Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Great Barbecue for a Purpose

 Pioneers Inc. of Hopkinsville, KY

Summer wouldn't be complete without barbecue, and I love the barbecue made by Pioneers, Inc. in Hopkinsville. Keely drives by their billboard on North Main Street as she goes to work, so she keeps me updated on their barbecue schedule -- always on Friday, but not every Friday.

Pioneers Inc. is a busy volunteer group, and barbecue is one of their fund-raising activities. The Pioneers are locally famous for delicious, homestyle food. If you ever have the good fortune to be invited to an event that they cater, you would be a fool to refuse the invitation.

The line for barbecue at the Pioneers' Smith Pavilion is always an interesting cross-section of the local population. A volunteer behind the window at left takes orders and payments. Then the customers wait a few minutes for their orders to be handed to them through the window at right.  It's not a fast process, but the line does move, and the wait is absolutely worthwhile.

The menu has a variety of sandwiches, sides, and meats for carry-out or eat-in (at the picnic tables.) I usually get a pound or two of the barbecued pork to take home. Keely and Taurus like to keep some Pioneers barbecue sauce on hand.

At work, earlier in the day that I took these pictures, an elderly lady told me that she was expecting overnight guests. She described all the work she had done to get her house ready, and I asked her if she was doing a lot of cooking, too. "No," she said. "I've already made potato salad, and I'm going to buy a pound of barbecue."

"Are you going to get some Pioneers?" I asked her. "Oh, I wish I could!  That would be so nice!" she said. "Are they cooking this weekend?" I assured her that they were, and she thanked me profusely. She even came by a few days later to thank me again.  "Thank the Pioneers, not me," I told her. That's the sort of respect that Pioneers' barbecue gets around here.

Pioneers Inc., a civic group of Christian black men, was organized in 1952. The income from their projects goes to college scholarships, Christmas gifts and food baskets for needy families, and other community projects and needs. I think of their barbecue as one more nice thing that they do for the community.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Messages from our Mennonite Neighbors

Bible verses along the roads

"Remember thy Creator in thy youth."

"Choose this day whom you will serve."
Over the past year or so, several signs with Bible verses have been posted along local roads by our Mennonite neighbors. I don't know whether the signs are a church project or individual efforts. Some of the signs are similar in size and style, so maybe they came from the same supplier.

The signs are written in English so they can be read by most people who pass by.  But actually, the Mennonites usually read the Bible in German.  Their Heilege Schrift (Holy Scriptures) is/are written in "Bible German," a form of High German that's different from the Pennsylvania Dutch they speak at home. Mennonite children learn Bible German along with English, as part of their education.

"Honor thy father and mother."
A young Mennonite neighbor lady once told me that "sometimes we look in the King James Bible" if a passage in the Mennonite Bible is hard to understand. I am not sure if she was speaking for all or just speaking for her own household.  The archaic English of the King James Version is surely as difficult as Bible German, but the Mennonites probably assign extra virtue to the KJV simply because it is old.

But let me get back to the signs around the neighborhood. I respect our neighbors for trying to "be a good light". (A Mennonite neighbor lady, telling me how Mennonites should live, used that phrase.) But I do wish they'd put the signs on posts instead of nailing them to trees. These trees growing wild in the fence rows aren't particularly valuable, and they'll probably survive the nails, but it still bothers me. I hate to see things nailed to living trees, no matter who does the nailing.

"Repent & be converted that your sins may be blotted out."
"God will judge the world in righteousness."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Road Trip through the Ozarks

Christian County, Kentucky, to Hickory County, Missouri

Recently, I took a few days off from the usual humdrum and made a fast trip west to visit my family. I drove to Wheatland, Missouri, and picked up my sister; then she rode along with me to Kingman County, Kansas, where we spent several days visiting with my brother and sister-in-law. Then I took my sister home again, and came back home myself. The entire trip was about 1500 miles.

Here are some of the sights from the first day, as I traveled from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, to southwest Missouri.

 This gas station in Wickliffe, Kentucky, is a familiar landmark just before the long approach through the swamps to the Ohio River bridge.

There was no traffic on the bridge over the Mississippi River, so I drove slowly, put my camera out the window, and blindly took some pictures. Most of them were out of focus and wildly tilted (not surprising,) but this one isn't too bad. The trees are growing on the extreme southern tip of Illinois. The Ohio River is on the far side of the trees and the Mississippi River is in the foreground. The two rivers come together in front of the trees and continue as the Mississippi to the ocean.


Much of the land in the Missouri Bootheel was cypress swampland until the 1890s. It was considered a great engineering accomplishment when nearly all the trees were cut and the swamps were drained and converted to farmland. Today, it's a very productive agricultural area, but a rich and complex ecosystem has been lost forever.

Most of the hay harvest this year in southern Missouri and southern Kansas was put into big round bales like these. We did see a few big square bales in Kansas. We speculated that they could be packed closer on a truck than round bales and that they would be more stable during transport.

In a gas station, I saw this stuffed bobcat and bird (I think it's a quail.) I don't think they'd win any taxidermy prizes, but they certainly were attention-grabbing, especially for little children.

The other end of this shop in Van Buren, Missouri, was more modern and less cluttered, but I really liked the look of this end. Van Buren always has something interesting to see. I took a few minutes off to drive around town and look at the Current River.

My next stop was at Winona, where I pulled into a gas station to study the map and plot a route across the Ozarks. I had finished my map reading and I was waiting at the stop sign to get back on Highway 60, when a woman in a Ford Explorer rear-ended my car. She was apologetic, but she didn't explain to me why she did it. My car didn't appear to be damaged, but I got her insurance information anyway. "Just in case," I told her.

I pointed my camera at the road as I went down some of the big hills. Here are two pictures that turned out all right. I'm thankful for Highway 60 which is all four-lane these days, but I always enjoy the point in the journey when I turn northward on a two-lane and head across the Ozarks toward Wheatland. I've seen some great scenery from the two-lanes in the Ozarks.

I usually go through Lebanon, but I decided to take some blacktop county roads (about 50 miles of them) and go through Buffalo instead. (This information is for those who really know their southern Missouri geography.) That's how I happened to pass through Conway, and by the way, it was the first town I'd seen in quite a while.

I finally arrived at my sister's house a little before sunset. When I opened the trunk of my car, I couldn't close it again. Once opened, the two parts of the trunk latch were misaligned and impossible to connect. So I called the woman's insurance company and made a claim that night.  (Lesson: Always get the insurance info, even if the car does not appear dented at first glance!)

For the rest of the trip, I had to fasten the trunk with a bungee-cord. We put most of our gear in the back seat because it was more convenient. When I got home again, I took the car to the body shop for an estimate, and the guys there bent it back enough to close it properly. Now, I'm just waiting for the appointment in about a week to get it fixed for good.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.