Sunday, April 26, 2009

Suddenly It Is Green Again

Almost overnight the greening that nature has been brewing surrounds us. The bushes and shrubs. The grass. The leaves on the trees. The green has all come alive once more joining the beautiful flowering that has been going on for a few weeks now. The temperature was in the 80’s today. As always on April 26, the lilacs are showing lavender. They know it is their responsibility to do so because it is our daughter Katherine’s birthday, and lilacs are one of her favorites.

Driving to Carbondale for our first Illinois Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association this afternoon, I tried to drink in every mile of the roadside beauty. The newly remodeled Morris Library is a venue to make our region proud. With its completion, once again Special Collections has been able to move back home from its temporary hangout during the remodeling.

It was good to hear Melissa Hubbard and Dr. Herman Peterson review for us the work that the 1930’s historians--George Washington Smith, history professor, and John G. Mulcaster, retired Makanda station master--accomplished for the l00th anniversary of the Trail through our region. I especially liked Melissa’s explanation of how the professional historian worked one way collecting documentation while Mulcaster, the amateur like so many of us doing current research on the Trail, worked out in the field interviewing old-timers and thankfully taking the few photos we have of buildings that have since perished. And it felt good to hear Dr. Peterson express gratitude for both kinds of researchers.

We saw a short preview of the next episode of We Shall Remain that will be shown in our region at 8 tomorrow night. Vickie Devenport and Harvey Henson of Southern Illinois University Carbondale had the wonderful “Mapping the Trail of Tears in Southern Illinois” on display in the beautiful new round reception room where we gathering before and after the meeting in the new auditorium. It was fun to see the new coffee bar nearby named Delyte after our beloved SIUC president, the late Delyte Morris. He was there when the library was built in 1955 replacing the old Wheeler Library.

After the meeting at the library and the board meeting following, Gerald and I had a date with our daughter’s family to celebrate her birthday. Gerald had stayed home to follow both Gerry's and Erin's softball games--and I would have liked to also.

Katherine was hoping to be up to going out to get out of the house, but I had also offered to carry in our supper. That turned out to be her choice. So the menu was chicken and dumplings with slaw from Cracker Barrel with some of their old-fashioned bottled sodas. I’d taken one birthday cake in yesterday, and her sister Mary Ellen had sent a second cake yesterday afternoon along with a beautiful bouquet of lilies that Katherine adored. David brought out the ice cream.

Brian carried the flowers and cake into Katherine yesterday because Mary Ellen was much too sick to go in—not wanting to expose Katherine to the lingering cold that seemed to have suddenly turned into something worse. (Mary Ellen came down with Trent and Bri and Fifi in order to meet with a realtor about some acreage they are in process of buying. Brian was already down here farming.) By today Mary Ellen’s whispering voice was more inaudible than yesterday. When Brian took her to urgent care, she had to get four prescriptions from the pharmacy before she and the kids drove back to Lake Saint Louis. Since Brian stayed down to farm, he was able to join us for the birthday celebration tonight.

It was really fun and restful to avoid the crowds at the local restaurants, and Samuel and his buddy Tyler were able to join us for cake without too much interruption to their basketball playing in the driveway. Scooter was glad to be included in the birthday party too.

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