Loving

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Our girl looking VERY serious!

fennel + spinach soup

ground cherries

green chile pork burger

neighborhood crab apple

socca + whipped yogurt and feta + homegrown cayenne & tomatoes (the color!)

Grandma’s rosehips

kung pao chicken + vegetables

Mid-September! It creeped so stealthily in, a sudden call for blankets in the inky black of night and sweatshirts and light jackets in the low slant of morning light. Cool, cool. Days are all over the place, pleasant or blasting heat, the patter of rain on concrete. All beautiful.

As is often the case, I canned three batches of deliciousness over the course of twenty-four hours, Grandma’s rosehip + apple jelly, apple butter, and rhubarb jam. My legs were wobbly from all the standing and stirring, stirring, with the house a heady terrarium of sweet scented steam. The results are glorious and delicious, especially the rhubarb. I used the last stringy stalks, macerating them overnight in sugar in hopes of softening them up. There was a LOT of green, so I added a handful of frozen cherries to pretty them up, and boy, what a fabulous jam. But alas, no pictures! Gotta turn up the imagination dial.

We are still enjoying our Weight Watchers adventure, losing weight, learning, and questioning. Greg comments on how much more he is laughing. Me? How much less I am belching. All good. I keep adapting recipes to match points and do what I can to add MORE vegetables to our life. Steady as she goes….

A Grandma Cracker (seriously what she calls her!) made yummy lemon cake full of Frozen goodness!

This photo shows the moment we started singing Happy Birthday! What JOY in knowing it was just for HER. The best!

T H R E E

Oh my goodness, in a high flying time moment, my cousin Ryan’s wee babe is now THREE. She is, among many other things, adorable and thoughtful and playful, and ever so loved.

I was the only person to old-school wrap her present after forgetting to buy a gift bag large or sturdy enough. What an ill-used muscle I have for this, dear reader. It took ages! She was a very careful unwrapper, slowly peeling off each piece of tape, before going delicately at the paper, which delighted me. I am a lover of precision and care, too, yup. She liked her necklace and magna-tiles, which also delighted me. I do not ever wish to be a lame gift giver!

We ate well and enjoyed many a conversation with parents and friends, aunts and uncles (there I am with mine!), grandmothers and grandfathers. The kids ran circles around us, eating and playing and squealing and splashing. A wonderful day to be THREE, indeed.

Hello from Bonne Terre in St. Francois County, where the paternal side of my Family Tree really leafs out. In addition to wanting to know America and never having visited Kansas City, St. Louis, or Joplin, this part of my history brought us to Missouri. Luckily, I am married to a very amenable traveler, and he enjoyed driving the winding roads of Missouri just as much as I did.

James Roy Sohn
Novella Grace Kelley

My Great Grandfather James Roy Sohn was born in Caledonia in 1894. He married my Great Grandmother Novella Grace Kelley in 1915. She was born in 1899 in Lesterville, and, rather sadly, I don’t have a clearer photo of her. They had three children together: Pearl, James Marshall, and my Grandfather Herbie. Like a lot of couples, the strain after the death of a child, James Marshall, brought them to divorce.

James “Jim” Roy was a barber in St. Francois County for more than 50 years, and this was his shop in Bonne Terre until he retired. I LOVE this building and imagining him pulling up in one of his Buicks!

He and his second wife, Missouri Day Crane (at right) lived in the house above at the time of the 1930 census. My Grandpa Herbie is at the left, Pearl next to Missouri, and Betty, their child together, is the little cutie. Unfortunately, tragedy struck James Roy’s life again, and Missouri Day died of breast cancer in 1940. She was only 42.

Before going on the trip, despite scouring every record I could find, I didn’t know where the barbershop was. I believe James Roy was keen on me learning, because, as we were walking around the lake pictured above, which is right behind the 1930 house, Greg and I met a man walking his dog. Bonne Terre being a small town, he knew we weren’t from the area, so he asked. I told him and said I had family who used to live there, giving the name Sohn. He got a wide grin and exclaimed Jim Sohn cut his hair when he was a boy. The fireworks sure went off! It was a meeting beyond good luck. He spoke very kindly of my great-grandfather and told me where I could find the shop.

1946 House in Bonne Terre
Annie Desdamony Sohn: August 8, 1879 – September 2, 1892

Greg and I spent the better part of a day driving to every town I knew my family to live, taking pictures of all the houses I could find on record, and visiting every grave on record, too, this one in Caledonia. I bought the flowers and some hummingbirds to be a longer lasting tribute to my visit. Annie Desdamony Sohn was James Roy’s sister and died two years before he was born.

Iron County Courthouse in Pilot Knob
James Marshall Sohn – buried in the Sohn plot at Pilot Knob, along with Hattie and Nicholas and James Roy’s older brothers, Albert, Fred, and Benjamin.
Sohn family entry at Ellis Island, November 9, 1857 on the Amazon.
Nicholas was 17 years old.
Nicholas Sohn at the time of his marriage to Hattie, in 1871. I sure have good looking ancestors!
with Grandpa Herbie, Pearl, and Betty, probably 1925
March 31, 1840 – April 21, 1932

Johann Nicholas Sohn was born in Germany in 1840. His family emigrated in 1857 and settled in Indiana. He enlisted in the Union Army at New Albany on May 12, 1861 and was shot in the left leg and gouged with a bayonet in the right at Chickamauga. He never returned home and never spoke to his family again, moving to Missouri after recovering from his injuries at a hospital in Chattanooga.

Harriet “Hattie” Elizabeth McIntire
Marriage to Nicholas on October 16, 1871
August 28, 1853 – October 7, 1918

Harriet “Hattie” Elizabeth McIntire was born in Caledonia in 1853. She and Nicholas married in 1871. They lived happily for forty years, raising five sons, James Roy being the youngest, and their daughter, Annie. He farmed and performed general labor, while she kept house.

Sarah “Sally” Catherine Anderson
January 10, 1860 – March 28, 1912
Marriage to James Harlow on November 5, 1875

Sarah “Sally” Catherine Anderson was born in Izard County, Arkansas in 1860. She married James Harlow Kelley in 1875 (such young brides back then), and, after reading the decree, I presume the minister who performed the service was quite the character!

They lived in Lesterville, where he also farmed, did some mining (the area had a wealth of ores), and she kept house. They raised six girls (Grandma Novella the youngest) and five boys. She is buried at Taum Sauk Cemetery, the most remote of all the places we visited. We drove along one very deserted road, passing a single truck along the way, before turning onto an a dirt road that ended at the cemetery. I thought, to myself, and aloud to Greg and Juniper, “If we’re ever going to enter into a horror film scenario, this is the place!”

The site is quite sloped, and I suspect there was a slide, because there is a bit of rubble and the majority of the headstones are destroyed. I could not find her grave and placed her hummingbird in the safety of the trees.

The view near Taum Sauk
James Harlow Kelley

James Harlow Kelley was born in Cobb County, Georgia on August 14, 1854, the same day as my nephew Tyler! His parents, Louisa and John Marion arrived in Missouri between his birth and 1870, and lived in the Arcadia Valley and Lesterville for the rest of their lives. They are all buried at the Collins Cemetery, a blink and you’ll miss it roadside affair between Annapolis and Minimum.

August 14, 1854 – June 3, 1933
I do believe the engraver got carried away!

The little specks are dragonflies. We’ve never seen so many as on this trip. Hundreds and hundreds!

Farmington 1940, the house where Missouri Day died.

After Missouri Day died, James Roy married a final time to Blanche Mund on January 10, 1942. They remained together until his death. I suspect the photo is shortly after the wedding, at their home in Farmington. The picture above it is the same house today. It’s undergone quite the transformation.

Blanche & James Roy in the 1960s

James Roy died mowing the lawn at this house, on June 19, 1970, nine days short of his 76th birthday.

Hillview Memorial Gardens in Farmington

Hello friends! How excited I am to say Spring has well and truly arrived. I am wearing dresses and sandals and my new favorite hat in great celebration. What a long, cold winter. Coupled with wretched COVID, it felt like years rather than months.

We’ve been doing more normal activities, like going to cherished restaurants, and eating in-person at our favorite food cart, which feels like such a treat after so much home cooking.

The garden is really coming to life, too. I’m doing a ton of planting and mulching (we had 10 yards deliverd!), an hour or two a day. This is both to replace plants killed by the horrible deep freeze and slowly fill in brown gaps in need of green and flower. I’ll show you pictures once it is all done. Maybe this weekend, as I’ll have Greg’s hands, as well as my own to finish. Juniper just lolls about and occasionally digs holes where she ought not. She is a dog, after all.

One of my favorite person’s tasks at his new job was to write a bio to accompany a photo, so we did a proper photo shoot. Isn’t he just so handsome? Greg Cooper, you are a looker!

Green mertensia and Juniper giving her best sniff.

The lamb’s ears are really starting to spread their wings.

The daphne bloomed! Hot diggity dog! This will always be the scent of Portland for me. Kinda like Froot Loops, only better.

blueberry scone goodness

Pike’s Peak peek…

Muskrat sighting!

Indian chicken – I combined a Patak’s Vindaloo curry paste with some mango chutney and water, and let the drumsticks braise in the liquid until done. I love it when something SO easy tastes SO wonderful!

I am rather sad to report that this is not my lilac in bloom here. Ours seems to be the only one in the neighborhood that got ravaged by the deep freeze. Luckily, it still has a bit of green on it, so I will prune the heck out of it and hope for it to flower next year.

She sure loves her Pops!
For my 17th Birthday, from them ALL

Thursday afternoon, lunch time. Greg and I were preparing a most awesome Thai Beef salad, and as is my wont for conviviality and all around good vibes when in the kitchen together, asked him to put some music on. He chose Van Halen, which was not surprising because I’d been craving it for days. Our Vulcan mind meld going exponential every year we are together in crazy-wild fashion. Cool, cool.

Mark & Bub

Aside from the fun Greg and I have together while listening, Van Halen is my high school years, and in particular the time spent with Bub, Craig, and Mark. For a lot of people, I was a strange appendage to this band. A girl in the company of young men. An assumed sexual relationship, which could not be further from the truth. Except for a brief time when I had a crush on Mark, they were like brothers to me. We’d known each other for years, Bub and I since fifth grade. We carpooled in his Celica, sophomore, junior, and half of senior year (until I bought my Celica, and people called us the Rice Rocket twins), so him most so.

Craig

We did all manner of activity together, go-carts at the Green Scene in Boulder, where I was cowardly slow. Mini-golf, where Bub reigned supreme. Football games. Basketball games. Parties. Movies. Wild & silly. Teenagers behaving as such. One time, where I do not remember whose house, only that it was south of 64th and near Pierce, I read the comics while they and whomever’s house it was, watched porn with the sound off. Out of “respect” for me. I kept my eyes down, not at all interested in that business, and when they told me it was safe to look, I believed them. We ALL laughed heartily at my gullibility.

The last day we were all together….

Mostly we drove around, as was the way. This is where the Van Halen really comes in. Running with the Devil, Ain’t Talking Bout Love… ALL of it. Mostly in Craig’s car, a 1980 Trans Am with T-tops. Did it have the phoenix on the hood? I can no longer remember. But the feeling, I do. Every season, but summer most potently. Warm air – short sleeve shirt, no jacket required. Me nearly always in the back seat, tops off and wind whipping my hair wild while the music played LOUD, exhilarated by freedom and pure joy. Laughter. So much laughter. And being with people I loved.

They’d pick me up at Wendy’s during a brief foray as an employee and call me Burger, having so strongly smelled of flipping them. Another time, behind Mark when he decided it was the right time to spit out his chew, high speed on Wadsworth, no less, and it ALL rushes on the wind and in my face. The horror and disgust and laughter, yet again.

I’ve lost track of them all. We are scattered by winds and distance, changing interests and loss. I have no sadness about it, no remorse. They are among the best parts of my past and shall remain so.

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