Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Wild Week

 Last week was certainly one for the books. Lots of travel, lots of changes in plans, and lots of interesting things to see and do. Here's a quick look at the week:

Monday: Unpacked from the family reunion, caught up a little on laundry and housework and gardens and packed again for a trip to Texas with my youngest son. Went to my booth to do a little tidy-up and collect my mid-month check. It was a good one :) The lumber arrived for the subfloor of the new cabin room. I picked cherries and Larry harvested the first broccoli.

Tuesday: on the road early, driving across Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and on to Little Rock, Arkansas. At Little Rock, my son had a sudden change in plans that meant he would not be going on to Texas. So rather than driving on to Dallas the next day, we came right back home. It was a long trip, but the sight of the sun setting in Arkansas was almost worth the drive. Never have I seen such a huge, beautiful sun and sunset. To top it off, a stunt plane began flying loops as the red sun was setting and mist rose from the huge, flat fields. Incredible. And incredibly, no pics because I was driving and my camera was in the back seat.

We stayed at a really nice hotel, thanks to Derek who used some of his frequent flyer points to book us a room. The view from our room was beautiful. We were on the 13th floor--I thought hotels didn't have them?

This odd photo was one I took from our window. I have no idea what happened when I snapped it, but I kinda like it. I would have liked to explore Little Rock--it seemed to be a vibrant, busy place with lots to see.

Wednesday: we made the return trek through Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, Cincinnati and on to home. The Mississippi River at Memphis was gorgeous and I really wanted to stop a while and look around but we had no time for that. We did stop at a Waffle House where our waitress' name was Porsche. Grits, eggs, bacon for me and grilled chicken and eggs for Tommy was a bright spot in the morning--especially served with such Southern humor and down-home friendliness. I loved the black lady who came in with a basket of handcrafted flowers, singing and smiling. We were home before midnight and believe me, I slept like a baby.

Thursday: home to regroup. Tommy got a call for a job interview in Dallas! So guess what? No, we didn't drive back down. He booked a flight out of Columbus, Ohio for Friday. I caught up on email, did laundry, cleaned up the porch and deck, painted the porch rockers and cabinet and worked in my flower gardens while Larry mowed grass. Then we all went to bed early for a 4:00 am wake-up.

Friday: we were up and out by 4:30 am, headed to Columbus on Larry's birthday. We got there at 7:30am, dropped Tommy at the airport, then found a Waffle House for breakfast. This one was not the southern-comfort place of Arkansas, but still cheerful and friendly. I have to say, though, someone needs to teach them to make grits. We left in search of a thrift store I'd visited last December that ranked in my mind as one of the best ever. Run by Volunteers of America, their prices are good and the range of items for sale is stunning. We had a little trouble finding it, but a stop at a yard sale (and some good finds there!) got us directions.

We shopped a bit, then headed out of town--in the wrong direction. A look at the map showed another route we could take, though, a "back way" through small towns and farm country. We decided to give it a try. It was a beautiful trip, past fields of corn, old farmhouses, tiny towns and villages, through the woodsy paradise of Hocking Hills and into the college town of Athens, Ohio where we finally found the usual route again.

We arrived in Ripley at last (the town closest to where I live) and were just in time to scout the "Ripley On Sale" event at the courthouse. We scored there too, lots of bargains. It was beastly hot, so we didn't stay long. And who should we see there but our little great-granddaughter and her mommy! We talked a bit then headed to a Mexican restaurant for Larry's birthday dinner, then home to feed the animals. That should have been the end of the day, but it didn't stop there.

We got back in the car and headed to Charleston because, folks, it was Vandalia weekend! Vandalia is the annual gathering of state musicians and artists on the lawns of the state Capitol. There are contests for fiddlers, banjos, etc, a liar's contest, cake walk, music jams everywhere, dancing of all kinds, our friends Ron and Wendy there with their birds---this is the showcase of our state's culture. Friday night was the concert and awarding of the Vandalia Award and we knew our friends Mike and Tim Bing and their brother Dave were this year's recipients. We didn't want to miss that! We walked into the theater just as the Bings were given the award--what timing. Then we enjoyed an hour of some of the best music and poetry as the staff and students of Allegheny Echoes took the stage. Following them the Augusta Heritage Center presented their staff and students to highlight the 5 weeks of classes offered every summer at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, WV.

The surprise of the night for us was when Larry's cousin, Junior Holstein, was brought onstage to play fiddle. Junior is one of the last of his generation of fiddlers and knows many old-time tunes that are not known to younger musicians.

He played two tunes; my favorite was "Mockingbird" in which he played birdcalls as part of the melody of the tune. We got a chance to talk to Junior a bit after the show. What a night. Bed was welcome when we finally got home around midnight.

Saturday: Up early to go to town to finish looking at the big sale at the courthouse and buy some plants from the Master Gardeners there, breakfast at the Downtowner, a visit with great-granddaughter again, grocery store, home to unload, then back to Vandalia. We enjoyed the music and dancing for a bit and I took the two children of some friends for a tour of the state Capitol building, including a look at the "bloodstain" and the tale of how it supposedly got there. It surely looks like a torso, doesn't it?

I used to be a security guard at the Capitol so I knew many ins and outs of the building and I do believe we explored them all! We rejoined Larry and the children's parents, then headed out to our house for a hotdog roast over the firepit, salads, melon, good conversation, on the deck and stories and songs on the porch. It was the perfect end to the day.

Sunday: We went nowhere! Laundry, dishes, garden work, lawn mowing, and general catching up was the order of the day. Derek and his girls came over for a cookout in the evening. We enjoyed fresh peas, lettuce and broccoli from our garden with the grilled chicken and vegetables provided by Derek who is a master on the grill.

Monday: All day at home again, this time working hard in my flowerbeds again and cleaning house. I also did some storytelling work. Larry started work on the sub-floor for the new room.

So, that was our week. There were little time for blogging for sure. I hope to make up for that by blogging daily again for a while and I want to catch up with all of you to see what you've been up to as well. This week will be much slower, with focus on the building project, developing stories and gathering produce from the gardens. It's time to pull the peas and plant cucumbers already. More about the garden in another post.

Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Jenny said...

All the way to Little Rock - so close to me! Just 40 miles east of Little Rock is the little town of Hazen where my husband's family is from. I've spent a lot of time there.

The plane you saw is a crop duster. They fly low over the fields dusting them with chemicals, fly up, circle around & make passes until the whole field is covered. They are very talented pilots for sure. A few weeks ago there were two crop dusters working neighboring fields at the same time. They hit & crashed, something I don't think I ever remember happening since I've lived here.

I would have loved to hear Junior sing Mockingbird. What a treat that must have been.

It sounds like a very full but fun week.

Nanette said...

Hi Granny Sue,
Loved reading your travel trip, especially about your breakfast of grits and the singing lady who served your meal. Lovely veggies from your garden. Always look forward to your down home stories. Have a great day!

Granny Sue said...

Jenny, I wish we'd had time to plan ahead a bit for this trip. It would be lovely to meet you. I would certainly like to go back to that area with a little time to look around. Thank you for explaining the plane--it was a beautiful sight. Sad about that wreck, though.

Junior didn't actually sing--he played an old-time tune (not the one we usually think of) that included the birdcalls in the melody. Very unusual. I think he does sing a few songs though.

Granny Sue said...

It was a week full of memories, Nanette, that's for sure :)

Steve Ferendo said...

What a whirlwind trip! Sounds like a real adventure. I think when you took the photo with the streaks of light that your shutter stayed open longer than normal because it was night and you recorded car headlights as moving streaks. That combined with any hand movement gave you the "impressionistic" look. Many photographers can't make that happen on purpose and there you go getting without trying. ;)

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