Friday, July 30, 2010

Cemetery Tour - North Henderson


A mile south out of North Henderson is a small iron sign that says "Mount Vernon Cemetery" with an arrow pointing east. I've driven by it a hundred times and never thought about a visit, until this week.
It is surprisingly large cemetery for a small town and sparsely populated area.

I was stunned by the rather nice Veteran's Memorial that is at the edge. This is something virtually unheard of in the smaller cemeteries and wondered where the money came from and who maintains it.

Just walking aimlessly often reveals interesting things about those who rest here, like Gilbert who apparently is still with us or decided against spending any more time with wife Ethzelda.

Ship anchors are also common stone markings.

A tree with ornate flowering blossoms and ferns.

Tasselled cloth is common on 19th century stones.

The tragedy of infant mortality back in the 19th century. Frank lasted no longer than a month, William 5 months, and the Twins (notice no first names) died on their birthdays.

The intricacy of the wrinkles in the stone cloth is striking.

The lettering is indecipherable.

An open book and timber is a recurring theme.
I have always been fascinated by the history and stories a cemetery reveals. "Gone But Not Forgotten" is a phrase etched into many stones, but of course, the people under those stones are not only lost but now mostly forgotten. It imbues me with a reverence for life and a need to do the best I can to enjoy it while it is good. In the past week I visited this place and a couple more in the area. I will be posting these soon. I don't think it's morbid to visit these places, that were more like parks a hundred years ago. It is more a realistic peek into the future and walk in the past.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Many Faces of the Party

Rod and Rudy

Rick and Jen (she'll kill me for putting this picture up, but I'll be in Florida)





Arianna Lynne (I think) only a week old on the 4th.

Christopher was able to join us and we had an opportunity to see a true firearms expert load a breech-load rifle and let Tim fire off a couple. Something went wrong with the first attempt.

Other faces of the party include Carrie, Vincent the German Shepherd, Ciji, and Diane. Absent from my roving camera were Elaine and Brittany, mother of the newborn. Another face of the party, Brandon, will be mentioned in a later posting.

OK, this one worked!

So did this one.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 4th Ride

When I was in the Burg one of the things I enjoyed was going to neighboring town's fireman breakfasts. I was always up early and seldom got anyone to go with me. I can remember little Michael would go with me and once I even got Brendan and Mackenzie to go, too. But for the most part it was just me. The food was always good and when I would go either at 6:00 or 7:00 am I'd beat the crowd. Worst time to go was always around election time. The politicos would come out of the woodwork and attempt to woo your vote.

Appleton always has one of the best breakfasts' around. Pancakes, eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, coffee and orange juice. They have raised the prices lately but still well worth the trip, if you can find it. Rod and Diane joined us today. They recently bought a new cycle, a Kawasaki 800, I think. Carrie was also able to join us. It was nice to have a full crowd again.

A brief visit to Snakeden Hollow state park near Victoria.

The Mild Ones in Bishop Hill.

Heading over to one of those candle/candy/knick-knack stores.

Looking every bit a postcard, this is one of those historic buildings in Bishop Hill that makes this little town a big tourist magnet. In fact, every 10 years or so members of the Swedish Royal family come here to bask in the heritage.

And back to BFE for a big annual Stage 4th of July bash.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Our Elmira and Henry Trip

On Saturday July 3, the North Henderson Mild Ones (Jen, Rick, Tim and Mike) journeyed to new territory. Elmira, Henry, Lacon, Maquon and other places were on our tour. Great day, great company and, for the most part, amazingly great roads.

An old school house was a stunning discovery as we took a curve in what is a place called Elmira. Nothing much more than this old wreck and a house or two. Imagine the hundreds of children who entered this building sometimes with trepidation, sometimes with elation, the friendships forged and the skills learned. A skeletal wreck that at one time was a cathedral of learning.

We stopped at the park briefly in Henry and watched the Illinois river. Since it was a big three day weekend, lots of people, and boat traffic.

The Bridge over the River Illinois

This guy isn't going to get too far.

From what I could see, these were the only residents of Elmira.

Friday, July 23, 2010

4th On The 3rd

My neighbors next door in BFE, C_ _ _ _ and M_ _ _ _ _ _ _ had quite a fireworks show on Saturday. I want to tell you these guys were organized, efficient and they even had a finale. Pretty gosh darn good for a backyard display. Of course, if local authorities question me about this I will deny and obfuscate.

The names have been deleted to protect the guilty.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What I DON'T Miss About Grove Street

Stopped by Chambers and Grove the other day after going to Walgreen's. I always like looking at our old house that protected the family for 2 decades. Although we we never were sorry to sell, I must confess a certain longing for the place. My huge 4 car garage and bar, my old cars, the beauty of the home inside and out, Tiki nights and the grounded stability. Now I feel like a gypsy moving back and forth from BFE and Florida. I so long to be planted at one place and move into the place "where I will grow old."

The old home still looks great. Our old wicker chairs still sit out front. The flower beds around the pergola I built have been removed and replaced by grass. Same with the raised flower beds clear out back. New gutters and downspouts are the only things I can see as new.

These old houses require constant maintenance. Certainly don't miss the scraping, painting, caulking and replacing the rotten boards. Here Judge Bulkeley's house, two north of us, is getting new paint.

Another house, 4 north from us, is getting ready for the annual summer maintenance ritual.

I painted my house at least 4 times that I remember. Moving the heavy ladder around and then prepping was the worse part. Actually painting was a drag, too. Plus I had to use use up precious vacation time to get it all done, which was usually two weeks.

In the 20 some years we lived on Chambers/Grove street we had innumerable piles like this one or bigger. High winds and trimming were the usual culprits.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Stormin' The Mormons

Taking a break before riding into Nauvoo.

Stopped at this inlet outside of Nauvoo.

Calm, muddy water.

Nice afternoon for fishing.

Thats old Buckethead leading the parade. I'm trying to get everyone to call me "Deer Leader".

Nauvoo looking toward the Mississippi.

Outside the Mormon Temple in Nauvoo. Tim cheering us on.

Statue of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum
on the day he travelled to Carthage only to be killed by a mob.

The rebuilt Temple which was completed a few years ago.

Discussing lunch perhaps? Or maybe the tenets of the Mormon faith?

Saturday (June 26) took the North Henderson Mild Ones biker gang South to Carthage, Nauvoo and then to Mt. Pleasant for lunch. Nice day for riding and checking out the sights. I tried to take some vids of the Great River Road from Hamilton up through Nauvoo but, sadly, I don't know how the darn thing works, but will by next weekend.

We first stopped at Macomb for a donut and then on to Carthage. Great 4 lane but very little traffic. We tried to stop at the historic jailhouse and place of Joseph Smith's murder, but there were bus loads of young people visiting and we were a little creeped out at the Visitor Center. Off to Hamilton and up north along the river. Wonderful scenery and more than a few bikes out. Hot day and stopped at a river inlet to discuss journey.

Once in Nauvoo it didn't take long to spot the Temple as it is the biggest structure in town. They don't give tours but I'll bet it is just as beautiful inside as out. This little town is a cash cow with the Mormon presence and we could have spent more time here, but we like to keep moving.

We crossed the river at Fort Madison and went over the strangest bridge: it isn't straight across, you make a right turn and then a left hand turn. Tim and I had discussed the possibility of lunch in Mt. Pleasant but didn't spring it on Rick and Jen because we were concerned with the time. Rick had to get back to prepare for their Fireman's Pancake breakfast. It seemed like we had the time so off we went toward Mt. P at Burlington.

Built in 1927 this is the largest double-decker swing bridge in North America.

Jerry's pizza seemed to go over well and then back through Burlington and on to Monmouth for ice cream at DQ. Made it back to BFE by 5:30 or so and it was a great ride.