] Around Columbia: 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mordica Homestead

In a previous post,  July of this year,  I wrote about the Mordecai (anglizied as Mordica) family members buried at the Rocky Fork Primitive Baptist Church.  This time around I am showing pictures of the original Mordecai homestead located north of Columbia off of the Old No. 7 road.

These pictures were taken this summer but I have just now gotten around to publishing the story.  I visited the old home place with my mother, Virginia Perkins, who was born at home in the old house pictured below.  The original homestead sits in a picturesque valley with the home sheltered by hills and ridges overlooking vast rich fields, and with the family cemetery perched overhead overlooking the valley on a high hill. It is overgrown, littered with junk cars and dilapidated out buildings, but still you can tell that at one time this was a handsome place.  You can tell that the location was picked with care.

We were not able to gain access to the original house (cabin?) itself but were allowed to visit the cemetery and traveled back and forth from that location just north of where the  building was located.  The house as been modified and somewhat updated but has been abandoned for years.  Yet, underneath the original structure is still there.  I just learned that the owner of the property has died so we are going to try again to gain access to the old house, and go inside at least to take pictures.  Somebody in the family should buy up this little piece of property which contains so much of the family history.

Here are some pictures of the cemetery as well as the corner markers.  There are stones lying all over the place torn down, neglected, and lying in a field where cows graze.

Grave by a tree.

View from the top of the hill, roughly facing south, where the cemetery is located overlooking the fields where the Mordecai family farmed.  The old house is to the east.

View facing the opposite direction from the above picture.  Facing approximately north with the original house (cabin) to the right - on the east side.
One of the four original boundary, or corner, markers for the cemetery.  Probably made of cast iron.  This particular marker is in the north -west corner of the cemetery.

Here is another view from much further back at approximately where the south-west boundary marker (which is now missing or covered up) was placed. 

Anonymous grave marker.  Maybe there was never a name on this marker but time has certainly reduced it.  There is a slight chance it is a foot marker but that is highly unlikely.

Typical marker.  There are probably many more like this one which are now covered up and hidden from view.

Yet another stone knocked down.

Here is one of the boundary markers on the east side which has been broken off at the base.


This picture is out of sequence since it was taken on the way  up to the cemetery walking in a westerly direction up the hill.  It is included here since it offers a different view of the old house.

  This is the house my mom and most of her brothers and sisters were born in. This was picture was taken coming down off the cemetery hill walking in an easterly direction.

Another view of the house.

Yet another view of the house showing more of the surrounding area.  Facing approximately west with the hill where the cemetery is located obscured from the low angle view from where the picture was taken facing east.
The Mordecai family has been in this area for over 150 years.  This old homestead and what else remains of the family legacy should be preserved.  As of this writing the fate of the old building is unknown and it have already been torn down.

Monday, November 23, 2009

2009 Interfaith Ecumenical Thanksgiving Celebration - Update

Each year the Columbia Interfaith Council has a thanksgiving celebration and I have attended the last three. Here are some pictures from the last one which was held this past Sunday on the Mizzou campus in the Memorial Union. Make sure to check the previous post for the video.

Leaders from the Jewish and Hindu communities.  

Imam Abdullah Smith from the Islamic Center of Central Missouri

 Reader from the local Newman Center.

Pastor of Bethel Church.

Children performing a traditional dance from the Shanthi Mandir Hindu Temple and Community Center of Mid-Missouri.

Representatives from the Baha'i faith.






 This year was probably the biggest and best Thanksgiving interfaith event yet even though there was a holiday parade scheduled downtown at the same exact time.  Representatives from the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Baha'i, and Jewish faith traditions were all present to celebrate together.

Isn't it interesting that when people of faith come together in the same room the differences melt away and the humanity comes forth.  All of us share the same hopes and fears.  We tend to forget that when our sectarian differences, our own woefully inadequate understanding of the divine, gets in the way.  

Interfaith Thanksgiving 2009

I will post more but I wanted to get this video up as soon as possible.  Here is the video for the Interfaith Thanksgiving celebration held on 22 November 2009:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eastgate Plaza at Night

Where else can you get food, liquor, health food with various assorted related sundries, access the services of UPS, and visit heaven?  Nowhere that I know of except the "Eastgate Plaza."  anchored by Eastgate IGA. Located conveniently less than two miles from my home and nearly all of that downhill.

The view facing east from across the street. Eastgate IGA is hidden by the bank disguised as some kind of art display.


Coming into the parking lot a surprise awaits you, and you would think that this surprise was larger and more populated.  Sadly, neither seems to be the case.

Has that sparse "zen" look.

Looking east  from Heaven you see the UPS store.

Sometimes you just can't do another WalMart run and that is when Eastgate shines. Eastgate also does a lot of barbecue and has somewhat of a busy lunchtime clientele. 


Going in.

Coming Out.

Barbecue and Liquor

This Clovers is smaller than the main store but nonetheless a convenient outpost for clean and organic living.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rachel Miller - Child Holocaust Survivor

This is an older story which I did not run because I could not find the photographs. I have nearly thirty thousand digital images and sometimes the pictures get lost.  At any rate,  I apologize for the delay, but it does not diminish the poignancy of the message which was delivered on April 24th of this year. 

Rachel Miller came to share her story as a childhood holocaust survivor speaking at a very full house at the local Hillel center.  We even ran out of chairs!  It was a fascinating, and very different, story than those I have heard before.  I took my youngest daughter, another Rachel, and it was amazing the affinity, and even physical resemblance, that those two had.

Rachel Miller and my own Rachel

Rachel Miller addressing the audience.
 The presentation in progress.
A view of the crowd in the full building.

Here is an excellent video that KETC, in St. Louis, ran about her story.  God bless you Rachel Miller and thanks for sharing your story:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Kosher In Columbia Revisited

Back in August I ran another story on keeping kosher in Columbia.  Fortunately it continues to get easier all the time and I have even found several new sources of kosher food such as World Harvest which sells otherwise impossible to find kosher canned beans.

Last weekend we attended a bat mitzvah celebration in St. Louis and on Sunday we went to Kohn's Kosher Market to replenish our meat supply.  Meat is the only thing you really cannot get here.  The last post on this topic showed a shipment we had just received by Federal Express, and we had pretty much gone through most of it.   This time we were in St. Louis anyway and saved a lot of money by picking it up at the store in person.   While there we had a great lunch and I was particularly pleased with the buffet which I had never had before. So, here are some pictures from that trip.

Now here is a question though.  When are we going to get a Chabad House?


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ron Taylor Project: The Last Assignment

NOTE:  This project has been moved to it's own web site:  http://thelastassignment.blogspot.com/
In my other blog I talk about having only had about six real teachers in over 20 years of formal education.  I am talking about people who's primary responsibility was to impart some kind of wisdom or knowledge into me.  Of course other people took a crack at it but not as professionals.

Ron Taylor was one of those teachers.  This fall reminded me of something he said to me years ago.  After class Ron would hang around campus and sort of get wistful about things and I loved to talk with him then.  Like me he loved the campus, the idea and beauty of it, during the slow times when everyone else had pretty much gone home.  It is an awesome experience to have a whole campus to yourself!   It was a fall afternoon, around this time of year, when he had me come out to the front of St. Clair at Columbia College.  He told me that somebody should come to that spot at the same time every week and take a picture of the trees.  He thought it was worthwhile to capture the seasonal changes.  Well, that was years ago but last week I remembered.  At around 3 p.m. on a Wednesday I went out and took a picture.  It is my last assignment from Ron.

Every week for a year I am going to go to the same spot at 3 p.m. on Wednesday and take a picture of the general area Dr. Taylor indicated.  If I cannot be there at that exact time I will do it the day before or the day after, or perhaps have someone else do it for me.  I hope to use the same camera as well (my Lumix  with  Leica lens - a great pocket camera).

Here are the first two pictures.  I will add pictures to this project every week or so until next year at this time. 

Week One:  Taken on 14 October 2009 at 3 p.m.

Week Two:  Taken on 20 October 2009 at 2 p.m.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

FFA Community Service Challenge: Adopt A Spot for Missorui Cancer Associates

On Saturday (17 October 2009), high school students in  FFA (Future Farmers of America) from North Shelby and Chillicothe high schools volunteered their time here in Columbia.  The location for their community service project was a traffic island they landscaped at the intersection of Broadway and Old 63.

 This specific project was a community service challenge for Missouri Cancer Associates and was supervised by master gardener Carolyn Oates:

Carolyn explained the requirements for a master gardener.  Locally master gardeners must take a class from the University of Missouri Master Gardener Extension program, and then volunteer 30 hours the first year and 20 hours for subsequent years. Master gardeners must also continue with six hours of ongoing education per year.  The University of Missouri has an outstanding Master Gardener Extension program with a very informative web site where you can go to get more information. 


This statement about the Master Gardener program is from the American Horticultural Society web page:
The Master Gardener program, conducted throughout the United States and Canada, is a two-part educational effort, in which avid gardeners are provided many hours of intense home horticulture training, and in return they "pay back" local university extension agents through volunteerism. Master Gardeners assist with garden lectures, exhibits, demonstrations, school and community gardening, phone diagnostic service, research, and many other projects.

In the future I plan on doing a related story on community gardens.

There is increasing concern with our food supply and an increasing interest in urban gardening.  There are highly productive, and efficient, methods for growing produce in urban settings and I predict that will continue to be a growing trend.  Newer methods of cultivation, like the square foot system are boosting productivity while cutting down on the need for harmful chemicals.  I would like to see more young people involved with the FFA which not just about traditional farming but also about agriculture education in general.  How about FFA groups for urban high schools with a focus on urban gardening?

I drove by a couple of days later and took a picture of the completed project.  Looks pretty good: