Oh, I've been such a slacker on these pages. Life in general has been such a whirl, with the busy gallery and a long and eventful summer of travel. You can blame Facebook, too. I capitulated to the Facebook culture when I realized it might be the only practical way to keep in touch. Those of you who have been following me there know that I've used it regularly to post photos and short stories since early June, when I left San Pancho for the States. Those quick posts are so convenient when spaces of calm hours are scarce.
But you faithful readers not on Facebook have been neglected. For that, I apologize profusely. I shall try to make it up to you now that life has slowed down enough for me to look around and relax again into the possibility of writing more than a few lines at a time.
As most of you know, Craig and I said goodbye to our precious La Casita Mágica Gallery in May. Having the gallery was the most wonderful experience: the people, the art, the music, the joy of sitting at the table on the patio that was our "office" night after night, greeting friends and passersby. We had a number of reasons for letting go of the gallery, and in truth we are very much enjoying our freedom from the endless responsibility of it; but it was a rewarding and joyful couple of years, the memory of which we will treasure forever.
Craig left San Pancho in May for some commissioned projects in St. Louis. I flew up three weeks later to join him in his hometown on the Mississippi River.
Craig's mom Veta, age 86, is there, as is brother Carl, son Cory and his wife Cristal and the grandkids, Christian and Caiden, so we enjoyed family time during our two longish stays in the area. We also enjoyed our ventures out of the city.
The day after I arrived, we headed to Collinsville, Illinois, a little town known as the Horseradish Capital of the World, for the annual Horseradish Festival.
Of course, their own fresh homemade horseradish was for sale and available to pile on whatever food tempted one's appetite.
But the whole roots, long knobby tubers right out of the soil, also make for entertaining pasttimes such as horseradish golf and the horseradish toss. Who knew?
It's not a big festival, but there was enough to keep us chuckling for several hours.
We bought one of these charming shovel sculptures and carried it around for months before we finally met up with the Woodrings who we knew would love it to decorate their Ohio farm garden.
We spent some time on the Missouri River in quaint old St. Charles.
Then we drove further north to one of our favorite finds of the summer, this stilt house on the banks of the Mississippi. We liked it so much we stayed there twice.
Just up the river from the house are one of the many sets of locks through which enormous tugboats and block-long barges must pass to make their way up and down the mighty river.
We spent whole days sitting on the broad terrace above the river at Linus's Clubhouse, just watching. The deep thrum of the tug engines announced their approach long before they came into view from downriver. I never tired of waiting to see them round the bend, and of thinking about how very many ways there are to live on this planet. You'll hear plenty more about that as we move around the country. But how about "Mississippi tugboat captain"? That's a good one, in my opinion.
The kids came for a barbeque one afternoon and Caiden caught a fish! Not a huge fish, but still. Don't worry, we didn't grill the little guy. Cory slipped him back into the water to get bigger.
You non-Facebookers will be happy to hear that the majority of photos I'm posting in this and following articles are being published for the first time because I have lots of space. I'm having fun looking through the thousands I took over the summer and remembering the stories and places. I'll be adding a post every day or two now, as we have some major catching-up to do. Anyway, it's a good way for me to remember where all we went and what the heck we did.
Next stop: New Orleans!