Family and church in the Valley

(originally posted July 1,2007)

After a lazy wake-up, I suppose due mainly to the wonderful rain and gentle storm during the night, Bailiff and I took a stroll down the road to the highway. Nose to the ground and traversing the road from side-to-side, Bailiff owned the world for that 20 minute walk. As a house and yard dog she has revelled in the freedom granted by the open spaces punctuated by about 100 people ever-ready to pet and render attention to her. This is the proper environment for this 60-pound bundle of activity.


Spent a little time touching up some parts of the website, visiting (what else?!) and finally for our informal religious observance. Many might not call it “church” but with “preacher” Johnny Cameron who can pray with the best of them and can wield a fiddle darn well and after a few hymns (out of a Baptist hymnal, much appreciated after years in the Episcopal church), nobody could doubt God’s presence among us.

Lunch and then the board meeting … always some business needing attention. Then Mike White and I retired to a spot in the dining hall to scan in some documents and photos that were contributed by Mary Hewitt and Jim Bowman — thanks to them for remembering that. Those will eventually end up on the site. We continue to hope for additional contributions of photos, letters, news clippings, personal memoranda, documents, or anything that can be scanned and that has anything at all to do with the family.

Many folks are already started home and the lonely echoes begin in the Valley already. The evening meal of enchiladas and taco salad was enjoyed especially by those of us from Texas. The head cook said “we just wanted to show that we could do something other than just country cooking.” They’ve treated us well as always and nothing wrong with “country cooking.”

The meal was nicely finished off with Summer’s baby giving “kisses” to Claudia.

The sun is setting rapidly and already I feel as if I’ve not been here near long enough, although missing Jennifer I know I’ve been here yet too long.  The time has been punctuated with stories from the likes of Jim Bowman and James Cameron talking about living and growing up around here, living the the Valley, knowing it as a young place. And I understand. Here in the comfy trailer with the AC cooling nicely I can see that were I to win the lottery I could live here. Then I remember the winters. I don’t even like Texas winters and the Arkansas Ouichita Mountain winters can be brutal by comparison.

Tomorrow will bring me a tire for the trailer blowout but too late to leave tomorrow. I suspect that Bailiff and I will have the Valley largely to ourselves. A few folks are staying, but not many.

(Postscript by Gil 2017: we lost Bailiff AND Trooper this year. Great companions and sorely missed)

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