Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Calm After the Storm

Most Southern Illinoisans now have electricity, and life is returning to somewhat normal. One dog who refused to sleep where he was when the storm hit is now willing to return to his proper house. Some kids will go back to school tomorrow, but some communities haven’t opened their schools yet. People are having to clean out freezers full of spoiled food. The sound of chain saws fill the air. Tempers flare easily. Emergency rooms are tending to people injured doing clean-up. Gerald says that the trees with huge roots still on them are really difficult and tricky to deal with and make the chain saws more dangerous than usual.

This note from a writer friend is probably pretty typical of most folks’ situation: “The house was spared, but we lost at least half of our trees, including one we had planted 2 years ago. (It was crushed by another tree.) We were in the Minneapolis area when it happened. Our son, who lives out by Lake of Egypt was able to come over and unload our freezer and save the major freezer stuff. It will take me all summer to get the yard cleaned up.”

Everyone is grieving lost trees but very grateful that rather amazingly there was only one fatality.

Since our village of Crab Orchard did have electricity turned back on last night, it was decided to not cancel our annual women’s banquet at church this Friday night. I just got home an hour or so ago from helping Kim Barger and Sharon Odom decorate the downstairs dining room.

Our speaker is artist Marie Samuel, who has done a lot of research and art work with aprons. So now we have aprons—beautiful ones, utilitarian ones, well worn ones, and never-used fancy ones—all over the walls. The sweetest apron of all is one the right size for a four-year-old, which was made for Sharon when she was about that age.

One apron I took over has this story pinned on it: “Cheryl Hall worked in Center’s Vacation Bible School the year of her wedding. Cheryl asked two of the students in her class--Tom Richey and Gerry Glasco-- to be in her wedding to Noel Bascom, which was at Center Baptist Church on July 10, 1970. Cheryl and her mother Betty Hall asked Helen Richey and Sue Glasco to serve at the reception held in the educational building--with all the folding doors open making a nice reception area. Helen and Sue were given these pretty hostess aprons to wear while serving.” The apron reminds me of the two special deceased friends, Betty and Helen, and a young bride who is now a grandmother living in Springfield, Missouri. And the two young boys are middle-aged men living in Florida and Georgia.

The tables are pretty with pink gingham cloths and special napkins and little apron refrigerator magnet favors someone had made for us. Candles inside white vases donated after a special young lady’s wedding grace the tables. With the lids off, the candles are already filling the air with the smell of vanilla. Sharon is planning on going to Stevens tomorrow for some rose runners to put between the candles. You can rest assured they will be stored afterwards for future parties.

We’ve developed an inexpensive way to decorate at our village church by choosing a theme and then asking everyone to bring whatever fits the theme. With minimum expense, we can usually turn the dining room into whatever atmosphere we want to create. The stories and the memories evoked are always enjoyed. I especially enjoyed the ancient antique can of Old Dutch Cleanser that Kim brought. The familiar hard-working wooden-shoed woman in her apron reminds me of the respect that good housekeeping brought to women whose homes were their careers.

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