Saturday, December 10, 2005

Snow, Sciatica, and Crab Orchard Open Houses

Plans fall by the wayside when snow makes our country roads slick and dangerous. I had to cancel lunch plans with Deb Tucker when Gerald phoned from Route 13 telling me about the cars off the highway there between Murphy and Carbondale. We just try to stay home as much as possible. That isn't hard to do for me right now since my sciatic nerve has been attacking me ever since the day after Thanksgiving. I am getting better, but I do a lot of moaning. When I move just wrong or stand up, I do some breath taking and sometimes screeching. I never know when I stand up if I will have to walk bent over grabbing the furniture or if I will bounce along without a pain in the world. I finally got up my courage to get down on the floor and do some of the exercises on the sheet the doctor gave me. Our groceryman said it took his wife six months to get over a bout like this. I hope I am faster.

Since I have been afraid to make any kind of plans for book signings this month because of the sciatica, I thought I would at least take in the Crab Orchard Open Houses today. I couldn't get up my nerve to go to the morning concert at the Methodist Church for fear I would not be able to walk after I got there. After lunch with the family, it took me till almost time for the concert at the Baptist church at 2 to decide to attempt the fun outing. I was glad I went when I heard Jeff Beasley and daughter Krista singing the Christmas songs. Jeff's "White Christmas" is more beautiful than Bing's. I finally met Rosalee Mocaby Fields, who sang and played the piano so beautifully for us, and it was fun singing carols with neighbors and friends.

The big reason I wanted to go to the open houses was to see the Poordo Store. When we first moved to Crab Orchard, our youngest two daughters were invited to a birthday party there as the birthday girl's family lived in the living quarters behind the store. The store has been closed a long time now, and Bill Jones has built a beautiful house beside it. An huge old-fashioned cedar Christmas tree was set up inside the front door. A group was sitting in a circle enjoying the talk and coffee and hot cranberry tea when I got there and they were still talking when I left--just like the olden days. All kinds of refreshments were served as well as goodies and crafts displayed for sale to benefit the community. I brought home some home-made candies and peanut brittle. On the wall were framed clippings of newspaper accounts of the history of Atilla--now called Poordo--and wonderful ancient photographs of the Welborn family and their two-story house that burned in the 1940s. (It sat where Bill Mandrell's house does now.) Bill Jones' mother Pearl Jones was the Welborn's daughter if I got that family history understood right.

I managed to squeeze in a visit to Larry and Kay Woodson's lovely lakeside home filled with family furniture and memories. I enjoyed thinking of our late friends Bill and Altha Brown while there. By then it was almost 4 p.m., when the events were to shut down. So I hurried to Gary and Faye Ellen Chamness's newly remodeled home that I am been eager to visit all summer as the porch is so inviting--even more so with all the lovely Christmas trim. Everything was beautiful, and the living room tree gorgeous, and the tall rustic cedar tree in the back sun room brought back memories of our trees in Jonesboro that Daddy always cut from the farm at Goreville.

Although there wasn't time to visit the library, the business open houses, the quilt show at the Methodist church, or to see the Montgomery log house I've always wanted to see, I had a good time, enjoyed visiting with other Crab Orchard folk, and went home in the Christmas spirit to turn on our lights on our trees and sit and look at today's Christmas cards.

The snow is too dry for snowmen making, but somehow Geri Ann and Gerald found wet snow on our picnic table on the deck and made a snowman there yesterday while she was out of school. It wasn't fair that Samuel had to go to school yesterday when Marion schools were in session and everyone else in the county were dismissed. But at least he got in on the sled riding with Gpa after Gerald and Geri Ann picked him up from school. Today Sam figured out that he too could use the deck snow, which for some reason was wetter, and now we have his snow man also atop the picnic table.

The Crab Orchard School Christmas program had to be cancelled with Thursday's snow, so I understand it was tonight instead. Bet that played havoc with the families that had tickets to the SIUC name tonight.

Our church children's program is tomorrow afternoon at 2 at Center. Neither snow nor sciatica stops the approaching Christmas. I better find time for cards and finishing my shopping soon.

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