A day in the life

A day in the life in Galena, Illinois: After a full morning at home of straightening up and violin practice, I dropped off a check at an estate sale, where two days earlier the management gave me an IOU since I didn’t have cash or checks. They let my daughter and I go home on Thursday on our honor with a tree house lamp with bunnies, a crock and yarn needles (because we need all of those things).

At the sale, I bumped into Ann, a friend of my mom’s. After a big hug, I said, “Aren’t you with my mom today?” “Hey shorty!” Ann called around the corner. And there was my mom! We pecked around the sale a bit, and then carvanned around the corner to Stephanie O’Shaughnessy’s as part of my traditional homage to the Twenty Dirty Hands Self Guided Pottery Tour. I found a small orange bowl with swirling spirals that sang to me.

From there, I was off to work at the Stillman Mansion, which was also my office as marketing director for the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum. There, I met weavers, blacksmiths, and historians showcasing artifacts from the 1600s as part of The Other Side of the Anvil: Blacksmithing and Music Fest. I listened to live music while I interviewed a woman who tried out blacksmithing. I talked with an expert weaver as she pedalled a spinning wheel. Even though it rained, I didn’t mind at all.

I arrived home soaking wet to a house full of my in-laws. The group had already been to the Anvil and was keen on Twenty Dirty Hands.


So we all walked about four blocks past historic homes and miners’ cottages on our right and left, some of which are the homes of old friends. I shared historic factoids and random memories of my own as we walked on hilly crooked sidewalks and along stone walls to Stephanie’s. While eyeing her personal collection of pottery, my daughter pointed out a cup by Doug Reynolds.

Stephanie pulled it from her shelf, showed it to my daughter and enchanted our little girl by gently pointing out the designs. Stephanie walked away, and quietly said to us, “I want her to have it.” My heart!!! As she handed the cup to us, Stephanie wholeheartedly said to us: “Thank you.”

This cup already has a very special home. I felt like I was moving “Starry Night” from its wall as my six-year-old daughter and I moved the cup together to its new home in our kitchen window. “Don’t drop it, don’t drop it, don’t drop it!” I said to myself.

At dusk, we walked our family to the stairs next to the Lamberson Guest House, which sits on a hill above the steeples, to show them the way to Main Street. A smoldering cauldron surrounded by witches on the Lamberson lawn cascaded fog down the hill as street lights twinkled and our family trekked down steep stairs. Most of the group dispersed to the shops. My husband, daughter and I hiked to the Market House Restaurant, where the servers must be doused with fairy dust. Their kindness to us and attention to our daughter was also overwhelming.

Julie, a former coworker from the Galena Gazette, stopped by our table to say hello. We ate fried pickles, soup, sandwiches, and four fruit pie a la mode.

Thankfully, we had to walk off dinner. We headed up the hill, warmed up, and now… the house is silent, except for a ticking clock.

I honestly don’t know what else to do other than bask in this wonderful rainy day.

–October 19, 2019

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