Fall tradition

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It has become a fall tradition to travel about 30 minute south of Jonesboro to White Hall (a tiny town six miles south of Harrisburg) to visit Parker Homestead with my niece and Mom. This year, my sister, Dad and the latest addition to the family, my fourth-month-old niece, joined us.

Parker Homestead is a recreated 19th century town with buildings and artifacts from White Hall’s past. The neat part is my Dad’s mother grew up in White Hall (her sister still lives there in their family home) and Parker Homestead actually displays homework of their older brother in a school house on the property. My family searches for my uncle’s work each time we visit.

I may be drawn to the school house but my 3-year-old niece is drawn to the church where an old piano is located. If given the chance, I think she would remain on that piano bench all day.

Here’s some pictures from Parker Homestead:

The Cat House

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Gray and Marble.

My family has a habit of “rescuing” kittens … although in hindsight they might not have needed saving. My sister rescued a kitten she found running down a sidewalk after two boys. I rescued a kitten playing in the street while HUGE dogs ran its way. My mom broke the tradition by rescuing a one-eyed cat that was really annoying (it has since disappeared) and later rescuing the meanest kitten I have ever met (we gave him away). Our cat collection literally began in that order.

All of these cats now live at my parents’ house in the country along with my parents’ older yorkie and occasional visits of the pets my sister and I have. Needless to say, we were out of room for pets. Well, my dad put his foot down — no more.

So, this past weekend was a shocker. It started off typical with my dad needing to run by the local Knights of Columbus Hall to check on things. Well, apparently it was more to check on the two kittens he found abandoned at the back door.

Why was this shocking? My dad knew by bringing my mom to the KC Hall that those kittens were going home with them. He later kind of admitted to it. However, it’s a decision I don’t think anyone has regretted. I’ve never seen a cat so sweet or playful as these two.

From the beginning, the two ran up to us to play or give us kisses. We’re already in love with them. So, welcome to the family Gray and Marble. 🙂

 

Canadians and Mallards

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Canadian Geese and Mallards were the main birds we saw Sunday and this morning. They basically had the run of our hotel and restaurant parking lots (which surrounded a small pond).

Most of our time was spent with family. My great-aunt lived a full life, and I was surprised to learn that she moved to France with her husband and small son in the late 1940s.

Her husband was stationed near a small village, and her son said the French did not like Americans even at the end of WW2. When his father worked nights, people would come bang on their windows throughout the night to scare them.

My great-aunt would also keep a pistol under her pillow just in case. Still, they weren’t too afraid. Her son said he could remember fetching fresh bread for his mother.

This is the same lady who happened to be in town when I was born. She was my “grandmother” so she could visit my mother and hold me.

We ended up having three hours of free time after the visitation so we visited Fort Harrison State Park.

It was a nice break and the park was fantastic. I could definitely see me using it as often as possible if I lived here.

It also had family history since my great aunt and her family were stationed at Fort Harrison before it became a state park.

On Sunday, the birds and a super fat squirrel greeted us at the cemetery. It was funny to see the geese surround us. I mean literally surround our car while we were leaving. There were even three geese on the roofs watching us.

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We’re now heading back to Arkansas. Just counting the hours until I can pick up my dog and be home out of the rain.

Reaching Indiana

We finally saw snow – discarded on the side of the road and sidewalks.

It’s 3:14 a.m. We’re finally in Indianapolis after an eight+ hour drive.

A death in the family spurred the last minute trip and, so far, we’ve seen about six deer, a bald eagle and an assortment of other birds.

Here’s some more quick pictures from the drive:

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My cousin, the seminarian, is Rome-bound

I have an amazing, extraordinary family. One example of this is my cousin Stephen. Stephen and I were in the same grade during our school years and, after high school, he went on to join the U.S. Air Force. Pictured above, Stephen and I pose for a picture during my March 2007 visit when he was stationed at Ramstein Air Force Base in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Stephen has since become a seminarian with the Diocese of Little Rock, the Catholic Church of Arkansas. It’s a step that is not really surprising for those who know him. In May, Stephen graduated from Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary School in Saint Benedict, La.

Today, Stephen began the next step in his journey to priesthood. He is headed to Rome, Italy, to study at North American University. The past week has been busy as our diocese and our family prepared for his departure.

We attended his candidacy in Little Rock last Friday where he took an oath to become a priest. Two days later, a sending forth mass was held in our hometown parish where our pastor gave Stephen a special blessing. It’s kind of exciting to think that Stephen, the little boy I grew up with and had wheelchair races with, will be an ordained pastor in only four more years.