Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A pleasant little road trip

Last week I suggested to Cliff that we should take a road trip someplace and view the autumn leaves; Cliff asked if Monday (yesterday) would be OK; I figured it was as good a day as any, so we began planning.  I didn't want to travel too far, so I suggested the Versailles/Lake of the Ozarks area.  Cliff called his sister Rena to see if she was interested; she was.  Then he called his brother, Phil, at Higginsville and invited him along.  He was raised in Morgan County by his grandmother... and after she became an invalid and later died, Aunt Gertrude took over.  He graduated from Versailles High School.  I guess at this point I'm safe telling you the reason for this, with Cliff's parents long gone:  When Cliff's dad married his mom, she had a child already.  This was a different time, and, as Cliff says, "they were just a couple of hillbillies".  His dad could not accept the idea of raising "another man's child", so Phil ended up in a much more stable environment than his siblings.  The only way he could ever get out of going to Sunday School as a child was to play sick, and his grandma gave him castor oil for anything that was ailing him.  He quickly figured out he'd rather go to church or school than to taste the nastiness of castor oil.  He was the only one of his siblings to graduate high school, and he had every award Baptist Sunday schools give for perfect attendance.  To any of our local friends who might read this and wondered why Cliff had a brother with a different last name, now you know why:  He got his mother's maiden name.

Back when I was babysitting, Phil, Rena, and Cliff drove to Versailles one day; Phil took them around to old graveyards where some of their ancestors were buried, and to some of the old home places where relatives once lived.  I really wanted to go with them, but I stayed home with Cora.  As you probably know if you've read my blog for long, I love graveyards and old-timey places.  

So we all met, loaded up into Rena's car, and went in search of pretty leaves.

If that had been the only thing we did, it was a failure, even with me and Rena trying to be enthusiastic when we saw a little spot of color in the distance.  But it was a cloudy day, and there weren't really any bright red leaves in the landscape at all.  We saw yellow leaves and rust-color leaves.  Pretty drab, really.  But stories I heard, and conversations we had, made the day memorable to me.

Locust Baptist Church
I believe this is the church that had some mold in the basement; Aunt Gertrude had a lifelong problem with asthma, but as long as she was able, she attended the two country churches on this road, going to each one on alternate Sundays. 

There used to be a house back there somewhere.  Cliff's Grandma and Grandpa Wood lived here, but they didn't own the land.  They were squatters on coal company property.  This was a timely stop for me, since we had long since passed all public rest rooms and my bladder is very insistent at times.  It had been raining recently, so the others remained in the car while I loaded up my shoe-soles with wet gravel which ended up all over the back-seat carpet in Rena's usually immaculate car, and went to relive myself and take a couple of pictures.  We won't even mention the boulder we drove over that pounded against the underneath of the car, shortly after we left this spot.  "I hope that rock didn't bust the oil-pan," Cliff said, but he was only teasing Rena... I think.

The view going back to the car.

The slab

Cliff remembers walking down to "the slab" to swim; the two pictures above show the slab.  Phil said when it rains hard, the water pours over the top of it.  It's right down the road from where his grandma and grandpa Silvey lived.  It was interesting to me that the Woods and Silveys lived so near one another long before the time Cliff's parents got together.  People didn't go far in search of a mate in those days. 

Here's the other church Aunt Gertrude attended, further on the same road as Locust Church.  This is Ritchie Baptist church.

Ritchies figure into their mom's family, and there are a lot of them in this church graveyard.  Even the church bears their name.

Marriots abound in their family tree too.  I know this because they keep finding relatives for Cliff on "23 and Me" for Cliff, mostly second and third cousins.

                                                           I think I hear banjo music.

I lost several pictures taken on our trip through the woods because the files are no longer valid.  I've never had that happen before, but there isn't any way I know to recover them or fix them.  They aren't in the deleted photos folder, and I know I didn't remove the card from the computer until after the photos were downloaded.   I've used a Mac Mini for years, but unfortunately I didn't always look up the proper way to do things; I just sort of "got by" with everything the best I could.  Now, with a new Mac, I'm trying to learn to do things properly for the first time in years, and it's a struggle.  I'll get there, I just hope I don't lose more pictures in the process.

We had a deadline:  Phil needed to be home by 5 PM.  So we ended our little road trip by visiting their cousin, Darrel, in Versailles.  Aunt Gertrude lived with him the last years of her life:  she was unable to live at her own home because it was old, and impossible to get every trace of mold out of.  She and Darrell took care of one another, since Darryl has many, many health issues himself.  They made a good team, and I know he misses her. 

We had a great visit that would have been worth the trip even without going out into the boonies to visit the family history.  Darrell's whole house is a genuine man-cave, and the decor fascinates me.  He's very artistic, and knows how to throw things together and make it all look just right.  He built the house to accommodate a wheel chair, knowing that he'd eventually be using one.  The garage is on the same level as the rest of the house, with no steps, so he can wheel right on out there and putter on his cars.  

Cliff was on the Orscheln calendar a couple of years ago with his tractor, so Darrell decoupaged that page, making it a permanent fixture in his garage.  

The sides of this tool box are covered in pictures of cars Darrell had something to do with.  Darryl's daughter was responsible for collecting photos to put together for the sides.  I'm fairly certain the cartoon picture on the front is Darryl's art work.

Cliff is just nosing around in the garage, admiring all the man-toys.

After we went back in the house, Darryl's brother Rick stopped by.  It still seems strange that Aunt Gertrude isn't there any more, but you can almost feel her presence in the house anyhow.

You often see the Amish buggies on roads around Versailles, and in town at Walmart and other spots.  There are various varieties of Amish folk, as well as Mennonites and everything in between.  The locals can't even keep track of which kind everybody is, so they often simply call them "Pennsylvania Dutch" as an all-inclusive term.  Darrell said there is such a huge recent influx of them that they have caused land prices in the area to go crazy high.  

Because yesterday was Monday, most of the Amish had done laundry and had clothes hanging on the lines.

I know you aren't supposed to take pictures of the Amish, but I didn't know he was going to turn his head toward us just as I was taking a picture.  Besides, what could he do to me?  Try to catch our car with a horse-drawn carriage so he could tell me off?

We went toward home, stopping in Sedalia at LeMaire's Cajun Catfish for a late lunch.  None of us thought it was top-notch, but it filled us up, anyway.  



Margaret said...

This sounds like an excellent day, and verifies that sometimes you go somewhere with the idea of seeing/doing one thing, but the unexpected and random gifts of people and experiences happen. Lovely visits and adventures!

Sister--Three said...

Our history makes us who we are.

Margie's Musings said...

Sounds like a fun day to me! I've been stuck in all day. It's way too chilly for me.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

Looks and sounds like my kind of excursion.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

A day spent with family is always a joy and I loved seeing all the picture and hearing about Cliffs family too. Sorry you didn't get to see a lot of color. It was late in coming here this year. They say it was because of a dry fall. That is some garage, most men would love to linger and take a look around.