Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Hills Were Alive With the Sound of Wind and Color

The hills are lovely with muted yellows and oranges right now with an occasional treat of bright red. Gerald has been watching for a day when he thought the color might be at its height, and that day came later than usual this year. Nor are the colors quite as bright as some years, but nature has a way of compensating with a softness of color that is just as delightful as brighter versions of autumn.

Gerald decided Monday was the day for a fall outing, so with friends Mickey and Bill Tweedy, we headed for the hills. We had met at Marion, and I had already been by Katherine’s, where we enjoyed taking Lucy, the Golden Doodle, outside where the sun was bright on the trees and the weather spectacular. By the time we met up to leave, however, the sun was overcast and the wind getting stronger.

At the Garden of the Gods, I felt like I was going to be blown off the top of the high rocks by the winds, but the temperature was great for hiking and the scenery breathtaking. A special treat for me was having someone say, “Sue.” Looking up I saw Jack and Martha Davis, whom I may not have seen since Mother’s funeral in 1989. We had a wonderful visit while Gerald and the Tweedys went ahead. Hearing Jack and Martha’s wonderful stories about my parents was an extreme bonus to an already glorious day.

After oohing and aahing all the way to the Ohio River, we ended up at Elizabethtown for a 2 o’clock lunch on the small floating restaurant there. We had wanted to do this ever since we had high recommendations for their fish when we celebrated our anniversary at the Rose Hotel last June. The walkway over the water swayed, and at one point was slightly damp as we headed in.

When we sat down inside at perhaps the only free table, we could see people were enjoying their fish, but I wondered if the swaying motion of the river would make me seasick. It didn’t, and I actually enjoyed the sensation of movement as we watched the river out the window.

We had a choice of pond fish or river fish, and we all chose the river fish. And it was as good as the recommendations. Fortunately, we did not order the all-you-can-eat, because the smaller portions were almost more than we could eat. (I loved it that I was given a small earth-friendly waxed paper sack for my two pieces of leftover fish and not some huge foam container.)

Bill and Mickey were enthused about bringing guests there, and our friendly waitress gave us a business card but urged us to phone before coming back as the river was rising. She said they might be shut down for a day or two, so to phone to be sure they were open. We found out the river taxi was closed for the season, so that is an adventure to look forward to next summer. An appointment back home kept us from visiting the gift shop at the Rose Hotel, but Bill and Mickey want to come back to it also.

Yesterday Gerald took another Angel Flight with his friend Herman Hood going to Georgia and bringing up a woman and her son with muscular dystrophy to a Saint Louis doctor. I figured he’d be late coming home, but he was there when I returned before five. I had run to town and then to the Crab Orchard Library looking for George Edwin Parks’ books trying to find his essay on the 109th Infantry that mustered in at Anna and for the most part was all Union County volunteers. My great grandfather and his friend were from Johnson County, however, and there was one group from Pulaski where the officers stayed loyal to the Union. I had seen the Parks books at the Marion Library and gone there last week only to find they had passed them on to another library. Lola Morris has a good collection of local history in our Crab Orchard Library, so I was hoping she might have the Parks books, but I was out of luck. I came home to find Springhouse in the day’s mail and spent most of the evening enjoying it.

This afternoon Gerald needed to take his new laptop over to Carbondale to find out why he was already getting blue screens, so I tagged along and walked over to Barnes and Noble. Gary and Judy DeNeal were entering the store as I was. I was able to tell them I'd enjoyed the new Springhouse, and Gary said they been down towards Makanda and saw the name Glasco on a mailbox there and were we related. I assured him that almost every Glasco in the area (not quite but almost) descended from our great grandfather, who reared nine of his fifteen children by three wives in Union County. We were able to get gas cheaper there at the Carbondale Kroger’s, and found we had the big discount available on our card.

We missed Geri Ann’s first middle school basketball game down at Anna, so we conscientiously drove on to Johnston City after a quick supper stop in order to get there by six for her game. It was fun sitting by Jim and Jean Smiley, but Gma Jean and I were in pain watching Allison play with the ankle that had turned over at the Anna game. The ankle finally forced her out, but before it did, we saw lots of good ball handling and a good little actress bravely pretending her ankle wasn’t hurting.

We couldn’t stay for the varsity game, as we wanted to run by Kroger’s for the 10 percent discount for seniors on the first Wednesday of the month. I got my Thanksgiving turkey and enough other groceries ahead to give us another nice discount at the gas pump. Gerald used that time to read the directions for calibrating the direction signal that was wacky on our car.

After he came in and helped me get the groceries in the trunk, we went to a completely empty corner of the parking lot, which was the perfect place to follow those directions. We had to drive in circles until something on the dash said that the calibration was complete. We drove home on Route 13 going east with a nice red “E” instead of a “W” that we had been getting.

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