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Well, I’m back after about a month of thinking about what I wanted to do with the blog.  I kept going back and forth in my mind as to whether to continue with the blog or move on and I decided to do both.  I am continuing the Decatur Navigator and working on a new blog, which I’ll be sharing soon.

For quite a while, I wanted a blog that wasn’t tied to Decatur specifically because I have so many other interests that never seemed to quite fit in with the Decatur theme.  It was difficult to target a specific readership without a clear focus.

Mostly, I brought the blog back because I think there is a need in the community for alternative viewpoints to be expressed and discussed.

Unfortunately, when I backed up the site before taking it offline, I failed to backup the last year and a half of posts! I could kick myself for that.  I still need to upload a boatload of photos too.  Many of the posts are missing them and I’ll try to get that fixed.

Right now the blog is very minimalistic and I’ll probably be keeping it that way.  I’ll also be allowing comments again.  A few years ago I turned off commenting because of all the spam that I grew tired of seeing in my mailbox.  Hopefully, a better commenting system will alleviate that.  We’ll see.

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I admit I’m kind of an old fuddy dud when it comes to the Decatur Celebration.  I generally only go during daylight hours, or early evening, for food and crafts.  I don’t drink alcohol or hang with those that do drink in excess. And after all these year, I have yet to go to the Celebration for the sole purpose of watching a music concert, but that may change tomorrow night, when I plan to brave the crowds for Joan Jett.  I’m not a huge fan but I just don’t want to be forever coined a “fuddy dud”.  I’m way too cool for that.

Anyway, my family went to watch the parade this morning. It was good.  It just needs the Budweiser Clydesdales and more bagpipes, (never have too many of those!) but other than that it was enjoyable.

It’s always nice to see veterans marching or riding on floats, though every year there are less and less.  On one hand that’s a good thing because that means we haven’t had any major wars in several years, involving hundreds of thousands of troops; on the other hand, it’s sad because we’ve lost much of the Greatest Generation.  It was great that so many people still clapped and honored the Korean War veterans as they went past, however.


It’s also great that there are still men and women who know how to play bagpipes.  I have a soft spot in my heart for them, being that a big part of my ancestry is Scottish.


Some more parade pics:

St. Mary’s hospital did a great job with the balloons.


The weather was terrific and the crowd was large.


And this is what puts food on my family’s table and the reason my parents moved to Decatur in the 1960s:


After the parade, it was time to eat.  Most of the food is high calorie, high fat and high cholesterol, but for one day, or possibly three, nobody cares!  Here is the steak and cheese sandwich I had. It was pretty good. I’d rate it a 3.5 on 5-point scale.  It didn’t knock my socks off.  Of course, I wasn’t wearing any but…


I also nearly ate an entire funnel cake by myself, without one ounce of guilt in my mind, even though there will be 3 pounds of fat on my thighs later.  I’d rate it a 5!  I know it isn’t exotic or new like deep-fried pumpkin pie or glow-in-the-dark cheesecake on a flaming stick, but sometimes, oldies but goodies are still just as good!


Last year I was disappointed because I didn’t find one necklace that turned me on.  You probably should know that I have a thing for necklaces.  It’s unhealthy, possibly, but I limit myself each year to only a few purchases at the various festivals we attend.  This year I wasn’t disappointed.


I bought this turtle necklace plus two others. (You’ll have to excuse my fingernails.  I’ve been doing a landscaping project in my yard all week.)  Anyway, I love it!  The necklace, not my fingernails.


You can find more necklaces like this, plus several other styles on East Prairie, or after the Celebration, online at: or visit the Facebook page at

I love promoting fellow craftspeople.  One of these days, I’d love to have a booth at Clinton’s Apple & Pork Festival again for my stained glass.  I did well and it was fun, probably because I did well. 🙂  It’s also a lot of work and artists are exposing a bit of their soul in each of their creations. It’s hard not to take rejection personally.  I know what it’s like to be in their shoes, so I try to support them as much as I can.

I don’t have any saucy, gritty stories to tell from the Decatur Celebration.  I know many people think it’s one gang rape after another, and mass shootings occur every night but frankly, much of Decatur Celebration is just people eating too much and buying turtle necklaces.  After tomorrow night, however, maybe I’ll have something different to share – hopefully nothing violence related.


Well, I tried to go to a concert Sunday evening but I couldn’t find a parking spot within a mile of downtown, so I have still yet to see an entire concert at the Decatur Celebration.  Maybe next year!


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Through a Facebook group for my neighborhood in Decatur, people who had moved away frequently ask how things look today.  Some have been gone for more than 20 years but still have a deep attachment to the neighborhood they grew up in.  Though I didn’t grow up in the Ravina Park neighborhood, I have lived in it for almost 20 years, and I know what it is like to have fond memories of those places that were once all the world you knew and cared about.

Everyone agrees it’s a great neighborhood to live in. The only thing I keep lobbying for is a neighborhood pool/rec center.  By the way, Home Park used to have a pool.  I didn’t know that until a few years ago.  I’ve learned some interesting tidbits of history about my neighborhood from those who grew up in it.  I guess there used to be a crazy bull that chased people when some of the roads were just dirt paths, and part of the neighborhood is built upon an old landfill.  I would have never known!  Just as long as my house isn’t built upon an ancient burial ground, I’m okay, though it would explain some things…

This is the main entrance into the neighborhood on Ravina Park Road and I enjoy the view every time I drive it.  I would only advise to watch out for deer in this area.  I have seen many dart in front of cars, including my own.


This is near Ben Franklin Elementary School where Summit Avenue turns into Westlawn Ave.  This is close to my house and a favorite escape route to rural areas and leads to the back way to the mall, eventually.


Below is Carson’s Crossing, the bridge spanning Stevens Creek, on Westlawn.  If somebody could tell me the history behind the Carson’s Crossing name, I’d love to hear it.  I have no idea why it is named Carson’s Crossing.


Below is the bike path near Carson’s Crossing off of Westlawn.


Here are a couple photos of the same bike path off of Center Street.




Below is a picturesque farm off of Center Street that I greatly admire.  The house is beautiful and I believe one of, if not the oldest, houses in Macon County.  The house isn’t pictured here but it’s gorgeous. The Ravina/Home Park neighborhood is surrounded by beautiful rural areas, woods, and even a little bit of history.


Below is the site of Macon County’s first homestead off of Center Street.  The Stevens family owned it and I’m assuming that’s how Stevens Creek got its’ name.  There is a historical marker on it to read.


Below:  One of the ponds in the neighborhood off of Summit and Harrison not far from my house.  Today was the first time I had visited it.  I wasn’t sure if there was public access to it, so I had never tried before.  I didn’t find any public access but I got some pictures anyway!  I’ve seen kids with fishing poles walking to it, so the neighborhood can use it.  It’s a catch and release pond.



Another view of the pond.


Below is a typical street you’ll find in the Home Park neighborhood and where I’ve always taken my kids Trick-or-Treating because there’s more younger families there, than in my area.  The Ravina Park neighborhood is older and a lot of the houses are smaller and in need of some curb appeal. Actually I’m a Ravina Parker, not a Home Parker but everybody calls the entire area Home Park, even though Ravina Park was there first.  Go figure!


A big part of many people’s memories of the neighborhood is MacArthur High School.  It is currently being completely renovated and I’ll share photos as it progresses, including the inside.


Here is a view of Home Park Road.  It’s a hilly street in dire need of sidewalks.  I don’t know why sidewalks weren’t put into so many neighborhood plans in Decatur.  I guess when they were built, the city figured nobody would ever walk or ride a bike again.  I think they were almost right, considering how fat most of us are. 🙂  Ravina Park Road does have sidewalks though and they are used by many evening strollers.


Well, that was just a little bit of what is in my neighborhood and if anyone has history about the area, I would love to hear and share it.


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I was contacted a few weeks ago to give my aha moment on video but wasn’t able to make it to the recording session earlier this week.  I wanted to say thank you to the organizers for asking me to share my aha moment.  When I was contacted, I wasn’t sure what I would give as my particular aha moment.  There have been several moments when I realized something profound or my life changed drastically by meeting someone new, or losing someone who meant the world to me, but everybody goes through those things.

Just because everyone experiences many of the same life-changing moments doesn’t make them any less profound but I wanted to share something more unique to my situation. I had to really think about what change in my life… really changed my life.

I’ve been a business owner in the past and did quite well. If I stayed on that path, I’d probably be a wealthy person right now, instead of mowing people’s lawns while going to college full-time in my 40s.  I thought my business was going to be my life.  I had lots of business ideas and even served on an advisory committee for a Fortune 500 company in software development but something changed when I began blogging.  I was introduced to the community I lived in really for the first time.  I was introduced to issues that mattered to more than just myself.

I knew some business people in town, for better or worse, but I had never paid attention to the city council or any other local governing unit.  In a short amount of time, my interest in the business world disappeared and my interest in doing something more meaningful with my life grew in its’ place.

Now I’m going to school and studying environmental science and natural resource management.  There’s not many things more profound than protecting the Earth and the life it sustains.  After all, everything else is kind of a moot point, if we destroy our planet.

So I guess my aha moment is right here on this blog.  It changed my life.  I’m a lot poorer at the moment financially but not in any other way.  It’s been a bridge back to childhood memories that I treasure and a place to escape the madness life can be.  It’s been good to me so far.







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A few days ago I wrote about an old Decatur-themed board game from 1982 that I found at an antique store.  It was hard not to notice how many of the businesses featured on it are no longer in Decatur, and it didn’t even begin to list all the ones that are gone.  However, I’ve noticed quite a few new buildings popping up in Decatur and thought I’d take note of them because it’s been a long time coming to see any new development in town.

girl scouts decatur

Since the Girl Scouts have taken over the former WSOY/Y103 building on East Pershing Road quite a few other new offices buildings have been constructed nearby.


Above:  New doctor’s office.


Pella Windows & Doors on E. Pershing.


Next to Pella Windows is a new bank on E. Pershing that is still under construction. I’m not sure what bank branch it’s going to be but it looks like a bank to me.  Speaking of banks, well credit unions to be more exact…

staleys credit union full

The new Staley’s Credit Union branch on the corner of Eldorado and well I’m not sure what the other road is, turned out great. Though the building is small, there is some really nice architectural details.

staleys credit union front

Below: The building even has a chain gutter waterfall downspout thing.  I don’t know what these particular things are called either but they’re cool!

staleys credit union

It’s not just commercial buildings that are changing the look of Decatur but its two public high schools.  Eisenhower isn’t even recognizable to those who knew its’ former look, which wasn’t all that appealing.

eisenhower high school

I’ll have to head over and get a picture or two of MacArthur High School.  The renovation isn’t yet complete but it is coming along, so pictures to come.

GW Plaza on the corner of Water & Grand is finished and looking good.  There are still some empty spaces available for rent but it’s a high-traffic location, so hopefully they’ll be filled soon.  I’m just thrilled to see investment in Decatur’s inner-city.

GW Plaza

Speaking of inner-city development, as I was traveling from Eisenhower to Eldorado I noticed this new building – Baloo’s BBQ on Jasper Street.  I hadn’t seen it before, since I don’t travel this way too often.  I’ll have to try it out.

baloos bbq decatur

County Market on the corner of Grand and 48 is coming along.  It sits across from a Speed Lube and a Walgreen’s.  I am noticing a pattern with the new development in town.  Wherever a new Walgreen’s locates, new businesses follow, and a Speed Lube is usually nearby as well.

county market grand

Speaking of Speed Lube, they really do a great job landscaping and beautifying their properties.  It just goes to show that any business, providing any service, can have a positive impact in their area.  I need to get better pictures of their landscaping on Eldorado. This one doesn’t show how many plants and flowers they’ve planted.

speedlube eldorado

But here are some of the flowers at the Speed Lube on the the corner of Grand and 48.

speedlube grand

I have to say that Eldorado Street is beginning to look much, much better. It didn’t look good in 1982 either, or in 1922, for that matter, from old photographs I’ve seen.  It’s nice to see the improvements, especially since it’s a major road in town.

dollar general eldorado

Jeesh, I’m really bad with names because I know this area has one. Anyway, it’s on Oakland near Millikin University.  Cherry Berry and Headwest Subs are just a couple of the new businesses in the area.  I still haven’t tried University Dogs yet but I’ve heard it’s good.

oakland shops

university dogs decatur

Even the WINeRY or WINErY has had a facelift.  I can’t remember which letter was lowercase but it always irked me.  I’m just waiting for the new sign to see what it looks like!


I’ve driven by this area dozens of times but it never sunk in that there’s a Garcia’s Pizza located there.  I’ve looked at the building and read the sign but the information just bounced off of my brain and reflected into space apparently, until I took a picture of it.

garcias pizza decatur

And, drumroll please, it’s almost finished!  There are critters in the new mini-golf course FINALLY! It’s finally going to open this month.

overlook zebra

Anyway, it’s great to see new things coming to Decatur and even old businesses improving their properties.  No they don’t replace everything we’ve lost since 1982 but we’re moving in the right direction, little by little.




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