We are on the eve of our trip to Israel with about 150 other people led by Pastor Mitchell. It is only yesterday that we start getting excited about the trip. We are leaving the church after two sermons around the idea of carrying on short, personal bible studies with people accenting the thought that by a person being polite enough to allow one of us to have a bible study with them they will be blessed by the word as well as a promised blessing found in Mt 10:40-42.
Two couples from church had taken us on a two day trip touring Southern Illinois and Kentucky. JP and Dixie as well as Kenneth and Maida wanted to show us some beautiful fall spots. They took us along the most beautiful back roads leaving Sparta, entering in along the Mississippi south of Chester (the home of Popeye). We stopped at a spot called the Little Grand Canyon and took a short hike down and back. Joan and I are the youngsters of this group.
We stopped for some apples and a barbeque in Jonesboro. We were slowly passing through beautiful country with the leaves changing heading for “Garden of the Gods”. An easy and comfortable trip rewarded by the sights from a rock cropping among the changing colored forest. Beautiful. We then headed down to the Ohio river to view the pirate cave home of the pirates who raided passing boats in the early pioneer days. We crossed on a ferry at Shawneetown. It brought back memories of the insecure crossings of the Kafue and Zambezi.
We then headed for Eddyville Kentucky where we had a great fish dinner and a needed night’s sleep. At the restaurant the waitress was asked about the rates on the motel behind the restaurant. She stated what she thought the rate was and then volunteered to call the motel and find out for us. Old fashion Southern hospitality is hard to find, but it still exists in Eddyville, Kentucky.
The next day it was on to Paducah with a view of the river and a stop at a farmer’s market. This included a tour of Grand Rivers and its houses overlooking Kentucky lake formed by the Tennessee river. We were making our way to Cairo (pronounced Karo). This is the home area of Kenneth and Maida. We crossed the Ohio to the town that sits at the crossroads of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. You can see the blue of the Ohio mixing with the darker colors of the muddy Mississippi. At one time it was a city that Chicago approached for a loan but now it has lost some of its glamour but has still retained much charm. This was a location of race riots during more turbulent times. We had another world famous barbeque where Kenneth ran into an old high school friend who was attending the funeral of Jimmy’s uncle, Jimmy being from church.
Onto Mounds where we saw the building that housed the start of the pastoral ministry of Joe Campbell. Mounds a small town of about a 1000 people. During the trip we heard all of the twist and turns of over 30 years of ministry here in Southern Illinois. We started heading back towards Sparta, but there was one more turn and tour to Cape Girardeau. A vibrant city that these people had invested much time and effort in a church that is no longer there. No resentment just a little melancholy. Crossing the Mississippi at Chester and back to Sparta. It was a great trip. Here are some pictures.