Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tresspassers will be Shot

While hiking to an ancient burial mound on the Wabash I came across this sign. Should I be a wimp and turn around or throw caution to the wind and press onward? Stay tuned to see how this one ends.

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A halloween visit to Betsey Reed

As is my morbid custom... I made my annual trip to Betsey Reed's grave sight in Baker Cemetery on Halloween day. The cemetery is posted, stating no visitors are allowed between dusk and dawn. This only encourages teenagers to jump through another forbidden hoop to visit the infamous murderess beneath the cloak of darkness as the bewitching approaches. As a law abiding citizen I now only visit during the day. From experience, I can testify that it's way to spooky at night.
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More E.C.

"EC" attends black-tie gala for Halloween and now sees himself as the newest member of the "Rat Pack." When informed that all of the members of the "Rat Pack" are dead, "E.C." reminds us that he isn't using all that much oxygen himself.

Friday, October 31, 2008

E.C. has picked up some bad habits

During a recent trip to North Carolina, my Uncle Earl honored me by presenting me his prize possession. Earl bagged this 12 point buck in November of 1983 and until recently it had been displayed in a place of honor at his home. Times change and so did my aunt's decorating taste and poor "E.C." was relegated to stand guard in their garage. I agreed to take "E.C. and display him in a more prominent location. After finding a place of honor at the Bowling Alley, "E.C." stood proud like the noble beast he is, but alas, life in the fast lane has taken a tole on our hero.
The above picture was taken after a late night of cosmic bowling. Let's hope that "E.C.'s" new-found popularity doesn't go to his head.
We'll have to wait and see...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Nana Jin

She spoiled me rotten
and kissed me lots
and took me here and there
Dime stores
Ice cream cones
and movie shows
with all her love to share.

Whether she was hotter than ackafartus
or colder than Billy B. Damned
She would flash that smile
and crack a joke
as only a Nana Jin can.

She lived her days
with the heart of a child
harmless as a dove
The gift she gave
I'll treasure the most...
She taught me how to love.

Some are born
for fame and fortune
Some to lose or win
but Jinny Weber was born to laugh
and love as Nana Jin.

Five foot two
Eyes of Blue
Has anybody seen my gal...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Make a memory today...

One of my favorite places on earth is Starved Rock above the Illinois River. Recently I was driving near the park and realized I hadn't climbed the rock in twenty years and decided to take advantage of the opportunity. It seemed taller and took a little longer to reach the top than I remembered, but as you can from the picture, it was worth the effort.
The island you see was the sight of a battle which takes place in my new book Wa-ba-shik-ki.
I'm glad I took time out to climb the the top of the "mountain". As I grow older I become aware of the lost opportunities to make new memories and have vowed to live my life to the fullest. Life is a gift. We should all celebrate every breath we take.
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Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Little Gallows Humor

As you all know Betsey Reed was the first and last woman ever to be hung in the state of Illinois.
The last man to be hung was the notorious southern Illinois gangster, Charlie Birger.
Ol' Charlie got away with murder several times, but, on this occasion he wasn't so lucky. He was tried for the murder of Joe Adam, mayor of West City Illinois. He turned himself in without a fight, but soon regretted the decision as he was tried in Benton in Franklin County. (It was a county he didn't control.)
If you look at the picture above, you can guess what the outcome of the trial was. Thousands of people turned out for the hanging. It was the second largest public gathering in southern Illinois history.
The largest gathering was... The Hanging of Betsey Reed.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The reason I find gray hairs on my head

I found this picture of my son Ben, which was taken five years ago. This was the beginning of his artistic impressionism period which he has failed to outgrow as of this writing.

I have always tried to be supportive of Ben as he finds ways to creatively express himself.

Using his hair as a canvas manages to add more gray to my canvas.

When you see Ben... remind him how handsome he is when he accidentally dyes his hair his natural color.

If he doesn't stop...It could be "Grecian Formula" time for me.

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Words to live by...

In a hundred years... who'll give a damn?

John Berry Farmer (Poppy John) circa 1967

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Grandfather of the Year

Recently I had the privilege of hosting my 18 month old granddaughter, Luca for ten days. After several hours of wearing Grandpa Rick out I found out she liked riding around in the back of my jeep with the top down. This was the only way I could get any rest during the daylight hours.

This is a photo of Luca at 55mph somewhere in beautiful Honey Creek Township.

500 miles and we never left the county...

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Jay's Boat

A picture paints a thousand words... This is my nephew Jay sailing his skiff that he built with his own two hands near his home on the barrier islands in North Carolina. Jay has matured into an outstanding young man and has made his Uncle Rick proud.
I only hope to get the chance to sail with him some day.
Semper Fi Jay,
Uncle Rick

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Hanging of Betsey Reed
By Rick Kelsheimer

A book review by Tom Frew

In mid January the author dropped by the SCHS and presented us with a copy of his book and our esteemed President asked me to read and comment on it, so here is my review.
First of all this is a historically accurate book, and chronicles the events leading up to the trial and hanging of Elizabeth Reed in Lawrenceville, Ill on the 23rd of May, 1845, for the poisoning of her husband. She was the only woman publicly hanged in Ill. And all the events took place within just a few miles of where we now live.
The author takes literary license to make the story real! As with other historical novels before him he puts the reader into the life and times of the characters. Mr. Kelsheimer has invented several of the people, who populate his book, but only one is of any consequence and that is the narrator of the story. I found the character of Nathan Crockett so real, that I wanted to look him up and see what became of him. All of the locations are like old friends to most of us, from Merom and Hutsonville to Palestine where most of the story takes place. You feel like you are walking along the same roads with these people of the 1840s, stumbling over the same rocks. You can see in your mind the events, and as I did, you must make up your own mind as to the guilt or innocence of Betsey Reed. All in all I truly enjoyed this book and hope to reed Rick’s next book soon

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Remembering J.D.

J.D. Kelsheimer (May 4, 1962- July 14 2008)

It's hard to believe my little brother isn't around to get me in trouble anymore. The last conversation I had with him was a little over a month ago and he talked about going on an adventure together. He didn't care about the "whys" and "hows". It was just another memory for the scrapbook in his mind. That was the kind of reasoning that got us both grounded for most of our adolescence. Even though it was usually his idea, I usually got stuck holding the bag because I was the oldest and should have known better. The only time I got the better of him was when I talked him into jumping off of the roof while I did a drum roll. (Just like they do at the circus.) He ended up in a cast with a broken foot and I had to wait on him all summer long.
There wasn't a pond, creek, or mud hole within three miles of our home that we didn't sample at least once. We'd come home covered in mud, leaches, and cockle burrs, but we didn't care. Everything was an adventure. We fought like cats and dogs and then made up to look for more trouble. We raced and wrecked bikes, go karts and motorcycles by the score and caught fish by the hundreds. We played baseball, basketball, and football for hours until it finally became too dark to see. We pretended that I was Tom Sawyer and he was Huck Finn. I'll miss my partner in crime.

J.D. lived his life as one big adventure... we should all do the same.

Godspeed little brother


Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Casket Racer for the Betsey Reed Festival

This was by far the fastest casket racer at this year's Betsey Reed Festival, but unfortunately another pine box had much faster pushers than my team. In the immortal words of the most optimistic Cub fan. "Wait til next year"
The cool paint job was courtesy of my son Ben.
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Words to live by...

It is better to seep than to blow.

Rick will be speaking in Sullivan Indiana on July 20th

Just a note to let you know that I'll be speaking at the Sullivan County Historical Society on Sunday afternoon at 2pm. The topic will be The Hanging of Betsey Reed, but I will also be discussing My new book, Wa-ba-shik-ki which should be released in late September. Hope to see you there. The museum is on the west side of the square. Admission is free.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Words to live by

When the sun goes down...It's going to get dark.

It's all long as it isn't bad.

All good trilogies come in threes.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

On sacred waters, shining white
my lover waits night
She spies the moon
and pleas for me
carry him home

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Breaking up is hard to do

As I end Wa-ba-shik-ki, I find it hard to say goodbye to the characters that have lived in my mind for the past year. They have been good company, often misbehaving, not following their plotted lives, struggling always to travel their own path. Most have made it to the end, but one will go to his great reward before the story ends, alas he was a troubled soul and will soon be at peace. It will be a quick and merciful death; I promise. I should be finished with the book by the first of May as the editing process is already beginning I fear I have not done my characters justice. I beg their forgiveness. Look for Wa- ba-shik-ki around Labor Day.