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The Last Day

My brother and sister-in-law spent every day we were there taking us out to show us all the fun things to do. We couldn’t have asked for better tour guides, they were great. The Goblin Child had been wanting to go to a water park the whole trip. We stopped in Nebraska for gas next to one and she had a melt down when we wouldn’t take her. Finally we got to go, there was the one in Missouri of course but you can never have too many. We loaded into two cars, with car seats there is never enough room. The girls and smallest children in their big clunky old suburban and my brother with his adoring fan club in the car. We let him go first, said we’d follow, then left him to get Starbucks.

When we got to the pool it was still closed, fall hours, all the life guards were back to school. So we went and got food, came back later. The let you have life vests in exchange for some sort of collateral. I watched my brother give up his license and was worried. All my stuff was in the car. When it was our turn they happily accepted a dollar. It was my brothers turn to be horrified.

The kids loved the pool. The Goblin Child did at least but she was happy to be anywhere my brother was. 8 cried most of the time I think. The pool was surrounded by grass and across the grass were sand pits. One for volley ball and one with toys for kids to play on and a shower to rinse off before going back to the big pool. The kids liked that part best I think. It was fenced with one gate so I was able to sit for a bit and let 8 roam by himself. They could have stayed there all day but, I heard someone say something about bees. Looking around to see what they were talking about I saw one of the bouncy toys covered in a swarm of bees, wasps, it didn’t matter what someone was going to get stung. They would go back inside and then the next kid would come along and jiggle it. Out they would come again in swarms. We took our kids and went back to the other pool.

We stayed until 8 wouldn’t stop crying anymore. The Goblin Child was sad that she couldn’t go down the big water slides. Nobody had cared that she was a smidge too short but they wouldn’t let her wear a life vest and no one was allowed to catch her at the bottom. It’s difficult being little.

I don’t remember the afternoon. Naps probably and I have pictures of the kids playing so apparently some of that. That night dad wanted curtains sewn for the topper on his shiny new pickup. They were off on their own adventure after dropping us off. We stayed up late visiting and hating to say good bye.

 

 

While putting the curtains in the back of the pickup we stood and watched bats flying over head

Possibly My Favorite Day

The morning was great my brother took us to another cool park. The kids played, it got hot. Then we walked down yet another bike trail that led right into a lake. According to my brother they built the trail, and a nice little bench to sit on and look at the water, during a drought. Then it rained. He took the kids to see the bench. I didn’t go in that deep.

We did lunch, admired the garden some more, got naps for the kids and, after leaving the kids with my brother and sister-in-law, we took off for my riding lesson! My mom has a really nice friend who boards at the same barn as her who loves dressage too. She very kindly arranged a lesson for me with a trainer friend of hers. He was entirely too cool. He rides with trainers from Medieval Times and Temple Lipizzans. When we arrived we got a tour of his barn full of gorgeous Andalusian studs. Then he tacked up one of them and let me ride him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Again

My brother and sister-in-law were up bright and early to get started showing us the sights. And to collect their child. My brother always does the funnest stuff with his kids and wanted to share it with our kids. We paused on the way out to admire the garden. My parents garden is stunning. And to let the kids play more because they hadn’t been doing that all morning already and all night the night before.

Then we had breakfast at a great little restaurant. The Goblin Child disappeared with her aunt and uncle before I knew she was leaving and didn’t have any shoes on. Her cousin stayed and rode with us but didn’t have any shoes on. We were lucky the restaurant didn’t kick us out when we showed up with a barefoot child after beating them there. fortunately they showed up with my child and shoes for theirs and the food was delicious.

After filling our bellies it was off to the library in Barrington. Barrington is so beautiful in and of itself of course it’s library would be cool too. They talk about libraries becoming obsolete. This one has risen to the challenge and is in no danger of that. I wish we had one like it near by for those cold winter days.

Then we hiked to the nearby park for more playing and snacks in the tree house.

 

We went home and played around a bit. Each child fell madly in love with a vehicle. We found a cicada and it’s skin! The 8 and I, The Goblin Child chose to stay and play with her cousin and uncle, went to mom’s barn. This was my barn way back when and I still love it. I got to take a quick spin on mom’s horse Indy, then take the kids around. We cleaned up poop, got to talk to Richard a little then off again for food. The days went to fast and the first one was gone already.

 

 

 

 

One More Day Of Driving

Time For Good Byes

The time had been too short indeed. We had loved every minute  of it but it was time for the next part of our journey.

 

And one last one of the “water slides” at the shut-ins

Wilson Creek Battle Field

We were too tired after Silver Dollar City to do much else. Earlier in the week grandma had mentioned a cemetery in  nearby Republic City where most of her mothers family was buried. A quick google search found it easily and we drove over to find it. The Wade Chapel cemetery was beautiful and old. The Goblin Child and I hopped out of the car to look around while the others drove. I loved looking at the old gravestones. Some were funny, as funny as a gravestone can be, and others brought me nearly to tears. A child less than a year, young children and couples married for decades. We did find grandma’s family, her grand parents and aunt, most of the cemetery did seem to be related to her.

I found a patch of wild strawberry’s and desperately wanted to dig a start but abstained as it did seem wrong somehow. Not to mention there was no way they would have made it home. I can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures.

On the way home we realized we were by the Wilson Creek Battle Field. We used to go there when I was a little kid, the road went through a creek, very exciting at the time, and grandma would tell the story her grandpa used to tell her about himself, or a cousin, time has a way of blurring memories, who was a little boy living at the  house there during the battle. The family story has always been that they brought the injured soldiers to the house to care for them. He was sent to fetch water but when he got down to the creek it was red with blood.

It was interesting to compare it with the “official” story. There was a family living here with small children who were sent to fetch water for the soldiers while they used the house for a hospital. There is no mention of the creek running red with blood, they always leave the interesting stuff out, but the signs point out a spring house where they fetched water from. It stands just across the creek. So why go the extra distance for water unless there was reason not to use the creek?

The family story says that the famous general who died at the battle (I don’t remember his name and is it really relevant to this story?) was brought to the house where he died wrapped in the families best quilt. The quilt was displayed at county fairs for years afterwards.

The official story is that he died on the battle field but was wrapped in a quilt. They leave the quilt story there.

The stories of the battle lead to more old family stories that have been told over and over but often get lost to time. While trying to remember if her grandpa had said that he was the one at the battle or one of his relatives grandma told some other great stories. We got to hear more about her grandpa, he was an Indian of the Delaware tribe, we knew that, but also that he had been left behind as a child on the trail of tears and adopted by a white family. How he, a Delaware, was on the trail of tears, thought that was the Cherokee? I don’t know. So many things lost to time, stories forgotten and never written down we will probably never know the whole story but the bits and pieces are fascinating.

We do know he grew up and married a woman named Rose Ella. As a child grandma remembers him singing in his native language and I think I’ve seen a picture of him in a headdress. He wasn’t interested in the children, didn’t sit them down and tell them stories but he would talk about these things and they listened. He walked with them at the battlefield where he told the story as they picked up arrow heads and now it has been carried on for at least one more generation.

Silver Dollar City

I’ve been going there since I was tiny. I dream about it sometimes, usually I’m lost trying desperately to find my way around the place. Still love to go and am glad to be able to take the kids. The Goblin Child is a girl after my own heart, once she got started she wanted to ride all the good rides. The ones she was tall enough for that is. Fire in the hole was a bit much, I think it was the dark more than anything. She loved the Lost River, we did it a couple of times. At the bottom of the log ride, American Plunge, she asked to go again but decided against it by the time we got off. She rode the kiddie roller coaster and would have ridden it again, and again, but I thought we should try a couple of the other rides too.

Where were 8, grammy and grandma during all this? I don’t really know. while we were out running around they sat, slept and watched people go by. We abandoned them completely after the first few sights. I hope they had fun too but who can worry about that when there are rides to ride.

We brought grammy along for a few of the rides. She was sorry when it meant that she had to go with on a few of the rides. 8 was screaming every time I left them to take T.G.C. on a ride, we thought he should get some care and attention form his terrible mother.

20160804_195525Then the time had come for the show. The two of us meandered slowly up to the amphitheater, she wanted to ride more rides. I wanted to get food. We compromised and got food then found the others. The show started with some trick dogs. They were clicker trained so I was quite fascinated. Then there was the usual music. T.G.C. was really getting down to it. Until I got out the camera of course. The night ended with beautiful fireworks and very tired everybody. We made that long miserable trek back up the hill to the waiting car and home at last.

 

A Day, Or Two Of Rest

You can only go so much on a trip, there needs to be some time just to hang out. So we hung out and enjoyed each other, fixed things, broke things, got the air conditioner fixed!

 

The Second Day

At grandma’s house that is. We had been on the road for five days now. Grandma had some errands she needed to run, then we got lunch at Steak and Shake. My favorite one that we went to when I was a kid with my favorite bridge next to it for the kids, young and old, to run over.

Poor grandma went back to the house to wait for the repair guy and we ran off to play. Mom has often told of coming to see her grandma as a child and how they could hear the lions roaring for their breakfast at the zoo. I assumed that it would be an old somewhat icky zoo because of the age I guess, so I wasn’t overly thrilled at our plans to go but, anything for the kids. We drove clear across town and they both fell asleep within minutes of getting there. So we did what anyone would do and went to Starbucks. With cold, and hot, drinks in hand we went for a drive and looked at stuff until they woke up. Then we went to the zoo.

 

I couldn’t believe what a great little zoo it was. Why does every zoo not allow you to feed the giraffes? They were SO cool. No upper teeth, just like cattle.

Unfortunately when we got home the repair guy had suffered from pickup troubles that had to be repaired. No new pan for the air conditioner. So sad, but we had a fun day at least.

Finally To Grandmothers House

She thought we were never going to make it. Our shenanigans that day added a few hours to the trip. By the time we got there it was dark and we were starving. So we ordered pizza and ate on her beautiful back porch. I was overcome with excitement when the fireflies came out. I tried and tried to show the kids but they were not enthused.

As we were getting ready for bed grandma pointed out the flooded spot in the middle of her hallway. She could not find the source and it was getting bigger. It was obviously not coming from the ceiling so we checked the bathrooms and washing machine but couldn’t find any leaks. Mom was on the phone with dad who was running out of patience telling us that it had to be coming from one side or the other, we kept insisting it was coming up in the middle. Finally we were standing in the garage about to admit defeat when we noticed another door. Inside was the heater and air conditioner coils. We checked to see that the drain wasn’t plugged which lead to the conclusion that the pan was rusted through. With nothing we could do the air conditioner was shut off until help could be found.

The next morning we went to one of grandma’s churches with her. The music was awesome and The Goblin Child was thrilled with “her new church”! That didn’t mean either one of them would sit quietly through the service of course. After lunch we got home and the preacher and another really nice man from the church showed up to take a look at the air conditioner and see what they could do to help. It was so nice of them, the mark of a great church. Unfortunately they couldn’t find any problems besides the one we found and were equally unable to fix it.

As they left it started pouring rain. We stayed nicely in the garage watching for a little while then as the lightning subsided we couldn’t resist any longer. We brought along umbrellas but they could only do so much and made it hard to play effectively. Our country raised kids have many benefits their city dwelling counterparts lack but playing in the gutters after a big rain isn’t one of them. I’m glad our kids get to enjoy the benefits of both worlds. The water was nearly knee deep and we watched, thrilled as it poured off the bridge into the culvert below, cheered as cars drove slowly by making waves and splashing. Finally the rain stopped altogether and eventually the water ran out, we walked slowly back to the house.

While we were gone grandma had called a repair guy, whose name she had gotten from someone at church and although he didn’t work on Sundays he said he would come by and look at it. He checked, again, to see if the drain was plugged, it still wasn’t, then came to our conclusion that the pan was leaking. He couldn’t get a new one until Monday but he would come out then and fix it. So still no air conditioning in the rain forest like heat. We spent the rest of the afternoon puttering in the garden, also very rain forest like.

That evening we had a little birthday party for The Goblin Child. She got to decorate her cake, eat ice cream  and open presents. It was hot and great and we loved every minute of it. We fell into bed exhausted.