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The past two weeks have been filled and over-flowing! It just turned out to be one of those times when it seemed everything occurred in rapid-fire sequence, after a fairly quiet few months. But that’s the way life seems to run—you’re either floating quietly along with the current or your riding the rapids. Either way, it’s best to keep a paddle handy.

The last week in September, I once again traveled with three good friends to Arrow Rock, Mo. to see a performance at the Lyceum Theater there. It’s always a good experience and this year we had a friend along who had never been there before. This made the visit seem new again—especially as the three women who were in the musical “Honky Tonk Angels” gave a stellar performance. Their voices were a marvelous blend both solo and in harmony as they brought back hit songs from the past such as “Stand By Your Man,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Nine to Five” and about two dozen others interspersed with an on-your-feet version of “I’ll Fly Away.”

We found a new restaurant/pub in Marshall, Mo., “Leaning Side” that offered good food and good service in a pleasant atmosphere. It’s located right on the west side of the Marshall Courthouse Square. Outstanding hamburgers and a good menu. We gave it a thumbs-up if you’re ever in the area.

Then the next week Maria Centa, the widow of our Brazilian Exchange Student from 1974, Sergio Centa, flew in for a much-too-brief visit from Thursday to Saturday. We had never met her before, but Sergio had planned to come back to see us, but unfortunately, died of cancer two years ago before he could make the trip. So, Maria came to fulfill his wish. We were thrilled to finally meet her and enjoyed her very much, but there were also lots of tears shed as we recalled the months that Sergio was living with us here. We only had Friday (also Homecoming Day) to show her around Farmington and the place where we had lived, the high school Sergio had attended (grown a lot since then), some of the places he and my son had visited, to meet some of our friends and family. Our whirlwind tour included a visit to the rural home of Sheyla Clubb, who is originally from Brazil and spoke Portuguese with Maria, a visit to the Mississippi River, lunch and a tour in Ste. Genevieve, and later a lovely dinner at 12 West.

Maria stayed while here in the pleasant accommodations at Crown Point Lodge. We took her to St. Louis Saturday morning with a visit to the Arch, which is a definite “must” for anyone, especially with the outstanding new museum and display area. We all voted to forego a ride in the Maytag washer compartment that serves as an elevator that takes you to the top of the Arch. But we cheated and did take pictures inside the mock compartment on display.

The weather remained beautiful until we were back in the car and on our way to the airport when a cloudburst came over, then nice enough to stop again by the time we arrived at the terminal. I was struck by the lack of travelers and planes going and coming and Lambert, as it has been quite awhile since I have had occasion to fly in or out of there. Made me wonder if travelers are simply by-passing St. Louis or have found another means of travel. If so, you couldn’t tell it by the traffic on the highways!

It was altogether a delightful two weeks spent with friends, old and new. But, I’m looking forward to a space now between the next ride on the rapids! As the birthdays mount up, the mind is willing, but the body just stubbornly refuses to take part in the fun!

Speaking of Birthdays—a special one is on tap this weekend for a good friend of mine and the community’s, Francie Carrow! Francie, who is a native of our town, a dedicated historian of its history, and a retired and successful businessman, has compiled quite a personal history also during his soon-to-be 90-years! Congratulations, Francie, and a very Happy Birthday.

Good things are happening in our downtown! Ali Eck and her husband opened The Alley this past weekend, located at 105 E. Columbia St. directly behind the corner building that faces Jefferson Street. Access is obtained by going through the alley (hence the name) that is between the New Life Fellowship Church at 115 W. Columbia Street, and the former Morris Brothers Building (that houses The Painted Chair). Ali opened her event’s venue Saturday to host her 2003 class reunion. The space will be available to rent for showers, meetings, receptions, etc. and can hold up to 90 guests by contacting Ali at 573-631-2111.

Another exciting business opening soon, will be the micro-brewery and brick-oven pizzeria in the former Oasis Book Store at 102 West Columbia by Brian and Joan Hurst, who also own 12 West. The purchase of the building (the historic old Braun Hotel) has been made and renovations underway on the interior. In related, but separate changes, the city has plans to put in a small green space park on South Jefferson St. between the Roberts building that houses Ophelia’s and the future brewery on the opposite corner. The green park would only extend from Columbia Street to the end of the two buildings on South Jefferson, leaving the sidewalks and access to the parking lots available.

Coming UP:

Saturday…A Craft Festival and Sale by members or Memorial United Methodist Church for the Talent’s Parable Challenge will be held on the back-parking lot. Booths open at 8 a.m. with a variety of items from baked-goods to hand-woven rugs for sale. Also, a sign-up sheet for the Appreciation Auction to have an article for someone written for the Around Town column.

Saturday, Oct. 20….The Alzheimer’s Walk is held in downtown Farmington. All money raised by the teams goes to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Friday, Oct. 26…Harvest Night sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, with Trick-or-Treating at downtown businesses from 4 to 5 p.m. Games for youngsters start behind Long Hall at 4:30 p.m. and the Costume Contest judging will begin at 5:30 p.m. inside Long Hall.

Wednesday, and Friday, Nov. 7-8….A Salute to Veterans Exhibit at the Farmington Library arranged by the Farmington Museum Board. Memorabilia of the Civil War, the first World War, the old St. Francois Hotel, Carleton College, the Plank Road and the old Courthouses is being sought for loan to be used for the display. Special programs on World War I are to be presented by guest speakers on the evenings in the large conference room at 6 p.m.

Halloween is coming with all the ghosts and goblins on the streets….drive with care!

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