Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Day 5: Danville, IL

6:06 am large train traveling through blowing its whistle, honkers immediately after. It is all part of the wonderful life I have come to know here in Danville/Covington. It has been a superb experience exploring Michael's childhood home.
This morning we had breakfast in the hotel and then I took Jay for an hour walk around the hotel to give Mike a chance to check his email and do our laundry. Um, I am thinking I would have rather done the laundry. hhahahahaha
We actually had a very good time exploring.
It was Wednesday, so I wanted to check and see if there were any local farmer's markets going on. Lucky day Danville had one downtown. No lie, 5 booths. Two with baked goods, two with veggies, and one selling goat poop for garden manure. I ended up grabbing two baked good, a blurberry coffee cake and pecan bars. Then at one of the farmers tables I picked up three stems of gladiolas as Mike wanted to stop by the cemetary and put some flowers down. We got a fabulous photo op there of jay putting the flowers on the grave. I spoke to him about what the cemetery was and why we were there and how to put the flowers down...he went right over and did it perfect, it was a little eerie, but precious.
Grandpa was expecting us for a quick visit and Jay was thrilled to see those front steps again. However, he was completely devastated that he only got to walk up them and was forced inside. He screamed, cried, sobbed, and I removed him to the kitchen. We had to go to the kitchen three times. Each time I got him calmed down and walked back into the front room he began sobbing and wanted to go out. It wasn't long and he calmed and fell asleep in my arms.
Grandpa had a chance to visit with us and it was our best visit so far! I heard how grandpa at the age of 6 lost his father in 20's and his mother was due to delivery his brother Stan in three months. They moved into the city and he and his older brother went to his uncle's farm to work to earn his keep. He also had a paper route and on special occasions there were inserts to be sold for a nickle a piece. In 1927, he remembers selling a paper insert that was announcing Charles Lindbergh had just crossed the Atlantic ocean for the very first time! At 16, he went to work at the bakery from 3 am to 7 pm every day. Fridays he worked from 2 am to 7 pm. He didn't leave the bakery and only saw about 3-5 people a day. Packed a big lunch and worked hard all day! A couple years later the bread slicing machine was invented. 8 years in the bakery before he took the postal test. He studied hours with a book he checked out from the library. It was the coldest day in history that he ever recalls, below zero for three days, when he went to take the test in the huge study hall that ran over into another classrom too. He placed 6th place in scoring out of the whole bunch, and didn't hear a thing from the post office. He was talking to a friend of his that hung out with him. The postal job came up and Gpa told him what had happened. His friend said, well I can take care of that for you. Grandpa replied, "what the hell are you talking about!?" The boy explained that he picked up his father at the courthouse at 5 pm everyday. They then went over to post office and gave the head postmaster a ride home every day. It was a day or so later when Gpa got the call he had gotten the job at the post office. Two years later, he got his draft letter for World War 2. He joined and became 3rd class sergeant so he could live off base with his wife and one year old daughter, Peggy. It wasn't long and the first bomb was dropped in Japan and 5 days later the second. War was soon over and Gpa wa sback at the post office. He came to love this job so much, because it was "intersting ya know". But more importantly, he expressed how he loved working the window and seeing so many people. I have heard this story more times than probably anyone else in Michael's family. You know what....I LOVE THIS FACT!!! I can tell you anything you want to know about what he has chosen to share about his life. I have heard it so many times, I have begun to try and ask other questions to press deeper into that time period of his life or spin him out of the conversation. But it only confuses him or he answers my questions-which I love because I learn more-but he gets right back on track to finish the story. I love love love that he cares so much for me that he wants to share his life with me to make me part of his life too! It has been a trip well worth making for Michael, for Jay, and for me! Got some wonderful pictures at the house.
Then we headed over to the Covered Brigde Restaurant again. It was open and very busy. It is an adorable building and the inside is the typical small town restaurant. There was a table of sweet ladies behind Michael and another large party of old ladies beside us. They basically ignored us and were knee deep in town gossip which TOTALLY shed a light on Covington! Funny.
Jay had to sit on a booster seat because his legs and feet are so big, they do not fit in the chair. Panic immediately rushed over Mike and I. But it ended up working very well!!! Jay was being a little unruly and then we played a game where I hid sugar packets under my hand and he had to try and guess which one it was. He liked it. Somehow in between that game and the food coming, he grabbed the silver ware and threw it past Michael and onto the floor at the sweet ladies feet. Mike immediately turned around and said to the ladies, I am soo sorry, he is not even two yet. He just looks like he is older. In the meantime, I reprimanded the child in a way that No ONE would say, "could you believe she did not correct that child's poor behavior?"
Onto the food. We had Manhattan's for lunch. WHAT!?! I know I was all like what in the world is a manhattan??? It is an open face roast beef with tons of gravy and mashed potatoes. Mike had the turkey and i had the roast beef. It was a flashback to 4th grade and a delicious meal in the school cafeteria. They don't make cafeteria food like that any more. Then, we saw the pie menu!
strawberry rhubarb
sweet cream
peanut butter(sorry mother...I didn't think it would hold up for 7 days...)
lemon meringue

Mike had rhubarb which was very good and I had peach which was delicious and he and I scarfed them down in less than 30 seconds. Jay was DONE.
So out we went to explore the beautiful grounds and take some pictures and break a two year olds spirit! haha Is "NO" a spirit or a cheer or a mantra????

Loved this experience and followed it up by setting the GPS to home and totally going back a country road. You are riding through cornfields...and getting passed by impatient Indianians wondering how did two floridians get so lost?????????

Once back at the hotel, we changed clothes and headed down to the pool, it has been one of my favorite things about this hotel...although there are many pleasant things here! Jay is getting really confident and capapble in the water. He will jump off the second step with his head held high and float with his wings. We swam for over an hour and then came back up to get ready for dinner. We were heading over to Charlie and Kim's house and having dinner with Sarah and Chris too! Grandpa was there and he has improved since we even saw him two days ago. He is perky and with great coloring! Although, he didn't say to much during the dinner. Then again, we were all having such a wonderful time together that he probably couldn't get a word in if he tried!
I totally love Mike's people! They are all wonderful!
Kim and Charlie's home is incredible. Their home is so welcoming and stunning all at the same time. I love the back patio and yard. You would have thought Jay would have been a madman out there in the yard...exploring and playing. NOOOOO!!!! Jay wanted to go back in the house and climb the stairs. Yeah, I know.
The landscaping is so charming and the added flowers and pots are so well put together. Sarah has a great eye for landscape! I dream of a home and yard like this one day!
I have felt bad about interrupting Kim and Charlie's schedule this week. Especially since Kim has started back to teaching last week. She has to be so tired! You wouldn't know it from her warm and welcoming style. She seemed so rested and relaxed! We had some delicious pizza from Monacle's, a fresh salad, some wine, and fresh strawberries with ice cream and brownies! I forgot to tell her how sweet and delicious the strawberries were from a nearby garden. It was just so nice to have a chance to visit with them and I left feeling like we have been family for years and years. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family.

Oh, your thinking that this evening couldn't get any better. Oh, but wait it does! On the way home, we stopped at Custard Cup for a dessert after dessert. Hahaha. Mike had me run up and he sat in the car with Jay. There were people all around enjoying this icon. Unfortunately, the special was blue raspberry today. I opted to try a kiddie lemon cone for mike and chocolate for me. It was so yummy. We gave jay three tiny tastes and he whacked out and was itchy, his face got red, and he was hyper. It is getting interesting watching how he reacts after eating certain foods. I will keep a better eye on this and even start a journal to share with the pediatrician at our two year visit in 3 months. I don't know that I would call it hyperactive, as much as I would say irritated. A benedryl and sleep was just what was ordered. Michael is also asleep and at 10:11 pm CENTRAL time, I am also exhausted.
6:06 am comes quickly around here.
Next up, Chicago by way of Purdue University, and then off to get some Garrett popcorn, check out Navy Pier, and I do not know what we will have for dinner....
Til then.


Carol said...

Hah! Chitown pricked up my ears. My home town!! You might have to search for Garrets. I heard they closed the shop in the Loop.

Your accounting of this trip has kept my attention. I love that your FIL loves you so much and relates stories of his past. It sounds like he is a little younger than my father would have been if he were still on earth. He told us stories of how his parents came here and settled in Chicago. He had 12 brothers and sisters. One was killed when a milk wagon rolled down a hill and rolled right over his little brother. Other amazing stories were told to me, but when I was preschool so I don't remember much. My father and uncles worked in the South Chicago steel mills. I have been told all the horror stories of working in the mills pre-union, so I have understood well how unions came to be, then watched them deteriorate.

How will we know our history if our parents and grandparents don't pass it on to us? We are lucky that we have the technology to record it. Unfortuneately technology moves fast and what is "it" now probably won't be here in 20 years.

My husband was a truck driver when my daughter was young so I used to tape cassettes of her telling her dad what happened today to he could enjoy it when he came home. He still listens to those tapes. But when the cassette player dies, I guess so will the tapes.

Well, I wrote you a book, didn't I, lol. I enjoy your posts and I am sure Jay will some day too.

xx, Carol

rairie said...

Oh Jessica how I can see you listening to Red tell his history. However the account of the old ladies in the Covered Bridge made me wonder if they were my age. I am not old, you know, to me. LOL. What a great time to learn about your other family. The best part is that you want to know all about them. So many are ready to find fault in this world instead of love. Did I bring you up right or are you just that special on your own?

Anonymous said...

Jessica, you were "brought up" right and truly VERY special {on your own}. Your blog makes me feel warm and happy. We All are such a good "fit". So glad you truly did make the most of your Danville/Cov-ington visit. Deb, aren't we having fun with these fantastic posts??? Enjoy Chicago!!!Love, Mom

Scrapbooking 500 Pages in 2008