So yes, after our hike at Mount Driskill, or Driskill Mountain if you prefer, the highest point in the state of Louisiana, we travel north, driving through the Pelican State, the state that handwrites its name on its license plates, Louisiana. We cross the border into Arkansas and enter the town of Murphreesboro. Our lodging for the night: the Queen of Diamonds Inn. Why is it called the “Queen of Diamonds Inn?” Something to do with gambling? Card playing? Nope.
Just a seven minute drive up the road is Crater of Diamonds State Park, offering more than 35 acres of a plowed field which is, from their own description, “…the eroded surface of an ancient volcanic crater that 100 million years ago brought to the surface the diamonds and some of the semi-precious stones lucky visitors find here today.”
Lisa and I were not here 100 million years ago, and we’re not going to be here at Crater of Diamonds State Park this visit either. But apparently the 11-year-old staying in the motel room next to ours will be. He told us, and he is very excited.
We are minding our own business, Lisa and I, unloading from the car into our room. This 11-year-old comes to our door, dressed in his short sleeve, collared, button down sport shirt and little Bermuda shorts revealing knobby knees, white socks and brown shoes. He looks like my father dresses him. He proudly proclaims, “I’m going to dig for diamonds.”
We are tired, hot and hungry and we need to shower and eat. Also, I don’t like kids. Somehow the door to our room closes with us on the inside and him on the outside.
[While proofreading this chapter, Lisa points out that this little boy is probably more like eight years old than eleven. She explains, “Yah, he was a single-digit little critter.”]
Why is our motel called the Queen of Diamonds Inn? Not sure what the connection to the Park might be but as we check in, the proprietor does her best to convince us that we should not miss visiting “the only diamond mine in the entire United States.” I didn’t know that. She is very enthusiastic; maybe she has a stake in Crater of Diamonds?
We silently wish luck to our eleven-year-old (or eight-year-old) neighbor. He will be mining that plowed field without us. We can be generous with him since he won’t be in our company.
We notice the suspicious looks our proprietor shoots at us. She must know that we won’t be scrounging for diamonds.
Paul Simon’s Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes begins to play in my head. Could be worse.