Since August of 2002, when I moved to Joplin for college, I have lived in Missouri. Since this August or September, I have been considering moving back to Ohio...it just seems that besides jobs, I really have nothing holding me in Missouri anymore, except a handful of friends I never see anyway. I got some employment opportunities in order and decided to move on December 12 - pretty much finish out the school semester subbing, but still have time to get paperwork through for jobs in Ohio to start after the first of the year. But things worked out so I got to move a month early! My bosses were very understanding - I had great jobs in Springfield.
My brother Sam came to Missouri to visit, and so I moved back with him. On the way we stopped at Cahokia Mounds, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, near Collinsville, IL. We decided we should do YouTube videos of "tours" of popular tourist sites. For instance, as we approached the north end of the temple mound where I think the chief's home would have stood, we looked over the side and reminisced how this was where the chief peed every morning...and learned the hard way which direction the wind was blowing.... And on the "platform" (flat space of land) between the two large staircases leading to the top of that mound, a bench had been built. We commented how this was where the chief probably took his afternoon nap every day, before having his squaw make him a sammich....
We would, of course, have a group of friends act the part of believing tourists in these videos. It could be a lot of fun. Next time I'm bringing a video recorder, cuz you probably just had to be there to get the humor of it.
Really, though, the place was very interesting. I love learning about past cultures, and the fact that a thousand years ago this was the largest city north of Mexico flabbergasted me when I first discovered it a couple months ago. Right here in 'Merica, guys! So cool.
Here is a picture viewing westward from the top of the temple mound. You can see St. Louis in the background.
Since arriving in Ohio, I have been catching up with family and interviewing for jobs. Friday night I got to go watch my niece cheer at Mount Vernon Nazarene University's homecoming basketball game. She's very good. While the girls (and a couple of guys) do their thing in the background (which my niece is part of half the time) the coach usually has her in the foreground tumbling. Pretty nice privilege for a freshman, methinks.
Today (Thursday) I had a little down time, so I took my dog and went to the shrine park in Carey. The shrine is Our Lady of Consolation. Before hitting the park (which I haven't been to in years, but used to walk there sometimes with a friend and it was beautiful!), I decided to check out the gift shop. So I walked in and a lady asked if she could help me find anything. I said, "Well, I've never been in here before...I was wondering if you had any rosaries."
And so today I bought my first rosary. (My camera phone doesn't do it justice - it was not expensive, but it is quite pretty.)
I also let her know how brilliant I am by asking, "Who is the saint on there?" She said, "Well, I think it is the Sacred Heart...."
Here are a few pictures from the shrine park. There are stations of the cross that encircle the whole thing. (There is fresh candle wax all over them - probably from All Saints' Day celebrations, I am guessing...? Cool, anyway; a witness to devotion.)
Other statues can be found, too - like one of St. Andrew (not pictured), one of Jesus sitting on the Cross (also not pictured), and one of the Holy Family (again, not pictured). Pictured are one of Rachel mourning for her children ("Memorial to the Unborn"), St. Francis of Assisi (one of my favoritest saints), and one of St. Anne and the Blessed Virgin (made me realize something: Jesus had grandparents!).
|This was the only picture the whole day for which the sun came out!|
It was cold, and Albie was with me, and I had a flat tire...so I decided to come back and visit the Basilica another day (the lady at the gift shop told me it has a lot worth seeing, including a statue of Mother Teresa - my MOST favoritest likely-going-to-be-a saint).
I am enjoying the rural scenery here in Ohio. I've missed it! (I would post a picture or two, but they are on my brother's phone - it takes better pictures - and he is not cooperating with sending them to me in a timely manner, so you'll just have to take my word for it!!) I have noticed that EVERYWHERE is surrounded by fields. You can seriously just walk right into one at any time. Arrowhead hunting available at a moment's notice. (That's another thing on my soon-to-do list.)
So one other thing I've done a little of since being back is visiting old cemeteries. I just find them interesting - the old Civil War (and other wars) medallions beside some of them, the worn-down poems on the really old ones, and the mysteries.... Like a small family vault in a small rural (Smithville) cemetery I passed probably every day of my childhood. It features three Smith graves. One was from Connecticut, one from Virginia, and one from "Negro Town." I tried to look it up on the Internet to find out the history there, but that is all it said, too. Just a record. I still have no idea who Henry Harrison Smith was, or where Negro Town was, or why he had come to Wyandot County, Ohio. I will have to check out local museums and see if there is any other information on that. I also found it interesting that, in the same cemetery, most (probably at least 90%) of the gravestones with deaths between the years of WWI and WWII bore German names. There must have been a large German immigrant community in this area then, and it made me wonder what their lives were like here in such an era.
I stopped by a couple other cemeteries, too. And I am staying in my brother's basement for the time being - kind-of my own little apartment, but a basement nonetheless. And when I turned out the lights last night to go to sleep my dog decided to start barking at something I couldn't see because it was pitch black. And then I started thinking about all the things I'd ever wondered or heard or read about animal possession and avoided eye contact with poor little Albie for a while.... The only way forward for me was clear: I had a little talk with Jesus! lol
Oh, the things we fear in the dark. (Again, smh.)
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