First let me apologize for the long delay in posting to my webpage. Time with friends and family has consumed nearly every minute of my free time. Before leaving for Carbondale Rita and I headed over to New Harmony in Indiana to bathe in the colors of the fall leaves and enjoy the ambiance of the quaint little town filled with artisans and historical architecture. We spent quite a few Saturdays or Sundays there with our Mother before she passed in 2006. The streets are lined with maple, oak, sassafras and pine trees. When the leaves change colors it is a paradise for painters who love to do landscapes. Beautiful old homes with lots of character, made of brick and wood with stunning paint jobs occupy almost every street. The town is spotless and there are small restaurants, cafes, antique shops, and galleries dotted throughout the downtown area. We enjoyed a delicious Italian meal (Calzones for me and a chicken pasta dish for Rita) at a place called “Samuels.” It was a stunning day of sunlight interspersed with large billowy clouds, a perfect day for my camera.
I headed for Carbondale on Thursday the 18th for ten days of visits with friends. My very good friends, Mona and Kelly Stevens, invited me to stay with them for the entire stay. We have traveled together for years and after all this time the feeling of family at their home includes me also. Add to that, Mona is a great cook and it was a great visit. Friday night we went to Tres Hombres in town to meet Haitham who had driven down from Chicago for the weekend to see me. While there Ali, another good friend I hadn’t seen in years and John Lindl also dropped in. The tequila flowed (mostly into me) and tall tales of the good old days were frequent. Mona and Kelly threw a party for me on Saturday night, lots of friends showed up for a night of conversation, cocktails on the patio, good food and a glorious evening in the country. Sunday, Cyndi came and picked me up for a day of fun. We met Haitham at Harbaughs for breakfast first and I ran into Mike and Connie Solliday while we waited for a table. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see them again. Afterwards, we bid farewell to Haitham and headed to Makanda for the Vulture Fest. That made for an unusual morning. The festival wasn’t much more than a craft fair but they did have a couple of live vultures on display. Cyndi and I wandered through the booths and a couple of antique stores before heading off to our first winery. Unfortunately, it was closed so we headed to Russell Hill for a glass before going into Carbondale so that I could run an errand. Finishing that up, we headed out to “The Bluffs,” another winery, is a theme appearing here yet? We stayed there through the first set of a musician and then it was back to M & K’s.
Monday, Kelly and I played gold at Franklin Country Club in West Frankfort on a beautiful but windy day. Rather I should say, Kelly played golf and I swatted a little white ball around all day. The course was in great shape (although there were too many leaves on the greens) and my knees only barked back at me a little. The next day we packed up the clubs and headed to “The Gambit” to play another round. This time we were joined by Joe Melvin and John Lindl. This course was in nice condition also. Kelly and I held a joint birthday golf scramble at this course some years back. Naturally I didn’t play well but what can you expect when you only touch your golf clubs once a year. On Wednesday Mona and I went into Carbondale and had lunch with Tim and Deb, coworkers before our retirement, at The Long Branch, a vegetarian restaurant. It’s always great to meet up with these two and talk over old and new times at Southern Illinois Healthcare. Afterwards I stopped in to see Art Hazel at his body shop. Art is a friend I’ve had some wild times with. Baseball games to skiing in Colorado, there was no place safe from Big Dad’s Gang. From his place I stopped by Robin Krummrich’s house. Robin and I used to hang out in the good old days also. She was Catwoman to my Batman in those days as we toured the bars in Southern Illinois in my Porsche. More talk of the good old days and the people we knew. Later that evening, Mona, Kelly and I headed to her Mom’s for a family get together. Her brother Danny and his wife Michelle came in from California.
Thursday I went to Mary’s house for the afternoon/evening. I hadn’t seen her new home yet. She and her husband John have an exquisite place in the country around Bald Knob. They are putting in a large pond and have removed a lot of dead trees from an old orchard that used to surround the house. John and his son Joe fixed us venison steaks and pan fried potatoes with the hottest habaneros I’ve ever eaten. John shared his Prilosec with me so I didn’t have to worry about acid reflux after going to bed. Friday afternoon it was back to Russell Hill to meet my friend Gina, another friend who came down from Chicago to see me. Carmen, Alice, Greg, Cyndi, Laura, David and Joe also made an appearance. There was a great band playing and several of the girls had a good time dancing. The rum was poured generously and by the end of the evening I think I was just a wee bit tipsy. They closed up the winery and I headed back to Mona and Kelly’s where a birthday party was in full swing for her brother Danny. Oh the viciousness of it all. More rum followed with a few shots of tequila thrown in just to punish me.
Saturday became a recovery day and today I drove back to my Sister’s place to spend my last few days with her. I guess you all have figured out by now that NO writing was accomplished in the last 10 days. I imagine I will be back in Peru before another word is placed into any story. So my friends have a great week and I will talk back at you after I return to Lima. Exercise the body and the mind, the two things that can make a better life for you.