By David Crane
As I write this, we have had to lock the front door of the Store to only do drive up service to-go. The Museum is only open for very limited hours. COVID-19 has everyone hunkered down. I had hoped this would not happen in my lifetime, but I’ve watched enough movies to know that it was an eventuality.
So now what? We’ll keep on here at the store as well as we can, with to-go business. Eventually, if this goes awhile, we’ll have shopping by appointment like the fancy stores in the big cities. It will become a struggle at Marlene’s since we don’t have a broad base to do to-go orders with, but maybe with warmer weather we can reduce hours to just a few days and weekends to keep things going. I’m working on an online ordering system for Marlene’s to make it easier. Keep up with Marlene’s on social media, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to be “in the know”!
It is nice having Trask and Mason both at home when I get there. Trask has been doing all of his classes online since the 16th and is keeping busy. Upper level engineering degrees are almost all completed online anyway, it’s the team projects that have become a challenge. Mason starts online classes on March 23rd and we’ll see how the high schools keep up with the kids. Prom has been postponed and I feel very sorry for all the graduates of college and high school that are missing out on this milestone. Amy is stressed and worried about all the students from McIntire that may be going without the basic necessities of life while being absent from school. It’s sad as a society that we have leaned so heavily on the public schools for our kids’ food and after-school care.
We have a great article from our newest correspondent in Japan. Hope you enjoy Ivan’s Insights!
Stay safe. Be well. Remember kindness.
Spring Wildflowers Can Add Color To Life During Challenging Times
by Nadia Navarrete-Tindall – Native Plants Specialist
Life is stressful in these days of sheltering in place and social distancing, but there is still one great big place where we all can go safely. Outdoors! It has been over thirty years since I first came to this country to study at Southern Illinois University from my native El Salvador. Being from the tropics I was used to seeing green and other colors in the landscape all year long. I arrived at the end of winter, so the vegetation was still dormant, which looked dead to me and made me a little nostalgic for tropical warmth and color.
To fight my melancholy and improve my English, I joined a local environmental group and I started hiking in natural areas like the Shawnee National Forest and Giant City State Park. Around mid-March I was taken by my new friends to places, where, to my surprise, wildflowers were growing. My first vivid experience was to see a patch of bluebells in the middle of leafless trees and brown leaves on the ground. The sight was beautiful! Blue is my favorite color and I have never seen flowers that gorgeous. Bluebells have delicate pink to blue flowers which attract little bees, and ruby-throated hummingbirds feed on the tubular flowers. In the spring, the luscious foliage offers shelter to other wildlife.
This was when I began appreciating something that nature provides for free. It was good therapy! Once I started learning about my new surroundings I wanted to learn more and started to feel at home. Back then, I did not have a place to establish my own plants, so I became a regular in these natural places. This made me realize the diversity that exists in the woodlands of the Midwest.
Years later, in early 2000, my husband Randy and I moved to Missouri, and I became involved with research at Prairie Fork Conservation Area. I met Pat Jones and Jamie Coe back then and got reacquainted with the spring wildflowers that I first saw in Southern Illinois. In early spring I could see again bluebells, growing beautifully in Pat’s yard in the company of bellwort, wild geranium, bloodroot (see April 2019 issue of this newsletter), purple trillium, toothwort, Solomon’s seal, black cohosh, celandine poppy, sweet Williams- a native phlox, spring beauty, Jacob’s ladder and woodland spider wort to name a few. Pat and Jamie would take an annual trip to Missouri Wildflowers Nursery, the first nursery in Missouri specializing only in native plants. They added more plants in the shaded garden through the years. These and many other spring blooming plants can be found in other sites at Prairie Fork and in many conservation areas.
If you would like to increase your inventory of native plants in your garden or farm, you can check the Grow Native! website for a list of vendors near you. For additional information feel free to contact me at the Facebook page: Native Plants and More, or send me an email at [email protected] You can also check the Missouri Department of Conservation website.
By growing these and other wildflowers in your garden, they may serve you as therapy and encourage you to stay outdoors longer. Remember, according to doctors, the COVID- 19 virus does not survive much outdoors under sunlight. In addition, you would help to protect pollinators like butterflies, birds and bees.
So, go outside! Garden! Walk and observe! Breathe deeply! Maintain a safe distance from others while you do it and check on those spring wildflowers starting to show their beauty!
Foreword to my Dearest Friends
Greetings from Henoko, Okinawa! I do believe it is time for me to start performing my duties as the International Correspondent for the highly esteemed printing press, The Williamsburg Villager and give my monthly report. But first I must say something to the folks of Crane’s Country Store. I miss you all very much. Any time I came in, everyone greeted me as if I haven’t been there for years. Every time I left, I was given a farewell as if it was the last time I would be seen. The kindness that was shown, the friendships I made, and the two-dollar sammies, made the store feel like a second home with a second family. I am grateful I got to work at Crane’s Country Store in beautiful downtown Williamsburg. I received life experience from Chuck and his fellow Liars, met interesting people from all around, found my love of Carhartt clothing, and had many memorable laughs that I frequently think about. One day I will return, and I will share my tales from my adventure here in Okinawa.
Okinawa Prefecture, Japan
by Lance Corporal Ivan G. Roesner, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division
The plane lands, the door opens, and as soon as you step out the sun warms your face and a cool breeze wraps around your body. In the distance, you can see the greenest grass, palm trees here and there, the deep blue pacific with fishing boats scattered across the water. In the other direction is small mountains, with vegetation that’s a deeper green than the grass. Low clouds linger just below the peak. You take a relieving breath of arrival after your travel. The air is fresh and clean, with the smell of the waves crashing into the bay, just upwind of you. So, one direction is the ocean with its invitation for aquatic activities, in the other direction is the mountain jungle, just waiting to be explored. “Am I on a resort?” you ask yourself. You take a cab to where you are staying, the short Japanese man, with his contagious smile bows his head is a friendly gesture of respect. He speaks in his native tongue, despite the fact you have not the closest idea what he’s saying. Whatever he is saying, he means well by it. Just smile and nod. As you go through town, the buildings and signs are filled with Japanese writing on it. It almost seems it’s popping out at you.
What is this place that is being described? It is the little island of Okinawa. At a length of about 70 miles long and an average of 7 miles wide. At 463 square miles, this place has an abundance of diverse landscapes, savory and filling foods, and interesting culture. All of it hosted by the local Okinawans, who happen to be the friendliest people on earth. With all of these aspects of this little portion of beaches, rock, and vegetation, it has enough to leave a person dumbstruck. And it only takes a ten-dollar cab ride and a fifteen-minute walk to start an adventure. The limits to what one can find are endless.
Butter Pecan Cake
by Eunice Windsor
- 1 butter pecan cake mix
- 1 can coconut pecan icing
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Mix all ingredients and put in 9×13 inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Glaze: Maple flavoring, butter and milk, ½ cup sugar.
Mix glaze ingredients and pour over warm cake.
The Williamsburg Villager is provided by Crane’s Museum and Shoppes. Please submit any announcements to David Crane at Crane’s Country Store located next door to the museum by the 15th of each month to ensure publication.
Annual subscriptions are available for a $12.00 donation to the museum.
Crane’s Museum & Shoppes 10665 Old US Hwy 40 Williamsburg, MO 63388 877-254-3356 www.cranesmuseum.org
Crane’s Museum is a Regional History Museum located in Williamsburg, MO. We invite visitors of all ages to enjoy a step back in time. Enjoy breakfast or lunch in Marlene’s Restaurant, shop for gifts at Town House Treasures, or get ready for any season at Crane’s Country Store’s Clearance and Closeout Shop.