From the editor: Reminiscing on White Street

Thursday, May 23, 2019

White Street Walk is one of the most popular events in Eureka Springs, and for good reason. It's the one night of the year artists living in the historic downtown district open their homes to the public. You can see art of all kinds, taste mouth-watering finger foods and sip on complimentary wine. What's not to love?

The event is a little more personal to me. You see, I attended my very first White Street Walk in 2016 with my amazing friend Melody Rust. Melody and I worked together at the Citizen. I had been covering Eureka Springs news for only a few months. I had been hanging out with Melody for even less time. Being at White Street Walk felt like my introduction to Eureka society, a debutante ball of sorts.

Melody knew everyone in town. She could have introduced me as her coworker or boss, but she didn't. She greeted everyone with a hug, pointed to me and said, "This is my friend Samantha. She's cool." It occurred to me that was the first time someone in Eureka Springs had referred to me as their friend. You know that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when someone tells you they love you for the first time? That's how I felt every time she told people I was her friend, from that night to November 2017 when she succumbed to chronic sickness.

After she died, I didn't want to do any of the things we used to do. No more swimming. No more carving pumpkins. No more attending events like White Street Walk or Oktoberfest. I stuck to that in 2018, feeling it would be too painful to go back to White Street Walk without her. That was our beginning. I can still see her bounding through the street and spilling wine on her tank top. I can still hear her hearty laugh. For a long time, I couldn't even think about these things without breaking down.

But I am stronger now. I haven't given up on living. I haven't stopped trying to find the silver lining. Melody would want me to keep doing things I enjoy, especially the things we enjoyed doing together. So this past Friday, I attended White Street Walk with Gideon and two of our close friends. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. In fact, it wasn't difficult at all. I could still see her chatting with a friend in Zeek Taylor's kitchen, but that memory didn't make me sad.

It reminded me of what a wonderful person she was and all the times we had together. I found a best friend in Melody when I desperately needed someone to support me, and I will always be grateful for that. When she left, I befriended her brother and his girlfriend Stephanie. We quickly bonded over our love of Melody. I have lost a friend, but I haven't lost everything.

Earlier this year, I resolved to be more positive and express thankfulness more frequently. This week, I am thankful for my friend Melody and the way she made her loved ones feel. I'm thankful she gave me such a lovely introduction to Eureka Springs three years ago. I'm especially thankful for her love and how it continues to radiate throughout our community.

I was reminded of her love at this year's White Street Walk. For that, I am more thankful than I can say in words.

Samantha Jones is associate editor of Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.