We had eight ladies gathered around my dining room table on Thursday morning for Bible study lead by Pat Phelps. It was good to have Pastor Sheri with us. Dorothy Torok was hostess.
Most of the rest of my week was taken up by Spoon River. For those of you who have no idea what I mean by Spoon River I think I will tell you about the event which has been going on for 50 years now. It began in 1968 when some people had an idea for a drive in the fall to look at the beautiful fall foliage. It was mentioned in a Chicago paper and a much larger crowd came than was expected. It was an instant success-perhaps too much so as people needed to be pressed into service to help with the crowds. What beings people back for the Spoon River experience is probably as broad a spectrum as the people themselves. In each small community along the drive there are antique and craft vendors and I suspect some junk too. There is food and there is entertainment. I think just as important, there are friendships formed and visiting with people we only see once a year.
I have always set up in Smithfield. Over the years I have been in the ball park, in a tent up town, in a building up town and since the Red Brick School opened, I have been set up in the west end of the gym. It is a perfect place as we do not have to worry about the weather, there are bathrooms, there is wonderful food and friends.
Each year, I think of the years that have passed. I remember when my late husband, Ben Gentry, and my friend Georgette Engler would go over for the drive with me. Sometimes we stayed in the tent, we even took a camper over. Things have changed. I am now pretty much on my own but it is my choice to continue. Many of you reading this column have a spouse to do things with. Life brings changes and we just have to deal with them. I chose to just keep doing the things which Ben and I had been doing so the B&B and shows continued.
The first weekend of Spoon River was pretty good this year. It rained on Saturday which brings people into the building. It was really good to see several former students who have grown into fine adults with nice families. It was also sad to learn that one gentleman who always came to my booth had passed. We always talked, I listened, about a home he was restoring and had been for years. We shared a love for all things Victorian and he bought hair wreaths for his home from me. I am so sorry that he passed before he had years to enjoy his restored home.
The wonderful people at Smithfield who have kept up the school and peel bushels of potatoes and make noodles, salads, pies and apple dumplings are getting older and there do not seem to be younger people willing to help out. I know there were problems this weekend with getting potatoes peeled. Others just worked themselves to exhaustion. This is not the way things are supposed to be. Working together brings friendships and a sense of community and we know that others care about us.
I wrote last week that Plymouth Women’s Circle needed some younger members to continue to do all the things which we do for the community. So does Smithfield.
Phones, games on phones etc seem to have taken over the social aspect of our lives. One sees many people looking at their phones rather than at the people surrounding them. My family used to visit with family members frequently. We had neighbors in for food and played cards etc. Customs change.
We need to get back to a country of citizens who actually look at other people, interact with other people and learn once again to care about others as equals. I think that caring for others is the only way to stop all the hate crimes going on around the world.
If we value our traditions like Spoon River, Plymouth Women’s Circle, our churches and our way of life we need to make an effort to help out. Get off the phone, actually talk to those around you. Volunteer to help peel potatoes, make food for a funeral dinner, take someone to the doctor, talk to a lonely person, care for a stray animal and be kind to all those around you.
Have a good week. Scatter Kindness.