Saturday, August 16, 2014

Family and Friend Visits in the Midwest

Our last post was quite some time ago from northern Wisconsin, where we were visiting our friends, David & Diane Wilson.  We then drove south to Mayville, WI where Elaine's sister Barbara, and her daughter, Lisa, live.  Here is a picture of the 3 of them:

We enjoyed meals at Barbara's condo, as well as a delightful lunch in Fond du Lac which Lisa hosted at an Italian restaurant.  We visited Jerry, Barbara's husband, at his nursing home too. Sorry, I didn't get a picture, which I should have done.
     We then drove straight to Winnebago, IL to the family farm, which is just outside Rockford.  Here is our rig which is parked on the farm:
This picture is taken from the old farm house, where Elaine and her siblings were raised.  Her sister, Georgeanne, and her husband, Dennis, have lived here for a very long time.
Now Elaine's nephew, Tom Daly, eldest son of Georgeanne and Dennis (pictured above), has taken over the farm and is farming it.  He graciously allowed us to park there as long as we wanted.  He has a LOT of farm equipment in a shed on the farm and we were amazed when we visited it.  Here he is with his aunt Elaine:
While we were there, we drove in to Rockford several times to do some walks in scenic places.  One of them was along the Rock River, near the Conservatory.  There is a long walking/biking trail along the river, and we enjoyed seeing these "sentinels":
Another day we drove over to Dave & Carrie Daly's farm, where they had just moved into a new house.  Dave gave me a tour of the entire farming operation, because they raise a LOT of cattle, and it was very interesting to see all the scientific farming and feeding methods.  Here is a picture with Dave and Carrie, and one of their four children, Drew:
Of course, the main reason we were here at this time was to join in the celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the farm being in the Cannell/Daly family.  Luckily, some of Georgeanne and Dennis' adult children, and their families, arrived early from far-flung places such as Lancaster, PA, and helped set up for the event.  They expected over 200 people, so they arranged for several large tent tops to be delivered, and the gang set them up:
There were lots of other prep things everyone did, but I won't bore you with that.  Early in the afternoon, Elaine and I drove in to Rockford to a local tavern where another relative, her cousin, Joe Hamilton, and his wife, Judy, were having their 50th wedding celebration.  We enjoyed seeing them again, of course, and also many of the cousins and other family members.  Here is a picture of Elaine with some of her cousins:
This is Lynell, Miggie, Elaine & Sheva - all cousins.
The celebration for Joe and Judy was hosted by their 2 daughters, Carrie and Chris:
Meanwhile, preparations were going on at the farm, so we headed out there for the big party.  Here is a picture of the old farm house, which has been updated since the time Elaine was raised here with her 5 sisters and 1 brother.
Georgeanne had painted a picture of part of the farm and it was added to this banner which was made especially for this event:
There is a wrap-around porch, and before the part which held the food, was this board, showing the food choices.  This was mostly choreographed by Lana Daly, Tom's wife, who lives next door.  She is the ultimate party planner (but she did have help from the family).
One of the highlights was the whole roasted pig, but by the time we arrived back at the farm after the other party, it had been reduced to this:
We got some food and went out to the tents to join the family.  Here is Carrie, with another Daly son, Chris and his wife Dani, who had flown out from Lancaster, PA.
Barbara and Lisa, whom we had visited in Mayville, WI, had driven down for the day with Barbara's son, Jerry, and his wife, Lori, and their 2 children Mitch and Maddie, from VA.  Jerry is in the Air Force and has been stationed in Afghanistan for the last year.  But a few years ago the whole family was stationed in Germany, and then Spain, and we visited them in both places.  We were delighted to see all of them, and here is a picture we captured just before they left for their drive back to Wisconsin:
About that time, Georgeanne came by with a gift that someone had made for them, so the 3 sisters posed for a picture with it:
Aren't these ladies amazing??!!  These are Elaine's OLDER sisters!!!  They are so incredibly healthy, vibrant, and attractive!
     So this started the picture taking before people escaped from the event.  Here is a picture of Elaine with her sisters.  From the left they are Georgeanne, Mary Sue, Elaine, Barbara, and Thomasine.  Penny, who lives in Tucson, didn't come, and John, who was the youngest, died when he was 39.
     Then a bunch of the cousins got together for a picture.  From the left they are Sheva, Lynell, Ann, Elaine, Sheila, Miggie, Joe, Mary Sue, Thomasine, Barbara, Georgeanne.
And here is Elaine with Jeri, Chuck, and Dee Dee:
The party ended after dark, so clean up occurred the next day.  Thank goodness for the help of all the visiting relatives in Georgeanne's house:  Denise and Steve Peterson and family, and Chris and Dani, plus Tom and Lana's family from next door.  Late in the day, we all ended up having a Happy Hour on the porch and rehashing all the events.
That picture is Tom, Lana, Kayla and John.
That picture is Mary Sue, Elaine, Georgeanne and her daughter, Denise.
     The next day we got organized and drove south, heading towards Florida, where we are due to start cruising on Aug. 28.  Two days later, we arrived at the Del Webb community outside of Nashville, called Lake Providence.  It is in Mt. Juliet.  Our RV friends, Martha and Gene Merryman had been e-mailing us, encouraging us to visit them, and we were delighted that they did.  Here is a picture of Martha and Gene:
Their new community is VERY nice, and is perfect for them because it is an over 55 community.  They have met many people they enjoy socializing with - a kind of replacement for the RV community.  After 15 years of full timing, they have gone off the road.  This is the front of their new home:

Here is the living room:
Here are Elaine and Gene in the kitchen.  This is very appropriate because Gene is the cook and while we were there, he fixed us 2 delicious dinners and a wonderful breakfast.
Martha had a very unusual piece of furniture.  It was a jewelry case which was out in the hall.  There is a huge mirror on the outside, and the inside of the narrow piece holds all her jewelry amply displayed:
They also had a lovely dining nook in the kitchen where we enjoyed meals together:
At the family reunion at the farm, Elaine had seen some of her cousins whom she hadn't seen since they were children.  Two of them gave her the contact information for another cousin, Candy Toler, who lives in Nashville.  So we called her and she offered to show us through the Parthenon model in downtown Nashville, where she is a docent.  We met her there and had a delightful tour.  Here is the Parthenon on the outside.  It is a full scale replica of the one in Athens.
On the inside, second floor, there is a huge statue of Athena, with 8 pounds of gold hammered onto her outfit: (the original had LOTS more)
This was so huge, (42 feet tall) we didn't even come up to the level of her feet when we were standing near her.  Here is a picture of our docent, Candy, with Elaine (Gene is also in the picture):
Inside there are replicas of the statues which adorn the outside, up near the peaks of the roof.  This is a picture I took of some of the statues when we went outside after the tour:
We have been to Athens, and to the Parthenon and were impressed that they have built this replica here.  It was originally built in 1897 for the Centennial exposition and has been rebuilt a couple of times.  Today it serves as the art museum because there is a whole gallery of paintings donated to the city by James Cowan, which are world class pieces.
     Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Martha and Gene, and get back on the road, heading for Florida.  We have now arrived and are parked at the SKP park in Busnell, catching our breath and starting to pack.  On Aug. 27 we are putting our RV in storage in Ft. Lauderdale, and staying overnight with our friend, Doug White, who has a home there.  The next day he will drive us to the port where we will board the Vision of the Seas for a 4 day cruise to Cozumel.  The day that cruise gets back, we board the Oasis of the Seas for a 12 day trip to Barcelona.  When we arrive in Spain, we will be visiting cruise friends Ger and Jeannette de Beus from the Netherlands in their home in Alicante, on the Costa del Sol.  Then we fly to Madrid and spend 4 days in an apartment so we can explore.  On Sept. 21 we join a Gate 1 Travel tour of the interior of Spain.  We will be visiting Cordoba, Seville, Granada, Valencia, and Barcelona.  Then we fly to Paris, have another apartment for 3 days, and do another Gate 1 tour through France for 12 days.  On Oct. 13 we take a train to Rotterdam, and on the 14th we board the Oasis of the Seas again for a 13 day cruise back to Ft. Lauderdale.  We hope to be able to do some posts while on this trip, but there are no guarantees.  Hugs to everyone and please keep in touch while we are gone!

1 comment:

Arleen Alleman said...

Just checked in with your blog. Sounds like you two are doing well and Elaine's elbow hopefully healed nicely. You were directly across FL from us here in Naples. We haven't been doing any cruising recently. You must be doing ours for us. LOL. Hope to meet up with you again one of these days.
Carry on
Arleen and Tim Alleman