoke contest all the way home. We couldn’t stop talking about the great time we had on our date night that created a lifelong memory in Little Rock, the place we call home.