We returned home last night from our Southern Illinois Christmas, the last leg of our Christmas celebrations. We’d gone down to Albion right after Christmas to spend a few days with my parents and family. Folks often ask us how long it takes to make the drive; technically, it’s 240 miles and BK (before kids) we could make the drive in five hours, with one stop. Now, it’s more like seven or eight hours with something north of three stops. However, the stops aren’t always for the kids; the trip home included a stop at a farm near Pana to check out a grain cleaner that was for sale. Ah yes, the 2009 harvest still haunts us.
But I digress. A few observations from the trip:
**Lots of snow in central Illinois, both on the way down and the way back. Somewhat hazardous driving conditions on the way down, as much of that snow was falling. And somehow, I ended up behind the wheel for the most blizzard-like portion of the trip. (this is unusual, as John normally does the driving and I offer to give him a break when we’re about 30 minutes from our destination. As Jeff Foxworthy would say, “Thanks, honey, why don’t you take over and wheel it into the drive for me!”) However, as frightened as John may have been by my snowy driving skills, we had kids asleep in the back and there was no way (repeat: NO WAY) we’d risk waking them by stopping to switch drivers. So he just gripped the armrest and gave measured advice. “You know not to hit the brakes hard, right? Like, not the way you just did? Don’t do that. Ever.” And my thanks to the Chevy Traverse we saw go skidding off an exit ramp near Bloomington for giving me pause – and for hammering home John’s point about the brakes.
**Some corn still left in western Illinois. John observed that the most crops we saw still standing may have been in our home county, Fulton. Most everything else is out, especially to the south where November was notably dryer.
**And from a pre-Christmas weather report: the Peoria weatherman reported that out of 350-some days in 2009, it rained for 160 of them. That sounds about right.
Here’s hoping 2010 will bring us better crops, dryer fields and a little less stress overall. From our family to yours, may your Christmas have been merry and may your New Year be happy!
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