Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Springfield Stimulus Trip

On the nicest weekend in four months, ten of us began our overnight trip with breakfast and a Stand-by-Your-Man photo.

It was a great trip and if you haven’t been there you need to go. I am going to try to give a one sentence pretty short recap of the places we visited.

First, we toured the Lincoln home.

Nothing can prepare you for the d├ęcor of the carpet and walls of the Lincoln home. I so wish that I could remember how our tour guide described it. Something like harmony though dissonance or something like that. The harmony escaped me. When our tour guide said it the second time, we nearly chuckled out loud because it seemed so odd.

I expected the Lincoln Museum to be well done because I had heard about it. I did not expect my emotional response. I was touched by the difficulty and opposition to our beloved sixteenth president. He really did not become a hero until death. I was surprised at the sympathy that I felt for his wife, the mother of his four sons. Conforming to propriety was compulsory in her mind and yet her mind was so confused . . . to have such grief and not be allowed to grieve . . . her lawyer husband did not leave a will and so she obsessed over becoming poor . . . to lose three sons and a husband to death and then her last son betrayed her and confined her to an insane asylum. Surely Mary Todd Lincoln was troubled. There really should not be any stone throwers.

I took this story from a display in the Lincoln Museum.
On the evening of April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary, were enjoying the British comedy. . . As the play progressed, Mary sat very close to her husband, her hand in his. She whispered to him, "What will Miss Harris think of my hanging on to you so?" The president replied, "She won't think anything about it." Those were the last words that Mary ever heard her husband speak.

I mentioned that I was feeling sad after going through the museum and seeing all that Lincoln suffered and his premature death. I was taken aback by Tim’s quiet response, “Yes, but he accomplished the two things that were most important to him before his death.”

The Dana Thomas House, finished in 1904 by Frank Lloyd Wright was amazing. There was no detail left undone and way too many for us to take in. There were butterflies in the fireplaces, sconces, chandeliers, and glass panes and more. We were in big and tall spaces and expanded and shorter more confined spaces and contracted and ready to sit down after our thorough tour.

We needed a change of pace and Judy wanted a Starbucks fix. At her suggestion, I tried an iced coffee mocha, skinny, one pump, no whip and found it quite stimulating.

Our Springfield visit caused me to reflect. History seemed so recent, so real. We listened to a patriotic concert at the Old State Capital.

It brought tears to the eyes of my hubby and at least one other man in our group. Jim was touched by the young people in the band.

I was moved as I thought about being in the very room where Lincoln practiced law and where he lay in state at his death.

Attending the church that Lincoln attended was a highlight for all of us. There was such unity of spirit as we worshiped with other believers. We were blessed by the service and by the sweet fellowship of the pastor and congregation.

Of course, we had to eat and what a treat that was at Augie’s Front Burner, right across from the Old State Capital.

The other place that we ate was not worthy of mentioning and we tasted Springfield horseshoes and discovered why that dish never made the charts—and why we had not heard of it before.

We will stick with Chicago pizza, any day, any time.

I love Tim’s story about coming to Illinois probably about thirty years ago from another state and feeling like he was in a foreign land until his visit to Springfield. He said there was something about touching the nose of Lincoln at the Tomb that changed him. From then on, he could comfortably claim Illinois as his state.

And so we started our Springfield visit joking that we were helping the country and our state by taking a Stimulus Trip. But as for me, I was inspired—you might say stimulated—and it didn’t break the budget either. I’ll give it five stars.


Rebecca said...

I haven't been there for a long time and I've heard there is much new and wonderful. Thanks for the "stimulus."

As for the decorating style, I hope you can come up with the exact phrase! I think it is actually MY style! "Harmony though Dissonance." Go ahead. Laugh if you want!

Donna's Book Nook said...

My dashboard says you posted this at 4am your time! What were you doing up at that hour?!

John and I visited some of the Lincoln places on our honeymoon in 1972, but I know a lot has changed. It's probably time for another visit. Thanks for the stimulus.

Wanda said...

I so enjoyed your tour Brenda and the stand by your man photo. Loved all the facts of Lincoln and his wife.

Just before coming here I was at Abe Lincoln's blog, he is a distant cousin of the president's and actually looks like him. He lives here in Ohio, his blog is on my side bar.

Diana said...

Wow this was so cool Brenda. I've actually been to all of those places twice and I loved it there! Jake and I want to go back again. Our older daughter Ginny used to write for the A.P. out of the capital building. We had a private tour of it as well. We also tried the Horseshoes and truthfully I don't remember how they were. I only remember my daughter loving them! I am a huge Lincoln fan and am so glad that you were able to enjoy Springfield as much as we did. I was able to rub Abe's nose too! Love Di

Bernie said...

What a wonderful tour and I really enjoyed it so very much. You all look so content and happy, I think maybe it's time for me to find a man to stand by...LOL
I found the decorating style quite "busy" not my style for sure but I still love the history of it.
......:-) Hugs

Dee said...

Thank you for sharing your five star stimulus trip.I think Frank would enjoy the tour.

Jacquelyn said...

Brenda, I was flipping through your blog and right away recognized the Lincoln home. We've visited Springfield twice...the second time bringing my parents along because my dad was a great history lover. The museum wasn't done when we were there, so now we need to go back! My favorite part was Lincoln's was truly like standing on holy ground to be there. It did my heart good that it was hushed and quiet in there and everyone was so respectful. "Now he belongs to the ages..." Lincoln is my very favorite president. I agree, Mrs. Lincoln has been remembered poorly in history. I respect her though..."behind every successful man there is a good woman" and all that!