Thursday, June 28, 2007

Catching Up

The rains continue, and I am using the rainy days to catch up on bill paying and correspondence. And laundry. I still have all the guest bedroom linens to go. And I finished All the Pretty Horses.

I’d cleaned the magazine racks and carried the magazines to the car trunk intending to take them to the Veterans Hospital as I do every so often. Just as I was ready to leave the house this afternoon, the sunny weather turned to a deluge--our previous rains had been gentle. I figured I would have to postpone getting the magazines out of the trunk--but late in the afternoon, the rain had completely stopped and I completed that recycling task.

When Erin dropped in for lunch yesterday, I’d already planned to use all the left-over veggies in the fridge, so I did not change the menu--just added a few more of the frozen strips of chicken breasts to be braised in olive oil. I still had a few leftover cookies from Don and Ernestine’s visit to feed her. This afternoon I went grocery shopping to replenish our empty fridge and pantry.

Gerald is still trying to figure out what some grandkid did to his TV controller. It keeps being locked on “record” and the Disney Channel, and then he can’t get to channel he needs. He had graciously turned his big-screen TV in the family room over to the children full time while they were here, but the after effects are a bit much since he would really like to watch his news shows and softball games. Ha.

His garden looks great after the rains. Actually, it looked good before. For both our sakes, I am glad it is smaller this year. We had our first zucchini while Don and Ernestine were here and I made a vegetable casserole. Since then, I’ve added a whole one to our evening soup. Yet already I have two more than we can eat on the kitchen counter. Guess I will have to think about making zucchini bread for the freezer.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Wyoming Visitors

Because of brother Ken's diagnosis of leukemia, the only sister of the four Glasco brothers came for two weeks back in February to visit with all of us, but most especially to visit Kenny. She promised him she'd be back to breakfast with him. And she and Don are here now to fulfill that promise.

After a trip through New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma, the Gambles arrived at brother Garry and Ginger's house in the Mississippi bottoms Wednesday afternoon. This is the home farm where Ernestine grew up. After failing to make telephone contact with Gerald and Ken, the two brothers from Union County took the Gambles to Ullin for supper at the barbecue place they are fond of. However, the next morning, thirteen of us gathered at the Marion Cracker Barrell. The four brothers, who look so much alike, are well known by waitresses there, who seem to enjoy bringing them extra biscuits and gravy.

Jeannie and two daughters delayed their parting for Freeport in order to see her Aunt Ernestine and Uncle Don. And she got to see her local cousins Tim and Kerry to boot.

After returning to Union County and visiting more with Garry and Ginger and then on to Keith and Barbara's farm for a visit, the Gambles arrived at Woodsong last night. I had already had to leave for Writers Guild, so I did not get to visit with them again until after the meeting, but that gave Gerald time for a good visit. If they had gotten here earlier, I would have tried to get them to go with me to hear romance writer Bobbi Smith since both Don and Ernestine are excellent writers.

I came home happily babbling about Bobbi Smith's great talk, Don shared anecdotes about his creative writing students at Rock Springs, and Ernestine told funny library stories. They both read little Cecelie's first grade manuscript from last year about the death of her neighbor, who had favored her with friendship and tea parties. We all looked at the great pictures Don had already printed out at Garry's house of the five Glasco siblings at breakfast and an adorable picture of Cecelie that Ernestine had taken. There's an extra to send to Jeannie.

Today Don and Ernestine have gone in to spend the day in Marion with Ken and Opal--the real reason for their visit right now. Happily, after three chemo treatments and 75 days in the hospital this spring, Ken has gotten great reports with white blood cells and platelets high. We are rejoicing.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hot dogs! Hot dogs! Hot dogs!

When the grandkids come to Woodsong, it is difficult to know what their newest tastes in food have become. Sometimes something they liked the year before no longer entices them. Nevertheless, I know they usually like kid menus better than the menus I serve when their parents are here.

Even desserts and snacks are sometimes difficult to figure out. I had baked a few cookies (from a prepared dough) before they came, and I don't think they touched a one. Gerald and I probably ate those few cookies as we did the banana pudding. I had meant to have the kids make some more cookies from the simple-to-bake cookie dough, but then decided that might not be a good activity for them if they didn't like the cookies. The angel food cakes went over great and so did the vanilla pudding. And the moose tracks ice cream!

Although they did not seem to enjoy the hamburgers, the hot dogs were well received. Thus, early in the week, we had hot dogs for lunch two different days. Not that Gerald and I should be eating hot dogs, but I didn't get alternate menus prepared for us. We also had bacon twice for the supper menu since I can count on Trent and Samuel being very happy if I fry bacon. (I don't fix bacon for Gerald and me often either.)

Well, Friday came and the end of Vacation Bible School activities. As has not infrequently happened down through the years, the VBS picnic fell on our wedding anniversary. Gerald made a point to come to the church pavilion to eat picnic with the grandkids to celebrate our 51 years together. Of coure, Jo Barger had lots more goodies to go with the hot dogs and it was a delicious meal.

The kids were invited to the Cullys to swim that afternoon and had worked up an appetite--so I reheated macroni and cheese from an earlier meal and set out a bowl of peaches to feed them a substantial snack. I knew they might be too hungry if they had to wait for supper at the tailgate party that Samuel's church was having in town for the close of their VBS.

Although Samuel came out to play every afternoon--thanks to Vera Pulley who brought him out, he went to VBS at his own church. We enjoyed the program Sam and his VBS friends gave for the parents and grandparents and then went out to the church parking lot for a supper of grilled HOT DOGS. And our kids happily ate their share. I was still satisfied from the mac/cheese snack and skipped the hot dogs. But Gerald and I felt we had celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary in style. We can have steak anytime, but celebrating with grandchildren at their activities can't be beaten.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Trail of Tears from River to River at the GSSI Spring Conference

Genealogists of Southern Illinois spent a beautiful spring day June 9th remembering some of the horrors of a brutal cold winter in this area over 166 years ago. At that time, approximately 11,000 Cherokee trekked from the Ohio River to the Mississippi River on their way to Indian Territory.

The Board of the Illinois Chapter of the Trail of Tears presented a morning-long symposium at the Spring Conference of the Genealogical Society of Southern Illinois at John A. Logan College in Carterville. Conference Chair Mike Brush indicated that the large crowd in attendance was evidence of the interest that has developed in the area for information on the Trail of Tears.

Despite the absence of two panelists due to illness, not a minute was wasted to convey as much information as possible about the tragic story of the forced removal of the Five Civilized Tribes from their homeland. The audience was encouraged to join the Trail of Tears Association and help the Illinois Chapter to discover the exact route of the Trail, collect the stories of the Cherokee who were left behind in this state, and memorialize both the ones who died and the ones who endured the cruel march.

As moderator. after introducing the TOTA Board, I gave a brief background of the attitudes and events leading up to the Indian Removal Act in 1830 and the United States Senate’s ratifying by one vote in 1836 the fraudulent Treaty of New Echota.

Illinois chapter president Sandy Boaz, a charter member of both the national TOTA in 1993 and the Illinois Chapter in 2003, explained the role of the TOTA in helping the National Park Service in the creation, development, and interpretation of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail established by Congress in 1987.

After a brief break for the audience, Harvey Henson of the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale geology department, gave a power point presentation telling about the ongoing remote sensing project at Camp Ground Cumberland Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Union County. Oral tradition has passed down that a large area of the cemetery was where Mr. George Hileman allowed the Cherokees camping there to bury their dead that dreadful winter. The SIUC work is confirming the exact location of those graves.

Next Joe Crabb told of the Cherokees coming across the Ohio River from Kentucky into Golconda and had the crowd laughing at the evaluation of the Golconda residents found in Rev. Daniel S. Butrick’s journal. Joe gave his educated guess as to where the Trail went through Pope County explaining that he was convinced that some used the roadway through his farm.

Gary Hacker took over to share what is known about the location of the Trail through Johnson County. He talked about sites known as Gillespie, McCorkle Creek, Vienna, Dutchman Creek, West Vienna, Hezekiah West, Cypress, Ferne Clyffe, and Cache Bottoms, He explained how the Illinois Chapter had secured legislation in November to make Route 146 a designated historic trail for the state and his efforts now to obtain appropriate signage. With help from Juanita Whiteside, the Illinois Chapter has succeeded in getting Bridges Tavern (still existing inside a barn on north side of 146) put on the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois’ current list of endangered sites.

Sandy Boaz discussed the Trail beginning at the Union County line. Her ancestor George Hileman had allowed the Indians to camp on his farm and chop the woods there for their firewood. He had previously buried two of his small children in the field where they were camping, and they were allowed to bury their dead there too. In was in the 1850s that Mr. Hileman donated land for the church and its cemetery. She talked about the Cherokee going through Jonesboro and onto Dutch Creek where the floes preventing crossing on the Mississippi River caused groups to stop. There were probably 8000 backed up for over a month between the two rivers.

While eating their box lunches, many chose to listen to Marion Mitchell’s power point presentation on the Indians in Illinois during the time when the British encouraged them to make war on pioneer settlers.

The afternoon ended with the powerful historically accurate dramatic portrayal by Tony Girard enacting the service of a common soldier during Cherokee round-up in Georgia. After the fictional soldier’s enlistment was up, he then signed on as a teamster with a contractor traveling with the Cherokee. By the time he reached the Mississippi River, he could take no more of the death and disease he had to observe.

Several audience members stayed on to meet with former GSSI president Phillip Stucker, who was visiting from Texas. He gave another power point rendition of the Trail of Tears Association and answered genealogical questions in the room where there was a display of notebooks and materials on the Trail.