Jennifer & Julie & Dolly Do Golden (Jennifer & Julie’s version)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This past weekend, I let Andy fend for himself with the kiddos and headed to Illinois with my sister for an overnight trip. We were headed to my dad’s hometown, Golden, to visit with family and watch my dad perform in a fundraiser for the town’s Historical Society.

I had forgotten how enjoyable child-free car trips can be. Five hours that I got to face forward. I didn’t have to pick up sippy cups or distribute toys or calm a grouchy kid. I got to chat with my sister and listen guilt-free to Britney without then having to play some REO Speedwagon off of Andy’s playlist.

We arrived in Golden and made a stop at the windmill, a grain mill from the 1800s that has been lovingly restored by the Historical Society, a group that counts a number of my aunts and uncles as members. We wandered through the attached museum that contains lots of local artifacts—my favorites are the lovely dresses from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

We also spent some time in and around the windmill itself. As someone who takes for granted that when she needs bread, she just drives to Kroger, I find it interesting to see all the handcrafted wooden gears and round stones that were used to turn grain into flour. Julie and I climbed up the narrow, steep, if-this-museum-were-in-Indy-there’s-no-way-you-would-be-allowed-to-climb-this-could-you-imagine-what-the-liability-insurance-premiums-would-cost stairs and spent some time checking out the place where our ancestors brought their grain. I also rambled around the outside of the mill, enjoying all the beautiful spring flowers that were still in bloom.

After getting settled in at our aunt and uncle’s house and eating some pizza, we were back at the mill for my dad’s songwriter’s showcase. Not only does my dad build planes, he also writes songs, enough for almost two hours of music. Later in the program my sister and two aunts joined him on stage, earning a standing ovation for their impromptu (and not rehearsed) version of “You Are My Sunshine.” After getting to spend the day not as Mommy but as “Larry’s kid,” it was neat to see Dad's brothers and sisters and other people from his childhood who thought of Dad as "Herman and Emilie’s kid." It's nice to revert back every once in a while, isn't it?

For one of the songs, Dad brought out a life-size cardboard cutout of Dolly Parton, given to me back in college by a friend. Dolly had never been to Golden before, so Julie and I showed her around town before we left on Sunday. She wants to tell you about her trip herself, though, so I’ll give Dolly her own post.

Julie and I slept in on Sunday and then headed over to see my Grandpa Gene and his wife, Teresa. We walked uptown in the sunshine for lunch at the town’s diner. Side note: if you wonder why I have a weird sense of humor that makes me find things like life-size Dolly Partons funny, consider that I’m a descendant of this guy:

Jennifer, Julie, Grandpa, Teresa enter town diner
Teresa (looking around at tables): Gene, where would like to sit?
Grandpa: On my butt.

After visiting with them for a while, and a quick trip out to Grandpa’s farm, we hit the road back to Indiana. Suppertime found us in Champaign, where we met our cousin out for pizza at Papa Del’s, the absolute best pizza in the world. Julie and I arrived home close to midnight, full of pizza and good memories.


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