I Love a Parade

Family fun continued today, kicking off early this morning with an event that has been held annually for 51 years. The Maple Leaf Festival in Carthage Missouri hosts a variety of activities each year, the highlight being the Maple Leaf Parade.

My son Nate was in the parade this morning, commanding the Color Guard as they led the parade. And three of my grandchildren, Joey, Oliver and Aubrey, rode on floats, along with their Tiger football teams and cheerleading squads.

I enjoy parades…the festive atmosphere, the camaraderie of the people gathered along the streets, the smiling participants waving from the colorful floats. And although Christmas parades have a beauty all their own, I am particularly fond of this parade that celebrates autumn. I marched in this parade during my years in high school band. I’ve watched my children and grandchild as they in turn have walked, ridden or marched by. I have a long history with this event.

Here are highlights of the Maple Leaf Parade:

This has become a yearly tradition, capturing a pic of my son with his wife Megan. Nate serves his community as a police sergeant. As a member of the Color Guard, it is their task to lead off the parade with a presentation of the American and state flags.

I watched my son, standing confidently, tall and straight backed, and remembered when he was a boy, standing with rapt attention as we watched various parades begin. He was there to watch the police officers and the police cars with their flashing red and blue lights. He dreamed of being an officer someday. Did he know that when that someday came, that he would be the one leading the parades?

This adorable dog, sitting calmly in the back seat as he sports a hat, seemed to love being in the parade.

Grandson Joey, with the sixth grade Tiger football team, stood up and waved so we could see him!

Grandson Oliver, with the fourth grade team, gave us a smile and a wave.

Granddaughter Aubrey and her sweet friend Karleigh, who is like another grandchild to me, with the Tiger cheerleading squads.

A crowd favorite the last few years, this float features characters from the Star Wars movies. The band marching in front of them played Darth Vader’s theme song.

My grandson Dayan marched with the Carl Junction band the last four years. I missed seeing him today, and felt compelled to snap a pic of the tuba section any way. There were many marching bands performing during the parade. I heard this band enter the square and I knew it was the CJ band without seeing the banner carried. I know this band. I recorded them as they played, so I can share with Dayan, who happened to be in a parade after all today. He rode on a float, representing resident hall government, in Mizzou’s homecoming parade.

A sweet moment between Nate and Megan, after my son completed the parade and returned to the square to find us before starting other duties.

Horses always signal the end of the parade, and today, there was a unicorn in their midst!

What a fun morning. The weather was the warmest we have had, that I recall. Usually I am dressed in layers and bundled up in winter gloves, scarf and hat in an attempt to stay warm. Not so today. Temps were in the 70s and many people took advantage of mild weather and lined the streets.

I combined the parade with today’s walking. Greg parked the car a distance from the square and we walked to our viewing destination. After the parade we walked around the square, looking at booths, and running into Nate again, who was chatting with friends of ours. The trek back to the car then completed a good walk for Day 23.

It was a gorgeous fall day, that began with an event that is fun to watch, and never fails to tap into warm memories. Yes, I certainly do love a parade.

Journey 290: Maple Leaf Parade

What a fun morning, jump started by a big parade! The air was crisp with a definite fall chill to it and the sun not quite up when I headed east to Carthage, MO. This is the 49th Maple Leaf Festival, held annually in this beautiful Ozark town. The highlight of the festival is the Maple Leaf Parade, touted as the largest in southwest Missouri. 

I marched in this parade while in high school, with the Mustang Marching Band, and more recently walked the route as a realtor. Now I enjoy watching from the sidelines. And today was a special event. Four of my five grandchildren were in the parade. And my son Nate, a police officer with Carthage PD, led off the parade with the Honor Guard. Daughter Elissa, son-in-law Josh, grandson Jonathan and daughter-in-law Megan sat with me on the west side of the square. Greg joined us just as the parade was starting. 

Here are highlights of the parade, captured in photos:

 

Elissa and Jonathan

 Jonathan sporting his Link costume. 

 

Josh

 Megan and Nate

 

Megan and me

 Nate was in charge of the Honor Guard, which led off the parade

 

 One of the winners in the float category

  

This dog, wearing a hat, cracked me up. He seemed to enjoy all the attention. 

 Grandsons Joey and Oliver, with Tiger Football

 

Lots of scary floats, advertising local haunted houses for Halloween

   The Flip Shop with their trampoline on wheels

  

Grandson Dayan with the Carl Junction Marching Band, which sounded great! There were lots of bands in the parade, as there is a band competition in the afternoon. Carl Junction was awarded first place in the parade! Latest update is that they are in the finals for the afternoon marching band competition. 

 

 

 Granddaughter Aubrey, and her mom Brittany, Nana Shelby and brother AJ, with the Donate Life float. Aubrey’s Nana is a liver transplant recipient, celebrating her 6th anniversary! 

 

One never knows where a kilted man will show up!

 Or Darth Vader 😃

 

This guy was cool!

 The crowd pleasing Dancing Cobras from Springfield MO

 

Horses and mules signal the end of the parade, with the city street sweepers behind, for obvious reasons! 139 units passed by…bands, floats, businesses and organizations. 

I enjoyed the morning immensely, sitting with family, watching for grandkids in the parade, smiling as I watched my son carry out his responsibilities with dignity and ease. On the way home I found myself humming the song “I Love a Parade”, so I looked the words up. The lyrics are a fitting conclusion to this blog post. 

I love a parade, the tramping of feet,

I love every beat I hear of a drum.

I love a parade, when I hear a band

I just want to stand and cheer as they come.

Yes! 

 
   
  

Journey 254: Ghosts in Carthage

In between appointments in Carthage MO today, I had time to check out one of the historic buildings on this pretty town’s picturesque square. I’ve heard of the old Burlingame & Chaffee Opera House, home now to McBride’s Antiques. It’s about to attract attention at a national level. I decided to walk through this afternoon and see what I saw…and felt.


The building, located on the southern side of the square, was built in 1877-78, on the site of two previous buildings that were destroyed during the Civil War. A hardware business operated on the main floor. The Burlingame & Chaffee Opera House debuted on the second floor on February 21, 1878.


During the construction of the building in 1877, reports began of paranormal activity. Construction workers spoke of hearing the distinct sound of musket and cannon fire, while working in the basement. Continued activity has been reported over the years, as the building’s use has shifted and changed.

The current owner and his employees, and customers within the building, have had many incidents of auditory and visual phenomenon, with most of the activity being reported in the now vacant opera theater. The main floor has its share of reports too however, including the presence of a small boy and an older, grandmotherly woman who seems to watch over the him.

An old photograph taken in the vacant opera house. Note the figure on the left, at the window.

I strolled through McBride’s Antiques, which is housed on the main floor, and John Oliver’s, featuring antiques and collectibles, in the basement of the building. Other than Keith McBride, and two employees (perhaps the owners) in John Oliver’s, I was alone in the building. I walked slowly through both spaces, my ability to sense energy spreading out around me like an invisible, tactile net.


And this is what I picked up. Heavy energy on the main floor that prickled across my back. I feel negative or low energy, dark or trapped energy, across my upper back. The stronger or more intense the energy, the stronger the sensations across my back. Light, higher vibrational energy makes my scalp tingle. There wasn’t any scalp tingling going on. As I walked I stopped several times, catching movement out of the corner of my eye.


Surprisingly, the basement felt better to me, which is unusual. Basements often hold a lot of old, heavy energy and they are uncomfortable to me. Back upstairs, the prickliness across my back became a dull ache that moved up my neck to the back of my head. I’m curious what I would have felt upstairs, in the opera house.

McBride has been curious about his building as well. He has had a local paranormal investigative team onsite, that recorded high activity. Most recently, the opera house was visited during the summer by the SyFy Channel’s “Ghost Hunters”. According to McBride, the team, led by Jason Hawes and Steve Gonslaves, not only investigated the building but researched Carthage history. The episode, titled “A Fright at the Opera”, will air on SyFy September 23, at 8:00 PM.

Many viewers across the U.S. will tune in. People will turn their eyes and interests toward Carthage, MO and the old opera house. After my walk through today, and research tonight, I’ll be watching as well.

 
The historic Carthage Courthouse, across the street from McBride’s.

Journey 28: artCentral in Carthage

artCentral banner

What a beautiful day to discover more about one of Jasper County’s gems. Tucked into the historic town of Carthage, MO is an art gallery that is so much more than just a place to exhibit the fine works of local artists. Located in Hyde House, at 1110 E 13th Street, artCentral is a cultural oasis that has served artists and the community for 30 years. Newly appointed director, Alice Lynn Greenwood, invited me to come for a visit today, an invitation I gladly accepted.

artCentral Alice Lynn Greenwood

I met Alice Lynn last year in Joplin. I was drawn to her engaging and unique artistic style, however, I missed her exhibit downtown. An intriguing series of synchronicities ensued, a phenomenon that I call a “strand”.  I saw wonderful framed prints in a restaurant that I visited for a first. Greg purchased one of the prints that captivated me and surprised me with it. Only then did I realize it was artwork by Alice Lynn Greenwood. In spite of missing her exhibit, I had acquired one of her prints. I friended Alice Lynn on Facebook, she saw her framed print featured in a spring vignette that I did and commented on it, and eventually I had the privilege of meeting this creative, dynamic woman whose spirit and smile both light up a room.

artCentral front door

Arriving this afternoon at Hyde House, I was enchanted immediately with the beautiful grounds and the turn of the century home that houses artCentral. Katherine Hyde bequeathed her family home to the city upon her death in 1989, establishing a trust fund for its care and upkeep. A wide covered front porch and vibrant green door welcomed me. Alice Lynn, just as vibrant and welcoming, greeted me and gave me a tour of the home. I am a realtor, in part, because I love houses, old houses especially. This is an amazing home, well kept, uncluttered and neutral in color so as to best showcase the works of art that are on exhibit here. The kitchen still has its pink cabinets. The two sparkling bathrooms sport green tiles in the downstairs bath and pink in the one upstairs. There are exhibit rooms and a cozy, inviting library, meeting rooms, an office/studio for Alice Lynn, and at the very top of the house, an artist salon, currently undergoing renovation. I was charmed, everywhere I looked.

artCentral library

The house is just background, however, as gorgeous as it is. The real draw of artCentral is the creative spirit that permeates every nook and cranny. I felt inspired to create as I stood within the house. Alice Lynn was delighted, as that is just the atmosphere she is fostering here. From the artist room beneath the eaves to the pottery house at the back of the property, artCentral beckons to the imagination inherent in all of us. Alice Lynn has so many wonderful ideas and plans for giving artists, budding artists and the community opportunities to explore their creative and imaginative sides. She has revamped the website, expanded artCentral’s social media presence, and is in the process of scheduling exhibits and workshops, a children’s camp and Saturday fun days.

artCentral salon

Along with the array of art classes offered this year, Alice Lynn has the vision to expand the workshops to include yoga, tai chi and a blogging class, taught by me in March. She recognizes that creativity takes many forms and will host poetry readings and other cultural events that feed the soul. A children’s camp in late July will offer young artists the chance to learn technique and develop their abilities and will culminate with an exhibit during a downtown Carthage Artwalk. I am excited by the many possibilities offered to open up my creativity and expand my knowledge and skills. I want to be a part of this hub, this community, of art and culture! I will be joining as a member of artCentral.

artCentral kitchen

I appreciate Alice Lynn so much and her journey. We stood in her office, which is also her studio, and talked about art, and the flow of life. The two are connected, of course, as allowing our creativity to develop opens us to so many other amazing life experiences. Below are links to artCentral’s website and the Facebook pages of the organization and Alice Lynn Greenwood. I look forward to seeing and experiencing the ripple effect that will emanate from this cultural center.

artCentral Website

artCentral Blog

artCentral Facebook Page

Alice Lynn Greenwood Artist Facebook Page

artCentral pottery house

The Pottery House

Journey 9: Birthday Blessings

Birthday 2015 Keltic Knot 2

I have to admit, I almost cancelled my birthday this year. After the sudden loss of my cousin Mindy yesterday afternoon, the likelihood of celebrating today seemed remote.  I knew Mindy would not agree with that thought. She would have encouraged me to find the joy in the day. Through a variety of people and throughout the day, joy did arrive.

My day started early with picking up my six year old granddaughter to take her to school. After she climbed into the car, I noticed her staring at the stocking cap on my head. Aubrey rarely sees me in a cap, even when it is very cold. “What?” I asked. “It’s my birthday. This is my birthday hat.” I told her. With a look of delight on her beautiful little face, she piped up, “How will we celebrate?” I chuckled over her enthusiasm. “Really
.what will we do to celebrate?” she insisted. How I love this little girl. I promised her we would celebrate after I picked her up from school in the afternoon. And like that, the day shifted. Yes, I was sad. However, I decided I wouldn’t wrap the sadness around me like a cloak, shutting out the world.

The day offered an endless stream of surprises. Arriving in Neosho to accompany Harry to the funeral home, he presented me with a gift from Mindy as soon as I walked through the door. Wednesday, after I took Mindy home from doctors’ appointments in Joplin, and saw her settled in for a nap, she sent Harry searching for a surprise she had ordered for me. The package wasn’t where she thought it was. She was so tired and needed to sleep. I told her not to worry about it and I would get it later. Harry found the gift…two Keep Calm mugs with English tea. I was so touched. How like Mindy. And what an acknowledgement of our shared love of tea time. I cherish this last gift from her.

Birthday 2015 tea

And I have to say, I was so proud of Harry this morning. I went with him to the funeral home to be supportive of him while he made decisions and choices. Everything he did was honoring of his mother and full of love. This young man, who has suddenly found himself responsible for so many things, is stepping up into a new level of adulthood with grace. Mindy raised an amazing son. My heart sang as I drove back to Joplin.

My dear friend Garen invited me out for a birthday lunch at Ichiban.  I tried the New York, New York sushi for the first time. It was delicious with crunchy bits of chopped apple sprinkled on top. Most of all, I appreciated and enjoyed the conversation and the sharing of ideas that flowed between us. Garen has been a wonderful friend and a fellow traveler on the journey and I am so grateful for him.

As promised, when I picked up Aubrey from school, we had our own little celebration. Greg joined us and we had a treat at Chick-Fil-A. My precious granddaughter presented me with a gift that she made in school today. Crying out “Happy Birthday” she handed me a beautiful picture she made of herself with her head tipped back and a perfect snowflake landing on her tongue. What a wonderful representation of joy. The artwork has a place of honor on my refrigerator. Aubrey and I paid my mom a visit and she too made my birthday special with a lovely card and a birthday check.

Birthday 2015 Aubrey gift

Greg provided the final celebration for today. He discovered that the Irish band, Keltic Knot, was playing this evening at The Woodshed in Carthage. After dropping Aubrey off with her dad and stepmom, we located the venue within Cherry’s Art Emporium on the square. What a unique and interesting place. Dinner was available too and we had the Shepherd’s Pie. It was wonderfully filling. What a great night of music. The band was talented and fun to listen to. The 18 year old lead singer had a rich, lilting voice. Her dad played bass guitar and sang. Tim played the mandolin and a variety of other instruments and the young drummer was phenomenal. Playing traditional and contemporary Irish and Scottish music, Keltic Knot entertained the crowd with haunting melodies and lively drinking songs. Of course, I thought of Mindy. This is our kind of music! Then the bass player brought out a set of Highland bagpipes. My heart swelled and tears stung my eyes as he played several songs, including Amazing Grace. I know without a doubt that I have Scottish blood when the sound of bagpipes makes me teary eyed.

Birthday 2015 Keltic Knot

In between those beautiful blessings today, I received hundreds of messages via texts, phone calls, emails and Facebook posts from around the world. Friends and family wished me a happy birthday and also condolences and the mix was exactly what I needed today. I know it is not easy to offer into the grief of another. And how much more complicated it becomes when a day that should be celebrated falls immediately after a day of shocking loss. Yet the messages from these dear souls, of joy mixed with sorrow, of empathy and encouragement, were genuine and uplifting. I was blessed indeed by the outpouring of love today. Thank you from my overflowing heart.

Birthday 2015

Day 322: Afternoon Tea at The Carthage Deli

Carthage Deli

Today, I decided to follow my curiosity, and see where it took me. As I was finishing up with clients, I was aware that I still needed a first for the day. My curiosity drew me to toward the pretty town of Carthage MO, just north of where I was completing showings. As I drove that way, the welcome thought came to me to find a place for afternoon tea. On this bright, cold day, hot tea sounded great!

Carthage has a square, surrounding a gorgeous and stately courthouse. Lining the square are offices and antique shops, an art gallery and, on the NW corner, at 3rd and Main, is The Carthage Deli, occupying the old Bank of Carthage building. This was my destination. I had never been in the deli, but I’d seen it many times as I cruised around the square. I’d always wanted to step inside. Today, I did.

Carthage Deli Courthouse

What a delightful surprise. The interior was much more spacious than I’d supposed. Tables and chairs and booths with bright pink cushions provide ample seating for guests. The 1950’s dĂ©cor featured black and white tiled floors, Route 66 memorabilia and vintage finds and there was a section of a pink car fashioned into a booth. I chose to sit in this spot, which was near the flower filled front windows.

The deli offers an assortment of sandwiches, such as grilled ham, bacon and cheddar on a toasted Kaiser bun, or turkey and provolone. They offer a huge variety of specialty coffees as well. I noted Hazelnut Mocha, Autumn Harvest and Mistletoe Joe, just to name a few. There’s ice cream as well, available by the scoop, and I understand their malts and shakes are amazing.

Carthage Deli interior

The Carthage Deli had a large selection of teas available. I chose something I’d never had before, in keeping with my firsts. The Cinnamon Plum blend, which was delicious, and warmed chocolate chunk scone created a simple and satisfying afternoon tea. I enjoyed spending a leisurely 30 minutes sipping my tea and watching people hurry by outside, arms crossed and heads tucked against the chilly air. Inside, it was cozy and peaceful, the old building well maintained and quietly keeping its many secrets.

I left refreshed, warmed and ready to move on with my day. I will visit again, when I’m in the area, and try another flavor of tea. And perhaps next time I’ll sample one of their chocolate brownies.

Carthage Deli booth

Day 165: The Screen Door

Image

Family gathered today for an early Father’s Day celebration for my step-dad, Walter. We enjoyed lunch together and this evening, a time around the fire pit in my backyard, chatting, laughing, sipping drinks, toasting marshmallows and making S’mores. In between those two activities, the ladies slipped away to do a little junkin’. For my first today, I visited The Screen Door, located at 112 E. 4th, on the square in Carthage, MO.  My mom and sisters, Debbie and Linda, accompanied me.

We girls have a good time, no matter what adventure we set off on. We love to browse in flea markets and vintage stores. Although today I didn’t have any particular items that I was searching for, my sister Debbie was on the hunt for specific treasures to use for Halloween decorations. The Halloween Party War is on, between Debbie and her daughter, Ashley, and my daughter Elissa and grandson Dayan. Both families throw amazing parties, and it’s all in good fun. For the rest of us, we get the benefit of enjoying two outstanding parties.

I’ve looked forward to visiting The Screen Door. I’ve read good reviews and seen pictures that piqued my interest. I was not disappointed. This is a very cute, very clean shop, full of flea market type items, vintage pieces and antiques. There is truly a bit of everything here. We took our time wandering around, looking at treasures, discussing what we could make with them. It is always fun to discover an item that we had as kids or remember a grandparent using, like ice tongs.

Debbie scored with a vintage wicker doll carriage. With some slight repairs and Debbie’s or Ashley’s handiwork, it will make a great addition to their Halloween dĂ©cor. I foresee a zombie baby or other creepy kid nestled within it. Debbie was delighted with her find.

I found many interesting items, including fun pieces for the garden. I didn’t purchase anything today, but I will certainly return and check this store frequently. That’s part of the fun of junkin’ and visiting flea markets, seeking and finding and walking out of the store, feeling like I’ve found a treasure and a bargain.

Image

Day 138: Goad’s Antique Mall

Image

My sister Debbie and her daughter Ashley, both from Broken Arrow, OK, spent the weekend in Joplin. Along with my other sister, Linda, and my mom, we had a great time chatting and laughing, sharing meals, dropping in on my daughter Adriel at work, sitting around my fire pit last night, and today, visiting flea markets. Wanting to check out a new store this afternoon, for my first, the five of us headed to Carthage, MO.

Carthage is a beautiful, historic town, and the ideal place for shopping in vintage shops and flea markets. Except, apparently, on Sundays! After our group enjoyed a fun lunch with my son, Nate, who was on patrol today, we drove around the beautiful town square. I had a destination in mind. But as we pulled up in front of the store, we spotted a large sign in the window stating, “No longer open on Sunday”. Not to be deterred from a first, we flowed, we rolled, literally on around the square. We found Goad’s Antique Mall open on the north side of the square.

Located at 111 E. 3rd Street, Goad’s is packed with antiques, collectibles, primitives, furniture and fun junk. I love browsing through a flea market or antique store. You never know what you will find. And there are so many treasures to sort through, pick over and examine. Each of us had specific items on our wish list: Linda was looking for a dresser or a small table and chairs set, my mom likes unique jewelry and garden finds, my sister Debbie and niece Ashley, who host an incredible Halloween party each year, were searching for items that could be transformed into decorations. And I was looking for metal containers and an old chair to use in the garden.

Image

Parked right beside the front door was a round metal washtub on a stand. Perfect! I love the first washtub I found and have it in my garden already, filled with plants. I was hoping to find another and here it was. I also found a slightly battered metal bucket and another tall metal container to use as planters. And there hanging on a wall in the marvelously crowded back room was an old wooden chair with a metal panel screwed to the seat. This wonderful find was only $10. I have a couple of enamelware basins that I want to use in the garden. Filling the basins with dirt and flowers, they will then be perched on the seats of old chairs and placed in the backyard. This was my first chair and I had found it at a bargain price. There were actually several $10 chairs. I selected this one because I liked that the woven seat had been replaced with a square of metal.

My niece, Ashley, provided much amusement as she searched for wicked looking objects to use as Halloween props. She began to remind me of the quirky character Wednesday, from the Addams Family movies , as she expressed glee over such finds as hay hooks, saws, tongs, and chains. I look forward to seeing how she uses these items at her party!

We left Carthage very satisfied with our purchases. Once again, I was directed onto a slightly different path and obviously ended up exactly where I was supposed to be. These seemingly insignificant experiences are teaching me so much about how life flows and how I can resist the flow and create discomfort and disappointment for myself, or I can be receptive, accepting the changes, and open myself to delightful surprises. I see how going with the flow brings joy. May I allow these experiences to continue opening me to the larger truths about life and walking the path of non-resistance.

Image

Day 107: Repurpose Boutique

Image

For today’s first, I had the opportunity to visit a shop in Carthage, MO, that I found via Facebook. I loved what I could see online. Today I visited the shop in person, and discovered it was as great in reality as its online presence.

Repurpose Boutique is located at 530 W. Fir Road, Suite D, in Carthage, MO. They are open Tues – Sat, 10:00 to 6:00 and Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00. It is a great little shop featuring a “charming eclectic variety of fashions for ‘your look, your home, your life.” The more you look, the more you see here! There are trendy designer fashions for everyone, both new and gently worn, and designer shoes, purses and jewelry. Plus Repurpose Boutique is home to many creations by local artists and designers.

I did a quick tour around the store first. There was a section for school spirit, featuring clothing, jewelry and other items in the appropriate colors for all the local schools. I also noted lots of hand crafted jewelry, creatively displayed in old tackle boxes. Repurposed furniture was available throughout the store, along with signs and pillows and other great vintage or handmade pieces. And this shop carries a wonderful selection of unique clothing. After my initial perusal, that’s the section I settled into today. I had spied a great fitting room, fashioned from four old wooden doors. I was looking forward to trying clothes on in that creatively repurposed space.

As I have moved more and more into being fully who I am, becoming the person I was created to be, my taste in clothing has shifted too. And as my body becomes more healthy and fit, I’m rediscovering how enjoyable clothes shopping can be. I’ll admit it. I’m a free spirit and I like an eclectic mix of clothes, favoring casual fun clothing over formal attire. Repurpose Boutique is my kind of store! I enjoyed browsing through all the tops, dresses, pants and shoes available. And it was fun to try on my selections in the wooden door fitting room. After trying on about a dozen tops, I narrowed my picks down to three. Since two of the three shirts were on sale, I bought all three!

Repurpose Boutique is a fun shop, full of all kinds of treasures and trendy clothes. They offer clothing and gifts that are beyond the ordinary, and that suits me just fine! Following them on Facebook and via texts through their VIP Club, I can stay informed about sales and specials and also see pictures of the new product arriving daily. Carthage is only 15 minutes away, and I love an excuse to drop by to see Nate, my son, Megan and their lovely family. I’m sure I’ll be a frequent shopper at this charming and delightful boutique.

Image