Sunday, July 26, 2015

Last Stop on Vacation - Show-Me State Games

The last stop on my first stayacation day was at a Major League Baseball game; just kidding, it was at the Missouri State Show-Me Games in Columbia, but I liked it better than a major league game, because my grandson Jaron and his cousin Tucker were playing. Both of them did a great job. Tucker (who kind of thinks I am his grandma because I am his cousin's grandma) did an awesome job catching and Jaron made a fantastic double play, catching a fly ball and then throwing it to first base to catch the runner off of first out.  Also, I spent the afternoon with my daughter Valerie, so it was a win-win situation, minus the heat factor. Good times!
On the way to the game - cousins and buddies (photo by Valerie Peavler).

It was a hot, hair up under the baseball cap kind of day.
It was an awesome day. The boys played great, even though they lost by one run in an extra inning, using International Tie Breaker Rules that none of us had ever heard of. The important thing was spending time with positive people who encouraged their players to be their best and having fun. A good end to my staycation day!

Staycation - 2nd Stop - Flywheel Reunion

     The next stop on my Macon County staycation was the 35th Annual Macon County Flywheel & Collectible Club Reunion, or as most people call it, the Flywheel Reunion. It was at the Macon County Fairgrounds. If you have never been, it is a combination of  junk, I mean "collectibles", along with antiques, beautiful hand-crafted items, such crocheted scarves, carved wooden and painted signs, arrowheads, recycled furniture, books, tools and more. My favorite vendor builds cabinets from doors and distressed them, as well as shelves, tables, etc. I really wanted to take a red cabinet home with me, but I did not have a place for it. I enjoyed visiting with them; I found out the man who built them is also a teacher at a small school and a coach, with children active in school and sports. Yet he somehow finds time to be creative, a lesson for us all.
     The Flywheel Reunion is famous for the steam engines and old farm equipment; these are the real stars of the show.
Steam tractor!
As I browsed through the vendors' displays, the rich smell of barbecue brisket and fried catfish tickled my nose. Huge breaded tenderloins and fresh lemonade called my name, but I resisted, since it was just 10 a.m. I went to the museum instead. First I visited my parents's donations.
On the left is a conch shell that my grandmother used to call the men in from the fields for lunch. On the right is a tomahawk, found on Daddy's parents farm. He requested we donate these to the museum upon his death, since he and Mom enjoyed the reunion every year.
Then I went around the corner to my uncles' section. Both of them were inventors. My Uncle Curtis Bane invented a machine that he used at work. My Uncle James Bane built an air cooling system, kind of like a ground source heat pump, but he used a pipe under the lake. He was most famous, though, for his electric mousetrap. He enjoyed showing it off to visitors. It is rather morbidly fascinating how it works, but I will not go into detail here.
Photos of and news clippings about my uncles.
Uncle Curtis with the machine he invented
A vintage kitchen
     I turned the corner, and there was a wonderful vintage kitchen. I imagined some woman from the past would have loved to have all of these appliances, with an iron pump in the sink, so she would not have to carry her water in a bucket! I admired the sweet little painted table covered by the gold and blue tablecloth and the green depression glass on the table. My Aunt Rosene gave me some glasses like that which she did not want any more to use in my playhouse. I still have one little chipped dessert cup.
Nothing runs like a Deere!
     As I walked back to my Jeep, I passed this John Deere tractor, resting like an old farmer in the shade.  It reminded me of one my dad drove, as well as the one my father-in-law let us use to rake hay when we first bought our farm. I can just hear it putt-putt-putting along. I pictured Daddy in his straw hat, wearing a light cotton shirt, unbuttoned and flapping in the breeze, with a big smile and hearty wave coming up to the house for dinner, or my son at about 12-years-old, grinning with pride as he raked hay all by himself (with Grandpa Harvey supervising from his truck). A steam whistle brought me back to 2015.
     I enjoyed my stay at the reunion, but it was time for me to move on to the next stop on my staycation, I am actually going to venture out of Macon County to my next destination.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Staycation 1st Stop - Long Branch Lake State Park

I taught my last Public Speaking class for the summer session, and I am ready to go on vacation, right? Of course, my farmer husband is just starting to bale hay, so I decided to go on a "staycation" and enjoy points of interest and activities nearby. First stop, Long Branch Lake State Park. It is about 14 miles from my house and is a wonderful resource for fishing, boating, swimming, camping, picnicking, etc. Here is what I did there:
I walked the Lakeview Trail - 1.2 miles round trip.
The gravel trail wound through flora and fauna (translation: wildflowers and rabbits).
I sat on a bench and admired the view for a while after chasing off some geese.
I drove around a few curves, and there was my own private beach! Okay, it is a public beach, but no one was there at 8:45 in the morning.
I enjoyed my stay at Long Branch Lake State Park. Next stop, the 35th Annual Macon County Flywheel & Collectible Club Reunion.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

One of my favorite childhood memories is hearing my Aunt Rosene's voice on the telephone asking if we were going to be home that day and hoping to "get her name in the pot". That meant she and my Uncle Otis were coming for dinner. One day of the year was the most special, though, and that was Memorial Day, or as she and Mom called it, Decoration Day. It was a time to clean off the graves after the winter and get them ready for summer. When Aunt Rosene arrived, we would cover tin cans with aluminum foil and pick the prettiest peonies we could find. Then, we would go to Hopewell Cemetery, where she and mom would reminisce about their parents, Ma and Papa Downey. As I did not know Papa, and Ma died when I was a young child, these stories were how I learned about them. I knew that Papa was tall and liked to drink a little when he went to town. Ma was superstitious and had passed that trait to Aunt Rosene. For example, if you saw a snake, you had an enemy. If you got goosebumps, someone was walking over your future grave. Mom and Aunt Rosene laughed together over their shared memories until they cried.

This year I bought the usual silk flowers for our family members...except for Aunt Rosene. I dug a clean tin can out of my recycling bag, covered it with aluminum foil and went out to my peony bushes to choose the prettiest ones I could find. I drove to the tiny Powell Cemetery where Aunt Rosene and Uncle Otis now rest and placed them among the silk flowers on her grave. I know they won't last as long as the others, but I imagined her smiling down at me for carrying on the tradition.