IT’S LONG BEEN SAID that Jasper, a town of 453 near the banks of the upper Buffalo River, is not just a special place, but a magical one. My mother remembers touring Diamond Cave, spelunking its forests of stalagmites and stalactites and marveling at the fairylike formations of sparkling calcite crystals. Rumors swirl of Newton…

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Hometown: Fayetteville

IT FEELS LIKE I’M in a movie—one of those coming-of-age flicks where the fair heroine must return to the stomping grounds of her youth in order to understand her place in this world. And as I travel up Interstate 49, I think about how things used to be when I was young. I knew this…

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Hometown: El Dorado

Sitting behind his desk, Jack Wilson can see them all, the seven deadly sins photographed in black and white. Some are crouching, some menacing, all of them blank behind the eyes. They stare back at him, and he regards them fondly, explaining that many years before, as a young man, he was one of them,…

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