Our blessed Christmas week with family counted down to the sad goodbyes on Sunday afternoon and we headed south again. Our first stop was with our co-workers, Paul and Grace Becker, who moved from San Juan del Rio to Bismarck, IL about 18 months ago. They’re wonderful hosts and we enjoyed our few hours with them to chat and enjoy our fellowship.
One of their daughters serves in Puebla and has been up for a 6 month home assignment. We were able to pick up a bulky item for her plus a box of books for Puebla Christian School. Glad we could help out.
From the Beckers in Bismarck, we headed south and ended up staying a night in Blytheville, AR. If “ignorance is bliss,” I figure that if ignorance has a speech impediment, it just might make its home right there.
ANYWAY, what turned out to be of interest was a last minute detour of just a few miles to visit a small, dilapidated park on a significant piece of mucky land that comes to a point at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. I faintly recall visiting this very place as a youngster with my family after a summer camping trip to the St. Louis area.
For the record, the nearby town of Cairo has become a rather depressing place. I’m not sure when it ever may have looked prosperous and attractive, but it doesn’t appear that if it ever did, it was a very long time ago.
As far as the park, we climbed up an old concrete, observation deck and took a look. Since it was about 20 degrees out (and dropping), we didn’t look too long. I think I remember climbing this…oh…about 40 years ago.
One of the entrance signs mentioned that the French explorers recognized the strategic importance of this location as did the Americans who followed years later, including a 6 day camp-out by the Lewis and Clark Expedition just as they were getting themselves situated for their famous embarkation and a trip west that was even more exciting than the one we took a few years ago. General Grant also used it as a staging area for his final push into the South during the Civil War.
By late evening on this New Year’s Eve, we arrived safely back in Dallas. Glad to feel the warmer temps and to have some time to get a lot of details wrapped up before heading back to the border next Tuesday.
Happy New Year 2014!