If you know my Uncle Arlie Weems, then you probably know that he conducts morning office hours at the top of Stadium Road and has done so for as long as I can remember. His office is his Chevy pickup. Anyone can pull up and roll down their window, or maybe stand around depending on the weather and other factors. There are some gravel piles and usually a dump truck and backhoe there.
If you don’t know Arlie, then you need to know that he has the reputation as a virtuoso with a backhoe. I’ve been told several times by various people over the years that he is an artist when using his machines.
On this particular day, I wanted to ask him what year he drank his first can of Mountain Dew: I was thinking about writing a column about the beverage. I’ve always associated Mountain Dew (the carbonated version) with the Arkansas Ozarks. As a kid, I don’t recall people drinking Mountain Dew in the Washington DC suburbs, or overseas, but when we’d come home to visit, there’d be someone drinking it. Often, it was Arlie.
So I asked him my question and the answer was this: in about 1965, a man named Nolan Brisco was driving the Pepsi truck out of Harrison and he stopped at the DX station where Arlie was working and gave him a free sample of Mountain Dew. Arlie has been drinking it ever since. The DX was the service station located about where the Subway is now on US Highway 62. Nolan Brisco is still around. He owns ABC Signs and Advertising in Harrison.
The other interesting thing we talked about was a prior day’s event that occurred south of town. Arlie had been backing a Mack dump truck when it inexplicably wouldn’t stop. He tried all the tricks a person with 50 years experience knows, but nothing slowed it down. After the truck turned over, he climbed out. He said he wasn’t really shook up, unlike the first time he flipped a vehicle several decades ago. It wasn’t his first rodeo, as they say.