Monday, March 09, 2009

Weekend Isolation and Wanderings

Gerald has been in self-induced isolation this weekend, and I think he has enjoyed it. He also enjoyed getting out and digging a little in the dirt yesterday after the recent winds have dried up the ground sufficiently that he could do some tractor work. Why has he avoided other people—except on the phone where he has been quite active? (He’s also been having fun checking Facebook.) If you saw him, you would understand.

The dermatologist gave him “mean cream” to treat his sun-damaged ears from all the years he spent working in the sun. After that somewhat painful treatment was over, she suggested he use the cream on his face to treat it. Frankly, we had never noticed any damage there, but with her trained eye, she could see it. And once he started using the “mean cream,” it became more and more apparent that his skin had many places changed by the years in the sun despite the caps he always wore.

On Monday, when he went to the funeral of a friend of his youth, he definitely had some red spots on his face, but I truthfully assured him that I was not offended by them. I would not even think about them as I would look at him. No one would mind sitting by him, I said.

By this weekend, however, the cream is completing its job, and I think more of his face is bright red than not. Many spots and splotches of red and then great circles of red on both cheeks. He looks as if he has some terrible disease rather than remediation. I understood why he wanted to stay home and avoid answering everyone’s questions. Does it hurt? He has never complained, but when I asked him outright, he assured me that yes it is painful.

I let him fix himself a frozen entrĂ©e in the microwave yesterday when I went up to Mount Vernon to the Brehm Memorial Library, where the Jefferson County Genealogical Society was meeting. The meeting started at 1, but I had hoped to get there in time to lunch with some of the officers who’d invited me to meet them at the DQ. I ran late and did not know Mt. Vernon enough to find Main Street soon enough, so I ate a solitary quick lunch at Taco Belle.

On the way up, I ran by the Mulkeytown School Museum to pick up more brochures since I’d given out my last on Monday night. At the school, Jim Jones gave me a tour of all the wonderful work that is being done there since I last visited. They are going to be in great shape for the annual Memorial Day barbecue and observance on that Saturday and Sunday in May. The former gym is already completed, and it is absolutely beautiful and a long ramp to allow those in wheelchairs or with bad knees to avoid all stairs to enter there. A stage is almost done, and a local musician has already promised to give concerts there. The kitchen and dining room are near completion, and the volunteer crew was hard at work. The military room is close to being finished with a beautiful huge built-in glass fronted cabinet awaiting the collected treasures to be displayed.

I was glad I took the time to obtain more brochures because this will be a great Memorial Day venue to visit. That weekend someone will take you up to tour Silkwood Inn if you request it. On January 26, a vote was taken, and the Mulkeytown Area Historical Society (which rescued Silkwood Inn from destruction) and the West Franklin Historical District and Genealogical Society (which saved the Mulkeytown school building and created a wonderful collection of artifacts and historical information for genealogists) officially united. The school building is open every Saturday morning, so drop by. Call ahead and you can probably be given a tour of Silkwood Inn also.

It has been astounding that a community as small as the Mulkeytown area could do so much preservation of history with volunteers—many of whom worked in both organizations. So it is logical for the two organizations to unite. Now we need local history teachers to get their students interested and ready to take over the volunteer work in the decades ahead as the oldsters have to retire from all this active physical work.

It was pleasant to meet up with old friends and to meet new ones at the Jefferson County Genealogical Society where I was able to tell again the wonderful story of Priscilla, the slave girl who was freed from the Trail of Tears by Solomon Silkwood.

After I left that meeting, I drove a block off Broadway to slowly drive by St. Mary’s Church where my grandparents attended before that building was built. (If I remember correctly, my grandfather had made a pledge for this building and died before his pledge or the building was completed.) With many childhood visits there, I grew up thinking Mount Vernon was the home place of my mother’s Rockenmeyer-Franklin relatives. Only in recent years have I discovered that much earlier in the 19th century, Jefferson County was also the place where many of my father’s Martin-Garrett relatives had made their homes.

I stopped on the way home at Benton to get some gas and with the intention of visiting Candace Lahr at her book store on the square there. Imagine my shock to discover the store was gone. I walked on around to see if The Buzz was open. Actually its closing time on Saturday is 3 o’clock, but the door was open and I walked in to enjoy meeting Lee Madden, the new owner. After a lifetime in Saint Louis, Lee has come down and already was greeting other store owners by name as she insisted on walking with me back to my car to enjoy the lovely weather. And I left some of my books with her to sell at The Buzz with the other local books she handles. As we were talking, another would-be customer for Candace’s store drove up and was puzzled at the store’s disappearance. I said goodbye to Lee and she went to comfort the young woman desiring the book store. I think Lee’s love for people and books will serve her and her customers well. I know the patrons of The Buzz are grateful to see that gathering place staying open.

I had been keeping in touch with Gerald about the Saturday softball games, so after stopping at Small’s, our favorite place for lunch meat, I headed home with sandwich fixings and went straight to Gerald’s office to join him watching Erin’s game on his computer.

We had a great softball weekend despite Texas A&M’s 8-4 loss to Stephen F. Austin’s Lady Jacks in the final game this afternoon. Vickie was there in the stands at College Station all weekend along with over 1200 other people, so at least she got to see Erin’s great catch against SFA, but they had gotten ahead 5-0 in the first inning, and we never caught up. This ended A&M’s five-game winning streak.

But on Friday night Georgia won against Baylor and A&M won against Utah. Yesterday, Georgia did lose to Washington, rated number one in the nation, but I felt that losing only 2-0 with that team and that pitcher was quite respectable. A&M beat Utah for a second time yesterday and also Kent State. At their first game this afternoon, A&M beat Louisiana Tech with the mercy rule.

The most fun for us, however, was watching on Game Tracker as Georgia played Washington again today. Thjs time, however, things were reversed from yesterday. Georgia got ahead 2-0 early on, and Washington could not catch up. Sophomore Sarah McCloud pitched a complete game shut-out and earned a place on the All Tournament Team along with senior Kristen Schnake, a graduate of Nashville, Illinois, High School. . Georgia’s offense gave Danielle Lawrie her first loss of the season (15-1). Gerald’s phone call with Gerry was useless because Gerry was too hoarse to talk after that exciting game. He had to text his dad instead.

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