Sunday, May 29, 2016

War on the Home Front

On Memorial Day it's customary to Bar B Que, Listen to patriotic music, hang out the flag and to remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. But it wasn't just the boys overseas that pitched in against a common enemy. Here at home we did our part too. Vital commodities were rationed, Sugar, Gasoline, Coffee, etc. Victory Gardens were planted, people car pooled instead of driving alone and in every small town and major city factories geared up for War production.

Up near Amboy is one such factory, dedicated to the war effort, but now silent and deserted. It's buildings are shuttered, windows broken out, and only the tractors now drive past what were once closely guarded installations. I'm referring of course to the Green River Ordinance plant.

Recently I went back to revisit that area with my Lil' Sidekick Nick and Tom Anderson. We thoroughly explored the area and discovered Bataan road, Corrigedor road, Subic road, etc. All names you surely recognize from the Philippine islands. We found warehouses still sturdy and strong, earth covered ammunition bunkers still waiting to receive explosives and an administration building that looks ready to be used with just some minor repairs.

Men and women from all over the county were bused in, road the train in, drove in to 'Do their Part' to help America against a cunning foe and to avenge a sneak attack against our military forces.

I'd like to note that most of these structures are now on Private land with No Trespassing signs posted prominently. All of the photographs were taken from public roads.

So today when you're grilling your burgers and having your parties take a moment to reflect on what the True meaning of Memorial Day is. And never forget that Others sacrificed so you wouldn't have to. God Bless America.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

When you're in Farm country....

When you live in Farm country you're bound to see farm related things, shows and activities. Yesterday was the tractor show at the local library. Due to graduation's,  turnout was light but the ones that did come were classics in of themselves.

There was a beautiful McCormick Farmall "M" series tractor produced from 1939-1952. There was a colorful Allis-Chalmers (Model D-15?) sitting there. I saw a 1936 McCormick-Deering Farmall F-20 in fine shape and even a Steam powered Mystery machine. The only thing I could make out on this was "The Westinghouse company 1 1/2 HP). The man operating it was having a grand time using the sawmill attachment cutting wood for the firebox.  Even the kids got into the act with a selection of riding pedal tractors.

So you don't have to go far to find unusual sights in Illinois. Sometimes it's a forgotten cemetery, an unusual headstone, or a leftover relic from the World War. Just follow your nose and take the road less traveled. You might be surprised what you'll find.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Want to give a big Shout Out to the folks at Walton's Tap

We got sterling service, reasonable prices and generous hand made burgers. Thank you!!  Plus we met a colorful fellow by the name of William Eckberg. More from him later.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Forgotten Future

If you listen hard you can still hear the sound of laughter. The sound of pans clanging in the kitchen, a tractor working in the fields, the family gathered around the radio in the parlor. While on a recent outing we came across this forlorn and forgotten house along a peaceful back road. The old house is leaning to one side, obviously weary of bearing its burdens for so long.

It was just down the from St. Mary's cemetery so if you get down that way be sure to go past the cemetery and reflect on a quieter, simpler time. A time when kids played in the yard and parents sat out on the porch at night and listened to the crickets chirping and the sound of bright laughter as the kids used their imaginations to whisk them away to strange and wonderful new worlds.

I had a few photo's left over from the cemetery trip so I'm including them here as well. Know of a great place that needs my special attentions? Drop me a line and let me know.

Monday, May 2, 2016

On the Lee county line

Recently went out with my friend Tom Anderson and we drove up past Ohio to see what new treasures we could find. We were just about to leave Bureau county when he spied a cemetery way down one of the side roads, so we drove down to investigate. Turned out to be St. Mary's catholic cemetery.

St. Mary's, also known as the East Grove cemetery, is just over the county line but serves Immaculate Conception catholic church in Ohio. It's a quiet, peaceful spot with large trees and gentle breezes to bring one peace and calm. The cemetery is well maintained, no broken or out of place stones and there's a well and pump on site. We saw predominantly Irish names but we didn't venture too far as there was a crew there trimming the trees. There's several large and unusually shaped headstones, which I'll show here.

So if you happen to be driving out that way be sure to stop for a moment and pay your respects to the people who came before us and enjoy this quiet spot in the middle of the fields.