Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Springtime in Southern Illinois

Driving to town provides welcome change from the sparse color of recent winter drives.  Redbuds reached their peak of beauty in our area for Easter weekend. The dogwood here is just beginning to bloom. The smell of freshly mowed grass is in the air, and the green lawns sport redbuds, peach blossoms, and crab apple blooms. I like the bright yellow blobs of dandelions in many lawns, and they make me think of our late friend Zella Cain, who also liked dandelions.

 Not all but most of the lacy white blossoms on pear trees have now been replaced with small green leaves matching the abundant greenery of grass and the leaves on shade trees during this annual reawakening. However, trees in woods along the roadside seem slower to achieve leaves, and that makes the appearance of the occasional redbud blossoms peeking through bare brown limbs especially lovely. 

Unplowed fields are often covered with the pinkish purple of henbit, and occasional bunches of yellow mustard plants are showing up.  The large patch of daffodils that I annually sneak a bouquet from has now been replaced with lovely paperwhites that seem extraordinarily abundant this year. I assume these daffodils and paperwhites were planted by the same woman oh so long ago beside a house no longer there.  She would be surprised at how they have spread out over this large area beside the road and up into the bordering woods.  

Although we had a smaller group than usual for Easter at the farm, Cecelie persuaded her mother to take her to Bloomington, where she caught a ride down with her brother Elijah at Illinois State.  Despite the pressure of end-of-semester work coming up, Brianna came home from Murray State.  These kids all landed at Mary Ellen and Brian’s farm house and stayed there, but were in and out of Woodsong as they planned their usual group shenanigans, which this year included kidnapping their cousin Sam to join them despite his not feeling well.  (Yesterday’s definitive diagnosis of Lyme disease started him on a 21-day regimen of antibiotic and the promise of feeling better in ten days. This was a relief.  How he has kept going full speed despite growing sicker all the time is beyond me.) 

These kids went over and volunteered to help hide eggs on the church lawn at our village church, and they stayed up to all hours talking over summer plans, current happenings, and the transitions in their lives. They did all their customary childhood activities including dying eggs and making Easter nests on the lawn.  Mary Ellen had volunteered to do the centerpiece for our dining room table, and it was very cute with the metal rabbit she had found the previous weekend at Hannibal, MO. She hosted the egg dying and brought over the bunny cake and the goodies for the kids to decorate it. (I think she was seven or eight when I turned over that decorating over to her.) 

Elijah gifted us with a beautiful song at worship in the village before we gathered for Sunday dinner here.   Katherine had worked out precision plans for an aide to bring her out for Easter dinner, but she was unusually weak and felt too bad to come.  The evening aide did get her to church Sunday night for at least part of the service.
Since our Georgia families were involved with softball games at Athens’ Jack Turner Stadium, we spent some time both Saturday and Sunday afternoons watching that series on the University of Georgia website.  We won two out of those three games and were disappointed again today to lose a home game against Georgia State.  Next we play three games against Alabama at Tuscaloosa on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Both Gerald and Brian have been busy lately burning the limb piles from winter clearing. Gerald has cleaned out flower beds, mowed the huge lawn he has created, plowed the garden and done some planting already. Brian began farming this week after the delay caused by the heavy rains.

Somehow Gerald has found time to go with his brother Keith over to Southeast Missouri Hospital at Cape Girardeau to sit with their brother Garry, who is there with Ginger, the love of his life.  Our sister-in-law has been the victim of multiple strokes, seizures, and the resulting problems since December of 200l.  (There had been previous episodes, but that 2001 stroke was the disabling one that they have had to cope with.)  Garry and Ginger are both heroes in my view.

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