I made a quick trip to southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas yesterday to check on property, relatives, and friends - not necessarily in that order. Rosie the Wonder Dog travelled with me and spent most of the nearly two hundred mile trip snoozing peacefully on my lap. She knows how to make the very best of a dog's life!
My first sop was in Neosho where I met my grandson, Boone, and took him to lunch. Boone is a sophomore at Neosho High School. I also had to do a bit of banking in the Flowerbox City. I drove Boone around town and showed him the house that my parents were living in when both Gail and I were born. It is still there, at 510 Park Street next to the Neosho National Fish Hatchery. The little house is fairly dilapidated and appeared to be empty. I suspect that it will soon be torn down.
My earliest memories are of walking past the fish hatchery with my parents and throwing rocks at the trout. One day when I was about two and my mother was busy with some household chore, I slipped out of the house unnoticed. A railroad track runs between that house and the fish hatchery. Two high school girls found me playing on the tracks and took me home - much to the astonishment of my mother who did not realize that I had even left the house. (That was over sixty years ago. If it had happened now, my good friends from the 40th Circuit Children's Division - which I used to head - would have been paying the scared mother a visit.)
I also drove Boone by the house that we used to live in when his father was a sophomore (and junior, and senior) at Neosho High School.
My next stop was twenty miles south of Neosho in Noel, Missouri, where I went to the cemetery and checked on my parents' graves. Gail, or one of her adult children, had their stone nicely decorated.
I swung by the home of my good friend, Mertie Harmon, and took her with me as I went to check on two properties that I still have in Noel. Mert held Rosie as we drove - and she became quite attached to her. Mert told me that someone had dropped a mama cat off by her house, and the feline gave birth to seven kittens. I respectfully replied that I have known her over fifty years (she is the mother of one of my classmates) and that people were dumping pregnant cats off near her home as long as I have known her. Mert is the type of person who will look after the kittens and see that they make it into good homes - or to an animal shelter. She has earned a cushy spot in heaven - many times over!
Both of the Noel houses looked to be in good order, though one is undergoing renovations that are coming along very slowly. The lady who manages those properties for me had a wonderful time playing with Rosie - a dog who never meets a stranger!
I also managed to get in a quick visit with my old college roommate, James Carroll, who was at work remodeling a home that he and Patti own. James, the consummate glutton for punishment, has served as Mayor of Noel on a couple of occasions.
Rosie and I spent last night with my sister at her home in Fayetteville, Arkansas (Go Razorbacks - woo pig sooie!) Gail doesn't eat eggs, never has, but I brought her three cartons of farm-fresh eggs to distribute to her Arkansas kids. We discussed several good places to eat, and finally decided on Steak and Shake, someplace neither she nor I had been in years. The one in Fayetteville is excellent, and the staff was among the finest of anyplace I have ever eaten. There's not a steakhouse in that area where we would have eaten better or received treatment as good as what we experienced at that Steak and Shake. Good job, people!
Rosie loved her Aunt Gail!
Today we drove home through a fog so thick that for the first three hours of the trip visibility was limited to twenty-five feet or so - and sometimes not that much. Again, Rosie laid on my lap snoozing and didn't worry about a bit of it. The sun was out by the time we got home, and she immediately rushed into the yard and began trying to herd the chickens. Sometimes she chases them, and other times they chase her!
That was our road trip. It was fun, and quick, and we're glad to be home!