On Monday morning -- Memorial Day -- we left Streator and headed up the road to Sheridan. As much as I love visiting friends and family in Streator, it's when we roll into Sheridan that I feel I'm coming "home". We always stay with our BFFs Ken and Shirley. They had a cookout and we got to see their kids and grandkids and several old friends came over, too. The food was great, the people were great and the weather was great. In the evening we decided to go for a walk and burn off some of the brats, sides and adult beverages. There were 8 of us (4 couples) and we walked around town. Gotta love a small town where you can walk 8 abreast down the streets and only have to get out of the way of traffic (one car) once. :)
On Tuesday morning Shirley and I were visiting and Ken and Jerry had disappeared. Not surprising since neither one of them can sit still for very long. When they came back, I asked where they had been and they said "visiting". I found out they'd been visiting the lady that lives in the house we used to live in! Ken saw the look on my face and said, "Don't worry. I asked her if we could come back. I knew you'd want to go see the house, too." The people who have lived in the "home of my heart" where we raised our girls have made a great many changes to the place. A number of years ago I saw from the bottom of the driveway that they had taken our plain little brown house and painted it yellow with white trim and put a nice porch on the front. I loved it! This year we'd heard they put a landscape wall along the bottom of the sloped front yard that followed the curve of the driveway -- another great improvement! They have also added a sun room on the back and changed what was our living room to their dining room! The lady was so nice to take her time (twice) that day and let us come and see. My childhood home is a wreck and Jerry's is gone, so I love that someone is doing such nice things to the house I have so many fond memories of.
After visiting the old home place we went south to the little country town of Leonore. Again continuing my quest for tenderloins. Shirley assured me these were the best. I have to admit the girl knows her tenderloins. It was awesome! Since we plan much of our visits and travels around food, we had plans to go to a small country town north of Sheridan for "cheap chicken" for dinner. So we worked our way back up there by way of Ottawa first. We stopped and did some antique shopping. Jerry bought a neat old rake and we spent the rest of the trip packing and unpacking the trunk and back seat around it.
Then we went to a couple of plant nurseries. Illinois has had an extremely wet spring and early summer and although it's sad to see the water standing in the farmers' fields, everything is lush and green and beautiful. One of the nurseries is where we used to go for plants and it was great to see that it's still a thriving business. It may even have grown in the time we've been gone. I just had to buy a few things to bring home. So, along with the rake, we packed, unpacked, and tended the plants for the rest of the trip, too. The second nursery we went to is new to us. I don't remember the name of it, but it is laid out beautifully. Potted plants for sale are nestled among those same types of items planted in the soil and blooming and looking so inviting. By then it was time to go to the tavern and get the "cheap chicken". I don't understand how fried chicken is associated with the south when they have no taverns down here. Taverns have the best fried chicken and, again, Shirley knew what she was talking about. When I went to the restroom, there was a sign on the wall that advertised some upcoming events. Some time in July is the "Testicle Festival". Sure hate that we're going to miss that!!