On The Road / Series I / Article 6

by Barbara Taylor & Homer S. Sewell III

The weekend we spent near Columbia, Missouri we took time to take in a movie, Patch Adams with Robin Williams. It was a great movie and will probably win an Oscar. If you haven't seen it yet you should go.

That week found us visiting schools in Moberly, Guilford and Burlington Junction, Missouri; Nebraska City and Omaha, Nebraska and a trip to Vinton, Iowa. When Homer finished his schools in Nebraska City we visited a thrift store and I found a bicycle in good condition for only $15.

The night before Homer was to go over to a school in Vinton we stopped to visit with our friends Don and Trish in Beaman. We parked the AbeMobile in the parking lot of the church where Don is pastor. This is the same family we spent last Thanksgiving with. It was a bad snow and ice storm that night and the temperature got down to 13. Our water froze up until the next day.

I slipped on the ice and got a few bruises. I took a class trip with Trish and the girls, Hope and Faith, to Marshalltown, which included a tour of Arby's. We also took time to go shopping at our favorite store, WalMart. It was good to get a chance to visit with Trish and family again. She is a very special lady and is like the sister I always wished I had.

The next weekend we spent at the Grand Island RV Park, Nebraska. We found a couple of flea markets and thrift stores to visit. We also found a RV dealer who carried a special rack to attach to the ladder on the back of the AbeMobile to hold our bicycles. Now all we needed to do was to find a good deal on a bike for Homer.

This week found us visiting schools in Polk, Sutton, Bellwood, Palmer and Grand Island, Nebraska before heading south back into Kansas to visit Alma, Longford and Clay Center. When we were leaving Nebraska Wednesday afternoon we were hearing radio reports of a bad storm that had already dumped eight feet of snow in four days on I-80 in Nevada and was heading east. We were hoping it wasn't going to find us. The winds were bad on Wednesday and Thursday and it was difficult keeping the AbeMobile on the road in some places. On Thursday as we were heading north to Longford it was snowing and blowing badly. Homer tried to call the school several times to be sure they hadn't dismissed. Finally the principal answered and said they were still in school and were anxiously waiting for ABE to arrive for his visit. We slipped and slid on the ice a couple of times and were wondering if we might have to have them come get Homer out of a ditch for his visit. We did get there in one piece and Homer told me later what a nice group of students he had visited....all 42 of them in a school for Kindergarten through sixth grades. It is now one of the smallest he has visited in the past 24 years! The old brick building had been built in 1918.

Homer spent Friday observing ABE's 190'th birthday at two different schools in Clay Center. It was also the seventh birthday of my granddaughter Ashley Pettigrew, Jennifer's daughter. Happy birthday Ashley and ABE.

After leaving there on Friday afternoon we decided to go a little out of our way before heading south to the little town of Delphos, Kansas. This is the town where Grace Bedell Billings lived after leaving Westfield, New York. Grace is the little eleven year old girl who in October of 1860 wrote to Mr. Lincoln to suggest he might look more handsome if he grew some whiskers. So at her suggestion, he let his beard grow. It was a very small town with a monument on the square about Grace and we stopped at the cemetery outside of town so Homer could take a picture of her gravesite. While we were in town we spotted a junk shop with a bicycle outside for $10. So Homer now has a bike too.

On Saturday while camping at Falls River State Park in Kansas we decided we would take a bike ride but Homer's bike needed a new rear tire and tube. We took a trip over to the nearest WalMart in Chanute and spent $6 for a new tire and tube. After Homer got it all put back together we took a ride around this beautiful park on a big lake.

What did you do for Valentine's Day? I hope you did something special for your sweetheart. Homer and I exchanged special cards we had gotten for each other and some small gifts. I made us a special meal Saturday evening of meatloaf, corn casserole and some rice pudding for dessert. He brought me breakfast in bed and we took another bike ride and saw some beautiful scenery. We had a nice day relaxing and planning our next week......on the road again.

Until next time......tell someone you are close to how much you love them and see what you can do to make the world a better place because you were here. Barbara and Homer signing off...