Monday, October 15, 2007

A wonderful day in Missouri

We were up, dressed, ate, drank our coffee, and were on the road by 10 AM. On our drive we figured out it had been 32 years since we had visited this wonderful town. It would be 77 miles before we reach Arrow Rock Missouri. Nestled on a bluff along the Missouri River, Arrow Rock is untouched by time. Arrow Rock invites you to enrich the present by visiting the past. It was almost noon when we arrived to the crowded streets. A dollar donation was all it took to be directed to on street parking.

The day couldn't have been more beautiful. Sunny skies, mid 70's temperatures and a nice little breeze. If only the trees were turning would have made it complete. Parking was easy just 2 blocks from where the activities were happening.

Our first stop was the schoolhouse lawn.

We see candle dipping, and then on to BAM member Bob Ehrenberger who had his forge going. He had a very nice display of his wares for sale, including a cute little tripod about 45 inches tall that held a stainless steel bowl and sported a towel bar for your own personal washing pan. At this location there was pottery making, dried gourds, kettle corn, handwoven towels and basket making going on.

It was crowded inside the Stolberg Jackson Community Center were there were 5 or 6 young adults making bobbin lace, now there's an old time craft you never see anymore. The weaver guild had their looms going. Tatting, crocheting, rug weaving and pencil portraits were all busy.

Outside we pass the 2 Clydesdale's pulling the White carriage made for anyone wanting a ride. They were set up just across the street from the Civil Air Patrol making funnel cakes. Walking downtown along the brick lined streets we see paper mache, soap making, corn grinding, and dried herbs. Under the big catalpa trees in the shade we see another BAM member set up forging. Next to him are the rope makers. For $3.00 you could make a colored rope. For $7.00 you could make a lead rope, which we saw a father with ropes around his two little boys leading them like dogs. There mountain men were set up, one was telling stories as he made lead balls for his muzzle loader rifle. In front of them was the flint nap maker and the native flute maker.

We walked on to the Bingham house were they had just finished a cooking demonstration. Now I know why I wasn't born during the primitive time, cook stoves in the summer aren't fun.

After pulling out our map we found our way to the John P. Sites, Jr pioneer gunshop. On the way BT said, "I wonder if Jim Duncan is working in the gun shop?" Let me tell you a little bit about Jim. He was in the muzzle loading club way back in the early 70's with us. We have many fond memories of him, including our nickname that he called us....the Bigalow's. It has been almost 20 years since BT and Jim have seen each other. I ran into Jim 2 years ago working a Lewis and Clark reenactment. As I looked in the shop, I turned to BT with a big grin, Jim was inside. We stepped in, but Jim didn't notice us as he was visiting. We stood around for a few minutes and he never saw us. So we went outside and decided to get a bite to eat.

At the Vine Wine Garden, BT had a Guinness Extra Stout and I enjoyed a glass of Merlot. What a choice to go with the hot dog we picked up just outside the wrought iron fence. About a half-hour later we go back to the Gunshop and Jim is still talking to the same gentleman but this time he is outside the shop. He recognized BT and gives a big hand shake and a slap on the back. I got a hug!
We got to met Jim's wife Carol and we all taked for about an hour. Jim introduced BT to Dr. Tom Hall, President of Friends of Arrow Rock, Inc. It maybe in BT's future to demonstrate during Festival Day at Arrow Rock. Even more after retirement, but I don't want to jinx that so I'm tight lipped for now. It was great to catch up with Jim and we exchanged many stories on old friends. I told him about my brother Wesley passing away almost 10 years ago, it was then that Jim stopped, grabbed my shoulder and said Patti, that piece of wood I am working on there in the shop, was a piece I bought from Wesley for only $10.

It was time to start home. We agreed we would have to get together soon, not wait another 20 years to visit. Jim and Carol promised to keep in touch and come and see us when they were in the area.

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