With Robin and Mark
Graham and Adam
Florida Grands and Greats
Mother and Flat Stanley
I made it back to West Palm Beach Saturday night, November 30, after leaving town on October 12. In that time, as I wrote last night, I drove 6,393.8 miles through Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and several side trips through the State of Confusion. I had Friend Shari as a road companion from Florida to Missouri, celebrated Mother’s Birthday season with Wife Lila, and Brother Mark and his Fiance Robin.
After that, I headed out to Athens, Ohio, to do a presentation on the birth of the student rights movement with former OU Post colleague Carol Towarnicky. Athens Historical Society Curator Jessica, who just had to see with her own eyes if Missouri in any way came close to my stories, followed me back to Cape. After roaming around in SEMO for a couple of weeks, I made a pass back through Ohio, where I got snowed in.
I slept in Sunday, unpacked the van, had some belated (and very good) turkey leftovers, then headed out with Wife Lila to see the grandkids.
Grandson Elliot, loves hearing weird sounds, something that we Steinhoffs are very good at providing.
When I told him that his grandmother had told me that he had grown a foot while I was gone, he held his legs out to prove that he still only had two.
Don’t let appearances deceive you. What looks like an ordinary caulking gun turns into a laser blaster in the hands of a 2-1/2-year-old. He also has a magic wand that turns his grandmother into a chicken. You will NOT see a video of that. I have no desire to be smothered in my sleep.
I bought these rainbow-hued twirly things in St. Louis on my last trip. I gave one to both West Palm Beach boys and one to Mother. A windstorm took Grandon Malcolm’s out, so I brought him a new one. Here he is assembling it. He’s a serious computer geek and reader. He can also feed you the last half of Groucho’s line: “A book is your best friend outside of a dog.” [Malcolm:] “because inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
I always take visitors to see Fort Defiance, the southernmost tip of Illinois, where the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers meet. Wednesday was Curator Jessica’s turn. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)
I should have known better than to say, “You have to wade in the water so you can say you straddled two great American rivers,” because I said something like that when we were looking at a spring in Princeton, Ky.
The next thing I knew, she was splashing and frolicking, much to the amusement of some pre-teens who were watching from a bridge.
She kept her balance, but I guess a splash wouldn’t have been too bad. Jessica kept saying on the trip that she really likes New Orleans. If the 300-foot rope I carry in the car turned out to be short, I calculated she would be passing the Big Easy in a week or so.
I have to put her on a plane in St. Louis back to Ohio on November 4. We’ll go up a day early so she can meet Brother Mark, Robin and Friend Shari and do some sightseeing.
I promised I’d bring along some alcohol wipes to clean off an area of the stainless steel Gateway Arch so she could lick it, something that all first-time visitors are supposed to do.
She and I will be at Annie Laurie’s on Broadway on First Friday, November 1. I’ll have Snapshots of Cape Girardeau calendars and the Smelterville book with me. Laurie says she’ll have cookies and hot cider.
Maybe you can help me come up with other quaint Missouri customs like arch-licking that I can share with our Ohio visitor. I’ve found that she is willing to try just about anything once.
Perry County is experiencing a bumper crop of tomatoes this summer, so I was a little uneasy about facing an audience at the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum in Altenburg. Folks up in the ridges aren’t shy about expressing their opinions, and I was hoping not to come home dripping rotten tomato juice.
The purpose of my visit was to have the audience help narrow down some print selections for an exhibit this fall and for me to gauge response to to my talk about regional photography.
I didn’t do a head count, but museum director Carla Jordan said about 40 people attended, about twice what we had anticipated. It was a good group. I went longer than planned, but I didn’t hear any snoring and I didn’t hear any boards creaking that would have given away anyone who tried to sneak out early.
Brother Mark and his friend Robin Hirsch came down from St. Louis. Robin was kind enough to shoot a couple of these photos.
Joanne Holley, in the front row, left, is the last resident of Wittenberg. Her husband, Dave Holley, storyteller extraordinaire, died April 11, 2012. Two of the videos featured him and one was dedicated to him. Her daughter, Kristie, and her grandson are also in the row.
Cape photographer Tom Neumeyer stopped by to talk technique and share shooting war stories. Central High School Class of ’66 classmate Dick McLard reminded me that Thursday is the monthly brunch, but I have other commitments that day. Wife Lila would certainly be there if she was in town.
Carla’s introduction was so flattering that I wondered if she had grabbed my eulogy by mistake. Warren Schmidt was equally kind at the end of the evening. Gerard Fiehler humped stuff out of my car and helped get the speakers working.
Mother is an old hand at the museum, but this was Friend Shari’s mother’s first visit. LaFern Stiver admitted that she didn’t know how she was going to occupy herself in what she thought was going to be a tiny, small-town museum since I had to go a couple hours early to set up. She was pleasantly surprised to see what a great job Carla and her staff do in pulling together the exhibits.
If you’re in LaFern’s bridge club, don’t be surprised to find yourself being hauled up to Altenburg one of these days. (Shari couldn’t make it down from St. Louis. She said something about a sick cat. That sounds vaguely familiar. I think she may have used that same excuse when we were in high school.)