Friday, March 25, 2011

"Just hang around,,,"

Probably many places use the same motto Southern Illinoisans often do: “If you don’t like the weather, just hang around and it will change.” It has likely been said here many times the last two days.

Wednesday afternoon Gerald and I drove over to Carbondale under a bright blue sky decorated with fluffy mountains of white clouds so beautiful that I could hardly take my eyes away.

At the Southern Illinois University softball stadium, I pulled out the sunscreen and slathered my sun-warmed arms and was grateful for my straw hat. I had to pull the hat far down on my head so it would not blow off and occasionally even then had to grab it, but that breeze felt good in the heat. We were disappointed that SIUC lost to University of Illinois 5-2, but enjoyed seeing Chelsea Held make her first homerun of the season. Gerald has been cheering her on since her Southern Force days.

We heard it was to be cold the next morning, and it was. Gerald worked outside all day yesterday with heavy winter coat and hat. I stubbornly did not put on a sweater when I worked in the garage or made a brief errand outside, and I chose a jacket last night to keep from having to put on a winter coat for our Southern Illinois Writers Guild meeting.

Our speaker was held up at another meeting, so after our business meeting was finished, there was time for some group sharing and then to visit awhile. Don Barnett of DuQuoin was there for the first time with his debut novel They Shall Take Up Serpents. Working full time, he took four years to complete the novel based on his award-winning play written while obtaining his masters in playwriting at SIUC. From his comments,I felt he must have have done considerable research.

Barnett said his novel takes place in Harlan County, KY, where his family had roots, and the book tells the fictional story of a snake-handling preacher there and of the courtroom drama after a man died from a snake bite. Don was wearing a black cap and T shirt with “Bloody Harlan” in large scary red letters given to him when he visited for a signing in a book store there. His hotel also let him set up to sell his books in the lobby.

Don delights in hearing stories. I am sure he listened well in Harlan County and heard many local tales while gathering material for the second novel he is already working on about the Hinsley family. He discovered while writing the book that his great grandmother, who is terrified of snakes, actually participated in a snake-handling service in that county. Now I have one more book waiting on the counter upstairs making me wish I had nothing to do but to read books.

Our son-in-law Brian had come down yesterday to farm. After I got home from Writers Guild, I was still at the kitchen table reading Springhouse magazine that had come in yesterday’s mail when he came in from the field. So at 11 p.m., I heated up the left-over Mexican chicken pie that I’d fixed for Gerald and my lunch.

We woke up this morning to a cold drizzle mixed with bits of snow, so no one was too eager to go outside. But I had to leave at noon and head back to Carbondale for an echocardiogram and annual visit with cardiologist, who said I was doing just great. (I take one little pill a day for a fast heart beat and really have no problem.)

I had loaded the car trunk this morning to relieve the garage of our large accumulation of recyclables. Carbondale is the only place I know that takes glass, and I was glad to get rid of it and all the newspapers, plastic, cans, catalogs, and phone books.

I still had some time, so I decided I should stop at the mall. Today I knew I had to wear a coat, but I should have left it in the car when I went inside. After a mocha and a breather at the coffee shop, I went on to the nearby department store and I actually found a larger crock pot I wanted on sale in the kitchen department. Of course, it was in a huge awkward box and I started carrying it in hopes there might be a place to actually purchase it close by although there was no clerk to ask. The coat had made me hot and the box instantly seemed much too bulky and heavy to search for register. I put it down, took off my coat, and headed to the car to join the 5 p.m. traffic to Marion and then to the farm.

Gerald was already in his office following the Georgia softball team playing the University of Florida at Gainesville on Game Tracker. I quickly loaded sandwich fixings, baked chips, and fruit and delivered our “picnic” in a basket to join him for supper as we cheered Georgia to a 10-7 victory in the 7th inning. Brianna Hesson’s homerun was the thriller today.

SIUC in the meantime had their softball game tomorrow against Creighton cancelled because of the snow in Omaha. They will play a double header on Sunday if the weather allows. Bet folks up there are hoping, “Just hang around and the weather will change.”

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