“There just isn’t anything in here I want to eat, ” my mom lamented on Friday around noontime as she peered with disappointment into the fridge.
“Too bad we can’t go out for our usual broccoli-cheese soup and salad bar at Crossroads,” I sighed.
Since the pandemic, eating out has been put on hold for both of us during the past 7 months. Those fun spur-of-the-moment sit-downs at our local restaurants are no longer an option. We’ll do take-out to eat at home but other than that, we usually fix our own meals, mostly the same-o, same-o every week.
“Now here’s a thought,” my mom suddenly brightened. “Lincoln Trail State Park’s restaurant has created outside dining along the lake. I heard it’s very safe and nice. Let’s look it up on the Internet and see what the menu is.”
We perused the online menu, called for what virus-precautions were in place, approved of what we heard so off we went. We grabbed our masks and loaded up Bridget, our Chinese immigrant, into the car for the 3-mile drive to the park.
Thus began our new dining-out routine after a 7-month hiatus, and what a beginning it was!
Autumn Lunchtime Ambiance at the Lincoln Trail State Park Restaurant
Rather than write about our visit, let me give you the visuals of our experience.
Enjoying the Park Trails
After our meal, we decided to walk a few trails, relishing all the splendor Mother Nature has to offer at this time of year. This is the first Midwestern Fall I’ve been surrounded by in 27 years. I went a bit overboard in pictures but that’s because I’m already planning on classroom lessons next year to show my students.
As you watch our woodsy trek, perhaps you can imagine how my Chinese students will react to such a different environment than what they are used to. This includes camping vehicles, unknown in China, which were coming in for weekend overnights during the nation’s Columbus Day 3-day holiday.
Sharing an Illinois Fall with My Students
Another surprise for my students will be the many unusual trees we have, indigenous to America, and their vibrant colors that come with October. Sichuan Province, where I live, has very few cold-weather Nature changes. Most tree leaves in Luzhou city and elsewhere just turn a brittle brown and drop off when November and December come around. Nothing very exciting. But in Marshall, the trees’ cascading locks of leafy hair have exploded in oranges, reds, golds and yellows. I have already put together my power point picture display and expect to add even more these next few weeks. Just look at what Marshall has to offer! I’m sure your hometowns are very much the same.
My Mom’s Mulberry Street addition
My mom’s new house is now fully completed with the landscapers who came 3 days ago. Notice her autumn display, adding even more to our residence on 710 Mulberry Street. Of course, I am eager to return to my apartment home in China but I must say, it is exciting to have watched, and been a part of, this house growing from a dilapidated, sad-looking, unkempt building into a truly lovely home.
From Marshall, Illinois, here’s wishing you Ping An (Peace) for your week.