Saturday, June 11, 2016

Family time!

We left Elkhart Campgound Friday morning, June 3rd, and went to the storage condo for a night. We were able to wash Phaeton Place who has needed a bath for a loooooong time. So now she is clean. . . or at least she was for a day.

We drove down to Warsaw and found a spot at the Kosciusko County Fairgrounds in Warsaw. That is the closest place to Mom and Dad that we can camp, so we settled in and then took off with the girls to visit the folks. They enjoyed seeing Butterscotch and Duchess and the girls enjoyed all the treats Mom gives them when they visit. We got to see their new bathroom. They took out the tub and put in a large shower with the same footprint and put sliding doors on it. Now Daddy can get in and out of it much easier. For Father's Day, Nita and I bought him a shower chair with a back and arms to make it easier for him. He is getting less and less mobile as his back caves in on him, but we are trying to keep him able to do things for himself. They also put in a higher toilet which made a big difference in his ability use it more easily. Hopefully these things will make life a little easier for him and Mom.

We left Sunday morning and headed south. The family reunion is the 11th and we like to get in a few days early to visit with family. Our first night out was spent at a Jellystone campground  in Scottsburg, Indiana. They take Passport America during the week, so we got a great discount and it was a decent park. We rolled on the next morning and spent the next two nights in Amish country in Ethridge, Tennessee.

The campground was a big disappointment. The story is that there is a new owner and they are investing money and things will be better the "next time" we stop. Not sure there will be a next time. It wasn't a bad place, but the sites were narrow and they are in the process of digging for drain lines and water, etc., and it doesn't look like they are working very hard at it. The amenities weren't too bad, but we had full hookups, so it was okay with us. But they certainly charged a high price for those sites, so we won't be back.

We did decided to stay here and take a look around at the Amish in the area. These are Swartzendruber Amish, among the most conservative. They are very different from the Amish in northern Indiana and in the Berlin, Ohio, area we often visit. In those places, the Amish own businesses and don't mind talking with you and sharing a bit about themselves. And they appear to be mostly prosperous. I remember as a child that the Amish farms in northern Indiana appeared many times to be run down and in need of makeovers or just upkeep. Now they look quite different and have beautiful flower gardens and well kept lawns. The Amish in Ethridge appeared more like the Amish I observed long ago. They do not have any stores. . . they do sell goods directly from their homes or stands in their yards. The fruits and vegetables looked very good and I bought some of those. I bought one basket at the local Farmer's Market that was handmade by a deaf Amish man. It is very neat and is signed by the craftsman. The women do not wear the white mesh caps here, but a heavier cloth cap and many times a black bonnet. At one household where we bought goods, all the five children on the porch wore black clothing and caps. They would only talk to transact business, they would not talk otherwise. Very different from others we have met. All of their schools were one room and built the same. A rectangular building with four windows down the side and two outhouses out back. The leaflet I read said they do not have running or hot water in their houses either. Very conservative and different from other Amish we've met. But that is their life and their choice. I might add that my own family is a few generations from low-order Amish. Perhaps that why I find it so interesting to visit their communities and learn what I can about their lifestyle.

Once we left Ethridge, we had an easy 90 mile drive to Bay Springs Lake and Piney Grove Campground. Of course, we took the Natchez Trace which is my favorite drive. We made our usual lunch stop at the rest area on the north side of the Tenneessee River. We figured we have been coming every year for about 20 years, since Terry's Dad died. We had come off and on before that, but try not to miss it now. Most of the older ones no longer come. Many are gone, leaving just the younger generations to carry on the tradition. They aren't always interested, but we still want to come and visit with the cousins and other family in the area.

We drove into Pulaski, Tennessee and found this beauty sitting in a parking lot. We don't know what it is, but it appears she is used. I could live in this, that's for sure.

Last night we drove into cousin Shirley's and had dinner with her and husband Paul, cousin Gary and Jo, Vikki and Jonathon and Preston. It was a great supper and we enjoyed visiting with everyone again.

We went into Booneville and Baldwyn today and visited Paul and Rusty at the flea market. We just missed Gary and Jo who had taken off to go yard sale-ing! We went into town to get some supplies I needed for a craft project and then headed back to the camp. We drove back on the Trace again and stopped at the Indian Mounds. We got back about 3:30. The girls were glad to see us!

Tomorrow is the reunion! We will be leaving a little early so we can visit with the family. We are having it at a restaurant so we don't need to cook anything. Whoo hoo! That's even better!

Till next time. . .


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