A Pastel Pumpkin Field and My Rib Shack

Illinois Pumpkin Fields Canned Pumpkins

So my wife and I went on a mini road trip a few weekends ago to visit an apple orchard two hours from home and then another 45 minutes to The Bar-B-Q Rib Shack in Galesburg, IL. On our way between the orchard and the rib shack we were surprised to pass two huge fields filled with what barely looked like pumpkins.

The pumpkins were so pastel I couldn’t believe it. I had to pull the car over and go in for a closer examination. How could someone mistakenly planted a huge field full of an unseemly variety of seed. My wife suggested they were for canning, which made more sense. But had we stopped our adventure right there, I’d have seen just about everything.

Pumpkins for Canning Illinois Fields

But we didn’t. We continued on to the rib place I’d talked up to my wife since we met but only fantasized taking her. Now the time had come, I imagined, where she might appreciate the unique charm of this place. When we first met, I was relatively certain, however, that she’d have found the neon sign, the mere idea of ribs, and the community seating a little more than off-putting.

To me, this rib shack is just about everything. The food is phenomenal. And the seating, unique. The small town picnic table seating, when packed, has you enjoy your meal side-by-side with complete strangers or soon-to-be new acquaintances.

The Rib Shack Neon BBQ Pig Sign

I was a little nervous. I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to everything I remembered and relived since I’d eaten there last. I was really hoping that their glory was real and not existent only in my head created by time and wishful thinking. The Rib Shack Galesburg IL Community Seating

Luckily, my fears were completely unfounded. It was everything I’d remembered and more. The lady who waited on us made us feel at home. The ribs were beautiful. Succulent, zesty, and not a bit greasy. I was proud as a peacock that my baby lit up and enjoyed herself thoroughly. She loved the slaw and she loved the ribs. I don’t think she would have appreciated The Rib Shack when we met but it made me feel good that she did now.

BBQ Ribs The Rib Shack Galesburg IL

B-Q Rib Shack on Urbanspoon

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Late Fall Retrospective

So about four weeks ago, I was walking across the still-damp yard first thing in the morning.  Something felt different. I looked down and noticed the leaves were different. They weren’t colorful, and they weren’t still-alive. They were wet and had shriveled from bright yellow to crinkly grey. It was the feel I’d noticed. Instead of the velvet brush of new fallen leaves against my shoes, they crackled. I realized that fall comes in phases.

Early fall is full of color and brilliance and warmth and life. My wife and I struggled to pick an avalanche of ripening tomatoes. I relished getting to harvest two little watermelons from our garden. We went on walks and marveled in the color collages.

Suddenly in that Saturday morning moment on the lawn I noticed that fall comes in phases. Previously, I thought it was one thing, and I didn’t like it. Thinking of fall made me feel depressed. It meant I’d be in the dark after five p.m. and freezing cold for the next seven months. It was my least favorite season.

My wife mentioned time and again while we were in Louisiana that she missed the fall colors. I didn’t notice the difference too much and was on a mission that she could find all the fall colors she needed there. She remained unconvinced. I must say that getting the chance to experience our fall in Illinois with new eyes, I too am captivated by the colors and the beauty. For the first time I noticed little things. A brilliant ivy against a limestone wall. Specked leaves against a green watermelon. A chorus of leaves having fallen to the sidewalk from brilliant weeds along a chain-linked fence. A yellow leaf sun-catcher caught by the wind. Beautiful was everywhere. Fall, I can say, warms my soul.

Live Oak Haiku

branches every way

defy Newton hauntingly

pollen drives wife north

Louvre-Ready Neon Tetra Snapshot

So yesterday, while we were out running errands and eating decent Baton Rouge Lebanese I couldn’t help but stop to take a look at fish. The danger is impulse and control. Thank god for my wife. Alone I would have worked myself into deciding it would have been a good idea to buy the whole school of 50+ for a $1 each and worked out the logistics of another tank later.

In the past I haven’t had good luck with neon tetras but I think I might could manage now, but cooler and more pragmatic heads prevailed. Enjoy the pic.

My Wife, the Cutest Little Painted Turtle Ever

So my wife was born in the year of the ox. And she is a little worker. Saturday mornings we’ll wake up, she’ll be so sleepy, the sun breaking into the room, the warmth of the down cover and I’ll wonder how I could make it so we could lie like that forever.

But just when I’m thinking it will last, a light clicks. No relishing the warmth of the bed, no us time to mess around. She looks at me so serious, maybe with a little smile, and says we have so much to do today, and is ready to hop out of bed and start getting everything done.

I have two choices. I can climb out with her, make some coffee, an omelet, and be the best mate ever. Or I can try and hold her in bed. Tell her how beautiful she is, try to activate a little sexy switch.

What a lamentable situation. Every part of my soul wants to make her so happy and join in her zeal for getting stuff done. But nine times out of ten its just not me. I can’t. I have to make a hail mary for sexy time or do-nothing-and-enjoy-it-time-in-bed.

If I try to stall, my brain flashes images of someone’s hand holding a turtle  above the ground. The person may be trying to connect with the turtle. But the turtle lives in a little world we can’t understand. It has much to do and waves it arms and legs trying with all it has to continue its business. I feel inhuman. Holding her back from the day. From greatness. So after a try or two, I succumb to my better self and join her in the day’s many obligations and I think about the reward of seeing such a satisfied little turtle at the end of the day. And then I will be a hero.

Photo courtesy of the Dakota Amphibian and Reptile Network.