Saturday, September 25, 2010

The 18th Annual Bus Reunion

Hugs and handshakes. Love and laughter. Music and memories. All of these seemed to reinforce the theme “Reflections of the Past” at the reunion of former members of the Baptist Student Union at Southern Illinois University. We gathered around lovely colorfully appointed tables in the back area of Vandalia’s First Baptist Church’s sanctuary for a delicious soup and sandwich supper Thursday to start our fellowship.

After accidentally starting with three or four couples at a garage sale those many years ago, this reunion on the fourth Thursday and Friday in September has grown to include not just those who were members in the 1940s, but gradually to include those of us in the 1950s and 1960s.

New friendships have been formed and old ones renewed. Group jokes have developed, including the story of the long ago filling station owner who sniffed at the banner on the BSU bus heading to Ridgecrest: “Those college kids don’t even know how to spell bus.” Because I no longer hear well, I was not sure if our new president Ginger Wells explained that the large program title “18th ANNUAL BUS REUNION” was intentional or not, but we liked that spelling and the common memory.

Although no one mentioned A.B. and Rosa Lee Plunkett and the prayer room this year, that too has become part of our common memory. And most folks understood when Nate Adams said he appreciated Ginger’s introduction because we too remembered our former long-time president Helen Galloway’s fun way of introducing him. (Actually I think Nate was a little let down to not be able to enjoy Helen’s embarrassing him.) Bill Eidson, our keynote speaker after supper, added a couple of new stories that will likely become group property as he recalled Doyle Dorm antics. Gene Wells had to take the mike away from him to explain why they fixed that top bunk to fall through with Bill.

Bob and Oleta Barrow made us all nervous when Bob started drawing out from a clear plastic bag the names of four couples to play the Oldie Wed Game. Ginger and Gene (who did the best at knowing each other’s minds), Darrell and Verona Highsmith, and Tom and Delores Gwaltney were called to the platform. Only when the Barrows’ names were drawn next, were we allowed to catch on to the smaller bag hidden within the larger bag. Relaxing then, we even enjoyed that little joke on us. We were just relieved not to have to publicly remember our first kiss, our worst cooking disaster, our spouse’s most irritating trait, and so on, but I suspect most of us tried to recall all those events as we laughed at the chosen ones’ efforts.

A surprise roast for Helen Galloway was a loving attempt to pay her back for all her years of flinging fun-filled insults. However, the roast did not really result in many negative memories, although Jim Robinson made up some. Helen was gracious as well she should have been considering her well-deserved reputation for wicked repartee. Personally, I think she got off easy.

Yet I think Verona’s memory was the most accurate evaluation of Helen’s service to all of us: when Verona was a young girl, Helen came to her church and Verona knew then what she wanted to be like when she grew up. (One of the cutest moments of the evening was when Verona made sure she sat so that she separated Ginger and Darrell after Darrell greeted Ginger with a hug at the start of the Oldie Wed game. Clearly she had achieved Helen’s ability to make us laugh.) Helen enthused over all the Cardinal gifts she found in her gift bag, and we all loved the buttons honoring Helen with her photo that we received.

The reunion choir stayed to practice for the next day, and the rest of us left for a night’s sleep. We were relieved that though the coffee and yummy rolls and muffins would be waiting for the Friday morning gathering at 8:30, if we came to visit and for photo taking, the formal program wouldn’t start until l0:30.

With many of us wearing our Helen Galloway pins, that morning program brought more beautiful music and great inspiration. Vandalia’s Abe Clymer gave us a historical welcome dressed as Abe Lincoln and taught us a little about Lincoln’s service in the legislature at the first state capitol there at Vandalia. Wendell Garrison brought new spiritual insight as he pointed out that John 17 taught us that God loved us as He loved his son Jesus. The reunion choir echoed that with their singing. Lora Blackwell shared both personal experience and practical information as to how we could share with those with less resources than ourselves. (I’m excited that I can make some space on our book shelves by sharing some of those long neglected books.) Darrell Highsmith, who has served around the world as a chaplain, brought reflections on how our past had prepared him and us so that we could benefit others.

After a bountiful catered lunch, we enjoyed more group singing and more beautiful music including Rayford Raby at the piano playing medleys of our favorite hymns. I was so glad I responded to Ginger’s request and had asked for “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” Jerry Casey thrilled us with her singing before we were treated to Nate Adams’ informative and challenging address pointing to changes that will come with this century. He shared his confidence that we can meet the challenges.

It was hard to say goodbye to those we won’t see again until next year and with the knowledge that some we will never see again in this life.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Remembering Cherokee Ancestors

After a delicious finger-food style dinner for conference registrants inside the interpretative building at the Fort Massac State Park—the oldest state park in Illinois, Gerald and I walked over to watch the peaceful movement of the barges on the Ohio River.

Gradually the round moon high above the river became brighter as the sky darkened. We moved over to the chairs in front of a plain wooden stand with only a straight chair on it. Sandy Boaz, our Illinois Chapter president of the Trail of Tears Association, asked us to let our imaginations take us back 172 years. At that time the steam boat of Cherokee Principal Chief John Ross brought him and the last detachment of the Forced Removal down that river right in front of us.

Ross’s detachment, carrying the Cherokee Constitution, had traveled up the Tennessee River to Paducah, where they went down the Ohio to Cairo. They stopped at Cairo at the confluence of the Mississippi because a letter there from Ross’s brother Lewis told him of the desperate situation of the detachments trapped between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers because of the ice floes. Ross finally found a way up to Willards Landing and met with some of the distressed leaders in Southern Illinois.

Tony Girard gave his usual fine performance under the bright round moon as he climbed on that plain stand and became Caleb Tucker, a wagon master on the Trail of Tears. Fulfilling his boyhood dream to become a soldier, Caleb had already quit the service because of what he witnessed in Georgia when he had to help round up the Cherokee families as if they were animals leaving behind their homes and all that they had worked so hard for. He signed on as a civilian to drive one of the wagons on the Trail. By the time Caleb Tucker reached the Mississippi River, he had had all the death and misery that his heart could take. Quoting a superior officer who had previously resigned because of his conscience, Caleb concluded, “This is no job for a soldier.”

The next morning the 15th annual conference and symposium of the Trail of Tears Association was in full swing. Our Illinois board was busy registering those arriving from all over the country including 91 year old Sarah Kirk and her daughter from California.

Later I was to watch Sarah with her granddaughter Deborah on television when the TOTA took a trip to Mantle Rock and to the unveiling of markers for newly certified segments and sites both in Kentucky and Illinois. Sarah’s great grandmother and great grandfather had both perished on that Trail, and she was there in memory of them.

She was sober as she thought of their misery, but her spirit was evident when the journalist interviewing her asked her age. Without a second’s pause, she answered with a twinkle, “Nineteen.” Her granddaughter and another escort were guiding her gently with utmost respect over that rough terrain. I could not help but contrast that with the harsh conditions and lack of respect given her ancestors.

Highlights of the conference for me included hearing the current Principal Chief Chad Smith, scholars Brett H. Riggs, Jace and Laura Weaver, and Daniel Smith. Like all conferences with break-out sessions, I had to make choices and I was very disappointed not to hear Alfred “Alfie” Vick and Illinois’ own Rowena McClinton.

Nor could I attend the final day because Gerald and I were registered to attend an annual convention upstate beginning Thursday afternoon. So I also failed to hear Christopher Haveman, Fay A. Yarbrough, and luncheon keynote speaker Julia Coates. I am sure I would have learned as much at their presentations as I did from the ones I was fortunate enough to attend. I tried not to fret and to just be grateful for all I did get to attend.

Illinois was honored to have all of these serious researchers come here. They and the rest of us were intent on honoring those who walked that cruel Trail from river to river often with bloody feet over frozen ground. And especially we wanted to honor the ancestors who died on the Trail, for more died here than in other state. We cannot change the past, but we must not forget it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

National Trail of Tears Conference in Metropolis, Illinois

This week our National Trail of Tears Association is having its annual conference in Illinois for the first time. We will be starting early in the morning at Metropolis. I am sure the many out-of-state conference attendees are probably already checked in.

If you live in nearby parts of Kentucky. Indiana, or Missouri, you may want to join the free one-man drama tomorrow night open to the public. We hope many Southern Illinoisans will show up although I did not see a story in today's regional paper.

Here is the invitation that I put on Facebook: Come to Ft. Massac State Park on the banks of the Ohio River tomorrow night (Monday, Sept. 20) at 7 o'clock. Bring lawn chairs. Flashlight and flat shoes maybe. National Trail of Tears Association's conference is in Illinois for the first time. Tony Gerard will present a one-man show for conferece and for the public. Tony has many movie credits as well as two one-man shows that are extraordinary.

This will be a busy week for me if I am able to attend all the conference lectures and presentations and help as local hostess when I can. Gerald is meeting me there for Tony's presentation after his trip to Georgia.

Gerald is in Nashville right now having dinner with our granddaughter Leslie after her evening church service. She has had a busy week recording with friends, working at the desk during Parents Week at Belmont, and today judging prose at a local college speech meet.

While in Georgia, Gerald has watched Geri Ann play six or seven softball games, and he has watched University of Georgia softball practices. (Be waiting to hear more on Georgia's new freshmen pitchers: Mo and Go. They promise to be pretty intimidating!) Gerald was able to see Erin before she left for her visit with her A&M buds this weekend. Of course, he enjoyed seeing Mia and Matthew again--the two little ones that Vickie cares for. This morning he was able to attend church with Gerry and family, watched Mo and Go in the afternoon, and then drove towards Nashville later in the afternoon.

Two days later: Correction: Just found out that the nicknames are Mo and Ro, rather than Mo and Go. More on these U of Georgia pitchers in the future if they are half as good as folks think they are! (Both nicknames are first syllables of their last names.) Gerald brought home photos that he took of them.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

2010 Southern Illinois Writers Guild National Contest Winners

Southern Illinois Writers Guild president Jim Lambert sent this email yesterday morning with a list of winners from Roger Poppen, Contest Chair:

Below are our writing contest winners. I think two things are noteworthy: First, the national reach. We had 130 entries from 22states. Second, how well local writers did. Of 18 prize and honorable mention winners, 5 are from Southern Illinois. Roger

================SIWG 2010 Writing Contest Winners==================

POETRY 1. "Redemption" by Adrian S. Potter, Minnetonka MN. 2.
"Wrenching" by Crystal Carey, Tulsa OK. 3,tie. "Another Winter" by Emily Hayes, Carterville IL. 3,tie. "Education" by Adrian S. Potter,
Minnetonka MN. HM "Tropic of Cancer" by Maurice Hirsch, Chesterfield MO. HM "Trust Me, if You Will," by Maurice Hirsch, Chesterfield MO. HM "An Obedient Wife" by Sue Glasco, Marion IL. HM "Waiting for Midnight" by Ellarine Lockie, Sunnyvale CA.

FICTION 1. "Goosepimples" by Dallas Woodburn, Ventura CA. 2. "Ticks" by
Clint Walker, Mattoon IL. 3. "Sounds True" by Dawn Baldwin, Lewisburg
WV. HM "Bite" by Dawn Baldwin, Lewisburg WV. HM "The Tallest Building in Topeka" by Clint Walker, Mattoon IL.

NONFICTION 1. “Just Add Water” by Murray Edwards, Clyde, TX. 2. “Cutting the Cord” by C. Lill Aherns, Corvallis, OR. 3. “I Remember, Grandma” by Lucinda Gunnin, Carterville, IL. HM: “Reading the Blanks” by Janet McCann, College Station TX. HM: “Lives, Interrupted” by Christy Wise, Washington, DC. HM: “The Bird and Bees and Little Red Peppers” by C. Lill Aherns, Corvallis OR.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Advice from One Who Knows--Carl Rexroad

As promised, I want to report on last night's Guild meeting. Woodsong Notes is also posted in Red Room, an authors' website and this post may be more appropriate there, but I know there are some local writers who read my blog here, so I'm going to post both places. Who knows? Maybe non-writers might find the concept of self promotion interesting.

Carl Rexroad has had two careers that make him a trustworthy expert on what can help local authors. Last night he spoke to Southern Illinois Writers Guild and shared his experiences on what makes a local book leave the shelf and go through the cash register in his stores.

After twelve years as editor at The Southern Illinoisan, Carl and his wife Kelly took their love and knowledge of books to a new level and opened The Bookworm in the Eastgate Shopping Center in Carbondale. Now over nine years later, that store is considered the premier regional store for rare books, used books, and local authors’ books.

Even better, when Walden Books left the Marion Illinois Centre Mall, the Rexroads stepped in with plans of their own, and a second Bookworm was created in that location. This new Bookworm features new books, but it is upholding its tradition of encouraging local authors. There is a firm welcome and a generous amount of shelf space for us there. A group signing for local authors was held in June, and another one is in the planning stages now. I had to miss the June one since we were at the college women’s softball world series, but I hope I can make the upcoming group signing.

The Bookworm was one of the first places that I scheduled a book signing when Down on the Farm came out in 2005. (That was how I learned not to schedule two signings in one day. I left Goreville’s Wolf Creek Antiques with plenty of time to reach Carbondale. Shortly before I reached the Marion exit on I-57, a turned-over semi blocked the road making all traffic stop. If I hadn’t had been expected at the Bookworm, I might have even enjoyed the experience. It lasted long enough that people were out of their cars running up and down the road socializing and getting acquainted! I was on the phone apologizing to Carl and Kelly.)

In answer to how to get your book sold in his store, Carl said that authors just bring the books in and ask. This is by consignment. Although he thinks it is important for a book to be well written, he decided to not pass judgment on the books authors bring him. He feels that judgment should be left to his customers. So except for a few mimeographed manuscripts presented to him, he has accepted all local authors’ books. So for no one has presented one so inappropriate that he had to reject it.

Carl explained that fiction by local authors is harder to sell than nonfiction because it is competing with well known fictional authors, such as John Grisham. Yet some authors use regional locales, and that makes the book create a local clientele. I immediately thought of Ann Legan’s books set in the Shawnee Forest or a recent one named Wolf Lake that I gave to my husband because that was where he went to high school. And I thought of all the Metropolis mysteries by Lonnie Cruse. Lois Barrett is back in our region again from Texas, and her earthquake books can be read not only for their plot and characters but also for their local historical content.

Again wishing that all books were well written (what former editor wouldn’t), Carl said nonfiction books sell best and are not bought so much for authors’ writing skill but because local people want that information about our region. They are looking more for stories and facts than they are quality writing. (I know some people who have presumed to write about our region, and their facts are slim, shallow, and shaky. Grrrr.)

I particularly appreciate Jon Musgraves’ books because they are full of his original research and are well documented. Carl explained that authors who continue to write more books develop followings that will make future books sell. Again I thought of Jon. I have sat by him at book signings and people trust that his books will be valued Christmas and birthday gift books, and they come looking for him. He aims to make his books historically accurate and he succeeds.

Carl explained that sometimes books sit for long periods of time with rare sales. Other books seem to fly off the shelf. He is convinced from his observation that authors making a name for themselves makes a difference. That means we must self promote.

When he started telling us how to promote our books, Carl’s knowledge of newspapers and radio stations kicked in. He urged us to send out press releases not only any time we had a new book or a signing, but anytime we received an honor or recognition that would put our name in the newspaper. Of course, our book should be mentioned, and often that mention will bring someone into the store to buy the book.

He always sends out releases from his stores about signings to all area papers and radio stations. Often these are reduced to brief announcements, but those announcements help. Because newspaper people are so busy with deadlines looming, one area of the paper does not know what the other areas receive. So for larger papers, he suggests that you send the release to the editor of each relevant section. He encouraged us not to forget the smaller free papers, who should be sent the same releases. They too bring people in to buy your book. He said the releases the author sends out will probably get better space than his.

Best of all is a long well-written feature story about the author with a photo enclosed. These can be written in third person by the author. (Who knows the facts about a book better than the author?) Carl emphasized these feature stories need to be before the signing, and gave an example of the opposite. The belated story helped but not like it would have if people could have come in and visited with the author. The better news or feature story you write, the more likely it will be used by busy editors who don’t have much time to revise.

One advantage of being a member of a writers’ group is that there are often trained journalists who will gladly accept an offer to write a news story or feature on another writer. If they are paid by column inch or per story, this benefits them, and this may be more pleasant than writing your own press release.

Carl did not mention this, but when you check out advertising rates, you realize how valuable column inches about your book are. If you can send a press release or get someone else to do so, you have free advertising that is more effective than paid advertising many people believe.

Sending to radio stations often results in author interviews, which builds author credibility and name recognition. He mentioned social networking and the importance of a website. Promoting a book is hard work, but he sees the difference promotion makes in his stores. An author has to overcome self effacement and be willing to believe in his books enough to let people know about them.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bull Frog Bottoms

Yay rah! I can boast I’ve been to Bull Frog Bottoms.

I had just returned home to the farm after Jari Jackson and I attended Southern Illinois Writers Guild at John A. Logan College tonight. I locked up for the night and came downstairs to blog about the great program Carl Rexroad gave us on marketing our books, but before I had finished checking Facebook, the phone rang. I figured it was Gerald reporting on Geri Ann’s softball games that he has gone down to Georgia to watch. Instead, it was our son-in-law Brian locked out on the front porch calling me on the phone rather than scaring me with a late-evening doorbell ring.

I scurried up to let him in, and he needed someone to follow him down to his rented land where he is preparing to start harvest tomorrow. I have been curious all summer exactly where this farm was, so I was ready for the adventure. I told him to drive slowly cause I’m not too good at following vehicles.

Soon we were out of familiar territory. After passing several clusters of houses and tiny neighborhoods that I knew, then I had no idea where I was. I keep my foot on the gas pedal lest I lose the red lights in front of me on Brian’s pickup. We did meet one bright-eyed truck coming over one of the hills suddenly, but mostly we were alone on these deep country roads bordered by trees on both sides. Even in the dark, the drive was lovely. I had not realized his farm was so far from ours.

When we arrived at our destination, his tall corn was like a solid wall.  Looks to me like it will do very good. He got in my car to be taken back to his camper up at Wayside Farm, and I had him drive since he is familiar with these roads now.  We went back a different way to reach Route 13, and I knew this road a little better. I found out that the last area we passed through before reaching his rented fields was Bull Frog Bottoms with shallow water on both sides of the road during rainy seasons. Mary Ellen, who remembered the road from her teenage years, had explained that nomenclature to him last spring. I wondered why in the world my young teen had been traveling to Bull Frog Bottoms in those long ago days. As Brian talked to her on the phone, I asked that again, and I noticed I did not get an answer. I wonder how many other places my kids traveled that I knew nothing about! I probably did not supervise them nearly as well as I thought I was doing. Ha.

I was always leery of the back roads here in mining country because one of my early experiences after moving here.  I was going to pick up some kid for scouts or some activity and became lost on these winding confusing roads. There were no cell phones then to call for directions when one was lost. Suddenly in the pitch dark ahead of me was a chair sitting in the middle of the road. Fortunately. When I got out to look, I saw the road ended where mining had begun. Somehow I turned around or backed out and eventually found the right road and picked the child up and returned her safely to her home later.

Well, I have watched the new moon growing larger each night this week, and I enjoyed it on my trip tonight. I am sleepy, and I’m going to have to tell you about Carl Rexroad’s talk tomorrow or sometime.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Peaceful Sunday

There is a swivel chair in our living room by the window. When I read, I turn it from its conversational purposes facing inward so that I can look out over the deck and see the lake. At twilight today, a short border of blue sky was beneath the pale pink cloud cover almost like a soft blanket overhead. The lake to the left and right reflected the overhead pink but in the middle directly in front of me were the bright green trees of Gerald’s little home-made island duplicated in the water. A new moon was already bright in the western sky. I was torn between the book and the visual beauty in front of me.
It had been a peaceful Sunday. Gerald had his usual phone calls with his buddy Bobby down in Texas and with brothers. After church services, we ran into Marion to my favorite restaurant to enjoy dinner—the designated gift to us of a friend from Pennsylvania. Son-in-law Brian came down yesterday to their camper to spray their acreage east of Woodsong and readying for more corn harvesting at the end of this week on some other rented land he farms. So we phoned to see if he’d like to go with us, but he had already eaten.

Driving to and from town, we noticed Brian’s soybean plants are yellowing. Driving by neighbors Ryan and Megan’s house, we enjoyed the huge pumpkins decorating their lawn—the first fall display I’ve seen. The cool weather confirmed that autumn is almost here. I bought a mum from little Miranda—some kind of fund raiser in the community—and it is loaded with buds waiting to pop out soon. The roses seem to be showing off with bigger blooms in a last-ditch effort to celebrate the end of summer. Gerald’s turnips are two or three inches high. He and neighbor Scott are all ready to finish the harvest of the corn plot on the other side of our driveway tomorrow, Jerry Pirtle’s new truck is outside sitting there waiting for Gerald to use to haul off the corn, and Gerald loves few things better than driving a beautiful new truck. It is a busy and happy time of the year when the harvest goes well, and a restful Sunday is appreciated.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Watching Hummingbirds

Daily entertainment is offered by the glass doors of our kitchen opening onto the west end of the deck where we see colorful hummingbirds zipping, zagging, and zapping around the feeder hanging there.

On the other end of the deck outside our bedroom is another hummingbird feeder. If I sit on the porch swing there, the tiny birds will buzz all around me letting me know they are not afraid of me even if I am daring to invade their territory. Their tiny wings make a noisy sound as the birds hover by the feeder or fly past me.
We are not only feeding them but also the wasps and dirt dobbers who like the birds’ sweet sugar water. I am impressed at the steady stream of tiny ants from down below somewhere who come up onto the deck railing and then crawl along the long black wrought iron holder that Gerald uses to put the feeders on so they are away from the deck rail and in easy reach for the tiny birds.
Every year at least five or six during the summer will fly into Gerald’s shop and cannot find their way out. He will find one dead on the floor, and it makes him feel bad. The large machine door openings that they came in can be wide open, but somehow they cannot find their way out.

Yesterday I started to leave for town and there was a colorful hummingbird frantically flyinhg around the ceiling of the garage. The door on my side of the garage was already open and I assumed that is how it got in, but the bird seemed to persist flying on the side of the closed door behind the pickup. I did not want to close my door and leave the poor little thing aimlessly trying to escape. I opened the door behind the pickup, and that caused it to fly to my side where the door was already opened. But did it leave? No, it was flying too high evidently to see the opening. I talked to the bird and explained how it could gets its freedom, but the bird would not listen to my advice. Finally I had to leave, but I could not bear to close my door, so I left it opened and hoped for the best. Much to my relief, the pretty thing was gone when I came home.

Our many martins have already left us for this summer. These hummingbirds will be leaving us for Mexico soon, and we ponder how they make that trip. What allows them to reach their wintering grounds there year after year while they are unable to find their way back out of a building the same way they came in?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

After Labor Day Weekend

Brian’s first harvest of corn is completed with good yields, Mary Ellen and Brianna were down to enjoy harvest with him and take meals to the field sometimes. Sam joined Brianna here at Woodsong, and Mary Ellen brought the tubes for them to enjoy on the lake—her latest enthusiasm. The kids may have enjoyed more putting the tiny dead garden snake on Mary Ellen’s car to scare her. I saw Sam flying out the garage door in order to hear her squeal.

The dining room table is cleared of first aid items put there after Gerald’s ulnar nerve surgery, and his doctor said everything is fine and come back in three months. My plantar fascitis is getting better.

Friends Bill and Mickey Tweedy arrived Sunday afternoon carrying a casserole and a bottle of sweet-smelling hand cream to be given to Katherine. Come to find out, Mickey had been in the hospital I guess until Saturday night. They also carried in a pan of apple dumplings from Flam Orchards, and I was glad the dining room table was cleared. The dumplings were beyond delicious, and we also had crackers and corn dip that Mary Ellen had brought to the farm.

Early medication seems to have held Katherine’s shingles in check although other MS complications have not been so kind. A Saturday trip to the ER because of continuing blood pressure spikes eliminated our fear of heart problems, and she is better. A visit at her house from Mary Ellen and Brianna yesterday afternoon had us laughing hysterically as Mary Ellen told stories in her inimitable way. (When ME was still a preschooler, I was convinced that Carol Burnett had a competitor.) We also had a few giggles from Jeannie and Leslie’s Facebook exchanges this weekend.

Gerry came up from Georgia last week to dove hunt with his dad only to find the huge flocks of doves already moved on to someone else’s fields, but they had a good time visiting anyhow. I enjoyed his presence and serving him meat, which made me think of my mother who always enjoyed planning meat for my brother when he came to visit her. Jim loves good meat, she would say. The men watched on television the first Georgia football game, and Gerry was back home for the final two days of Labor Day Weekend and pitched four hours yesterday. Vickie met Erin in Atlanta last night when she arrived home from Austria.

Another holiday weekend is over. There is more harvest ahead, probably more problems since problems mean we are still alive, and hopefully more laughter and giggles unless we can restrain Les and Jeannie, and that is never gonna happen.