Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Spring Week at Woodsong

As I drove into the Shawnee National Forest on Tuesday, the pinkish purple blooms on the redbud trees brightened the still bare tall black-limbed trees all around them. The drive there had been stunning with the redbud at the height of its glory. Inside the forest, there were also a few scattered dogwood showing white blossoms and foretelling that time was running out for the redbud. Sure enough by this morning, though still lovely, the redbud trees had begun to shed the blooms for green leaves. And everywhere in yards and roadside, the white of the dogwood was beginning to dominate.

Tuesday Gerald left the house early to go with his friend Herman on an Angel Flight. Before I was through my breakfast and coffee, however, he was back home because the weather had cancelled their flight. I unexpectedly needed to figure out something for his lunch before I left the farm, and I did and hurried on to errands in town and my plan to consider going up Hamburg Hill to revisit the cut of the 1838 road there.

I knew I would not go unless I completed errands quickly enough that I could go there and back in time for our grandson Samuel’s jazz band concert that night. Since this group of youngsters had just won superior at state recently, I wanted to hear their performance. Sam’s junior high band was playing at the high school before their jazz band played, and Sam and fellow trombonist Ben were going to be improvising together. Coming home, I cut through the country by way of Goreville, one of my favorite towns in the universe (cause my grandparents lived there), and I was home from the forest in time to fix our supper. Gerald and I were sitting in the auditorium as the curtain was ready to open.

Gerald did take the Angel Flight on Wednesday, so he wasn’t there for lunch. But I had the same sort of rushed day with emails and phone calls to take care of as I worked on the final collection of handouts to mail to Rend Lake College for copying for the thirteen participants who will be on our river-to-river van trip this week. On Tuesday we will traverse Route 146, the designated Trail of Tears auto tour across our state.

After I completed the handouts and stopped to replenish our fruit supply, I went through the drive-in for supper and then hurried to the car wash to get the mud from Hamburg Hill taken off so Gerald wouldn’t feel he needed to do it. I arrived early at our village church in Crab Orchard for a First Place meeting at 6. I had neglected the Bible study all week and needed to attempt to catch up before the others arrived. With only three of us there, we lingered sharing our thoughts, our troubles, and our opinions in addition to the Bible study review. Consequently, it was later than usual when I arrived home to hear Gerald’s stories about the day’s Angel Flight and find out who won Georgia’s and Texas A&M’s games. The stories were interesting as always, and we had won both games.

Thursday afternoon I left the farm with all kinds of extra trucks there as once again some service was helping Gerald burn off our fields of native grasses. I thought this was a government requirement for these fields, but he explained that it was just the recommended plant culture. The two women in charge were careful to burn by creating V-shapes that allowed wildlife to escape safely. The eggs of one turkey nest, however, required our brother Keith and nephew DuWayne to come rescue them for their incubator.

Again I had a tad of shopping to do, ran by Katherine’s, and got a sandwich at Subway before meeting Jari Jackson to go to our Southern Illinois Writers Guild meeting. It was a Critique Night. I had hoped to have something new to read, but hadn’t completed anything. I did grab an article out of the file cabinet marked for revision and was amused to see it was written when my youngest daughter was still in high school as her son is now. I decided it was a little too old to share, but I may yet revise it someday.

It was fun just to relax and listen to the wide variety of offerings presented by more prepared members. When I got back to the farm, Gerald was in bed with the light on and his book of Appalachian humor in his hands and was fast asleep. I debated whether I should wake him and tell him good night or let him wake on his own when the book fell from his hands. That seemed the simplest, so I went on downstairs to check emails and surf a bit.

Friday morning for me started with a long welcome phone call from that youngest daughter who has been too busy with house revamping lately for leisurely calls. The weekend soft ball games would start on Saturday, and Gerald was hurrying to mow the yard and finish his shop project of modifying a sprayer for Scott, the next-door neighbor. This lengthy project turned out to be more complicated and challenging than Gerald, a perfectionist, anticipated. He was glad yesterday to take the completed sprayer home to Scott. In the meantime, our son-in-law Brian had arrived at the other farm for some weekend farming, and at the end of the day he dropped in and ate a waffle with us.

Yesterday Vickie and Geri Ann had gone with Gerry to Auburn University to watch Georgia play, and we were following them and also Erin at Oklahoma University at Norman, where she started the first inning with a RBI double. Gerald was also trying to follow Lucas Hileman at Baylor in the other room on TV.

Interspersed with the games for me was a trip to the village to return overdue library books and collect Revolutionary Road that the library had ordered for me. The florist shop where I owed a bill was closed but the wonderful owner/hostess of The Mustard Seed in adjoining quarters assured me she’d see that LaRonda got my check. There in that haven of crafts and antiques, I could not resist a small good-looking and inexpensive alarm clock for a downstairs bedroom. Then I took a drawing and some photographs that needed framing up to Tom Ribedeau, photographer, wood craftsman, teacher, and owner of the most beautiful long driveway imaginable through a certified wildlife habitat. I went back to Woodsong for more softball inspired by the beauty of the drive and Tom’s delightful personality.

After sleeping with the sound of rain on the camper all night, Brian dropped in to say goodbye before he headed home to the city. I was able to hand him John Elder Robinson’s Look Me in the Eye that I had told Mary Ellen about and wanted her to read.

As always today I was inspired by siblings Miranda and Caleb as they participated in various learning activities in our preschool classroom. Watching their faces as they learn new things and discover new words and new concepts is a joy. Since our story was about Jesus healing ten lepers and only one saying thank you, we played with band aids and wrapped bandages. Miranda had noticed my tiny “owie” on my hand and her band aid is still there tonight. Caleb was very interested in counting the ten pennies, ten marbles, and ten pencils that Miss Kim brought. He quit his independent play to go over and sit on her lap to try and figure out what this counting was all about. He could say the word “two.”

Since Erin’s game today was on ESPN, we watched as we ate lunch and then went downstairs to the bigger TV to see the rest of the game. David dropped in to pick up some left-over vinyl for a project he was working on to try and make Katherine’s chair more comfortable. We were quite unhappy to see Texas A&M lose, but despite our sadness, we had to be proud of Oklahoma’s D. J. Mathis who was back on the mound after a shoulder injury. D.J. played with Erin for Southern Force here in Illinois and won everyone’s hearts with her enthusiasm, and probably knew she needed to keep walking Erin.

At our evening service, Becky Belt handed me her copy of The Shack that Kim had finished, so it looks like I have plenty to read in the week ahead.

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