Archive for November, 2012

Holiday Nostalgia …

Waxing Holidays Past

Bear with me … today is one of those days … one of those days filled with a bit more verbosity and a lot more sensitivity as I reflect on Holidays Past …  holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  Up this morning about 6 AM, armed with sturdy walking shoes, warm jacket, gloves and hat I vigorously attacked  one of the neighborhood hills. The air was a crisp thirty something, the sun was just beginning to warm the tips of still colorful trees and for the most part the world was mine.

Returning home, I declared this day the day to open my iTunes Playlist  … simply entitled Christmas, set it to shuffle, grab a cup of rich coffee and begin the annual immersion into Holiday anticipation. Little did I expect my mind to wander the path of Holidays Past.

When I was growing up and when our kids were growing up, the Christmas tree was always a big … err … big event.  With a 22 foot ceiling height in the entry, a huge pine tree cut from family property was an adventure to harvest, tie on the car top, raise and decorate hopefully with no loss of limb … human or evergreen.  In addition to the tree, we always had Santa stop by for a visit … on one occasion Santa even sat in the lap of our own Family Santa, Dalton Dailey.

This is a post in which I could expend hours and pages but WordPress and your generous patience dictate otherwise.  Guess you’ll need to read the book someday.  However to wrap up I’ll list a few other memories of Holidays Past:

Midnight Mass at the Cathedral with my parents, Open House on Sunday at Dailey’s Gift Center kicking off the shopping season (this was during the era of Blue Laws and my dad just let people shop and buy later), putting up a Christmas tree at home then taking it down and strapping it to the van top as we headed for Colorado (the kids made decorations during the trip), Thanksgiving meals at Mom’s, Christmas meals at Mom’s, New Year meals at Mom’s, as a child coming down on Christmas morning and seeing the tree and presents, finding a place to celebrate New Years Eve while traveling, Ski trips with our family and the Goodin family during the holidays (ten of us in a van that JC called the “Van Trapped Family“), making Gingerbread houses, snow in Arkansas on Christmas, New Years Day Swearing In Ceremonies, disguising gifts to Patti, last minute shopping Christmas Eve at Dailey’s and doing art work on brown wrapping paper … I think you’ve got the idea.  This is a very special time of year… a time to be thankful, to remember family and friends, to be grateful for this nation and those who fight to protect our freedom … Thank God I am an American  and if you’ve read this far, thank you too.

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The trail is easy … just follow the old road … at least that’s what the trails book indicated.  Well, “easy” it was not.  The old road has fully returned to nature … small saplings, tangles of shirt shredding briars, piles of downed ice storm branches, trees and logs to be navigated around, stepped over or crawled under.  In two hours of bushwhacking we had covered only six tenths of a mile.  At this pace we feared there might not be sufficient time to continue to Sandstone Castles and return to the car before dark.

Fortunately, in just over another half mile, the trail opened up, we made much better time and … WOW, all our efforts were rewarded with our first successful visit to Sandstone Castles.


The entire Richland Creek Wilderness area is awesome but I believe we may have found a place almost as spectacular as Twin Falls.  Plus, this can be appreciated whether the creeks are flowing or not.

Located high on Big Ridge at over 2000′ this bluff line is a nature photographer’s treasure trove. There are  cavernous rooms large enough to shelter a Boy Scout Troop of campers.  There are connecting passageways, naturally carved windows overlooking the Richland Valley, and numerous natural bridges, massive columns and hundreds of yards of etched bluff lines.


Fortunately on the return hike to our car, we found a trail which took us unintentionally across private land.  On my next trip to Sandstone Castles, I plan to seek permission to use this alternate route.  If not, it may be back to briars, brambles, branches and a slow pace.  Regardless, this is one Ozark find, away from the crowds, worth visiting again.

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