Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Vilonia, Arkansas – The Final Post of Our USA 2014 Trip.

Time just gets away from me.  It happens frequently.  It must be when I’m not looking because it is now over 12 months since our visit to my sister’s home in Vilonia, Arkansas and here I am only now writing the final instalment with the tag USA 2014.  We had such a great time.  We made lots of memories, covered a lot of miles taking in several states and I took a whole lot of photographs and so without further ado here are the last few!


One late afternoon in the middle of our holiday we got to see Maureen’s eldest grandson, Luke, run at a track meet at the school the boys all attend in Vilonia.  It was an important meet leading up to state championships (I think) and Luke, in tiptop condition, performed excellently and won his heats without a problem.


As always William was in need of sustenance, went in search of food and came back with a bowl of nachos.


As the evening wore on the sun dropped down over the yardarm and the temperature dropped too.  The natives were used to this though and blankets had been brought.  They were certainly needed!


One fine sunny day William and I took a walk around Maureen’s immediate neighbourhood.  The area was colonised way back by Jerry’s family.  I love these old clapboard houses.  The one in the photos above belonged to Jerry’s aunt.


And this one is Jerry’s childhood home and where his parents lived until they had a new house built, just a cock stride away at the end of their vegetable garden, maybe 10 or more years ago.


Same house.  Maureen’s home can be seen in the distance at the left hand side.  Posting both pics because I couldn’t decide which one I liked best.


I took this picture on a visit in 1986.  This was Jerry’s granny and grandad’s house and was demolished quite sometime ago after they had both passed away.  There they are sitting on the porch.  Seven year old Caroline is standing between them.  That’s William standing and my nephew Damian is reclining on the porch swing.  I absolutely love this photo and had it in a frame for a good while.  It speaks to me of times long ago in the American south, roasting hot days, balmy evenings, fireflies, the sound of crickets and sitting out on the porch after supper whiling away the hours until bedtime.  (Does it show that I’ve read a lot of books set in the American south? Including Fannie Flagg’s Elmwood Springs trilogy and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.  Loved that one).  Anyway I would’ve loved to have experienced times like that, probably in the fifties, when life was slower.  Granny, by the way, is the sweet lady who made the Dutch Doll quilt I wrote about  in this post.


Another view here looking through the trees to the highway.  At one time this view was obscured by trees and hedging but a tornado hit Vilonia three years ago and those trees were ripped out of the earth.


Evidence of that tornado was still to be found around the neighbourhood and further afield too.


Luke, Maureen’s eldest grandson, had talked about his eno.  We had no idea what an eno was.  We soon found out though.  Luke went and got his eno, climbed a tree out in the yard,without aid of a ladder or much of anything else I might add, strung it between two trees and..


   .. demonstrated what using an eno was all about. 

On our last night Maureen cooked a special meal and her two grown up kids, their spouses and five grandsons all came to eat with us.  During the day and evening the weather had turned stormy.  Now, I love stormy weather.  Thunder and lightning really float my boat.  However, if I lived in Vilonia I might not love it quite so much.  That night the power went out a couple of times but that only added to the fun of the night.  We all sat around chatting, laughing and playing I Spy and the Yes/No game in the dark.  All the while the thunder roared and the lightning flashed.  Stories were told of the tornado, still fresh in the minds of those telling the tales, that had hit three years ago.  Fortunately on that, our last night, no harm or damage was done to people or property.  Tragically a week later it was a different story.  Violent storms and destructive tornadoes swept through several states, Arkansas being one of them.  Lives were lost.  Homes, schools, businesses and more were reduced to rubble. 


My sister’s lovely, happy home of 35 years was a casualty and had to be demolished.  It was a heartbreaking time for many but now 12 months and a lot of hard work later Maureen and Jerry have a brand spanking new home and come October I will post a photograph of it.  Our tickets are booked and in October we shall be jetting off for another jolly holiday in the good ole U S of A!



On previous visits over the years at the very last minute before we get in the car for the ride to the airport and our homeward journey I have always had a picture taken with my sister (that’s me on the left) and here’s the last one.  One of these days I’ll dig out all the others and share them here.  It’ll be a bit scary to see how we’ve changed, but heck, we’re still here and that’s all that matters!


And finally one last photo.  This is Walker, their family dog, a great big softy.  He chooses to curl up and rest on this garden chair!  I suppose he must be comfy but he certainly doesn’t look it!  Bless him.

Until next time,



Anita Johnson said...

Kathleen, these photos and the stories that go with them are wonderful. Love the old farm house photos. I just read a book, Hannah Coulter, by Wendallell Barry. I wonder if you would enjoy it too. The photos made me think of it. And I always learn a new word...was it cock stride this time?

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

I love their neighborhood and the history of Jerry's family, but goodness, those tornadoes would definitely be scary. A shame they lost their home but thankfully no injuries; a home can always be rebuilt. Never heard of an eno. Those were mighty big trees to climb and tie both sides up. Hope all is well. Tammy