Sunday, September 27, 2009

Angola Fall Fest and the Civil War

Abe Lincoln awaiting early morning speech.

Union Soldiers listening to the President.

Gun Salute

President Lincoln leaving for the battlefield.

Every year the last week end of September, Angola rolls out the carpet for crafters and musicians, civil war re-enactors, and yes writers and photographers.

It is one of our chances to connect with our community, visit with folks, and eat German almonds along side pork sandwiches and cotton candy.

This year had a new twist as Abe Lincoln came to town early on Saturday morning. To be exact, the carriage rolled in at 8:30. It was a foggy, misty morning as the streets were all blocked and waited for the President. The Union troops were gathered around the Civil War monument for Steuben County as they were preparing for battle.

I took Matthew and Jonah with me and spent a great deal of time telling them stories and helping them understand that the real Lincoln was killed and this man was a storyteller Lincoln.
They were also a bit worried about the guns. However, they didn't move as the event began. The fog pulled the noise level down to a hush as we listened to the speeches, the gun salute and taps. It was a very moving experience for all, and I believe not a dry eye on the town square.

Following this event, the Lift off for Literacy sent off thousands of balloons in the air in our fight for literacy in our county.

The stages were full all days of local performers. I had a one hour show on the children's stage along with the pie eating contest, which I did not win. I didn't even come close!

The evening ended with a square dance out at the park. It was the perfect night with just a sliver of the moon peaking through clouds...warm enough to dance without gloves or hats, cool enough to add sweaters. There was a group of us dancing until the last waltz. Later that evening I visited the camps. Today was another full day. I left my house on my bike early and really just barely walked in the door. I could not pull away. Tomorrow's blog will feature more photographs. Until then...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Johnny Appelseed Festival

The Fall Festivals are all underway...signs, posters everywhere. It is a great time of year in the Midwest to celebrate the harvest, the beauty of Autumn and families just spending time together. Here are just a few snapshots from storytelling at the festival last week end. Jonah did ham it up a bit!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Three Cups of Tea

Wednesday evening was cool as Autumn is in the air here in Northern Indiana. Colleen picked me up and we meandered out into the country to pick up Luanne for our 'third Wednesday night of every month book club.' I had to get out of the car to take a tour of her gardens. They were spectacular with mums as large as bushel baskets and the scent of graying herbs.

We continued our drive to Auburn where Susan hosted book club. Susan is my shining star. She purchased her house on her own and has become independent and strong. I am immediately drawn to her landscaping in her backyard which was once just rocks and brown dirt It has been transformed into a small park area with trees and flowers. I am so impressed by her artistic skills.

I go back in to our round table discussion Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. I actually read the book during my first two weeks of recovery after my broken arm. I could not put it down! The book is amazing, well Greg Mortenson is amazing. I was humbled by his goodness, his dedication in building schools in Pakistan after a failed attempt to climb K2. His focus is educating women, because as we all know, that will educate a village.

The talk turned to Hamilton High School graduate, Justin Ralston, who is starting on the same small scale in building libraries in Uganda. He has taken it upon himself to collect books and send them to small villages where there are no books. His story is also that of unselfishness and dedication. I am proud to know him and am anxious to donate books and money as well.

The dinner was that of stuffed chicken, roasted potatoes, herbal vegetables and chocolate cake to top off the evening.

Too soon we chose next month's book and bid farewell. I am always impressed by the scope of our book club...loving each other's gardens and cooking as we dig deeper into the world for knowledge and opportunities.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thirteen, exactly...

Last night was my monthly "First Monday Night Pot Luck" for women only. So it happened that this September Monday was late in coming and the first Monday was Labor Day so the pot luck fell last night which coincides this month with my book club which meets the third Wednesday night of the month. Hmmm...both in the same week...where do the stars line up for this one?

As usual the food (almost all vegetarian) was fabulous and it seemed as if wine in blue bottles was the other mainstay for the evening. Could it be that my friends are all wanting to contribute to my Blue Bottle Garden? More on that story later in another blog.

We had so much catching up to babies, jobs, events. Of course, the broken arm story has turned into an hilarious performance piece now and captures all ears when I tell it. (I am so glad that it is just a story now and that I am done living it!!)

I shared the stories of the Women's Opry on Ocracoke Island. I love producing that Opry and look forward to it every year. I shared Kathleen Fogerty's story and the song which we all sang in a round. It was so lovely and then at the precise moment, Gary Mitchell put the lights out and we all howled at the moon.

Well, we tried it in my backyard. Of course, I do not have the lovely voice of Kathleen and we are not the Women's Opry, but we gave it a great shot! The howling caused all of my neighbors to either come outside or go in...whichever.

We ate and laughed and everyone stayed late to catch up with our friendships.

Melinda pointed out to me that there were exactly 13 women there.

"Really?" I said. I had no idea or even that she counted. She went on to say that she counts every month and that we are almost always a group of thirteen even when there are a few different women here and there. I never noticed.

Could make an interesting story, or is it one already?

My good friend Kathleen married a farmer from Indiana and is a musician and a farmer's wife in Virginia Beach. She wants to come to Indiana to visit in the winter months. She must bring her guitar and come for girls pot luck. We are very good howlers!

Lou Ann

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Purple Cast

Well, it finally happened! On Friday the cast came off. I picked Jonah up at pre-school so he could go with me! I had plans to keep it, but it was unkeepable (if that even is such a word!)

It is tender, sore and maybe a little swollen at the wrist, but doesn't look as pathetic as I had thought. It will take time to get into the swing of things again with two hands and learning to type and such all over again. My left hand is a bit jealous as she has worked so hard and the right has had all the glory.

Thanks left hand for giving me a hand (OK, I thought it was funny!)

Maybe I can keep up with the writing a little better now.

Lou Ann

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Fox Valley Folk Music and Storytelling Festival

Dear Folks,

What a perfect Labor Day week end here in the Midwest! We have had ten days of 65 degree days and nights in the 40's. The gardens are spectacular and the night air is full of crickets and the sound of cicadas. Pokagon is full this week end.

I will be traveling by train to Chicago to tell stories at the Fox Valley festival. It promises to be such a fun week end. All the storytellers are staying together so who knows what will happen there? I am taking Kathy with me. She has become such a great friend of mine and I know she will have a ball, although this storytelling adventure is new for here!

I am taking lots of stories from my childhood and my could be in of them!

Have a wonderful week end! I'll share stories when I return on Tuesday!

Lou Ann

P.S. The purple cast gets to go with me!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Health Care

No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the next 24 hours.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Angola Farmer's Market

It was a beautiful morning last Saturday when Karen and I took the boys to the Farmer's Market. It is just a couple of streets away so it made for a great morning stroll. Karen and I took our cloth bags as usual and filled them with the week's supply of sweet corn, peppers. tomatoes, homemade soap and jellies.
It has become the social hubub for our small town as we meet there on Saturday to share the week's news and gossip!
Within four years, our market has grown and prospered thanks to all the local folks!
Lou Ann