Moving Ahead

Getting ready for a trip out of town. It’s supposed to rain as much as ten inches in the next three days because of a tropical weather system.

That’s making for additional preparations. Should I take umbrellas, rain ponchos? A towel to dry off our two mutts that always travel with us? All of these will be likely be taken.

A new pet barrier was installed between the two front seats in the car. Our dogs are too big to be lap dogs while driving. Maggie will probably still poke her nose behind it–as she tends to get bored easily.

Hoping the rain slacks off as we head northward. Some cooler weather, would also be nice.

The Snake Road

Nobody called it “Snake Road” back then–when we passed en route to family reunions.  Where?  Ware. Where? Ware.  There was no escaping kid silliness at the turn off from tiny Ware, Illinois.

LaRue Road and Forest Service Road 345–better known as the “Snake Road” in the Shawnee National Forest of Southern Illinois is closed for reptilian and amphibian spring migrations from limestone bluffs to nearby swamps–as it has been for four decades.

The road is closed again, when migration reverses from summer to winter habitats. It’s a herpetologist’s dream come true.  For those squeamish about slithering creatures, a place to avoid.  For those that don’t mind creepy things crawling around their feet–pedestrian traffic is welcomed.

Would you dare brave the two-and-a-half mile “Snake Road” on foot?  It may be small comfort to know that snakes keep the rodent population in check.

The list of amphibians and reptiles given right-of-way is quite diverse–from bird-voiced tree frogs, eastern hognosed snakes, worm snakes, five-lined skinks, to timber rattlesnakes, and much more.

Nature’s wonders allowed to progress, with the minor inconvenience, of a twice-yearly blocked country road.  Have a “slithery” day!

 

http://www.mailroom_r9_shawnee@fs.fed.us/–

What Would It Take…

…To get you behind the wheel of this new Chromemobile 500 today?  No money down, easy on the budget, payment terms.  You know you like it.

After car shopping yesterday, my wife and I were completely exhausted.  For the record, it was her idea this time.  Why was this process like having multiple root canals?  One dealership completely ignored us.  How did they stay in business?

I’m aware that I have “car-it is.” It was inherited from my father.  That was why I stayed away from car dealerships, car shows.  The first step was admitting there was a problem.  Confession was good for the soul.

It had been five years since my last obsession.  There was a slick-looking compact pickup truck my wife fell in love with.  She did her best to persuade me.  It’s parked in our garage.

Horse Farming Days

Johnny Shaw’s two draft horses clip-clopped down the tree-lined driveway, past the white farmhouse, down the county road to the field; the old wagon laden with several years of accumulated chicken manure.  My brother and myself, knew what came next.

The wagon had to be unloaded the way it was loaded.  In other words, Johnny didn’t have a new-fangled spreader, like everyone else.  It was labor intensive, the chicken manure handled twice.

Farming went mechanized, during and after the war.  Johnny Shaw didn’t get the memo–or more likely, was just stubborn, set in his ways.

Our formerly white tee shirts, were now shades of gray.  The smell of ammonia was hard to ignore on that hot, humid, summer day.  Riding to and from the field refreshed with cooling breezes.

I don’t remember how many trips were made back-and-forth.  There was no goofing off this time.  Johnny stood watch nearby, he wanted his money’s worth.  Locusts and crickets chirped their afternoon tunes, when around six in the afternoon, Johnny announced, “that’s the last scoopful, the one we’ve waited for all day.”

It was hard, dirty, smelly work for ninety cents an hour–much less than the prevailing wage.  The big lunch had to be worth something–however.  Cleaning chicken houses, was immediately scratched off our career choice lists.

 

A Night To Forget

Thanks FB for bringing it up.  This night three years ago, was one I’d as soon forget.  Stayed up all night bailing water to prevent flooding in the rest of the house.

It rained nearly 24 inches in eighteen hours.  “Please God, make it stop,” was said frequently, as the lightning, thunder, and rain pounded unabated.

Things went downhill considerably after this picture was taken.  Before the night was over, the entire backyard was underwater.  Water lapped against the outside glass doors of our enclosed sun porch.  Water was fifteen feet from the front door.

Brand new recliners and smaller furniture were hastily moved to dry ground.  “I wasn’t going to have my new recliners ruined–no matter what it took.” A sofa-bed was propped up on stainless steel kitchen bowls turned upside-down.

Just before dawn, the rain let up.  Water that had been three inches deep, was mopped up and the drying out process underway.

 

 

A Modicum of Diversion…

Pineapple on pizza–yes or no?  Why was she yelling at me?  It wasn’t about pineapple or pizza.  Leather sofas were on sale at the local, discount, close-out store.  Not the first place to shop for furniture in my estimation.

“Why don’t we go and just look around?”  That meant we weren’t going to leave without buying something–better to just go along.  My hopes were, that nothing would happen to ruin this beautiful, sunny, winter day.

The sofas were better than expected–stock overruns from a popular major manufacturer.  Who was I to have doubted?  Even though, I was in for some dreaded furniture rearranging.  If everything stayed the way it was, from now till eternity, it would have been just fine with me.

At the service desk, two men waited.  The gray-haired older gentleman seemed calm.  The younger man, who may have been the son, complained about noise emanating from the other side of the store.  There, a young child was in the midst of throwing a temper tantrum.

“Why hadn’t she taken the young boy outside?”  Said the young man to his father.  “Nobody wanted to hear that kid’s ear-splitting screeches.”  The father mumbled something about permissive parenting being the downfall of civilization.

Waiting for the store clerk’s return, seemed to take forever.  We were second in line, behind the disgruntled young man, and his father.  The clerk returned briefly from checking inventories.  The young man complained about the noisy child to the clerk; the clerk refused to take sides, went back to work.

That was when the stalking began.  “I’m going to check on why this bratty kid won’t stop crying,” Announced the young man.  My wife and I looked at each other.  What business was it of his?  And what could he do about it–without causing a major incident?

The young man walked away hunched over, like he was trying to make himself smaller, to avoid being seen.  Jacket collar pulled up to his chin.  It was comical–in a Groucho Marx sort of way.  He carefully duck-walked the rows one-by-one, until the offenders were spotted.

What had he done–if anything?  The store was, once again peaceful.  The little boy stopped crying.  Had I underestimated the young man’s skills as a “Child Whisperer?”  Our sofa was in stock and would be delivered in a couple of days.

Then, temper tantrum, version 2.0, began, like a loud clap of thunder.  The young man and his father, were aghast.  “I’m going to show them a thing or two,” The son, announced.

In his best Groucho Marx, killer commando mode, the stalking resumed.  My wife and I made an exit at that point–wondered how things turned out.  Nothing made the police blotters.  It was one of the strangest public scenes we’d witnessed in our lifetimes.

Jury Duty, Day #1

Everything was out of synch.  Didn’t sleep well, for fear of being late.  Severe storms were predicted for the next day.

These were the same storms that wreaked havoc in Texas, Louisiana, and throughout the Southeast.  I arrived at the courthouse in plenty of time, in the midst of a driving rainstorm.

There lots of other potential jurists congregated, with umbrellas, wet clothing–like myself.  I was surprised, and at the same time gratified, that court proceedings had been cancelled for the day.

Back home safely, to return tomorrow, for another day.  Weather is supposed to be better tomorrow.