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BS: Joybell's American Adventure

Joybell 24 Aug 05 - 08:06 PM
Joybell 24 Aug 05 - 07:47 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Aug 05 - 03:17 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Aug 05 - 01:42 AM
Amos 21 Aug 05 - 03:51 AM
Stilly River Sage 21 Aug 05 - 01:01 AM
Joybell 25 Jun 05 - 07:54 PM
Joybell 20 Jun 05 - 07:24 PM
Joybell 16 Jun 05 - 08:31 PM
Joybell 16 Jun 05 - 08:29 PM
Stilly River Sage 06 Jun 05 - 12:31 PM
Joybell 06 Jun 05 - 02:13 AM
Stilly River Sage 04 Jun 05 - 02:05 PM
Joybell 03 Jun 05 - 09:29 PM
Stilly River Sage 03 Jun 05 - 07:42 PM
Azizi 03 Jun 05 - 12:07 PM
Joybell 02 Jun 05 - 08:09 PM
Joybell 29 May 05 - 09:48 PM
Stilly River Sage 29 May 05 - 09:27 AM
Joybell 29 May 05 - 07:34 AM
Azizi 29 May 05 - 07:23 AM
Joybell 29 May 05 - 12:47 AM
Joybell 27 May 05 - 08:43 PM
Ebbie 27 May 05 - 02:20 PM
Leadfingers 27 May 05 - 12:15 PM
Leadfingers 27 May 05 - 12:15 PM
Sandra in Sydney 27 May 05 - 11:24 AM
Joybell 26 May 05 - 09:55 PM
Uncle_DaveO 26 May 05 - 03:19 PM
Stilly River Sage 26 May 05 - 11:04 AM
Joybell 26 May 05 - 04:23 AM
Stilly River Sage 25 May 05 - 08:13 PM
GUEST,Stilly River Sage 25 May 05 - 12:11 AM
Joybell 24 May 05 - 10:46 PM
Joybell 22 May 05 - 10:17 PM
Joybell 16 May 05 - 11:50 PM
GUEST,Stilly River Sage 16 May 05 - 10:00 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 15 May 05 - 09:43 PM
JennyO 15 May 05 - 12:05 PM
Stilly River Sage 15 May 05 - 11:31 AM
JennyO 15 May 05 - 11:26 AM
freda underhill 15 May 05 - 08:20 AM
Sandra in Sydney 15 May 05 - 08:16 AM
Joybell 15 May 05 - 06:46 AM
GUEST,Stilly River Sage 11 May 05 - 02:31 PM
Amos 10 May 05 - 08:27 AM
Stilly River Sage 09 May 05 - 10:54 PM
artbrooks 09 May 05 - 09:13 PM
Amos 09 May 05 - 09:00 PM
Amos 09 May 05 - 08:52 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 24 Aug 05 - 08:06 PM

Having trouble here. Try again. Little bits at a time. Stay tuned Amos. We'll be with you soon.
Day 34 to End
We've decided to return to L.A. via North-East Arizona. I want to see more lava flows and Hildebrand is keen for me to see Oak Creek Canyon, South of Flagstaff. He once drove up the Canyon in an old car, in the dead of a Winter's night. He was working in Phoenix at the time and had to pick up a friend between shifts. How he ever made it alive is one of the wonders of our time. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
We head North and then East from Gila to Socorro. Our way takes us through the Gila Forest. It's a peaceful leafy place and we're still ahead of the tourists. Only just. Many walking trails beckon but we need to move on fairly quickly. At the edge of the forest we stop for lunch at a tempting diner. My meal is good but Hildebrand doesn't fare so well, also he's cross and silent. I find out later that he's seen the signs above the rest-room, that I didn't notice. If we'd seen them in time we'd have left before ordering our meal. Nasty anti-green statements I'd rather forget. We drive on. Around us greasewood covers the whole range. The contrast between this country and the Gila Forest is extreme. We're still in a depressed mood when we come upon Magdalena.


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 24 Aug 05 - 07:47 PM

Thanks SRS. I was off on a quest that appeared out of the blue. A Pantomime popped into my head and suddenly I was up on a stage with all the friends I could con. We even made a donkey costume to be worn by a local carpenter and his teenage daughter. But I'm back now. So nice to be missed.
Thank you for all the nice comments about Billy Barlow. He took over my mind about 10 years ago. We actually stayed with a friend in Gila who identifies strongly with Billy Barlow. He wrote a song about him from the inside - so to speak. Also I still have a long way to go before I am done with Billy. I just found a few more references to him here in Australia.
I'd be delighted if anyone would like a copy of the book. Send me a PM and I'll arrange it.
OK back to the Adventure. Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 03:17 PM

It looks like Joy hasn't been around for a while. If one of you who has it would PM me her email address I'll send my thanks the [not so] old fashioned way.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Aug 05 - 01:42 AM

Let's hope she's back from whatever exciting weekend pursuit took her away from Mudcat and sees this note soon. I know she wasn't holding her breath waiting for the book to arrive. Traveling via SeaMail it took a leisurely 2 months to get here (almost to the day). She'd be turning blue by now. . . :0

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Amos
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 03:51 AM

Gee, I'd love a copy just to read the chapter titles over and over!! :D

Joy are you abandoning your story in Gila?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Aug 05 - 01:01 AM

Ah ha! A package arrived from Australia with a wonderful book called Hey Ho Raggedy-O, A Study of the Billy Barlow Phenomenon. This looks like really good stuff! Thank you so much for remembering that we spoke of this. The book is by our own Joybell, Joy Hildebrand, and liberally illustrated with period art. It's so nice when a book comes along with the combination of good reading AND still contains all of the scholarly stuff that makes it a durable resource. This will inhabit the precious shelves of books that I inherited from my father, and is one that he as folklorist would also have been very happy to own.

The chapters are:

    Up and starts the Billy Blin

    Ladies and gentlemen how do you do

    A fine boy but he'll be of no use

    The fat little gentleman

    I'll start on my travels, says Billy Barlow

    The spider of Billy Barlow

    An abundance of comicalities

    In and out the eagle

    Tail-bone mine, says Billy Barlow

    Where will-o-the-wisps and glow-worms shine

    Three cheers and a tiger for Billy Barlow

    Victory was ours, says Billy Barlow

    I'll bid you goodnight, says Billy Barlow


And the book concludes with a very nice bibliography and index.

Now comes the question: I'm sure other Mudcatters will be interested in your research and buying a copy. How would they go about it?

This book looks absolutely wonderful! As I flip through the pages and stop to read a paragraph here and there I can see that there's a great story behind this research. Thank you again for thinking of me and sending this along.

Maggie (SRS)


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 25 Jun 05 - 07:54 PM

Days 30 to 34

Back to Gila where we spend the days walking around the desert and singing songs together with our friends. We give a concert under the kitchen-pergola where each group of seats has its own little table holding home-made cookies. Around us the night is cold and clear. We can see the stars through the thatch of the roof. "Old Bob" asks me for "Please Mister Conductor" and everyone joins in on the chorus. I first sang this song when I was four years old. It's hard to believe how long ago that was. I get to sing lots of my favourite sad old songs. Hildebrand and Gurnie do "Meatball a-grabber" again. It's number one in Gila now, eclipsing "Valley of Love" for which Gurnie is grateful, I think.
A day trip to Silver City. We're calling it just "Silver" now like the locals. We come upon a gift shop selling Mexican goods. I have trouble choosing just one of the "Day of the Dead" souvenirs. There are so many interesting ones. There are models of skeleton wedding parties, family groups, whole processions of skeletons, skeleton musicians, skeleton Conquistadors on skeleton horses. In the end we buy a small glass-fronted box containing a musical duo. He is holding a guitar and she is singing beside him. We look at the re-construction of Billy the Kid's childhood cabin. It's placed where his home once was on the main street of Silver City, except that now there's a deep gully where the main street once was. It's called "The Big Ditch". A flood washed the street away and left behind a deep creek that divides the city in two. It makes for interesting viewing and gives creative cafe owners lots of scope for terraces and cascading flower-gardens. We have one last cup of coffee at "Java the Hut" and admire the mural on the wall of the Co-op store for the last time.
Time moves on quickly - or we do. Either way we have to start saying our goodbyes to all of our friends. It doesn't seem possible that soon we'll be so far away from them. We get to have our own piano recital by a friend, with a grand piano, who composes beautiful evocative pieces. We take a last look at the "Cave". Feel its cool smooth walls, admire its lovely pink and grey hues by candlelight.
On the morning we leave Gila a Mocking bird, just arrived, begins his first vocal display. "Churrr, Churrr, Chickee, Chickee, Sweet bird!" He's warming up, not yet able to drive human musicians mad with his disjointed phrases that have no resolution.
Along the roadside the yellow Primroses are now in bloom alongside the white ones.


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 07:24 PM

Days 26-29 Side Trip to The Valley of Fires.

Back along the road to Las Cruces. We pass "Akela Flats" which is a big souvenir shop surrounded by a fake town made up of movie flats that face towards the road. We read about Akela Flats for 10 miles before we pass it. The billboards get more and more desperate. The cartoon prospector more and more insistent about the need to call in. "10 Miles Ahead! Fireworks! Buy One get One Free!" Then, "Buy one Get TWO Free!, Buy One Get THREE Free!" finally, "Buy One get FOUR Free! Si Senor! EXIT HERE!" We don't, although we're very tempted.
At Las Cruces we turn North under the gaze of the big wire Roadrunner who looms above the road from the last rest stop before El Paso. We aren't going to El Paso this time so we set our course by the rugged San Andres Mountains and drive straight towards them. We take the road through the high pass that gives the only access, from the South, to the White Sands National Monument. I remember that you are supposed to find out whether the road is open today. You see the whole area belongs to the Military and they rather like to fire missiles across the road for a few hours a week. Don't know why exactly. There's hundreds of miles of desert to play in away from the highway. We are visitors. Ours is not to reason why. I wonder if it's some kind of test of our willingness to be good and play the game. If it is, have we failed. Will we be shot at as fair game? We get through alright. The road is open and the desert is empty.
I have to show my passport to a man at the checkpoint on the other side of the missile range, but that's just because he's asked if we are American citizens. Hildebrand resists the urge to say, "I'm American and she is too. Aren't you Conchita?".
We pay the small fee at the gates of the White Sands National Monument. We are telling each other that the sand does look a bit whitish, although it's more of a beigeish pink. We turn a bend around the first big dune and we are suddenly dazzled. Pure white, sparkling sand as far as we can see. It's kept well hidden from unsuspecting drivers on the road. The soldiers next door to the park presumably get to see it all the time from within the razor wire. We take the longest walk through the dunes and marvel at the few Yuccas and Junipers that manage to out run the shifting gypsum. The dunes, born in the distant mountains, are slowly marching across the plain. A small turquoise and white Bleached Lizard watches us from beside the path. It's the only sign of life in this silent white world. Again we are glad we've arrived before the tourist season.
Reluctantly we leave the park and go on to Alamogordo (Spanish for "fat willow/cottonwood") where we'll stay for two nights. We bravely cross the 6 lane highway to get to the Chinese Buffet across from the motel. The nearest traffic light is 2 miles away but we are determined. There's no getting back after dinner though so we walk into town and out again.
Next morning and we drive through the pretty little town of Tularosa. The small adobe church is crowded although it's midweek. A funeral perhaps or a wedding? Perhaps just midweek mass. At Three Rivers there are petroglyphs we want to see, but the road is blocked by cowboys and cows. We wait for a bit in the hot sun. Finally the wife of one of the cowboys, who has arrived in a pickup with her baby, tells us that the cowboys are cutting out calves for branding. The road is an easement through the cattle ranch, she tells us. We wonder why the branding isn't done in a corral and how "easement" came to be interpreted as meaning cows rule OK! We don't ask though. The baby is happily hanging out of the pickup and clapping. This is the only way in and the cowboys seem to be having a difficult time of it separating the cleanskins, so we turn back to the main road and head off to the Valley of Fires. The Spaniards called this place El Malpais - "bad land". For hundreds of miles around this lava flow the land has now been so overgrazed that only greasewood will grow. On the black folded lava the native vegetation still has a tenuous hold. The lava flowed from fissures in the earth's crust rather than from a volcano and didn't form big cinder cones, so it's different from our own lava tubes and caves back home. It's one of the most exciting places we've ever seen. Sink holes, bubbles and caves and folded black rock, with cactus and Wildflower gardens. The red, yellow and white flowers are bright against the lava. We wander around in this magic place for hours. I'm really happy about the interpretive sign that gives Tarantulas a good write-up. "Gentle, peaceful creatures. Harmless and shy" it says. They've had such a bad press. Snakes are treated sensibly too.
Reluctantly, because there's a dust storm blowing in and we still want to try to get to the petroglyphs, we leave El Malpais. The cowboys have gone and the road is clear. We walk around in a place where there are thousands of petroglyphs covering the rocks. They're interesting, especially the ones with running animals, but El Malpais with it's wild beauty dominates our thoughts. Nobody left human marks on the Valley of Fires. There is a sense of timelessness about it for that reason.
We get back to the Chinese Buffet in Alamogordo in time for a late meal. As we leave the owner hugs me and says she'll miss us. We've been there two nights in a row. We're family now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 08:31 PM

Days 23 to 26 Around Gila New Mexico

We take a break from driving and spend some time walking around the desert and visiting people. The Morning Glory flowers have appeared in profusion since we took our trip to Indiana. Mexican Poppies splash Buttercup-gold among the rocks. Up close I see that they have throats of deeper orange-gold. One Indian Paintbrush suddenly flowers overnight, outside The Tortoise, where we are sleeping. The Tortoise is a prefabricated hexagonal room that Gurnie built for his lady. It has a very special feel to it. Outside The Tortoise stands The Un-named One. He's on an alter that is positioned so that the CD disc around His head catches the sunlight, capturing red, green, or gold fire depending on the time of day and the season of the year. We pose beside Him, Gurnie with a lace tablecloth over his head, and remember our wedding day.
I notice big shiny black bees. I saw my first Bumble Bee at Truth or Consequences. Big furry yellow and black stripped bees like the ones in children's story books. These Gila bees are all black. They carry on aerial dog-fights with each other, rather in the way Humming Birds do. Humming Birds are nasty little creatures to each other. As an extra defense mid-air sword fights are possible for Humming Birds. Of course if you are a Humming Bird you need a whole patch of flowers for yourself, just to fuel your little body. How to explain the behavior of Turkey Vultures then? They are very big birds without the talons of raptors, so they are dependant on road kills and other animal accidents. Of course their life style is much more laid back than that of Humming Birds. Turkey Vultures are cruel and sad mistake. From a distance they are graceful, beautiful birds with glossy black and white wings. Up close you see their boiled-chook heads, all wrinkled, featherless and red. How sad! How unnecessarily cruel!   They seem such gentle creatures. I watch a group of Turkey Vultures dining on a very small furry body beside the road. They stand around the meal in a circle and every now and then one moves forward and takes a tiny morsel for itself. It nods apologetically to its friends and moves back into the circle. Another takes a turn. I can almost hear them saying, "After you!" "No! Indeed! I couldn't eat another scrap. After you!" On the wire fence several more wait their turn.
Many other birds live around here and many more move in for the Spring and Summer. A pair of Thrashers feed their babies in a neat above the outdoor kitchen. I hope we get to meet the Mockingbirds. They are due any day now. A short encounter with Mockingbirds is preferable. Their day-long performances can drive you crazy apparently. As we do a bit of weeding in the vegetable garden, Gurnie does some very impressive chicken-scratching-in-the-sunshine impressions.
We meet up again with friends we've made on our last visit. Old Bob has us over. He's not old and he's not really called Bob. It's just that he wants to be remembered as "Old Bob" when he dies. He's added more rooms to his stone and straw-bale house since we last saw him. Also there's a fine wooden out-house. Big as a bathroom with a urinal that waters the fruit trees and a composting toilet. Bob's begun on the bathhouse. Bathhouses are on the agenda for many others here. Everybody has ongoing building projects. Many started out in trailers and built rooms as the years went on. Living in modular style is a great way to go especially in the desert. Old Bob is an artist and also a skilled craftsman. His home is a masterpiece. All around are stone figures he has carved. As we talk Old Bob takes loaves of bread out of the oven. We have bread and olives and cheese. Old Bob is vegetarian. He orders chemical-free chicken from the Co-op store for his dog and cat. For Christmas they get a chemical-free turkey.
We take our tea outside in the sunshine. Our conversation flits about in all directions. Old Bob's mind is in constant overdrive and it's exhilarating spending the afternoon with him. Gurnie sings one of the songs he wrote during his Rock period. He's been trying to forget it and nobody here has heard it, although it's found itself a cult following in Australia from Hildebrand's singing of it. We've always liked it. It's interestingly cryptic. Hildebrand doesn't have a guitar with him so he plays mouth-music guitar riffs while Gurnie sings.

They call me Meatball a-grabber, but that is not my name
They call me Meatball a-grabber, but that is not my name
Meatball a-grabber he's a bad back stabber.
He's a mean, mean man, he's a living cadaver.
They call me Meatball a-grabber, but that is not my name....

We leave Old Bob as the light is fading.
There's such a sweetness to the gentle artists of Gila. Next morning we visit another one of them. He's been digging a cave for twenty years. It's more like an inside-out sculpture. There are smooth pink and grey walls with niches and shelves and different levels to the floor. A low tunnel takes you to another doorway. There are sitting places and lying places and places to peep into. Candles light your way. Their light is sometimes soft and steady, sometimes bright and dancing. It's a beautiful work of art. His lady has been waiting a long time for a bath-house but she's an artist too so she understands. The area is cleared and ready. This Summer it will be built. This friend carved the stone "Un-Named One" who smiles benevolently on the rustic alter at Gurnie's place.
For a few days we talk and sing and watch the birds and insects. We're making plans to go see The Valley of Fires. It's on my list as a seldom visited place in New Mexico.


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 08:29 PM

Day 22.   Truth or Consequences to Gila.
On the way out of Truth or Consequences we pass its other water tank. This one has a scene depicting farmers and curious Long-horns. The water tank in town shows the arrival of the Conquistadors. We've been very impressed with this place where the artists have been given free reign. The result is variable, but much more interesting than Taos where good taste is insisted upon. Didn't see a loan shop covered in bright parrots or a cafe with a multi-coloured landscape and white Coyotes, in Taos. To be fair we tarried in Taos, not long. Truth or Consequences is a place where you see the results of creative inspiration and wild dreams, interpreted by the skilled and the untalented alike. The Water Feature will have a special place in my heart. We've renewed our vows there. Our wedding was held in a friend's veggie garden beside a hastily constructed altar of fruit and assorted items. It's a pity our friends couldn't be with us here. The Water Feature is highly recommended by us for the perfect ceremony.
South to Hatch where they have a Chili Festival. Bunches of large red chilies hang everywhere. Nothing happening at the moment and it seems like the place is inhabited by only the chilies. We turn West here and the landscape becomes progressively more desert-like. Whole fields of wild Mustard and Mexican Poppies alternate with Cactus and Greasewood. Greasewood the curse of over-grazed land. I see my first Roadrunner - in the feather that is, we've already met the giant wire one at Las Cruces. The radio is playing 60s Rock and Mexican Norteno.
We stop off in Silver City - "Silver" to the locals, for coffee at "Java the Hut". By early afternoon we arrive at the high-desert home of our friends. We plan to stay a while before taking a side trip to "The Valley of Fires". We'll have the great Gurnie Dobbs pose with us for an anniversary picture. 20 years ago his image presided over our wedding service. Hildebrand had produced a big poster of his Tribal-brother's face that was all yellow hair and round bright-smiling blue eyes.
Evening sees us singing together. I ask Gurnie for all my old favorites. He's a songwriter of the very best of songs. He sings for me the one about the old juke box -

".... So pour a beer down the slot in the front
And I'll sing you a mournful tune
Accompanied by bitter-sweet chords
The road to wrack and ruin..."

and Faded Photograph -

"See the Ancient Acrobat, he taught me all I know
But his legs are getting thin now
And his body is beginning to go
His eyes are like no other eyes, they never do no wrong
And he says, "You might not recognize me
'cause I've been dead so long"...."

(It seems the years have fallen away. We've been sitting here in this trailer, on the desert, for 10 years and nothing has changed here.)

".... The drumbeat from another time pounds inside my head
And my thoughts are those of the Ancient Ones that walk among the Dead."


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Jun 05 - 12:31 PM

Boom box cars--the ones that rattle your windows and make the pavement move and they're a car back in the next lane over?

Did you see any of the neon light cars? The ones with neon on the undercarriage? That's an odd extravagance that may have completely passed by now.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 06 Jun 05 - 02:13 AM

Day 18 La Junta to Trinidad

We're up early although we don't expect the Koshare (typo up there sorry!)museum to open until 10 am. We take a drive around the town and end up there early anyway, only to find they are still on Winter time. That means they won't open until midday. Oh well! we'll just press our noses on the glass a while and move on. It's still just 9 o'clock. A friendly lady who is about to drive off stops and comes over to talk to us. Turns out she is the curator of the museum and wants to let us have our own private viewing. We protest. We know it will mean postponing her breakfast and we feel bad about that. She insists however, turns on the lights, and shows us how to find all the rooms. The place is a labyrinth of secret passageways and hidden rooms. Everywhere there are paintings and glass showcases. Hundreds of paintings and collections of memorabilia mostly from local ranchers. Everything relates to or was made by Native Americans. Some things were donated directly to the museum by Native American artists.I spend a long time admiring the beautiful 19th Century beaded items. There's a big collection of Kachinas. Dolls made, originally for children, by the Zuni and Hopi People. The dolls are imitations of ceremonial dancers. Now these dolls are popular with tourists and they are sold by Native Americans from various tribes, as well as by other retailers.
We spend some time talking to the curator who tells us all about the Koshare Dancers. She tells us that the Dancers make their own elaborate feathered costumes, sometimes taking years to develop them. I'm reminded of Mardi Gras costumes. Hildebrand remembers that when he was a Boy Scout, his leader was a Koshare Dancer. There is a gallery of Dancers and we find this man's photo among the others. We buy souvenirs and promise to return to see a performance if we are ever in the area again. Next time, if that happens, we'll try to catch the Grassland in full bloom. Our new friend goes home to breakfast and we head out along the road that follows the Santa Fe Trail.
We plan to stay tonight in Trinidad and then take the road through the Cimarron Canyon to Taos and on South back to Silver City. On the way to Trinidad we call in at two of the watering places on the old Santa Fe trail. We take a few short walks along where the wagon ruts are supposed to still be visible. We can't make them out from recent wheel marks but it's a thrill anyway. A sudden storm on the horizon has us running for cover. We are at a place called "Iron Springs". I say, "Hildebrand, isn't lightning rather attracted to iron ore?" Also it's a very open area. We move on. The lightning flashes around the edges but the storm moves slowly away from us on an Eastward path.
The Santa Fe railroad is beside us most of the way. The engines are painted yellow and orange and look rather like toy trains. We heard the whistle of the freight trains all through last night, calling to my wanderlust genes. I like that a lot.   We see the Sangre de Cristo Mountains away in the distance ahead of us.   We wonder about the naming of this beautiful snow covered range. It was the Conquistadors who did it. Hildebrand gives a possible reconstruction, "ey Pedro! Look at those mountains. don't they look just like the Blood of Christ!" "I don't know Hombre," I tell him, " They look rather white to me, but what would I know".
The Conquistadors named Trinidad too but they seem to have run out of inspiration when they named the tall twin peaks above the town - "The Spanish Peaks". We really like Trinidad. The Motel has a neon sign - we always favour the old neon signs. It's run by father and son Bikers from Chicago. The son says something about "ash-felt". "See! I tell my true-love. We Aussies aren't the only ones who say that!" True-Love insists it's "ass-fault" that they put on roads. He says the Oxford and the Webster's agree with him. Well they might, but it's always been "ash-felt" to this Aussie city kid.
The motel is one of the most comfortable ones we stay in and right in the middle of things. We take a walk around town admiring the lovely old Gothic buildings. During the night we encounter the first of the boom-box cars. Only a few here and only for an hour or so after sunset. More about them later.


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Jun 05 - 02:05 PM

A Navajo skirt with Kachinas is quite a mixing of the cultures. Kachinas are powerfully identified with Hopi Pueblos.

Waiting for more of the travelogue. Did you two stick with the Santa Fe trail for a while longer, or did you hitch up with the Butterfield Stage Line instead?

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 03 Jun 05 - 09:29 PM

Thanks, SRS. You're so good at putting in the links for me.

Azizi, The Trickster, as SRS says, occurs everywhere. The Fox is a familiar one in European tradition.
Kashare, like Kokopelli, is depicted in human form. A human in a scary Spirit costume with a mask over his face.
A funny aside - I came home with a Navaho skirt covered in Kachinas. (Dolls as characters in Native American tradition. Not originally part of Navaho tradition but they've taken them up.) I met a friend in town here and she said my skirt scared her terribly. Next week I'll go to town in a gorilla suit and see what happens. Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Jun 05 - 07:42 PM

Lots of tricksters exist around the world. In the Americas they probably had the status of gods (albeit dysfunctional) until they were demoted by christian missionaries. Too bad--they had a lot to teach when they were more than just clowns. Coyote probably covers the largest territory in North America, but a list of other tricksters includes the raven, crow, rabbit, squirrel, and bluejay. Kokopelli is a trickster, but he's in human form (the one with the hunchback).

Wole Soyinka (a Nobel prize laureate in literature) from Nigeria has written some very interesting stuff about African tricksters.

One of my favorite road songs is Ed McCurdy singing about the Santa Fe trail. See this sampler and look for 19. Along Side of the Santa Fe Trail - Ed McCurdy.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Jun 05 - 12:07 PM

I'm popping in to say that I was interested in your description of the Native American trickster figure.

Various West African cultures have a trickster figure in thier mythology: {forthe Yoruba culture of Western Nigeria it's Eshu [Elegba]; for the Akan of Ghana it's Anansi the spider man who traveled on slave ships to the Caribbean and became Anancy and Aunt Nancy. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Anansi was one of the sources for the Spider Man cartoon superhero}. The rabbit is also a trickster figure in alot of West African folktales.

And isn't Loki a Viking trickster figure?

Maybe this is another example of folk culture reminding us that we are a large extended family.

Thanks for sharing your adventure with us, Joybell!



Azizi


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 02 Jun 05 - 08:09 PM

"Briarwood Park Motel" that should read. Anyone going to Longmont - it's a great place to stay.

Next bit:

Day 16 Around Boulder Colorado

Early morning at The Briarwood Motel is quiet. The rooms are all well away from the road and anyway the neighbors across the road are all having their eternal sleep. We go for a walk and as we turn a corner to face West a tall snow-covered mountain comes into view. It's just looming there at the end of the road. A preview of the day's excursion. Off South to Louisville to meet up with Hildebrand's old friend from the days of The Tribe. The Tribe was formed in the 60s. I've met three of them as well as being married to another. They're scattered now. One of the women is here in Colorado and we'll spend the day with her.
We find her place again and at once it's like we've only been away a week or two. It's been 12 years actually. We pile into her car and pick up another mutual friend. As we hurtle around the hairpin bends that take us up, up into the Rockies, I tell myself that 50% of the time there is a mountain between us and certain death. The other 50% there's a sheer drop. No barriers. Just a view of the tumbling white water far below. Our friend has survived so far and she's my age. We come upon a frozen lake with banks of deep snow. All around the pines are still and silent. Not the slightest breeze to make them sigh. The air outside is crisp and cool but the sun is warm and the sky bright blue. I realize by our shortness of breath that we are very high up. Last visit here Hildebrand took me to see my first glacier. We walked on it. Slid and walked, rather. There isn't time to walk today and anyway most of the trails are still closed.
Hildebrand takes photos of the mountains from every angle, at every stop. He loves the mountains. His early childhood was spent on the plains but he lived beside these mountains, not too far from here, from early adolescence. He's drawn to the mountains as I'm drawn to the sea. We travel the "Peak to Peak Highway" before descending again through the drier pink and red rocky slopes back to the Front Range.
More home cooking and an evening of singing. Different songs tonight. Songs that were part of the Tribe's experience. Sixties songs and songs written by another Tribe member - the one we'll see again soon. The great Gurnie Dobbs.
   "They call me Meatball a-Grabber - but that is not my name...."

Day 17 Longmont to La Junta via Pueblo

Off early but not early enough to beat the traffic. It's Saturday and the Interstate is a linear parking lot.
"If I was a headlight on some West-bound train
If I was a headlight on some West-bound train
I'd shine my beam on Colorado Springs
And it's Hey Hey Hey Hey."

At Colorado Springs most of the other road-uses have turned off. Gone deeper into the Rockies for the weekend. We're going against the tide as usual. Below Pike's Peak we stop at a rest-stop and get to play in the snow for the last time before we go back into the desert. At Pueblo we turn East. Almost at once we're in semi-desert country, although the mountains are not far behind us. The small towns through which we pass look progressively poorer the further we go from Colorado's bigger cities. Each house has it's owners stamp. More interesting than where city planning laws dictate the appearance of every home. It's good to get back into the country.                  
La Junta is the sort of funky town we love. It has one tourist attraction - The Kashare Dancers and their theatre and museum. Kashare is a character from Native American tradition who is a sort of Trickster-Clown. A Scout troupe here in La Hunter has Kashare as their prototype/totem. They have developed costumes and dances based on Native American ideas that go beyond Kashare as The Trickster. We have stumbled upon them quite by accident. We are here to see the Comanche Grassland. I have a special affinity for Grasslands. I love the small wildflowers, the grass flower-heads, the small animals, reptiles and the birds that live in them.   We live on what was once a unique and beautiful Basalt Grassland. It's all pasture grass now except for the tiny patches along the roads and in neglected old cemeteries.
We find a motel for the night and head off to the Vogel Picnic Ground in the Comanche Grassland. We'd dearly love to go further to a place where there are dinosaur tracks on the rocks of a canyon but we aren't allowed to take the hire-car on dirt roads.   Anyway it's a long, long walk. We make do with a shorter walk into a silent lovely canyon. The Santa Fe Trail cut through here and in places the wagon-tracks are still visible.   There's a still pool of water flanked by high pastel coloured cliffs. Big paw-prints circle the pool and I think about Cougars. My knowledge of tracks and scats is of limited help outside my own country, but I know how dog prints look and these seem different. We don't see any wildlife, however except for a pair of Ravens. It's too early in the Spring for the wildflowers. Miss-timed it rather. There are some flowering chollas (cactus) and some pretty little yellow lilies. I'm not too unhappy about it because again we've beaten the tourists. As we walk back along the track to the picnic ground we meet a group of teenage girls. One is pulling a wagon with a small child sitting in it. As they pass the first girl gives Hildebrand a "High Five". She is just simply gorgeous. Spanish looking with big dark eyes and long black curly hair. I'm ready for her and raise my right hand. She takes it and stops. "Your hair is so cool!" she tells me, "So beautiful!" I'm thrilled. What a nice thing to say! I swish my silver and grey pigtails and feel about 16. We talk awhile about Australia. They'd all like to see Australia. I invite them all for a visit sometime. They go on their way. They hope to see a Rattlesnake. We wish them luck.
At the picnic ground the local scout troupe is settling in for the night. Tomorrow we plan to visit their museum in La Junta. For now the sun is setting over the Grassland where the wagons once rolled and it's time to look for dinner. Reluctantly we pass the "Hog's Breath Saloon". They'll be smoking in there. If it was only hog's breath it wouldn't matter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 29 May 05 - 09:48 PM

Yes, SRS I really liked those houses too. There were a lot of them in Oberlin, Kansas. All differnt colours.
Here's the next bit:
Day 15 Oberlin Kansas to Longmont Colorado

We hear that the roads ahead are clear again. I still hope to see snow banks beside the road. We leave the neat town of Oberlin with its red brick roads and travel through green farmland. It's green because of the Winter wheat that comes up fast on the snow-melt. It's not native pasture. It comes from Russia, like the tumbleweeds. There are bright white cows grazing in the fields. The whole landscape has become bright red, white and green. The sky is bright blue overhead but there's cloud in the West. Hildebrand reminds me that you can see the Rockies from 100 miles out, but not this visit. I take over the driving again. I've been driving on the minor roads that offer no choices about which lane to turn into. Just across the border in Colorado I spot a patch of snow beside the road. It does get to what you could call small banks, but it's hard to believe a blizzard closed the road so recently. I find it exciting anyway. So pretty in the sunlight. I suggest a snowman but Hildebrand points out that I'm the only one with wooly gloves and anyway the easiest way to make a snow-body is to roll a ball down a hill and there isn't a usable hill beside the road.   We plan on lunch at "Last Chance" but the "Last Chance Cafe" is boarded up. There is only a rather attractive wrought iron monument to the pioneers, one shade tree and a picnic table beside a pit toilet.
The fields become a patchwork of last years brown stubble, new green wheat and snow. We don't actually see the Rockies until we are almost upon them. Then they appear as peaks above the clouds. We drive along the Front Range to Longmont.   No sign of snow in the town. Motels are predictably expensive but we find a jewel between a pawn shop and a 24 hour liquor store. There is a cemetery across the road. Location isn't everything. "Braidwood Park" it's called. A former desk clerk at the place has just bought it and is full of enthusiasm about restoring it to it's former grandeur. It's clear it once was a classy hotel although he tells us that it started life as an office building. The cost is about half that of the motels uptown and the same as the El Cheapo one further downtown. We book in for two nights. On our bed, below four plump pillows, is an expensive chocolate each. There's a barbeque area with a partly built waterfall outside the window and so many other lavish touches. We wish him well with his venture. He offers us free accommodation if we come back again and entertain his guests.
We are picked up by Hildebrand's cousin and taken to his home for the evening. He and his wife and her mother have us sing a lot and the two cousins reminisce about childhoods spent together. Mother doesn't speak English. Hildebrand can do passable greetings, and not much else, in Rumanian. He's good for phrases like, "Please show me where the toilet is." and "Where can I get a cup of coffee" along with polite greetings in many languages. Handy when he was on the Hippy Trail through Europe and Asia. He's good for more with the old ones like Latin and Greek and can manage Italian, German, Spanish, Albanian and Serbo-Croat. He's fluent in Swedish. None of these are much help so we get by with smiles and cheek-pattings.
I remind Hildebrand about a story from the past when the cousins were both three years old. It's one I've always enjoyed hearing. Hildebrand bit his cousin because, "It seemed like it would feel good to sink my teeth into his arm". No malice. No bad feelings. No motive. Aunt Lucille said, "Did you bite Johnny?" "No it wasn't me!" The ring of tooth marks were three-year-old size. Aunt Lucille grabbed Hildebrand's arm and bit it. Swift retributive justice. I mime the whole thing for Mother.
We get to bed late. The special chocolate gives me just enough strength to undress.


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 May 05 - 09:27 AM

Thanks for the photos! I do love those big pointy Victorian houses (and H's childhood home looks remarkably like the blue one you also admired).

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 29 May 05 - 07:34 AM

Thanks, Azizi. We saw more things than Hildebrand saw when he was living there he says. Also he saw his former home-country through the eyes of an older man.
It's so good to have friends to share the experience with. Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Azizi
Date: 29 May 05 - 07:23 AM

I just want to pop in to say that I too appreciate your posts.

You're seeing much more of this country than I {and I'm sure many other Americans} have.

And I love your descriptive writing!


Azizi


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure Pics up!
From: Joybell
Date: 29 May 05 - 12:47 AM

Some pics in. Thanks Jeff Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 27 May 05 - 08:43 PM

Thank you so much for the encouragement Sandra, Leadfingers, SRS, Ebbie and All. I was afraid it was getting a bit long. I'm about to send in some photos. Here's the next bit:

Day 13 Cameron, Missouri to Oberlin Kansas

Back across the mighty Mississippi. We are traveling the road Hildebrand and a friend rode 40 years ago on bikes. Not a Harleys. He always wanted one of them. Kansas is well into Spring. Trees are leafy. The road is a gentle roller coaster ride, with low peaks and valleys. More cow feed lots. In these ones the poor animals are up to their ankles in mud instead of dust. In one, I notice a big mound of cow poo that seems firm and maybe is still frozen. It's quite steep and not very wide. Lying near the top I see a big black cow with her legs spread in a pose of gay abandon. She looks like a happy sunbather and I could swear she is smiling in a regal sort of way. There is room for only one of her kind on this warm island out of reach of the mud sea. I christen her
The DUNGHILL QUEEN.
We drive through the tiny town of Homer City. It looks neat and attractive. McDonalds again for lunch. We stay away from them at home but there's not too much choice when you're on the road and you can't tolerate cigarette smoke. A fun surprise in this one. A picture-book Granny fusses around the tables in a Grandmotherly way. She wears the usual uniform but has "Grandma" embroidered on her apron. She seems to be there just for atmosphere. She is busy favoring the truckers and lone diners so we don't get to talk to her. We have each other.
We turn off to Prairie Dog Town in the late afternoon. The town covers a large area and we walk around getting scolded and jeered at by the cute inhabitants. They stand at their doorways and wring their paws and shriek until you get about 2 feet off then they disappear inside and a neighbor pops up next door. A continual popping up and down and a scurrying about. We don't want to upset them too much so we go for a walk around the park. A brownish bird runs along beside us for a bit calling, "Kill deer! Kill deer!" Unsurprisingly it's called a Killdeer. From a clump of bushes I hear a bird or animal calling. I copy the call and we have a conversation of sorts until a Pheasant looses it's cool and makes a dash out of the bushes. Didn't know I could talk Pheasant.
Our motel for tonight is in Oberlin. There's a tableau of animals outside our room heading for Noah's ark and a rainbow. Next door a garden has even more cement animals. They wander across every available piece of lawn and sit in every tree and on the roof. It's a "Peaceable Kingdom" motif where the bears and cougars and eagles are all happy friends together with the plump and edible ducks and chickens and lambs. The room next door but one has a sign on the door saying, "TORNADO SHELTER". Of course we're in Kansas.
We eat in the attached restaurant. It's called "The Frontier Cafe" and is decorated with all sorts of hunting, settling memorabilia. On the far wall there's a picture I can't quite make out. I fear that it might be a bear and her cub trapped in a bear pit. I tell myself I don't want to know but I do. Hildebrand goes over for a better look. He comes back and sits opposite me. He says, "It's alright. The Mamma Bear and the Little Bitty Bear have found a stringer of fish beside the river. They are going to eat them for supper".   "And the fisherman?" I ask fearfully. "He went home hours ago. He's not going to disturb the bears". Hildebrand says. I see the little boy in the eyes of this man I love so much.


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 May 05 - 02:20 PM

"I am the Myrtle". Love it.

When my nephew was little he was deathly afraid of "Nana". He'd come racing in from another room or from outdoors crying "nana, nana". He couldn't tell us who or what nana was.

When he was in his 30s I once asked him about 'nana'. He no longer remembered. (Or is it possible that it has connotations that he doesn't want to discuss?)

Love your saga, Joybell. Keep going.


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Leadfingers
Date: 27 May 05 - 12:15 PM

And 1ooth posts !!


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Leadfingers
Date: 27 May 05 - 12:15 PM

I love these sagas !!


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 27 May 05 - 11:24 AM

I travel all over the world without leaving my living room - a few minutes ago I was in Gaum, now I'm in mainland USA.

keep writing, Joybell

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 26 May 05 - 09:55 PM

Thanks Dave. I thought they were probably wild geese, but I didn't know their flypath. I did notice that we seem to have crossed below it during this part of our trip.
SRS I will put in some photos sometime today. Thank you both for posting. It's nice to read your comments as we go. You and the other Mudcatters were so much a part of our trip even though our time with you was all too short.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 26 May 05 - 03:19 PM

Joy, as to the geese at Salt Kettle, I'd bet heavy money that they are wild geese, not domestic. That area is in what's called, as I recall, the central flyway, the great north-south route for migrating water (and other) fowl.

On top of that, I suppose because of global warming, the geese seem to be sticking around in these latitudes more than they used to through the winter. If the gaggles (technical term) of geese at the park are fed, they (a) can attract recruits, as it were, and (b) make a nuisance of themselves begging from the passersby, and (c) make the surrounding area unpleasant with the--how shall I say this?--"exhaust".

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 May 05 - 11:04 AM

I want to know if you got to see snow in Denver.

I hesitate to post much between your chapters, but I want to keep this on the page for today, and to let you know that I (and I'm sure several others) want to read more.

There are still only three photos on this page to document your visit here. Do you have any to add to it? I'd like to see H's childhood house or photos from "What Cheer." And have you taken photos of each other?

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 26 May 05 - 04:23 AM

SRS, Thanks it's good to know you're still with me. Big Jim is too I know. Saga it's becoming isn't it? I'll send in a few pics soon. Here's the next bit:
Day 13 Davenport, Iowa to Cameron, Missouri

Today we are to visit Hildebrand's home town. It's wet and windy. Somewhere along the way we hear that Denver is snowed in. Even the Interstate is closed. We plan on going there in two days' time. How exciting. I've only seen snow on day trips to the Victorian Alps and once before in Colorado and then also on a day trip. We have breakfast at the Amana settlement. A little piece of Germany with Brothers Grimm scenes all around. They really know how to do breakfast. Happy cows and chickens and ducks smile at us from the walls. Not like the poor animals on the feed-lots. High above, as we leave, a flock of Canada Geese honk loudly as they fly North in a perfect V formation. "Go and lay a few eggs at Salt Kettle. There's a man who needs a bit of cheering," I think at them.
We drive into What Cheer soon after, speaking of cheer. Hildebrand saw a program about this town and was keen to visit. The program said it was named for a Welsh greeting, but it turns up in an English song too. "Wot cher! All the neighbors cried. Who you gonna meet Bill? Have you bought the street Bill?...." I always thought it was a corruption of "watch here!" Maybe both examples are. Maybe neither. Maybe they're not connected.
A plump, handsome Pheasant makes a dash for the other side of the road and makes it across without losing a feather. The town is so quaint it's almost too sweet to take. We are taking a photo of a typical two-storey American house that is bright blue all over, when an elderly lady hails us from a more modest home nearby. She is very glad to find us so interested in her stories. She tells us all about the blue house and about herself and her sister, who lives across the way. Her sister has diabetes, or No! maybe she is the one with diabetes. She can't recall for sure. They are both very fit anyway, so it doesn't matter. She's nearly 90. We ask if we can take her photo but she smoothes down her apron and pats her white hair and says, " I don't look as pretty as I used to. I'll give you a photo of me when I was a girl. It's on the dresser." We tell her not to worry. She might forget where the picture went. She's off on another subject anyway so I help her back to her door and we wave goodbye. A lime-green trailer (mobile home) catches my eye. It's had a lean-to room attached and a porch and then another room. The whole construction is the same lime colour. A sort of lumpy curved caterpillar. We see lots of homes that have grown from trailers in the South-West but they're not so obvious here in Iowa.
We drop in on Hildebrand's Elementary (Primary) School buddy. They've kept in touch for 10 years now after a gap of over 30. He and his wife make us welcome for morning tea. The dog makes friends shyly and is just beginning to like us when Hildebrand starts to sing. He's making a point about something or other. The dog gives us a horrified look and strides determinedly up the stairs and out of sight. It's the last we see of her. As we leave I see Squirrels cavorting on the roof and note that it's Squirrel voices that I've heard scolding me from the trees at the rest stops. I like Squirrels. I'm very fond of all the rodent family. There's a Prairie Dog town circled on our map for tomorrow's viewing pleasure. The lawn we're standing on is full of little holes, left after the Squirrels have been treasure-hunting for the acorns they inserted there last Fall.
We arrive in Hildebrand's old home town of Albia in the late afternoon. He shows me where the soda fountain used to be and where his friends once lived. His old school has been rebuilt and the church is gone too. We know about that from our last visit.
It's been over 60 years since Hildebrand has been inside the home of his early childhood. He and his parents and sister lived there until he was 4. It's a big, grand old building - now with a heritage listing.   The Hildebrands had rented the upstairs section. A law firm now works from the house and they are happy for us to look around. We've set it up before the visit.
We climb the stairs that seem so narrow to Hildebrand now. The banister is very steep and I ask him if he slid down it. He didn't but he's sure his sister did. Brave girl! We go into the kitchen where Hildebrand's Daddy once presented the children with a puppy. It was hidden in the bib of his Big Smith overalls. They sat on that Linoleum and played with the puppy. The puppy didn't stay cute. He grew up to be a feisty little critter who was prone to biting everybody. Once he got run over and was raised from the dead by Christian Science, but I digress.
I am keen to see the room where the three-year-old Hildebrand met The Myrtle, a large creature with sphinx- and dragon-like characteristics. It was in the living-room with the bay windows and shutters. It said quite distinctly, "I am The Myrtle!" Hildebrand has always been ready to accept a revelation like that at face value. He never doubted that the creature was indeed a Myrtle. It leaped up onto one of the window sills, immediately becoming smaller. It's voice got squeaky and far away, but Hildebrand doesn't remember what else it said. We tell the story to the law-firm secretary but she's only seen bats up here. The whole upstairs is used for storage now.
As we leave the old house Hildebrand shows me where he and his friends used to roll down a grassy bank. We have to sit down low to get the feel of the fun as it must have been. Reluctantly we decide not to try it on the wet grass.   We take a few pictures of the court-house square and some plum blossom.
It's getting dark when we reach Cameron, Missouri, having crossed Iowa in one day. I give a McDonald's worker an Australian dollar. She's noticed my accent and says she's always wanted to see Australia. I've blithely offered to put up a dozen or so shop-workers, possibly more. I know that if they ever do visit Australia it will be to see crocodiles and we don't have any here, but the offer stands.
Tomorrow we cross the mighty Mississippi. Who knows what adventures lie across the river.               

Oh and up there on my last post the quote on the end has a typo "are" should be "ah"


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 May 05 - 08:13 PM

You have miles to go before you finish this travel saga, Joy. We await your next installation!

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: GUEST,Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 May 05 - 12:11 AM

Keep it coming, Joy! It's great!


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 24 May 05 - 10:46 PM

Day 12 Bloomington Indiana to Davenport Iowa via Art Theime & Uncle Dave-O
We pass through countryside and housing estates. The trees are bare against a pale blue-grey sky. Red barns show bright beside pretty farm houses. As we approach Indianapolis we see a fake lighthouse beside the highway. I remark that we are looking for a street called "Crow's Nest" and wonder about the nautical themes so far from the sea.
We find Uncle Dave-O in a beautiful home beside woodland. So much fun singing and playing together. We share a love of old parlour songs as well as other songs that tell stories. Uncle Dave-O has a straightforward style and calls himself a storyteller first and musician second. He sings, "She's only a bird in a gilded cage...." and I reply with, "Far away beyond the clamor of the city and its strife...." We continue in this vein, all three of us, until Doris comes home. We all sing a while for her and then are treated to a marvelous meal. "Our time it is short there is none we can spare" though, and we have to leave all too soon. Art and Carol Theime are waiting many miles further on. We hug and take photos beside the Hummingbird feeder that hangs above a violet studded lawn. The Hummingbirds won't be here for a bit but their feeder is ready. I forget to ask about the nautical references in Indianapolis.
We cross the Wabash River "listen to the jingle the rumble and the roar...." How many hundreds of songs have run through our brains since we arrived in this country. Almost every sign triggers one. Not just the signs either. Through Danville on the Vermillion River. "My pockets they were empty, my heart was full of pain. A thousand miles away from home waiting for a train...."
At a rest stop called Salt Kettle there's a sign beside the lake that says, "Please Don't Feed the Geese".   We've been seeing Canada Geese for a few days now, resting up on the fields or flying in formation above us. Is this a rest stop for them too? Or do they have domestic geese here as decoration for the lake? There are none here just now anyway. A tall young man in cowboy clothes strikes up a conversation. He always stops here to see the baby geese he says. He's in the area to bury his mother. I think to myself, - The geese could have produced a few babies early to make him feel a bit better. He'd like to move here to live but his wife doesn't want that. I wish him lots of baby geese for next time he passes this way.
There's a big beautifully crafted weaver-bird type nest with a small hole in the side. It's hanging in a bare tree. I ask the nice ladies at the centre about it but they can't tell me what sort of bird owns it. Nobody seems to be able to help. I can't believe people haven't noticed it. Later I see lots of these nests and catch a glimpse of the bird responsible. Not enough of a look to identify it however. Later Carol Theime tells me about Orioles. She knows immediately what I mean. So that's it then. Orioles they are alright.   
Pass through the town of Mahomet where a sign says, "Lutheran Church of Mahomet". I'm rather taken with that.
We get into Peru in the late afternoon. As we pull up across the road from Art and Carol's apartment block, we see a figure waving from a high window. I skip across to a store for ice cream. Art has assured us that he'll let us send out for pizza because of the temporary nature of their accommodation. Before we've got to the front door he zips out of the lift and I meet the man I've so admired for so long. He looks at Hildebrand and pronounces him unchanged after nearly 40 years. We all hug and look at each other some more. Meeting Carol is another pleasure and we all enjoy each others company immensely. Art and Carol are in a small apartment while their usual one is being renovated. There's not much room for even daily living let alone fitting in visitors but we find that Carol has cooked us a meal. Two lovely home-cooked meals in one day! Fresh vegetables and all. So hard to find on the road. Art and Carol are such sweet friends to have. Such a loving family this Mudcat one. Hildebrand and Art swap stories from long ago. When Art worked in a music store in Chicago in the 60s he let Hildebrand play the instruments. That was how they met.
The time goes too fast again and we're back on the road by I don't remember when. Art and Carol wave from the window as we drive away. We'll make it to Davenport, Iowa before we go to sleep tonight. Seems like time has become changed.
    "Time goes you say. Are no! Time stays. Alas! We go."


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 22 May 05 - 10:17 PM

Day 10    Visit to Brown County, Nashville and Bean Blossom

Off to Brown County, with an old friend of Hildebrand's, for a ramble in the woods. The wildflowers are just beginning to show themselves through the leaf-litter. Plum-blossom is out but the other trees are still thinking about Spring. I rather like it that way. Just a hint of what's to come. One day I'd like to visit again and see the carpets of flowers and the trees all leafy, but for now I'm more than happy. For one thing we've beaten the crowds. A woodpecker knocks loudly high in a tree, but we don't see any other wildlife. Maybe if we went further into the woods, but we are going to see Bean Blossom and Nashville next before leaving Bloomington. We check out the lodge and I'm pleased to see that the life-sized, stuffed, brown bear sitting on the sofa is made of some sort of synthetic material. His amber-bead eyes look sad though. While I'm talking to the bear the fellers wander off. I find them behind the postcard display. H's friend is doing little-boy-naughty gestures with his zoom-lens camera. He's a writer, a wonderful storyteller, highly intelligent and    articulate, with a mind that is scary to an undereducated person like me. He's genuinely interested in my stories, though, and in Hildebrand's and we really enjoy his. We spend the day swapping tales and taking in the sights around us like three happy children.
Nashville (it's the Indiana one of course, not the more famous place) is full of day-trippers.The gift shops sell the exact same trinkets you see everywhere. Wind chimes are a big item. American gardens tinkle with them. Garden ornaments have changed since we visited the Midwest 12 years ago. I must say I rather miss the   cement Mother Duck and Three Ducklings motif. They were on every lawn. Where are they now? Ground up and reshaped into Angels?
Bikers parade, on the hour, through Nashville on Sundays. You hear the roar of Harleys and everyone rushes out of the gift shops and cafes to line the curbs and watch them drive slowly past. The fantasy alter-ego of very male sight-seer rides off with them, casting off his XXX-large t-shirt and donning leathers adorned with silver stars and studs. As the bikers turn and head around the block there's a collective sigh from the watchers and they go back to their ice creams and their kids. We find a pasta meal. A rare thing in the American West. You probably have to be where The Sopranos live, over East.
Bean Blossom is where Bill Monroe played in a big old barn. Hildebrand often went there to see him, during his days in Bloomington. The barn burned down a while back. There's a new one there now to house the Bill Monroe museum and gift shop. We touched the piano that was played by Minnie Pearl and saw the old photographs. They still have festivals on the grounds using an outdoor stage. The camping area has streets named after Bluegrass stars from the past. It's quite a small area but near the entrance there's a parking-bay with little mini-buggies. You can tell right away who attends these festivals. 1969 was the last time Hildebrand was here. The old barn hadn't burned down then.
We say goodbye back at the mermaid-fountain motel. It's sad parting. We've had a short but very intense encounter. Hildebrand and his friend had lost touch for over thirty years before this visit, but we feel very close now, all three of us.
A last goodbye to Betty and several other friends and we get ready for our meeting with Uncle Dave-O and his wife on the next leg of our adventure.


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 16 May 05 - 11:50 PM

OOps! Forgot about Texarkana!
Next bit:
Day 10    Around Bloomington Indiana

Morning is bright and sunny. Lots of room in the motel car-park now. The happy Karaoke revelers are home resting up for tonight's session. We notice that the fun only happens on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Better not drive the car anywhere until Sunday for fear of losing our precious parking spot.
We set off on foot to Betty Sander's place, miles away in the heart of town. We haven't eaten anything except nuts since the great meal with Big Jim at lunch time yesterday. We were afeared to stop in Southern Indiana because of the overabundance of red, white and blue Christmas lights and patriotic symbols and flags. Not to mention the possibility of coming up against Kenny.
Our motel has the most wonderful kitsch fountain. A bevy of ugly, very tubby Mermaids and a chubby family of humans lying about on lumps of rock. One lady is diving into the water. Except the water hasn't been turned on yet. You could do yourself a nasty injury that way. Spring is just beginning here in Bloomington but it's not outdoor bathing time yet. Someone should advise the concrete       fountain- family.   
We trudge up the hill past a Dennys full of people eating enormous breakfasts. I'm fainting with hunger but I keep onward and upward. We're eating with Betty and friends, after we make a side trip into a camera shop for a new camera. Our present one won't wind properly even with a nice new battery. It killed some of the photos we really wanted. Big Jim and friends, Stilly River Sage, the new Cape Girardeau bridge. (That one we can find on the net of course, along with a film of the old bridge being blown up. The young man in the camera shop tells us about that.)
It's nearly midday when we finally reach Betty's home. It's been a long time, (actually Hildebrand did bring me here 12 years ago when we rode the Dog -Greyhound Bus for non-Americans, across the Midwest), and Hildebrand gets turned around a few times while trying to find the right place. The houses are quaint and pretty and white plum blossom is everywhere. A fat red squirrel sitting in a bird-feeder distracts me for a long time. Hildebrand shows me how the feeder is cleverly designed to outwit the squirrels. The squirrel gives us a withering look and selects another seed from under his furry stomach. He's oozing over the edges of the tray and his bushy tail is waving around like a rudder in the breeze. I almost forget that its 24 hours now since we had a meal. Perhaps the squirrel will drop a seed or two my way.
At last we find Betty's place AND THERE'S NO ONE HOME. Oh well! I'll be slim again in no time this way. Betty comes home at last. They've had breakfast but are ready for lunch by now and she'll treat us to that instead. It's lovely to see her again. She and Hildebrand have a lot of reminiscing to do. I notice that she has a collection of animal skulls and bird nests and rocks everywhere. The cow skull I found for her in the New Mexico desert will fit in nicely. Not as unusual as the possum and jackrabbit and tiny bird skulls that catch my eye, but a fitting present anyway.
We all set off downtown for lunch. We haven't got far, what with stiff bodies all, when a van load of people pulls up. A friend of Betty's called Penny invites us all in. There seem to be a whole lot of passengers already. Painters and musician types. I think of the 60s and how you could fit 100 or so passengers into a Microbus (Combi) if you put your mind to it. Well I never found out how you got on that scene, to tell the truth, but I read all about it and wanted to be there. Penny says, "One of you could drive and I'll squeeze in the back". She is youngish and less stiff.
I'm hesitant. Wrong side of the road. A car full of happy eccentrics, too excited about being together to bother with directions. Hildebrand volunteers and we set off. A soft-spoken, gentle looking man with long white hair, and the face of an old prospector in a Western movie, holds out his hand. I'm in the back seat and he is somewhere behind me. When we get out I find out that it's Hildebrand's old friend Dale. He's become a friend of mine too over the years but we've never met except by mail. We three hug each other.
Lunch is in one of those classy art-studio restaurants where the chef sculpts one-off creations with bread and frilly veggies. I know how long these pieces take, and try not to think of eggs and hash browns and little pig-sausages. When the waiter suggests we need some time to consult the menu I get desperate. "No! No! We're ready. Don't go away!" I talk funny and also my manner can be taken for artistic temperament so he just smiles. Much happier after lunch and Penny insists on picking up the tab.
Betty Sander, with her husband Dave, ran "Saturday's Child", a coffee house in Chesterton, Indiana during the 1960s. That's the connection for Hildebrand and many of the people attending Betty's 80th birthday party. Betty is a painter who also sings and plays a 12 string Dobro. Art Thieme remembers Betty, and her Dobro, from the 60s. I wish her a "Happy Birthday!" from him.
Hildebrand says everybody always loved Betty. A keen observer of people. Intelligent. A classical scholar. Ready to listen without judging. Absolutely no bullshit, Hildebrand says of her. Content and self assured.
Her party is a lot of fun. A man called Danny says to me, "Joy who? Hildebrand? Greg Hildebrand! Haven't seen him since we were together at a student demonstration. I got arrested and he got away that time."   
I get into conversations with all sorts of people from Hildebrand's past and some who'd heard about him but never met him. Singers and musicians play. Betty sings several of her funny old songs, playing complicated chords on her old Dobro. Friends tell stories from the past. We perform and Hildebrand is called back for an encore. As we all part, friends hug me and say, "Take good care of him". Later I tell Hildebrand and he tells me they said as they hugged him, "Take good care of her, she's a good one!" We feel overwhelmed by love.
Too excited to sleep, a group of us get together at the home of an old friend of Hildebrand's. We tell funny stories, old and new, and sing into the night. The Mermaids and bathers are still frolicking in the dry fountain at 2.00 am, outside our motel room, as we turn in, but the Karaoke crowd has gone to bed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: GUEST,Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 May 05 - 10:00 AM

Is it time for another installment yet?


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 15 May 05 - 09:43 PM

Again, it was grand having you two stop by for a too short visit.

I am back on line now after nearly a month away. We are now back in our renovated place. It's much larger than the small interim spot we inhabited when Joy and Greg were with us. We are glad you got home safely.

Onward and upward !

Art and Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: JennyO
Date: 15 May 05 - 12:05 PM

Heh heh. I thought so!


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 May 05 - 11:31 AM

:-D


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: JennyO
Date: 15 May 05 - 11:26 AM

Welcome back to Oz, Joy and Hildebrand. Sounds like you had a great time. Can't wait to see the photos.

Funny though that you should mention Texarkana. I had a postcard from there from an elf-type person about three weeks ago. Hmmmm.

Jenny (starting to get ideas)


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: freda underhill
Date: 15 May 05 - 08:20 AM

..and for the next lot of photos! it all sounds great!

freda


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 15 May 05 - 08:16 AM

more!! more!! definitely not enough, so I will wait (patiently) for the next installment

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Joybell
Date: 15 May 05 - 06:46 AM

Home with my own familiar computer. What a great time we had. Still trying to catch up on sleep.
Here's the next instalment, taking up the story from the time we left Stilly River Sage.

Day 8    Forth Worth Texas to West Memphis Arkansas

"It was down in Louisiana just about a mile from Texarkana..."
Well you can't do that it seems. We passed through Texarkana and it just isn't possible to be only a mile from Texarkana and be in Louisiana at the same time. Anyway on out of the Piney Woods part of Texas, beautiful country and must be nice to linger there, and into Arkansas. At once the roadsides look scruffier and wilder, but I like them that way. The shopkeepers tell us, "Come back and see us Ya'll" as they do in Texas. At a green and woodsy roadside stop, the owner of the gas station hears my accent and calls to me, "'ave a nice cup o' tea Love?" She giggles and tells me her friend was an Australian War bride and has taught her how to speak Aussie. I tell her she's very good at it even though it's an excellent impression of Cockney English. Americans have a lot of trouble with Aussie, I know from Hildebrand's attempts. The friend still lives in this little backwater town although her American husband died some time ago.
The radio is playing "The Calvary Cowboys" singing cowboy Gospel as we pass a sign advertising "The Cowboy Church". There's a picture of a cowboy leading his horse up a hill towards Jesus who is carrying a big cross. We pass through the towns of "Friendship" and "Social Hill". At Little Rock a pickup passes us. Across the rear window is a big sign that says, "God giveth. Bush taketh away."
It's quite late when we arrive at West Memphis, Arkansas, and we check into a cheap motel right on the interstate. The roar of the traffic doesn't matter too much when you're really tired and a pizza was just a phone call away. No way to get out of the place for a meal once we were in there.

Day 9   West Memphis to Bloomington Indiana   

"Oh you Mississippi River with water so deep and wide
My thoughts of you keep rising just like an evening tide
I'm just like a seagull that's left the sea
'cause your muddy waters keep on a-callin' me...."

Careful planning gets us out of the motel and into the traffic, using a series of right turns. I notice that every light pole has its own Grackle displaying on the top. Males all of them. Bowing and twirling. Clowns of the bird world. Not popular   because of their aggressive attitudes to the smaller songbirds, and also they're not natives to America. Fun to watch as a visitor though.
We enter the state where Hildebrand was born. We won't pass through the town of his birth. Mairvll it was. It's spelt Maryville but that's not how it's pronounced by Missourians. We hear about Blyvll on the radio and I notice on the map that it's written as Blytheville.
We stop at the Missouri Welcome Centre. Two days ago, at the Texas Welcome Centre, we had been greeted like family, called "Honey" and given all kinds of pretty pictures and helpful information.   Now with a Native son close behind me I approach the grim lady behind a desk. She has a pen in her hand and a clipboard on the counter. "How many traveling?", she barks at me. "Two" I tell her. My hands are behind my back like a naughty child. She writes 2 on the sheet clipped to her board then ignores me. I throw my arms around Hildebrand and kiss him. "Welcome home!" I tell him.
We drive along the river flats through the mist and light rain. The trees are stark and leafless against the grey sky. Spring hasn't arrived here yet. This landscape has its own beauty although the change is dramatic. The radio is playing Memphis Blues and modern Country. We've left the Mexican stations behind now.
Breakfast in Osceola. I've read Osceola's story. A sad and terrible story if ever there was one. I know he was not a Plains Indian, but there he is up on the town's water tower, a picture of his head in a full war bonnet of feathers. People expect feathers and leather fringes on Native Americans.
We follow Big Jim of Jackson's directions into the city of Cape Girardeau. He's waiting for us exactly where he said he'd be. It's such a thrill to meet my second American Mudcat friend. He takes us to the Chinese Buffet where he gives us a wonderful meal. We learn to look for Chinese Buffets after this. Great idea. Wish we had them in Australia. We then get to see a bit of this lovely city, with its neat pretty houses, as we drive to a Thrift shop seeking a shirt for Hildebrand. Find one, and I invite the man behind the counter to come and stay with us some time. I've already invited a few dozen shop workers. Everyone wants to come and visit       Australia.   Our lack of crocodiles is a bit of a disappointment to most but I can promise kangaroos.
We have a great song session with Big Jim and his friends. So far to go, so little time to linger. He's very understanding and we leave him at the entrance of the new bridge where he has guided us. As we drive through Illinois and into Indiana we play one of the CDs Big Jim has given us. It's a beautifully sung collection of Ozark Folk Songs. No gimmicks, just the way we like them. We have to stop listening at "Don't Step on Mother's Roses" because Hildebrand can't see the road while crying. We'll save them for home listening.
It's dark and we are totally lost in the hills of Southern Indiana. Signs and maps don't tell it the same way. After hours we find an open gas station and a nice lady sets us straight. Hildebrand has to wait his turn though. She is helping an old man get the right kind of tobacco. He says, "Somebody shot my dog". "Are you sure?" says the Nice Lady, "Perhaps he just crawled off somewhere." "No he got shot. Best dog I ever had. Had him trained as a one man dog."   "Well I don't know" says the Nice Lady, "Only person who shoots dogs around here is Kenny."
We go on our way, sad again just when we'd almost forgotten mother's roses.
About midnight we arrive at the pre-booked motel in Bloomington to find all the parking places taken. Seems they run a Karaoke night there and it's first-in-best- dressed regardless of whether or not you are staying the night, or three as in our case. Just in time someone, overexcited by the fun maybe, drives off home and we grab the parking spot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: GUEST,Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 May 05 - 02:31 PM

They should be getting home pretty soon. After a nice rest I hope they'll give us a good travelogue of the trip.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Amos
Date: 10 May 05 - 08:27 AM

Wow. If it hadn't been a week-nigfht we would have sung until dawn, I guess. We had a fine time swapping music and I tell ya, these two travelers sound so sweet and fine when they sing together it brings tears to your eyes!! They are something special in the world, no mistake!

We had some fine songs, some cheap wine and a loverly evening on the patio and I just couldn't get enough of their voices. What a treat!


They will be flying out of LA late today and home soon.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 09 May 05 - 10:54 PM

Joy, thanks for the little errand you were doing for me. It worked.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: artbrooks
Date: 09 May 05 - 09:13 PM

Welladay, alas and alack...my mixed-up schedule and their's did not mesh, so I missed them in Albuquerque...but the CD is fine!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Amos
Date: 09 May 05 - 09:00 PM

A wonderful evening of singing and all coming up. I can feel it in my bones. So keen to tell you all about our adventures. Thank you all for being so patient. Be back in a few days. Love and cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Joybell's American Adventure
From: Amos
Date: 09 May 05 - 08:52 PM

Wal, the Joybell Express blew into San Diego this afternoon and we are listening to J&H 's CD.

It is spectacular!!

I think we're gonna have a fine ole time!!


A


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