Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!
The Texas heat is still here (it will feel like 105 tomorrow), but at least we don’t have the storms that seem to be hitting the Midwest.
The last of the Family Fest revelers will be leaving tomorrow at 9 a.m.
We are here through July 11th and I have a desire to dine at the Roaring Fork at least once before we go back to the Midwest.
Beyond that, our euchre club meets on Wednesdays and that might beckon tomorrow.
The last 5 days have been very hot, but very event-filled. Kudos to the son and daughter-in-law, who put it all together.
I began doing some research on the driver’s license renewal laws for Illinois versus Iowa versus Texas. There is no real reason for this, other than I will have to renew mine in 2024 (I renewed it last year) and I was curious. Perhaps you will find this as interesting as I did.
Illinois: In Illinois, if you are past 75, you have to drive with the driver’s license examiner in the car and you only get a license for 2 years. Naturally, vision tests and insurance proof are required. I also would mention that the minimum wage in Illinois is $12.00.
Iowa: In Iowa—where the minimum wage is $7.25, just what it was when I owned 2 busineses back in the 80s, 90s and through 2003—you get a 2-year license, but you have to show up in person and take a vision screening (and, sometimes, a written test). You do not have to drive with the examiner every time.
Texas: In Texas, between the ages of 79 and 85 you get a 6-year license. You can renew it online. There may be a vision screening/written test, but there is no driving with the examiner requirement. The minimum wage is $7.25. So now you know.
Connie, Stacey, Craig and (nephew) Michael Wilson at the outdoor Armadillo Bar in Austin, Texas, on July 3, 2022.
Front row: Stacey Wilson, Ava Wilson, Elise Wilson ad Aaron Eddy (in glasses). Rachel (girlfriend) and Michael Wilson (full beard). Jessica Wilson in center, wearing hat. Owen Castelein (9 years old) next to his father Chris Castelein (my nephew on the Corcoran side). Scott Wilson with hand up (the host); Hannah Wilson Poffenbarger (glasses on head in center). Megan Wilson Eddy with baby Winnie; Matt Wilson and Mark Wilson; Regina Wilson Nelson; Samantha Liss Wilson (back right, mouth open, hat on head). Sophia Castelein, daughter of Chris (above Jess’s hat). Standing on steps to pool: Craig and Connie Wilson. Standing, clothed, by pool’s edge: Steve Nelson.
Celebrants traveled from Denver, St. Louis, Nashville, the IA/IL Quad Cities, and from the local neighborhood of Austin, Texas, to add up to, at times, a total of close to 30 Wilsons and friends, celebrating the Fourth of July with delicious home-cooked brisket, ribs, sausage and side dishes with an active slate of competitions, including bags tournaments, a new Skip-and-Toss in-pool game, pool volleyball, foosball, and (at a nearby Armadillo Garden bar night), a game involving hooking a metal loop onto a hook.
The temperatures were near 100 degrees and that sounds as though it stretched across the U.S., as friends I spoke with in Des Moines and Minneapolis were complaining about the excessive heat, as well.
Big debts of gratitude are owed the host and hostess of the event, Scott and Jessica Wilson, who had 13 people sleeping at their house at one point. My small ranch hosted two of the guests, and a For-Rent-By-Owner house with 3 bedrooms housed most of the 8 people from St. Louis who flew in.
Along with the back yard festivities a water park and a go-kart track have been scheduled into the mix and, in other years, we rented a traveling bar and peddled it around town, took the Austin bat cruise at night, and rented a pontoon boat for floating on a nearby lake. All-in-all, it sounds like a massive undertaking to bring all the elements to fruition at the right time and in the right sequence, and when you add in at least 6 school-age children of various ages and an 11-month old baby about to turn one on August 23rd, satisfying everyone’s expectations for the holiday is quite a chore.
In a previous pre-pandemic year the fireworks, visible from the house driveway, were spectacular, but the dry conditions existing in this area now brought many words of caution regarding the locals setting off fireworks. While we could hear fireworks, we really couldn’t see that many and ended up watching fireworks mostly on television.
Daughter Stacey; Granddaughters Elise (with baby Winnie) and Ava Wilson.
The news of the Highland Park Massacre of spectators at a Fourth of July parade in their downtown area was a constant background noise. We held this event—mostly outdoors—during the pandemic and barely left the house that year. With the violence in this country extending to malls, houses of worship, concerts, parades and other gatherings, one wonders if staying away from crowds at all times is going to become de rigeur The first thing I said to my husband after the Highland Park massacre was that my literary agent lives in nearby Deerfield and that the towns, like Skokie, Illinois, have a sizable Jewish population. I wondered if this kind of hate crime was a factor?
Just a moment ago, on CNN, a local rabbi appeared, supposedly to share an encounter he had had with the shooter in the months before the cowardly attack, but the rabbi, Rabbi Yosef Schanowitz had been told not to talk about his April encounter with the accused shooter. It’s a sad commentary that this rabbi sketched how his religious group has to have armed guards (off duty policemen) and other synagogue members who are legally armed to protect worshipers in America from violence.
Those who know the history of the Holocaust know that Hitler made the Jews and gypsies the whipping boys and girls for his subsequent crimes and it is tragic to think that people who merely want to pray have to be protected against acts of random violence.
Cousins Chris Castelein (Hiawatha, IA), and host Scott Wilson (Brodie Springs, Austin, Tx). Chris and Scott were college roomnates and Chris was Best Man in Scott’s wedding 20 years ago.
Although this event injected a note of extreme sadness into the otherwise joyous weekend, this event in the very community where the films “Risky Business,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and “Home Alone” were filmed will remain linked with this year’s Family Fest.
This one is in the books and hats off to the Chief Organizers (Scott & Jessica) who put up with the presence of 21 family members, plus others, for periods of up to a week. Most began drifting out on the actual Fourth of July and the remnants of the party group, with the exception of Yours Truly, who will be here until July 11th have now properly celebrated our nation’s birthday. Since we’re in Texas and one never knows what the Texans will want to do about remaining in the United States (of America), this is one for the books and here is an Emily Dickinson quote that seems appropriate.
The Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum in the distance.
We begin the journey to the Family Fest in Austin, Texas, at 10:30 p.m. tonight.
We will leave for Midway at 6:45 p.m. because the reports say this is going to be “the busiest travel day of the year.” We are not sure why this day would beat Christmas or Thanksgiving or any of the bigger holidays, but we are aware that we may end up right back here, enjoying the view from my condo and sleeping here, if something goes awry.
Meanwhile, the temperature here has dropped slightly into the eighties, while the temperature in Austin has not. We hope it doesn’t rain, as that appears to be a possibility for tomorrow, Friday, July 1st, my sister’s birthday.
Twenty-two out-of-towners are making the trip and some of the locals will join us, so it should be a good time—if we all make it. I will have all bedrooms at my house full and, since it is a winter home, we are hoping that we have enough sheets for the blow-up queen-sized bed. (The king-sized guest bedroom is good to go.)
Cities represented will include St. Louis, Denver, Nashville, Moline, East Moline, Hiawatha (IA) and the Austin locals.