Friday, October 14, 2011

Too Much Input?

Wow! It's been nearly a month since my last blog. Things have been fast and furious around here. Probably one of the busiest months in a long time.
Where to begin (This is where a 76 year old memory comes in handy) There were trips to Minneapolis, Evansville, Chicago and Duluth as well as a paddlewheel boat cruise up the Mississippi. visits from my California son, an Evilbear and helpful neighbors. There's some funny things and some sad. I'll try to whip through the boring stuff and embellish the more interesting things. In not necessarily numerical, alphabetical or sequential order, here we go.
As a belated birthday present to JoAnne, we took a Saturday paddlewheel boat lunch cruise up The River. It was really pleasant and relaxing. (Just what Busy Bee Jo needed) A few highlights were going through the locks and whale watching. The locks part went smoothly but not much on the whale watching front. (Although it did keep the other passengers alert.) I guess the only real humor of the day was being accompanied on the cruise by a Tammy Faye Baker lookalike. I tried to get a photo of her without being too obvious because, I'm sure, she didn't want to cause a distraction from the less made up surroundings.
The following week my oldest son, Rick, flew in from California for a weeklong visit. We talk on the phone a lot but don't get together very often due to a couple of thousand miles of Nebraska separating us. We put in a pretty busy week of golfing, sightseeing and a bunch of picture taking (mostly on Rick's part). When he's not bragging about parring the eighth hole, I'm sure he's completely boring everyone back home with his hundreds of barn and tractor photos. We slipped in a trip to Chicago to lunch on Chicago Style Pizza with daughter Elaine and dropped in on niece, Michelle, and nephew Ron's (What a cool name for a nephew. Even cooler, he has a son named Ronnie!) birthday party at my sister's house. It was a great week with great weather. As a matter of fact Jo even let us use her convertible one day.
One of my favorite bloggers, Evilbear by name, emailed me that he was planning to take a photo tour along The River. Being THE Mississippi River nut, I was more than eager to pass on more riverside travel information than, I'm sure, he wanted. Somehow we have become fans of each other's blog without ever meeting or even having ever known each other. We made plans to get together for a face to face, in depth discussion of potential photo ops. We met at the local Hardies, exchanged pleasantries and got to know each other a little bit. Then I sent him on his way North not knowing that within twenty four hours I would be making the same trip.
Last Thursday night we received word that, Summer's husband, Reid's mother had passed away up in Duluth. Super G swung into action. We were packed, and on our way so rapidly that we actually reached Minneapolis before Evilbear was out of LaCrosse. On these "Missions of Mercy" my main job is to drive and provide comic relief. (when appropriate) On the other hand, Super G (Jo) is there to give relief to Summer and Reid caring for the grandkids. The wake and funeral service were quite emotional with many people eulogizing Rita (Reid's mom). In spite of her own physical ailments she really touched and improved the lives of many others.
Afterwards we headed back to good old Fennimore. The ride home was a little more relaxed and enjoyable than the trip up north had been. We took a number of scenic routes on the Wisconsin side of The River and other than a few blinding rain storms it was a pleasant ending to an otherwise sad week. The big surprise came when we arrived at our house. It seemed that on the previous Sunday, our Pastor had given a sermon about people helping people. (could have been the Good Samaritan story?) At any rate the following day some of our neighboring families, kids and all, swooped in on the Blume estate and raked up all the leaves in sight. (one family hadn't even heard the sermon) A little aside here. The kids from across the street had been "stealing" our leaves all week long creating a huge leaf pile in their yard. The funny part is that they would take turns burying each other in the pile. Not funny? Well it is if you realize that I live across the street from the funeral parlor and these kids belong to the undertaker. Makes you wonder what else they do for kicks over there.
The one thing that didn't happen was my high school buddy, Ken, and his wife, Linda, were due to come for a visit to Fennimore on Saturday. Needless to say, on Saturday Jo and I were up in Duluth. Not to be cheated out of the opportunity to see Fennimore first hand Ken and Linda drove up from Chicago anyway and seemed to have pretty good time without us visiting some of the local establishments that we've never been to.
Well, that's what I've been up to. As if this rant hasn't "run off" long enough, let me add a few photos illustrate a tad of the doings.

Just a peek of "Old Muddy" from the upper deck.
(I wish I could remember all the different nicknames of the Mississippi
that Chevy Chase used in his "Vacation" film.

"Big Wheel Keeps on turnin"
(Enough to make Mary proud!)

"Super G" enjoying a well deserved relaxing moment in the sun.

Tammy Faye???

Railroad Swing bridge.

The guy who sits in his little cabin waiting for a boat to come by
so he can open and close the bridge and wave.
(He had a special wave for Tammy Fay.)

Son Rick, in search of "The Photo".

Who sez we don't pamper of our cows up here?
Cows get thirsty too!

Kickapoo Valley dressed in it's Full Fall Finery.

The Blume Estate before being ravaged by leaf thieves.

For a peek at some fine photos, check out Evilbear's blog at -