Oh, the places I have been…

I really can’t recall how the topic of being on, or near, the scene of some major

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creative market.com

newsworthy event came up the other night at a party we were hosting, but it made for some interesting conversation for a time with a friend over cold drinks. And long after the party had ended, and I was in the midst of my usual cleanup duties, many more thoughts on the topic flitted around in my head.

I’m pretty sure it was my friend who brought the whole thing up with his telling about his being in attendance at a Super Bowl and a Stanley Cup Championship game seven. True, they were important events, but in the large scope of things they really don’t seem as “crucial” as those events in which I found myself involved–purely by accident.

For instance, I couldn’t help but recall being literally “caught up” in the turmoil and fury that was the violence perpetrated by those wonderful, “clean-cut” protestors in downtown Chicago during the 1968 Democrat National Convention.

A high school friend from Ohio had just flown in for a visit, since my family had recently moved to the Chicago area that summer, and we all had enjoyed a wonderful dinner at one of the cool restaurants on Michigan Avenue early that evening.

ac8248ca6f7f8f6e27265332b976fdea.jpgAfterwards, as we began a leisurely stroll along the avenue, things erupted all around us. Suddenly, the police were swarming and moving people from the area. It didn’t take long to realize that they were pretty serious about their efforts! I recall being sort of trapped near one of the famous lions in front of the Art Institute when I was instructed to get moving, which I gladly did. Staring down the barrel of a riot gun is a bit unsettling.

About the same time, another hord of the “clean cuts” decided to battle back and began one of its signature clashes with the Chicago police. My friend and I somehow avoided the confrontation and hurried back across the avenue to find my parents and sister, which wasn’t easy since that area seemed just as wild and manic as the one we’d just vacated.

Fortunately, we managed to hook up with them and make our way the few blocks to the lot where the car was parked. Without further hesitation, we got out of the boiling city as quickly as possible.

Yep, that was the evening that has become infamous over the years—for both cops and the protestors—and one that will always evoke not-so-pleasant feelings whenever I see a picture of those Art Institute lions!

I had just turned eighteen that summer, and I my idealism was still rather lofty. I had plans to take it all with me when I started at Kent State in a few weeks. And, of course, it was at Kent that I would once again witness turmoil and violence during the next few years up close and personal all too often. And my earlier idealism would take off in a much different direction during that time. I’ll write of that period in the next few posts.

 

 

Catching the magic at the Field of Dreams…again!

For the last two summers right about this same time, we have done something specialIMG_3669.jpg with our two grandsons, kind of a last-of-summer vacation thing.

Last year it was a day trip over to Dearborn, Michigan, to visit the Henry Ford Museum and adjoining Greenfield Village. The four of us enjoyed every minute of that day, and we still often mention that we’d like to return and see all the other things that we didn’t have time to get to. And I’m sure that we will do so sometime down the road.

This year, since we’re both home from the cottage for a few days, we thought it would be neat to take the three-hour drive over to Dyersville, Iowa, home of the Field of Dreams–the farm where the movie was filmed in 1988.

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Playing catch with the grandsons as I did with their dad years ago.

What would make this trip all the more special is that we had taken the boys’ dad—our son—there back in the early 90s when he wasn’t much older than they are now. Playing catch on that magical field with my son all those years ago was, indeed, special, and to do the same with my grandsons seemed like a pretty good thing to do!

As always, we had kept an eye on the weather forecast because it would be rather pointless to set off all that way if rain was imminent. But fortune smiled on us and the day dawned overcast, promising to be in the high 80s by afternoon. Leaving by 7:30 would allow us to reach the place out in the Iowa cornfields by late morning, before the heat became too stifling.

And so, with the wheelie cooler chock full of bottles of water and snacks, we hit the road and enjoyed the countryside, with the flatness of home giving way to the rolling terrain of northwest Illinois, our journey taking us over US-20 past Rockford, Freeport, Stockton, Galena, and over the Mississippi River at Dubuque, Iowa. Dyersville and the Field of Dreams is just a short drive onward from there, and we had no trouble locating the charming place once more, even after so many years.

Jackson and Matthew spent most of the trip there watching the movie on a laptop. For Jackson it was the first time he’d seen it, and we all agreed that it was a good thing he had so the site would mean more to him.

If you build it, he will come…

Of course, I’ve seen the movie countless times over the years, and never fail to get caught up in the story and its homage to baseball and the role it plays in so many lives, generation after generation. I would think that even non-baseball fans would find something intriguing in the tale that starred Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones.

IMG_3693The movie was based on the book Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella. Interestingly, I read this book for the first time this summer, and knowing we were going to be visiting the movie site, I wanted to compare the original story with the film’s treatment of it.

To say that it had many diversions and changes would be a vast understatement. Although I usually prefer the original work, in this case I tend to lean toward the Hollywood version—grudgingly, of course! Not sure about some of the “additional” characters the author included in the original, and I think the story worked fine without most of them. But that’s merely my opinion, mind you.

Go the distance…

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“Lefty” Jackson hurls a strike from the Field of Dreams mound.

The hour or so we were there, playing catch, batting with other kids and adults there for perhaps the same reasons, was just enough and well timed. After a brief snack break on a picnic table under some beautiful tall pines near the old farmhouse, the heat had begun to rise, the boys were sweaty and dusty, and Carolyn and I were hot and ready to get back into the air-conditioned comfort of the Equinox.

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“Slugger” Matthew knocks one to center!

A quick visit to the gift shack to check things out, and then we were ready to pull out of the place and begin our trip back home to Illinois. And, of course, it was about that time when we were all ready for some lunch. Our plan was to stop for a nice sit-down meal (no drive-thru, fast-food adventures this trip!) and enjoy the cool atmosphere and some good food somewhere around Galena.

As it turned out, we continued through the Galena area and on to the small town of Stockton about an hour away. To our delight, right there on our route in the small town was an attractive log building named JJ & Freddie’s. The service was friendly and attentive, the food was good,

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Matthew and Grandma relaxing in the cool comfort of the restaurant on our way home.

the draft beer I enjoyed was quite refreshing, and the air conditioning was superb! Each of us was fully contented at this point.

Re-fueled and refreshed now, we were back on the road to home and I even managed a nice nap as Carolyn got us home in good shape around 4:30. The hot afternoon couldn’t diminish the wonderful morning’s fun and smiles we’d all shared on our little trek over to the magical Field of Dreams.

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About to enter the corn after a good workout on the Field of Dreams.

Cold weather, many miles & a grandson celebration!

One Good Thing…
It’s time for the weekly  post of a feature I’ve chosen to title “One Good Thing.” Each weekend, I’ll post something about what has been good to—or for—me during the week.
The week just past…

It was another busy week trying to “fit” everything in that needed “fitting” in. Mowing,IMG_1748.jpg trimming, and spraying those nasty dandelions and continuing to get it all in shape was high on my list.

My opportunities for such tasks were very limited due to cold and rainy weather that had decided to settle in for most of the week, and I would be gone all of Thursday and Friday as well. Despite the cold, it was a dry Wednesday, allowing me to get it all done then.

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Matthew

We celebrated our younger grandson’s first Communion on Saturday morning and afterwards had a wonderful and relaxed get-together for lunch and fun back at his house.

The chill of the incessant rain couldn’t dampen the spirit of the day, nor the tasty variety of burgers, brats, and hot dogs our son grilled for us. They went very nicely with the potato and macaroni salads.

It was a delightful touch of a summer picnic, even though we were dressed as though it were November!

In order for Great-Grandma Pat (my mom) to attend, I had to make another whirlwind trip to Port Clinton, Ohio (about six hours away), on Thursday to pick her up.

By 8 a.m. Eastern time Friday morning, she and I were on our way back from where I’d come the day before, arriving in Illinois that afternoon.

To say that I was a bit “road weary” would be a vast understatement, but we even managed to travel a ways out to watch a few innings of the grandsons’ baseball game that evening.

It was a cold and windy affair, but we were able to park in such a spot that Grandma could stay inside the warm car and catch most of the action before we agreed that it had been a long day and it was time to head to our house for sleep. No arguments from me on that!

And as I write this now, relaxed and comforted to know that we have nowhere we need to go of any great distance today, I look back on the week which hurried right on by and count my blessings for all of the good things I have.

I am proud of my grandsons and know that whatever lies ahead in their lives, they have some very good grounding to help get them through all that lies ahead.

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(ohioturnpike.org)

And, yes, Grandma Pat and I will be making the drive back to her place in Ohio tomorrow morning. I can’t wait to see that long highway once again!

Until next time…

That’s one good thing!

Hey, thanks for everything!

One Good Thing…
It’s time for the weekly  post of a feature I’ve chosen to title “One Good Thing.” Each weekend, I’ll post something about what has been good to—or for—me during the week.
This week…

I didn’t post last weekend due to being away from the old “writing machine” for IMG_1118.jpglonger than I had expected. It has been a stretch of days where the weather has been such that the duties outside took precedence. Besides, when it’s finally in the 70s and absolutely gorgeous out there, I find it very difficult to be inside at my desk trying to concentrate on writing!

At any rate, there are many good things of which to write, and they all rank very high on my personal scale: Weather; grandkids; Carolyn’s job.

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Late-afternoon fire on the patio
As I’ve written recently, the weather has finally come around to provide us the opportunity to get outside, to breathe the good air, to soak up the warmth of the sun, and to watch the grass, plants, and trees come alive.

The farmers have begun getting their fields ready for planting (corn or soybeans) and it’s always a good feeling to know that soon new life will be sprouting all over this part of northern Illinois.

The writing front…

Having been a bit lax and negligent of seriously getting work done on my current work in progress, a novel titled Birchwood’s Secret, I chiseled out time this past week to actually make some progress with it. It was a good time to look with a fresh vision at what had been sitting for a while. I was glad to be back among my characters at the resort where I left them. I think I’m ready to move the whole thing along to a conclusion. Stay tuned!

Soccer & retirement…

Saturday morning—a perfect one it was—found us at our grandson’s first soccer game of the season. The event was even more special for my wife, Carolyn, since it was the first time she’d had an opportunity to see the boys play soccer–or anything else, really–on a Saturday because she’s always been at work during those times.

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After 46 years, a celebratory beverage is in order!
After 46 years of working as a hair dresser, she’s finally calling it quits on May 25th. Recently she began the process by “phasing out” the Saturdays and is now down to just two days a week. She’s excited, yet will miss her many clients and co-workers.

The road ahead…

We will be able to plan more things to do together and enjoy both of our retirements more fully. Her retirement will also mean that this summer will be the first one she will actually be able to spend more time at the lake cottage.

Plans for a trip to Alaska in 2017 are in the planning stages as well as fall and winter road trips and little excursions to see things in our own backyard.

When I sat down to write this post, I wasn’t entirely certain which direction it would take. But after a couple of minutes, I realized that I didn’t have to sweat it at all. It’s quite clear that I have so much for which to be thankful, and that’s always easy to write  about.

Until next time, that’s one good thing…IMG_1226.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend’s end…

It’s late Sunday night, the conclusion of a very busy and good weekend. First a road trip to Wisconsin. Then our grandsons’ basketball games. Finally, dinner and a hockey game with family and friends.

It started early Friday morning with a drive through rural northern Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin, with two good friends.

The drive over took us through countryside we’d not been before, and it was a very pleasant and relaxing trip covering just under ninety miles.

Unknown.jpegWhy Kenosha? There is a Civil War Museum there located on the beautiful lakefront of Lake Michigan. Plus, it was just one of those times when we were ready for what the wife and I call a “field trip.”

Sometimes our trips are centered around genealogy searches, and others are all about doing and/or seeing something new. And what better way to enjoy one of our field trips than with two very good, long-time friends?

After a few hours of exploring the wonderful museum, we were ready to head out for lunch at the famous Brat Stop that would be right on our way back home.brat-stop.jpg

The place is located halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee and features good bratwurst and various cold beers. It’s been around since the 60s and is one of those combination bar/restaurant/cheese shops that tends to lure tourists and other travelers in!

The next morning began early once again, finding us in attendance at each of our two grandsons’ basketball games, followed by an hour’s drive up to Rockford where we had a 5:00 dinner reservation.

After a delicious dinner at Capri’s Italian Restaurant, we took in an exciting hockey game between the Rockford Ice Hogs and the Iowa Wild. There was plenty of excitement that kept young and old on the edge of our seats!

By the time we got back home, it was almost midnight, and after our whirlwind two days, we were worn out and looking forward to a quiet Sunday following church and a pancake breakfast.

And so the day turned out to be pretty much just what we expected. I caught up on my blogging activities, reading and commenting on many that I follow, and Carolyn napped and enjoyed the peace and quiet.

And now we close it down and prepare for another week ahead. Until next time… 🙂

Birthday meatloaf and all those memories…

It’s another glorious day here in beautiful northern Illinois, and I have to force myself to stay inside and work on this post. I did get my brisk twenty-minute walk in earlier and am ready to put forth the proper effort to post this today. However, I’m going to need a stretch of rainy days soon in order to get the necessary motivation to move along on the writing! Be that as it may, today is a special one.

Jackson-the birthday boy!
Jackson-the birthday boy!

It is the 10th birthday of our first grandson, Jackson, and we had the opportunity to have him here after school yesterday and to enjoy one of Grandma Carolyn’s famous meatloaf dinners. He and brother Matt did quite a number on the delicious morsel, so today’s lunch offerings for me will be rather slim.

I clearly recall the morning Jack was born ten Septembers ago. I was just getting my first period 6th graders started on a language arts lesson when the office buzzed me to tell me I had an important phone call. Sensing that something very important was about to be imparted to me, the students became unusually silent—waiting for me to convey the news we’d all been eagerly anticipating.

As soon as my son said, “Dad, you’re a grandpa of a little boy, named Jackson Joshua,” I stood up from my chair and my smile and excited expression were all the students needed to know that the waiting was over. They spontaneously burst into shouts and clapping, and didn’t even make fun of me for the tear or two (or more!) that trickled down my cheeks at this important moment in my life.

“Who does he look like?” I asked.

“Winston Churchill,” my good son replied.

I suppose that was a pretty good description, since most newborns tend to be wrinkled and squinty and like cigars!

From that moment on, these ten years have swiftly flown by, and they’re seemingly speeding up all the more. We have enjoyed so many wonderful moments with this kid, and anticipate making more memories as the days, weeks, months, and years continue to grind away at breakneck speed.

Jack arrived at the perfect time, too. That was the fall the White Sox won the World Series, and I was only a short span away from retirement. To this day, I call him my good luck charm, despite recent on-the-field ineptness by our favorite baseball team. As for the retirement part, it’s been all good and getting better every day.

Typing this now, I think of the fun Jack must be having at school right now. He’s all smiles and laughter and making sure everyone around him is having a good time. He’s basking in the glow of being 10 and milking everything he can from this special day. Go ahead, Jack, it’s YOUR day!

Grandson number two, Matthew, will celebrate eight years in January, so we can do it all over again. Grandma Carolyn will probably be “conned” into preparing another meatloaf dinner, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s easy when you truly love these little guys the way we do.

Matthew William
Matthew William

Rain on the roof & cottage life…

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The “ancient one” Still standing after all these years!

Well, here we are. Once again, I’m going to break away from my summer hiatus and post this while I have a fairly decent Internet connection.

Mid-July is here, and the first really hot, sticky weather is scheduled to pay us a visit. Can’t complain, though, since I’ve been donning a sweatshirt most mornings and afternoons around here since Opening Weekend in late May. Plus, the nights have been those we consider “good sleeping” ones.

It rained all night, and there’s nothing as soothing as the steady rain on the cottage roof, knowing that all windows and porch blinds are secured and the futon is covered with Visqueen. The summer rain is another magical reason for spending time in this ancient structure. When there’s no driving wind coming across the lake from the southwest, the all-night rains are relaxing and comforting. Such was last night’s.

Novel Progress…

I have been very busy up here in my self-imposed “exile” doing much thinking about how I’m going to rescue my novel but haven’t made the strides I’d hoped to by this point. Perhaps it’s not meant to be, but I won’t give up on it. It stays on my mind, even when I sit down to attempt to write something else in the meantime. Must be a subliminal message in there trying to tell me something. We shall see.

Summer Reading…

Even if the writing isn’t moving swimmingly along, my summer reading is! Within the past weeks I’ve read Fierce Patriot, the story of the many-sided life of William Tecumseh Sherman; The Boys in the Boat, a wonderful true story of determination and victory against all odds; Dr. Sleep, Stephen King’s sequel to his classic The Shining; David McCullough’s newest, The Wright Brothers. Next up in the reading department is a revisit to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, a book I read a million years ago and forgot just how terrific it is. I’ll follow that with her “latest” offering, Go Set a Watchman.

President George W. Bush awards the Presidenti...
President George W. Bush awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to author Harper Lee during a ceremony Monday, Nov. 5, 2007, in the East Room. “To Kill a Mockingbird has influenced the character of our country for the better. It’s been a gift to the entire world. As a model of good writing and humane sensibility, this book will be read and studied forever,” said the President about Harper Lee’s work. White House photo by Eric Draper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s nice to know that when the writing–or the inspiration for writing–is lacking or going nowhere, I have those friends waiting on my shelf here in the cottage and I can lose myself within their pages.

By my next post, perhaps I’ll have some good things to say about my efforts to accomplish some writing and make some inroads into baling my novel out of the tarn in which it currently languishes! I’m thinking that the only way to do so will be to take the premise that is there and start over with a fresh re-write and finally put my mind at ease. Glad my income isn’t dependent upon producing a book on any sort of schedule!

Now, back to practical things around here. My son’s family arrives this evening for the weekend, so I need to do some basic cottage tidying-up and make the bed in the back bedroom upstairs. With the warm weather predicted, it’s sure to be a couple of days of playing in the lake.

I’ll go home Sunday afternoon for a dentist appointment on Monday morning, take care of yard work, and then make a two-day trip to Ohio to see my mom. By week’s end, I’ll be back up here in “exile,” back to the task of making my novel something decent.

National Register of Historic Places listings ...
National Register of Historic Places listings in Ottawa County, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s hoping your weekend and days ahead are all good. Until next time…

Elkins, WV & pizza in the Canaan Valley…

(This is the second part of my posting about our recent ten-day trip to North Carolina, West Virginia, and Ohio. The previous post stopped with our arrival at our hotel in Beckley, WV.)

 

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Tamarack, West Virginia (Wikipedia)

Waking to a dismal dark morning of rain, we checked out of our hotel in Beckley and made our way the short distance to Tamarack, located in a service area of the West Virginia Turnpike, so Carolyn could browse all of the arts and crafts shops in the uniquely circular building with a colorful red peaked roof. Everything on display and/or for sale inside is West Virginia made: Wood carvings, glass, pottery, metal work, jewelry, books, and other specialty items.

After a while, our Tamarack tour completed, we scurried out into a downpour and set off once again and were headed up US-19 toward Elkins, about two-and-a-half hours away. We were fortunate as we clicked off the miles that the rain abated frequently, allowing us to take in the rolling scenery passing by.

By mid-afternoon we entered Elkins and called my cousin Roger, who was to meet us and lead ELKINS SEAL-rgbus back to his home. By this time, the rain had stopped completely, and we enjoyed the clear view of the surrounding mountains and life alongside the Tygart Valley River.

From Roger, recently retired from the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, we would learn a massive amount about the land and beauty of the entire area. For example, considered the gateway to the Monongahela National Forest, Elkins has long been a destination for sightseers and outdoor adventure enthusiasts alike, and we encountered many such folks the two days we spent in the area. It was also very easy to understand why Roger loved spending thirty-six years working here, being one of those outdoor enthusiasts himself! He has never known a river he wouldn’t love to fish, or a hill or woods he wouldn’t enjoy hunting for grouse!

We spent the remainder of the first day there with Roger and Jeannie getting caught up with family news and pleasant chit-chat about this, that, or the other thing, happily off the road.

The Blackwater River in its upper course in Ca...
The Blackwater River in its upper course in Canaan Valley Resort State Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wednesday found us loading into Roger’s SUV for a drive up to Canaan Valley and Blackwater Falls State Park.

We quickly learned that the correct pronunciation is Canain rather than the familiar Biblical pronunciation. At any rate, the area is like a bowl, tucked into the mountains, and it is a popular tourist attraction, especially for hikers and bikers.

Roger pointed out all of the wetlands that are a great part of the area, and the start of the Blackwater River that runs through the valley and gushes noisily over the Blackwater Falls nearby.

Siren's Cafe-Wonderful pizza!
Sirianni’s Cafe…Davis, WV–Wonderful pizza!

After a nice tour of the falls and valley area, it was time for lunch, and we weren’t disappointed in Sirianni’s, located in the tiny burg of Davis. Famous for its pizza and various pasta dishes, the place had atmosphere—as well as delicious pizza!

Being from the Chicago area, we are familiar with quality pizza, but this was definitely worth writing about. The thin crust, which I prefer, was crisp and tasty, and the sausage, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tomato sauce were delicious. In short, it didn’t take the four of us very long to devour the large pie before we headed back to the car and back to Elkins.

As it turned out, that day was the perfect one for our excursion up to Canaan Valley as the rain stayed away. It returned through the night, however, and we had it along with us on our two-and-a-half hour drive to Athens, Ohio, the next morning once we bid farewell to Roger and Jeannie.

We both look back on our little trip, away from home for ten days, with good feelings about each place we stopped and visited and explored the countryside. Thanks to all who shared their homes and surroundings with us. It was a fantastic journey!

English: Monongahela National Forest entrance ...
English: Monongahela National Forest entrance gate along Old US 33 east of Elkins, West Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spring travels and microfilm searches…

AldenI write this, nestled in the microfilm section for local newspapers, in the lower level of the Alden Library here on the beautiful campus of Ohio University. I’m all alone, except for my wife, who is somewhere on the other side of the room, reeling rolls of microfilm of issues from the late 1900s, searching for obituaries of long-dead relatives.

I have been busily trying to get a decent connection for Internet access, but being an outsider without the proper OU ID card, I’ve not been able to do so, although I have connected to the GUEST WI-FI, but that still isn’t allowing me to “get out” and access anything on the Internet. That’s OK, but what scared me was the error message I kept getting regarding my Scrivener license. After several attempts to “fix” the issue, I had to force quit the program and figured I would take care of things once I returned to our hotel room later today, where normal access wouldn’t be a problem.

And then I had a brain storm! I wondered what would happen if I quit the access I had to the WI-FI (which was doing me no good anyway) and then tried to launch my Scrivener files: Blog posts and novel WIP (Birchwood’s Secret). Once I quit WI-Fi and then launched my Scrivener blog project, everything worked normally. And so I’m able to write this now, while Carolyn digs into the past and spins microfilm merrily along, in the comfortable surroundings. It’s quiet and very conducive for getting this put together.

Now, why are we in the lower-level of the Alden Library at Ohio University? A couple of years ago, we visited this very area to do research and locate old cemeteries where my wife’s grandfather’s brothers and various cousins and aunts and uncles were laid to rest long ago. And  though that first visit proved rewarding, it still left my wife missing many pieces of genealogical information for that part of her family history. There were a few old, out-of-the-way cemeteries we’d not been able to locate on our first visit to Athens County. Thus, we decided we’d need to return in the future to see if she could close all of the loose ends and gaps of missing ancestral data.

And that’s why I write this from Ohio University. She searches; I write. I look back over our trip thus far and realize that it’s been a good one so far. We left our home in northern Illinois just about this time one week ago, getting a later start in the morning because we both were battling colds and flu-like symptoms.

Our first port of call was her brother’s in Waynesville, North Carolina, where we planned to spend the weekend before heading on east to meet one of my “genealogical” cousins Carolyn had “found” in her Ancestry.com efforts.

Official seal of Waynesville, North Carolina
Official seal of Waynesville, North Carolina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spring had just arrived in that part of the mountains, and the next day was full of beautiful colors of the dogwoods, flowering crab trees, and a whole cavalcade of others. The warmth of the sun made for a pleasant day spent out on their large wrap-around deck. It was a great day to recover from our long journey the day before, after arriving right around midnight. Sunday was more of the same, with plenty of reading outside and sneaking a peek at the Masters golf tournament in late afternoon.

Monday found us on the road through the rain, up and down over steep mountains, on I-40, en route to Statesville. After communicating with Carolyn, my cousin had found a nice restaurant in a town that would be a half-way point for us to rendezvous, have lunch, and get to know one another. Statesville was the perfect place, and the four of us had a delightful time chatting, eating, and carrying on as though we’d known each other for a long time.

By and by, we bid them farewell and soon were headed north on I-77 with Beckley, West Virginia, as our destination for the remainder of the day. And I was looking forward to getting back there and staying in the same hotel where I had a couple of Octobers previously for the Rocket Boys’ Festival.

The beautiful countryside was made even more so as we’d managed to leave the rain behind and now had the afternoon sun to make all things bright and colorful. Our plan now was to have a restful evening before continuing on into a part of West Virginia neither of us had ever been before: Elkins–A town where my first cousin, Roger and his wife Jeannie, live.  We planned to visit some very beautiful spots in the area, including Blackwater Falls State Park. But now, it was time to call it a day, get some sleep, and get up early and on the road for the next part of our adventure the next day.images-1

We’ve turned the corner…

Hello, all. Time for only a quick post to wish everyone a “happy spring.” I’m happy to report that there is no more snow around here, and we have truly worked ourselves out of the throes of winter’s relentless grip. The robins have been bouncing and flitting about for the past week, and they are a wonderful sight, indeed! images-1

I will be off for a “Mom visit” to Ohio tomorrow through Tuesday, and it should be pleasant driving. I always look forward to the drive out of Illinois, across the top of Indiana, and on to the northern coast of Ohio. This time of year, things are just beginning to spring to life once more after being buried under winter’s heavy blanket these past months. images-2

And speaking of travel, our next little sojourn is going to be in a couple of weeks when we’ll head down to the mountains of Waynesville, North Carolina, for a few days, then up to Elkins, West Virginia, to see a cousin, and then back to Athens County, Ohio, for a return genealogy “exploration” where we spent a few days snooping about a couple of years ago.

Lots of miles, but fun miles!

Now, without further delay, I’m off now to pack and to get the car washed and gassed up for tomorrow’s trek to Port Clinton, Ohio. Enjoy your weekend wherever you are! 🙂