Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Southern Illinois is called Little Egypt because it is surrounded on 3 sides by big rivers - the Ohio and Wabash to the East and the Mississippi and Missouri to the West. The Mississippi and Ohio meet at the Southern tip of the state. This region reminded early settlers of the Nile and many of the names of towns in Southern Illinois are Egyptian in origin, like Cairo, Palestine, Dongola, Lebanon, New Athens, Sparta, Karnak, and Thebes. The chief topographical components of this area are lots of farm land and the hilly Shawnee National Forest of 270,000 acres. There are lots of state parks, historical landmarks, and the 2 largest man made lakes in Illinois. The glaciers that once covered Illinois did not make it this far so we have a different physical landscape than central and northern Illinois. We grow a lot of corn, soy beans, apples, pumpkins. Other than the metro east area the entire southern third of the state is fairly sparsely populated by most standards. As I have stated previously, I live in a very rural area. We have more in common with Kentucky and Southern Missouri than Chicago. Most descendants here are Scots-Irish and North British which I am both. The dialect here is Southern Highlander from Southern Appalachia thus some people have a bit of a country twang.
As most people know I often don't go to town but once a week. By many people's standards the closest big town is not much of town really, only 16,185 population, but it is the 3rd biggest town in Southern Illinois outside of the metro east area.
Although I don't get to town much I do make the drive to the little post office in Texico, the closet village to me, 5 days a week. I thought I would tell you what that drive is like.
I'm in a heavily-wooded, hilly area. My property was nicknamed Dogwood Hills by the former owners. My house is not visible from the road and my nearest neighbor and I share a driveway for part of the way. As I leave my winding driveway I drive west before turning south at the edge of my property and I follow the driveway downhill to the road. The area across the road is heavily wooded too and it quickly becomes a "valley" to the east and is full of creeks so no one lives across the road on the entire mile other than a house at each end. At the end of my driveway I turn toward the west and drive an eighth of a mile to the stop sign. This crossroad is a snow route but there have been occasions when the snow route was closed due to snow. LOL. At the stop sign the roads in all directions descend as this area is on a hill. A mile south of the stop sign is my neighbor's vineyard and Spanish hacienda. As the crow flies to the southwest, I am less than a mile from a private lake called Miller Lake. It's chiefly a sportsman's fishing lake. There is another lake called Jaycee Lake approximately another mile away. I can proceed straight at the stop sign and hit Miller Lake Road then turn left and drive over the dam if I want to take a scenic back way to town but to go to the post office I turn north at the first crossroad. I pass a few modest neighbor's homes and mobile homes plus some oil tanks and oil wells. A little over a mile from my house I come to our little country school. It's fairly modern and well-maintained. We do have a couple of one room country schools still standing in the area that have been converted to homes though. The school is by the water tower and the Wagon Wheel Shadow Dance Hall. Yes, it does seem strange to have a dance hall in the middle of nowhere. It is mostly local people who like country dancing. I have never been there. If I turned east at the stop sign I would end up at Union Chapel Church which has one of the biggest, oldest dogwood trees in the nation. People come from all over to see it in bloom and they are never disappointed. At the stop sign I turn west instead and get onto the only main country road in this area - Dix-Texico Road. The road takes me by the old voting building, which was a tiny one-room building with "he and she" outhouses. LOL. It was used until a few years ago. About a half mile down the road is our new Field Township building which houses the voting precinct and storage area for our township road equipment. The road curves to the north and then back to the west. We pass the Texcio Bank, a small brick bank in the middle of nowhere. I've heard that there is a lot of money in that bank but I have never been in there. There is no drive through or outdoor ATM but sometimes in the parking lot an Amish horse and buggy will be parked there. LOL. A short distance up the road is the post office, right by the railroad track. There is an old deteriorating depot adjacent to the post office and the grain elevator is across the street.
I happened to be in the post office the other day when a newbie experienced it for the first time. It is over 100 years old and architecturally interesting outside and inside with the lobby separate from the rest of the building, like you see in old westerns. It has ornate iron and wood features plus the barred window where the"teller" waited on the customers. The post office boxes are really ornate and beautiful. I love the place and so did the newbie.
Why am I talking about this? I have no idea. Nerves I guess. Barnes confirmed that my MIL has aspiration pneumonia. Her BP is very low. Things don't look good.
We finally got rain and 60 mph winds along with it. We have lots of limbs to clean up. Along with thousands of leaves.
Yesterday was errand and shopping day. I went to a the post office, newspaper office, State Farm, bank, Tractor Supply, Wal-Mart, Kroger, and the meat market. I wanted some new insulated coveralls but the colors were horrible. I was starved and ended up eating a burger. I then came home and had to do my errands and fix a quick supper. My son was home to help at least.
I'm sore and tired today. My SIL and BIL called with condition reports about my MIL. I really wanted to work on my closet but can't get in the mood with my MIL so sick.
Calories - 1305
Net Carbs - 94
Fats - 49
Proteins - 94
Steps - 15469
Miles - 6.34