Billy C. and Linda Sue Morden are the proud owners of former Gov. Mike Huckabee's first post-gubernatorial house in Arkansas and much of the furniture besides.
"Oh, my goodness, we are so excited about it," Linda Morden said by telephone Wednesday from the home that she and her husband bought June 8 for $660,000 in North Little Rock's Shady Valley neighborhood.
“We have the den furniture and two bedroom suites and some vases. We have big TVs, with some of them in the walls. We have the prettiest picture of the Ten Commandments.”
Linda Morden, who with her husband, Bill, bought the Huckabees’ former home in North Little Rock
The Mordens have long been fans of Huckabee, a two-time unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for president. Huckabee was Arkansas governor from July 1996 to January 2007.
"Billy used to watch him all the time on Fox News," Linda Morden said.
A couple of weeks after selling the house, Mike and Janet Huckabee traveled to Arkansas from Florida, where they've lived for the past several years.
"They came here to pick up stuff they'd left behind," Linda Morden said. "They had a huge gun safe downstairs. My, it was big. They had to use a van to move it." She said the safe probably had 25 guns in it, including the governor's first BB gun. That is what the governor told her, she said.
Another highlight, she said, were the books the Huckabees left behind -- including Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork, a health guide Huckabee wrote in 2005 when he wasn't very healthy, and From Hope to Higher Ground: 12 Steps to Restoring America's Greatness, which Huckabee wrote in 2007.
"There were boxes of books," Linda Morden said. "Janet told me they didn't mean to leave those." The governor signed several for the Mordens and repacked the rest.
In July 2006, with the state's term-limits law soon to force Huckabee to leave the governor's office and vacate the Governor's Mansion, the Huckabees bought the North Little Rock home for $525,000.
At 1134 Silverwood Trail, it sits on 1.1 acres. It has five bedrooms, five bathrooms and a pool. The most recent appraisal by the Pulaski County assessor's office put the value of the home, for tax purposes, at $448,650. Annual taxes were estimated at $5,993.
The Huckabees put the North Little Rock house on the market in the summer of 2013, with an asking price of $850,000.
The Huckabees, who couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday, became Florida residents in 2010. Huckabee continued to write books, and appear on radio and television programs, most notably for Fox News. He was dropped as a Fox commentator this year after he announced that he would run for the Republican nomination for president. He also had run for the presidency in 2008, but was defeated.
Meanwhile, the Huckabees built a $3 million home on the Florida Gulf Coast. The monthly payment was $16,800, according to a profile of the governor in Yahoo News in May 2015.
With children and grandchildren still in Arkansas, Mike and Janet Huckabee aren't done with the Natural State. Not long after closing on the sale of their North Little Rock home, they bought a condo at 107 Claremont Court in Little Rock for $230,000.
Linda Morden is 71 and retired. Billy Morden is 72 and owns Wright's Cabinets in Jacksonville. They have grandchildren who flow in and out of their new home and, over the July 4 holiday, they threw their first party in their new home.
She acknowledged that the house's previous occupants were a selling point, "But we also got a good deal," she said.
The family's path to owning it started when Billy Morden played a little trick on Linda. He told her one day that the Huckabees were having an estate sale. The Mordens lived just down the street from the Huckabees but had never been inside the house.
"We looked at the whole house, from top to bottom," Linda Morden said. "Bill asked me about the leather couch. I said it was nice but we didn't really need it. He asked me about this and that. Then he asked if I wanted all the furniture in the house. I asked him what he was talking about. Then he said, 'How about all the furniture and the house?' He made the deal the next day."
Billy Morden made this offer: He'd pay "x" amount of more dollars if 80 percent of the furnishings stayed with the house, Linda said.
"We have the den furniture and two bedroom suites and some vases. We have big TVs, with some of them in the walls. We have the prettiest picture of the Ten Commandments," she said. One bed included all of the regular pillows and decorative pillows, and sheets made of Egyptian cotton with a high thread count, she said.
And if that's not enough all-things-Huckabee for the Mordens, they sort of also inherited an all-around-fix-it man named Javier, Linda Morden said.
Javier worked for the Huckabees three days a week and will now work one day a week for the Mordens. "We couldn't afford more days," she said with a laugh. She said the governor referred to Javier as one of the most reliable and trustworthy men he's ever known.
"I just don't know how we could be any happier," Linda Morden said.
A Section on 07/07/2016
Print Headline: Huckabees' sale buyers' bliss; Fans of state’s former first family settle into NLR house