Picture This

2015 CHS Reunion 08-01-2015I was going to write something profound about the 2015 reunion, but I need to let my thoughts simmer for awhile.

Maybe it’s my family’s brush with mortality lately; maybe it’s looking at that looping series of photos of our classmates who have graduated to the next level; maybe it’s just that the doggone stairs in the Arena building seem steeper than they used to. So, rather than post the rather melancholy thoughts that are floating around in my head right now, let’s just go straight to some happy pictures of the celebration we had.

2015 Reunion photo gallery

Click on any picture to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery. There are a lot of images of the photographer herding cats to set up the group shots. I’ll add that job to the list of career opportunities to avoid.

The Lithium Spring

Lithium 10-28-2014We had to take Wife Lila and her buddy Jane Rudert McMahan to the airport in St. Louis way too early in the morning. Mother and I had lunch at Pappy’s Smokehouse, then paid $2.55 a gallon for gas at Peveley before hopping on Hwy 61 to take the scenic route home.

Just south of St. Mary and just north of Perryville, I saw a sign pointing down M to Lithium. Since our goal is to find a road we had never been on before, we set our sights on Lithium.

Before long, we spotted the city limits sign of a hamlet so small they didn’t even bother to show the population. (The 2010 census reported 89 people, 28 households and 22 families living there, but those figures may have included folks living in rural Perry county outside Lithium proper, an AP account said.)  Lithium had a ZIP Code of 63775, but it has since been declared by the United States Postal Service to be “Not Acceptable – Use Perryville.”

This well-kept church didn’t have a name on it, but it is the St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, organized in 1896.

The Ole Houck

Lithium 10-28-2014The village has a sizable park which contains this artifact labeled “The Old Houck.” It looks more like a cart you’d find in a mine than a railroad, but I don’t know exactly what it was for.

Fungus? Mushroom? Toadstool?

Lithium 10-28-2014These brown somethings were dotting the park here and there, particularly where there was a tree stump or other organic matter. I’m assuming it was some kind of fungus.

 Lithium Spring

Lithium 10-28-2014The most interesting thing for me was this white, shake shingled gazebo with a sign “Lithium Spring.” Inside the structure was a pit that contained a pipe with clear water running into a basin from one side and going out a grate on the other. The flow wasn’t as strong as the artesian well outside Marble Hill, but it was steady.

Mother wanted to taste the spring, so I emptied a plastic bottle and handed it over to her. “Tastes like water,” was her verdict.

A contributor to findaspring.com said it is “It is a highly mineralized spring, more like water for healing…Not your everyday drinking water but will definitely start to heal you. I drink it every once in a while, additionally to my regular Spring water from Mountain Valley Spring.”

Lithium had TWO big springs

Lithium 10-28-2014The State Historical Society of Missouri’s website of Perry County Place Names, 1928 – 1945, has this information about the town and springs:

  • The town: A small town in the eastern part of Saline Township. It was surveyed and laid out as a town in 1822 by C.F. Laurence. The first settlers were Dr. Henry Clay Tish, R.P. Dobbs, and James G. Christian, who came from Illinois and settled at this place where they found two springs of mineral water known as lithium, because containing one of the lithium salts. The town grew rapidly because of the springs and was incorporated in 1883.
  • [Note: a reader sayid Henry’s last name was actually “Fish,” not “Tish.”
  • The springs: Two large springs located in the northern part of the county in the present town of Lithium. One of the springs is owned by the town; the other by Mrs. Richard P. Dobbs, wife of one of the first settlers.

Hemman Winery in Brazeau

Hemman Winery 10-26-2014The banquet tables at the Immigration Conference were set with bottles of Hemman Winery cranberry wine.

[My presentation went well, thanks for asking. The audience looked at the videos I had produced of The Last Generation of German speakers, laughed where appropriate and had eyes glistening with moisture where appropriate. It’s always a rush to watch folks enjoying something you produced.]

Mother and Wife Lila accompanied me to the banquet after enjoying some great music in the museum. Lila likes a good wine, unlike me, who has never found a good replacement for the bottles of Ripple we OU Post photographers kept stashed in old photo paper boxes in the fridge. I mean, who is going to open a box marked “Open in darkroom only?”]

She thought the cranberry wine was good enough that she wanted to go to the winery in Brazeau, just up the road from Frohna’s Saxon Lutheran Memorial and not too far from Seventy-Six. Class of ’66 buddy Jane Rudert McMahan was in town, so the four of us headed north, with a stopover at the Altenburg museum.

Bonnie did the pouring

Hemman Winery 10-26-2014Bonnie Hemman had a full array of wines set up for tasting.She did a great job explaining each wine and how it was made.

Before we got out of the place, Lila had picked up a case of mostly fruit wines that may show up as Christmas gifts for some lucky people.

The place also had a spinach – artichoke dip that was excellent. I suspect Bonnie may see us again when Curator Jessica hits town next week. It seems like every other email I get from her has a wine mention in it, so I gather she is fond of the grape (or the cranberry or blackberry or rhubarb).

Lots of eye candy

Hemman Winery 10-26-2014While you are waiting for your turn to taste, you can wander around looking at the antique items displayed on shelves around the room. We didn’t discover the outdoor seating area with music until we were out in the parking lot headed home (almost).

I’ve been having some battery problems lately, and needed a jump. A couple of guys pushed my van out to the middle of the parking lot where my jumper cables could reach a jeep one of them pulled up. When it when it finally cranked, I tried to give them some money, but they refused to take it. I offered to buy them a bottle of wine, but they refused it. I told them to take the money inside and buy somebody ELSE a bottle of wine or a couple of beers, but they refused that, too. Perry County has some nice folks in it, for sure.

Barber chair older than mine

Hemman Winery 10-26-2014The building housing the winery used to have a barber shop attached. The barber chair might be just a few years older than the one we have in our living room, based on the arms and color.

Sweeter than cranberry wine

Hemman Winery 10-26-2014While Mother was checking out the music action on the north side of the winery, I was scoping out the view to the south. That’s sweeter than the cranberry wine.

For more information, including wine varieties, hours and directions, go to the Hemman Winery website. If you stop by, tell ’em we sent you. Say hi to Bonnie for us. And, you won’t find a better place to have a dead battery.

Click on the photos to make them larger.

In the Same Zip Code

Jane Rudert McMahan - Lila Steinhoff 10-22-2014_3409I left West Palm Beach on July 23. Friday, October 22, was the day that these two people from my past showed at at the Cape Airport.

Jane Rudert McMahan, left, is one of Wife Lila’s old high school buddies. They flew down from St. Louis on Cape Air to attend this week’s monthly Class of ’66 luncheon.

Wife Lila is in town to celebrate the wind-down of Mother’s Birthday Season, see relatives, go to the luncheon and, maybe, to see me.

I am pretty sure this is the longest we have been apart since I was going to school in Athens, Ohio, and she hadn’t yet made the escape from Cape. It’s nice to be back in the same Zip Code with her.