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Jerry's Birthday Overview:

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Field HouseFriday, July 1 around 10:30, we headed out Rt. 80 toward Sheffield, IL via Tiskilwa (pop. 800) to start our celebration of Jerry's birthday. He didn't know our final destination, so he was forced to just enjoy the scenery. We then did what we do which is take pictures, usually from a moving car, frequently with the windows down (but not always) on our way down the road. While I was driving, Jerry did the picture taking and he sure did get some great ones (drive by #1, drive by #2)

I had no problem finding Menno Haven, (just outside Tiskilwa), and took some pictures to prove it. We were there to surprise Zach and Toby, who were not expecting to see us. They had a music gig to set up to play later that evening and were on a really tight schedule. While there we took a few pics: (a sculpture, Hollyhocks, Surrounding landscapes, kildeer, and of course Toby and Zach. It was a quick stop there as they were very busy setting up for the Jonathan Ruel concert later that evening, but we made plans to meet up again as we were staying only 15 minutes from them.

We left there and drove to the Chestnut Inn and met the Inn Keepers and our most excellent hosts: Jeff and Monika. They truly were personable and attentive throughout the whole visit, even though they were expecting 40 guests for dinner the next evening and two more guests for their four-room Inn the same night.

Monika scheduled our dinner (served in our private room) for 5:30 so we would have plenty of time for a leisurely four-course meal prior to leaving for our theatre reservations in Princeton (approximately 15 minutes away), Festival 56, to see Songs for a New World (below are links to YouTube great quality songs).

treeWe got up at 5:30 the next morning (true story) to go "birding". Got some great pics of some trees and lakes but didn't see many birds. Maybe we were too late? After our photo foray we picked up Zach and Toby to share breakfast with us at the Inn. Again, the food was marvelous. All of the food Monika served us was from her cookbook, Gluten-Free Entertaining for Everyone (unsolicited praise). The food was excellent! (I think I've said that a few times. sorry.)

After breakfast we drove in to Princeton so they could meet up and continue their journey with Jonathan to Goshen for Jonathan's last music gig before beginning his sabbatical (story for another time). Back to the Inn to check out and move on down the road for a little more site-seeing. We looked at the Hennepin Canal locks, the Red Bridge, stopped in Tampico to take a photo of Ronald Regan's birthplace. Get this: Regan was born at home on the second floor of an apartment at 111 Main Street, Tampico, Illinois. (see plaque). That reminded me of a statistic that I (thought I) remembered (correctly): Bill Clinton was the first president born in a hospital. So I looked it up. I was wrong. It was Jimmy Carter. However, I have a page sited that of the 42 presidents of the United States, 38 were born at home. (Check out that page. It has some really interesting statistics on it. :-)

From Tampico we drove to Starved Rock for a quick drive through the scenery but couldn't help ourselves. We hiked. We went to Wild Cat Canyon. We decided to walk it since It was only .5 miles but the bad news was it was all uphill -- both ways! We survived. We just thought we wouldn't. If you remember Saturday, it was about 95 degrees plus humidity.

Flag CarrierWe got home in time to get ready to go to the Highland Independence Day Parade. Jim, Jerry and I met up with Sara and her Bishops to enjoy Highland's uber parade. I'm thinking it lasted about 2 hours. On the way home we sat in the parking lot at PSC to enjoy the Heights Fireworks Celebration. Fire-Cracker ending to a beautiful two days of celebrating Jerry's Sixty-Sixth birthday.

Then we slept.

Songs for a New World at Festival 56, Princeton, Illinois

  1. Opening: On the Deck of a Spanish Ship
  2. Just One Step
  3. I'm Not Afraid of Anything
  4. The River Won't Flow
  5. Stars and the Moon
  6. She Cries
  7. The Steam Train

Act Two

  1. The World Was Dancing
  2. Surabaya Santa
  3. Christmas Lullaby
  4. I'd Give It All For You
  5. The Flagmaker, 1775
  6. Flying Home
  7. Hear My Song