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Too Hot and Too Busy

Since I stay in air conditioned rooms most of the time, I should not complain about the 90 plus degree weather, so I won’t. I must complain about too many projects going at once and life not allowing me to finish one thing at a time. I have worked hard all week on various things and still stayed behind all week. That is why I have failed to blog.

I had not done anything this week that could be called recreation unless it was a little bit of reading and some research which I admit I consider fun. (My research is rarely original research. Mostly I find myself exploring other people’s research and sometimes my own to try and find an understanding of a subject.) If anyone saw my book and paper-cluttered office, he/she would wonder how in the world I can get any work done in here. Me too. I love my roomy office hidden away in the back of our walk-out downstairs, but when a deadline for a presentation looms, I often find myself needing to spread out to the dining room table not only to have a clean surface for an over abundance of notebooks and papers but so I can keep an eye on whatever kitchen work I am involved with. Even with the proximity, I still may burn something as I divide my attention. (Of course, as an absent minded person, I can burn stuff even if I am not too busy.) Oh, if I must confess as I seem to be doing, I also have a pile of reading material to review in the living room too.

Geri Ann, our Georgia granddaughter, flew into St. Louis Thursday morning in order to o have a brief reunion with local friends and to attend the softball series between the National Pro Fastpitch USSSA Pride (with its former Olympians) and Diamonds at the Miners’ park. Her sister Erin and Erin’s boyfriend met her at the airport and brought her down.

So after the work week I’d had, I was delighted when Geri Ann and her friend CC Hutchinson (whom I don’t get to see often since Geri Ann moved to Georgia) and her cousin Sam came out to fish on the lake yesterday. I hurriedly fixed them a late lunch. I know I can always please my grandkids if I serve friend okra, and I thawed the remainder of the German chocolate cake from last week’s potluck that I had stuck in the freezer to keep from tempting Gerald and me.  CC had never eaten fried okra, so she got initiated. (Since Gerald is cutting back his garden to mostly tomatoes and watermelon plants this summer, I don’t know what I am going to do when the okra in the freezer is gone. I guess I will have to check out local farmers markets.)

I was just as delighted when Erin hobbled in on her crutches to do some laundry. I had not been to see her since her ACL ordeal. I was reluctant to go by her place for fear she would be asleep or needing to go to sleep. I think I guessed right on that since she told me yesterday that she usually only gets four hours sleep until her meds wear off and she has to get up and ice her leg for awhile before she goes back in hopes of a second span of rest. I knew her cousin Sarah and her Gma Shirley and her boyfriend were in and out taking good care of her and seeing that she got to physical therapy when she couldn’t drive. I knew she would phone me if she needed me. This week she was able to drive short distances and began working some at the university again. Yet I know she is bound to be feeling pain.

Gerald was keeping Sadie so she would not jump on Erin, but the abundance of ticks here on the farm had us all worried despite the precautionary pill Sadie takes which keeps her tick-free in her own backyard where the tick population is evidently radically less than ours. So Gerald and Erin gave Sadie a bath, and she went home again with Erin, where she is often an inside dog unlike here. Hopefully she will sense that Erin can’t rough house with her and she’ll not be banished completely to the backyard.

Since CC left after the fishing to go to her grandmother’s, Gerald took Geri Ann and Sam to see the first softball game between USSSA Pride and the Diamonds.  Erin sat in the handicapped section and was able to watch her old Texas A&M buddy Megan Gibson pitch again, and the Glasco fans were especially interested in the two University of Georgia alums—Brianna Hesson, who just graduated, and local standout Kristin Schnake of Nashville, IL. With Cat Osterman pitching for Pride, we were proud that Brianna got the only hit. Schnake, on the other hand, was hit by Osterman—twice.

I stayed home to continue working on a presentation coming up Wednesday for the Trail of Tears Institute this week at Vienna sponsored by Southern Illinois University Carbondale. A grant has enabled 12 local teachers to be chosen to help their students not only learn to use the Library of Congress primary sources but to study the Trail of Tears through Southern Illinois. When Sandy Boaz, president of the Illinois Chapter of the National Trail of Tears Association, was invited to have the Illinois TOT directors help with this project, she quickly accepted. Our TOT chapter has long hoped to increase the study in our schools of this historic event in our region and of the way our nation interacted with the people living here on the lands that eventually became the United States of America. This TOT study will provide a microcosm of this for these lucky students, and their knowledge of history, economics, politics, psychology, the depravity of humanity, and the goodness of humanity will be broadened. The teachers at the Institute will be from Pope, Johnson, and Union County where most of the 1838-39 TOT in Illinois took place. Joe Crabb will be telling about Pope County and Gary Hacker will share about Johnson on Wednesday. My responsibility will be to share about Union County and also the legend of Priscilla who was freed from slavery at Jonesboro.

There is so much information, misinformation, and twists and turns in this complicated story of the TOT that it is difficult to decide what would be most helpful to these teachers. I expect the dining room table will stay in service, and I have no hopes of straightening my office this week. And I may not blog again for another week. Now I need to go turn on the porch light because Dean and Lacey Newbold will be dropping Geri Ann off soon after tonight’s NPF game out at the Miners’ Rent One Park. Although he did do some ditch work at the other farm today, Gerald decided to stay in the air conditioning this evening and read about the games in tomorrow’s Southern Illinoisan.

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Keep that Okra coming Sue

Keep that Okra coming Sue and remember to turn on the porch light because I am out there fumbling around in the dark hoping you have saved me some German Choc. Cake and a glass of milk for a late night supper chat. mx

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You gave me a chuckle, Sue.

You gave me a chuckle, Sue. The humor in your second paragraph is great. I can relate to those piles and I can feel the energy of them, like they each call out to you--and the burning food part too--I've burned a few things even while I was stirring the pot. I was talking too much and my nose wasn't picking up the burn smell of the beans that had run out of liquid until it was too late. The pot burned so bad, I had to throw it out. Mmmm, fried okra. Haven’t had it in a while.

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Thanks, Mary and Rebb

I will definitely turn on the porch light for either of you, and I will even make a fresh German chocolate cake for you to go with our glass of milk. I will try my best not to burn it, but we will have fun talking into the night even if I do.