Kathy Jo, and Margie Jo.
Updated: Jul 8
June 28 2021 Southern Illinois --
Kathy Jo, my first cousin on the Wiseheart side of the family, was sort of expecting my call...sorta. After all, her grand daughter, Maddison, gave her a heads up that I might be passing through even though I still wasn't sure if I had enough time on my trip out West.
From Indiana, it was a fairly short drive, in fact those folks prefer to fly out of Indianapolis if possible. But why does the flatlands of mega crop country seem like it will never end? Anyway...
Welp, yep, l showed up and she was spot-on ready for fun with cousin Margie Jo!
We met up at Iola Cemetery where our grandparents, great grandparents, and my parents are at rest. It was a beastly hot summer day in this one horse town. I got the vibe that there is more action in the unseen spirit realm of the these stones than there is in this physical one on a day like this.
Iola is where my dad grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere, closest town is Effingham in South Central part of Illinois. Hmm...what's that rumbling?
My dad, Ray, youngest of 7 children, skedaddled as fast as he could to go to King's Point and a tour of duty with the Merchant Marines, then settled in PA. Many of our summer vacations were spent driving back here....those endless hot, summer no A/C car rides in the back seat of a 57ish Chrysler Imperial. Dad worked in the plastics industry and after a brief retirement, died in 1981. My mom, a few years later.
It's obvious to see that most folks have found other places to settle if they grew up here. There was no public place to use the restroom in the whole town! We had to ask some industrial business shop owner... it was interesting.
My grandfather, Harrison Wiseheart was the Postmaster of the town in addition to working the farm. I assume it was crop farming. I never knew my Wiseheart grandparents unfortunately. I would have liked to have known the simplicity of their lives. I imagine if I were going to paint something there, it would have been big open sky, and the distant horizons with tractors and hay bales everywhere. Maybe the farmhouse with the folks on the porch. Who knows. It was too hot to paint anyway.
The homestead is gone now, but it looked just like the others that are still there.... white with green painted trim, 2 story with dormers on the front above the porch. I remembered being here in Clay County with my sister and parents as a child. I don't think Iola has changed one iota.
Kathy and I went to pick up fresh groceries and went to her daughter's place for a pork* burger cookout! OK, here's that pork thing again. OMG! SO GOOD! Mustard and a hard roll, BAM! I mean I really liked being quasi vegetarian while at Pumpkin Hollow, but "when in Rome" is a rule when I travel. Eat what they eat.
I always try to pet a donkey when I can because, I don't know, isn't it good luck or something? Anyway, this little feller came galloping up with the most bodaciously outrageous greeting, that I was a little afraid surprisingly. But, not for long. Oh there are 2 donkeys! The cow was pregnant so she kept things low key and even the chickens calmed down. I love to hang out with farm animals...oh and my cousins!!!
Now, let's just look at the name of this town Effingham. When the county and the town were named this fine upstanding British derived title, the pioneer folks who had journeyed across the long flat lands to claim stake for their farming....never in a million years would have ever believed that -- in the future 2021 -- there is a place called Effing Brew Company. Shocking.
Spent overnight at my cousin's darling country ranch house where I enjoyed a sunset with long stretches of fields in soy bean rows. Life is good.
Now onto the next item in my bucket list of adventures: The Mighty Mississipi.
Hmmm...they don't say Effingpork* now do they?