Sunday, December 25, 2016

Let us be Grateful for Christmas

Every December we and others around the world gather and celebrate the holiday season.  There's parties, present giving and receiving, laughter, sadness and bright bubbling children's laughter. For a few all too brief days we set aside the cares and troubles of the world and remember a time when times were different & life was simpler. A time when we were still young and filled with a child's wonder at what lay in those brightly wrapped boxes under the tree, when we could scarcely sleep for the excitement in our hearts for what Santa, in his all knowing wisdom, might have left for all us good boys and girls.

We smile in fond remembrance at memories of Mom and Dad, grumpily being pulled from their beds to witness our personal version of the Christmas miracle. How, in the space of one night, Santa Claus had managed to deposit All Those Presents under our tree. Why, surely this was proof that here WAS a Santa! For here in our humble living room lay a veritable bounty of his generosity.

Now as older adults we know better. We have children of our own and we know that it is we parents, as honorary Elves, that do the majority of the work. Staying up until the wee hours of the morning struggling to wrap while searching for the tape, assemble items while deciphering barely legible instructions and find batteries for various toys and gadgets. And when the last present has been opened, when the last stocking has been emptied, we adults heave a silent sigh of relief and can finally relax for the first time in weeks.

So, is all this work and grief worth it? One only has to look into the eyes of a child as he or she stares at the tree on Christmas morning to know That answer.  And as we do, is it possible that we feel a tear or two at the back of our eyes as we recall how WE felt when we were their age? And we smile knowing how Their children will feel on some future Christmas morning.

Christmas is many things. Parties, Gift giving, Music and celebration, A time when we celebrate not the coming of Santa but also give thanks for a baby born oh so many years ago in a stable.  For all these things and for a myriad of others I haven't mentioned let us us give thanks, let us be Grateful.....For Christmas.

From all of us at Off the Beaten Path in Illinois we wish you a Joyous Holiday season. We'll be back in January with more adventures and tales of discovery.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Return to the Loveland House

Last week I wrote about the Loveland Community house in Dixon.  I took SO MANY photo's that day I couldn't begin to fit them all into one post.  So here's another healthy dose of what you'll find if you take a trip up to Dixon!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A visit to the Loveland House

Recently Tom Anderson and I were joined by Kimberly Watley and we toured an out of the way, but fascinating museum up in Dixon called the Loveland House. The Loveland family donated the money necessary to construct a "Community house" where all the residents of Dixon could come and enjoy walking thru and admiring items saved from the past.  It was dedicated in 1940 and had cost $200,000.00 dollars to build, (3.2 Million in today's money).

It's a sprawling three story manse that takes up an entire city block and in addition to the museum portion it has a dining hall that can seat up to 200 persons, a men and a ladies lounge,  A small auditorium and is fully handicapped accessible.  It's less than an hours drive away and well worth the time to go visit when you're bored of sitting at home. It should be noted the museum is only open on Thursday & Friday from 9 am till 2 pm and Saturday's from 10 until 3.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Farms and Barns of Bureau County

Looking out my window and seeing the snow falling (As it has been all day so far) I thought everyone would appreciate a bit of local color as Lil Nick and I drove around last week on our back roads and discovered a sight or two to gaze at.  About half these photo's were shot by him, be sure to tell him thanks if you see him!