Monday, August 31, 2015
It took us about five hours to float six miles. No one was in a rush, and it was a cool, overcast day that was perfect for mild physical exertion. I liked the fact that each water craft had its own mesh trash bag, and I noticed that the river was not nearly as polluted as when we have floated in the past. Having said that, we did grab some trash left by others who obviously had no idea what to do with the mesh bag. The people we did meet along the river were pretty cordial, though that changed when we got closer to the camp ground where we were staying. There were about five rafts tied together, of course right in the middle of the river. On of them must have mentioned that our group was coming, and the front woman said, "Well, they can just go the f_ck around us!" Nice - they had a small child with them as well. And she obviously was unaware of my lack of steering skills, or she might not have assumed that I could safely go around her. With some effort I did manage to get past without taking anyone out with my paddle, though it was tempting...
Back at our camping area, we hung out for a bit before striking up the grill for chicken shish kabobs. Four of us shared one of the A-frame cabins, and everyone else had tents. The food was cooked outside our cabin since we were the only ones who had a refrigerator, albeit a half-sized one. We were intrigued by the fact that the two A-frames next to us were occupied by ten guys and one gal. The stories we came up with were probably way more exciting than what was actually going on in the two cabins.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
I just can't make this stuff up. Tuesday afternoon a storm blew in, complete with high winds and heavy rain. I heard a thunking noise outside the house and immediately knew what had happened. After all, I have already had two trees fall down within three months so far this year. The sound had come from the back yard, so I cautiously peeked out the bedroom window. A large oak limb had broken off of one of our trees, smashing onto the patio. I offered up a thankful prayer that this time only our property had been damaged. Or so I thought. Once the rain let up, I threw on a raincoat and took my camera outside to survey the damage. Crap! The limb caught part of the neighbor's fence in addition to busting some of our stuff. This would be the same neighbor whose car was totaled when one of our trees fell on it Good Friday. He and his wife were out of town all week taking their oldest child off to her freshman year of college. We have not had a chance to discuss the latest calamity yet.
We had a bid for the tree removal on Friday (the earliest they could come out due to all the storm damage), and today all the debris was removed. One of the table umbrellas was busted up, as well as the slats on one of the wooden chairs, but remarkably that was all the damage that was done to our property. The painters (who are still here, by the way) had a stack of ladders on the patio, and one of their ladders was bent. It may be repairable, I don't know. The ladders probably saved our actual patio surface from being damaged by the limb. One section of the neighbor's fence will need to be replaced as far as I can tell. We continue to endear ourselves in the neighborhood, one tree at a time.
The tree professionals said that the drought we had in recent years caused the trees and their limbs to weaken. When we have a wet spring like we did this year, the trees produce an excessive amount of leaves so in a heavy storm the limbs (or entire tree) just give out. That certainly makes sense. This latest tree incident is complicated by the fact that honey bees are living in the tree. They are protected, so the tree cannot just be arbitrarily removed. The hive has to be saved first. We are having an independent arborist come and look at the tree to see if it can be saved, or if there is other damage that might cause further problems for us - and the neighbor.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Both of Jim's sisters were able to make the trip this year, so all three kids were there. We had a wonderful time playing games, eating too much great food, going for boat rides and just sitting on the deck overlooking the lake. I just wish that our kids would have been able to come. It is a bit hard to get to from Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Even for us it is a 7 hour drive.
|Iowa State Capitol Building
|Pappajohn Sculpture Park
Thursday, August 13, 2015
We had some big excitement on Tuesday morning. Around 11:30 the truck of one of the painters was stolen from right out in front of our house. Three of the painters were parked in a row, and his was the middle vehicle. Now, I have to admit that he had left his window down and the keys in the ignition, but how ballsy to steal the truck in broad daylight with so many men around! Plus the neighbor across the street had a contractor parked in front of his house, and he was in and out carrying items from his vehicle to the house. An eye witness caught a glimpse of the perp, and the police were called immediately. I was somewhat optimistic that the police would catch him on Interstate 44, but unfortunately that did not happen. Instead, they caught two of them with the stolen truck last night in the City of St. Louis while they were in the process of robbing someone. The truck was impounded, and from what the painter was told the back window had been smashed, and his tool boxes were missing. He doesn't know how much other damage was done to it. I feel so bad for him as he just had one last payment to make on the truck. All I know is that these criminals are getting more and more bold. And our painter now gets to play the adult version of Hot Wheels.
Saturday, August 8, 2015
|Sunset Memorial Park & Mausoleum
As a genealogist, I am so appreciative of the volunteers who contribute photographs of cemeteries and headstones to the websites findagrave.com and billiongraves.com. I have been able to locate the gravesites of many of our relatives through them. So I don't know why it never occurred to me to volunteer to take photos at cemeteries in the St. Louis area. Visitors to the above-mentioned websites can put in requests, providing as much information as they have on the deceased, and volunteers can then "claim" the request. You then have two weeks to post the photos or list a problem if the stone cannot be located.
Last weekend I decided to claim a few graves at Sunset Memorial Park and Mausoleum, as well as one at Father Dickson Cemetery. For the graves at Sunset, I had the section numbers as well as the lot numbers for each of the requests, so I was not anticipating any problems with locating the stones. That was a grave assumption on my part. This cemetery has no other identifying markers within each section, so there was no way to know where grave 304 was located within Section 1, for example. Unfortunately the office was not open, despite the posted Saturday hours. Unless I wanted to walk the entire section looking at the names on each headstone, I realized that this would be a futile effort on a 90 plus degree day.
From there I headed on over to Father Dickson Cemetery in Sappington. This historic cemetery was opened in 1903 as a final resting place for African Americans. Due to segregation, African Americans were not allowed to be buried in any of the existing cemeteries in St. Louis. The cemetery represents 167 years of history, with the last burial taking place in the 1990s. After falling into disrepair, the cemetery is now cared for by a dedicated group of volunteers who are working to restore the 13-acre tract of land. Fortunately one of these volunteers was on-site when I arrived, as I did not know the section or grave number of the man I was researching. I had his birth and death dates (and knew that he had been murdered!), but not where he was buried. The volunteer provided me with a very interesting overview of the history of the cemetery, and then told me that he has the record book for the cemetery at his house. I later emailed him the information about the man I was searching for, and unfortunately I learned that there was no headstone for this individual. However, the volunteer did provide me with details such as the fact that the man had died in City Hospital #2, the date of burial and the exact location of the grave itself. As a genealogist, all the little bits of information help to paint a picture of your ancestor's lives. So at least I could pass all this along to his descendant even if I couldn't provide her with a photo of a headstone.
The moral of the story is to only accept assignments when the location of the burial plot is provided, and where the cemetery has a map so that I stand a fighting chance of being able to find the grave.