Time Passes But Home Has A Way of Finding You
Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin was the beginning. No matter the passing of time or the distance between, home has a way of finding you.
A small town in Wisconsin right on the Mississippi river is where my roots grow deep. Growing up near the river provided a storehouse of memories related to the water. One brilliant summer day our parents took us to a secluded fishing spot along the river. I had to hold my mother’s hand as we gingerly walked the rocky shore to reach our destination. About ten feet from the shore line was a natural pool surrounded on three sides by rocks to sit upon, and that we did! The fishing hole was filled with bright colored sun fish that seemed almost transparent in the sun-drenched pool. With our legs dangling in the water right along with our fishing line, we giggled as the fish nibbled at our bait.
We moved away from the state but I have returned through the years. From the car window the view transforms from the flat fields of Iowa to the rolling hills and bluffs near the river. Crossing over that expansive bridge from Iowa into Wisconsin, takes my breath away every time.
Years after my family relocated to Missouri we discovered Hermann Missouri and when crossing over the Missouri by bridge, the similarities to home resurfaced.
Hermann MO, is a small town nestled alongside the river bluffs of the Missouri River. German settlers brought original grape vines from their homeland, Hermann is wine country. Dozens of wineries draw wine lovers to sample Midwest wines. We had a wonderful time in the charming little village of Hermann, tasting wine and browsing in the quaint shops. The setting of the Circle of Sun series is a fictitious riverside village called White Oak, inspired by the strong and deep impressions of those two places. When writing this scene in Black Inferno, I am picturing home.
“The dogwoods lining Main Street give a formal welcome to those visiting the tiny riverside village of White Oak. Branches of honeysuckle droop over white fences, its scent heady and sweet. German immigrants brought family vines from home, preserving their heritage and spreading the art of wine making. A dozen wineries with acres of vineyards make their home among the rolling hills and valleys along the Missouri River. Tourism bolsters growth in the form of restaurants, coffee shops and bed and breakfasts and unique storefronts filled with local art and old world delicacies.
The restored McCracken House, home to the Chamber of Commerce, sits across the street from Lena’s German Bakery. The aromas of baking savory onion pie and buttery strudel fill the morning air for joggers or dog walkers. The post office, City Hall and a refurbished old theater stand next to Marmaduke’s European Confections. The richness of the roasting coffee beans lead many to the door of Mocha Joe’s and Fireside Books.”
White Oak seems idyllic with church steeples that stand high on the bluffs surrounded by leafy oak and hickory trees, but the little town is anything but sleepy. Secrets lie in the lush rolling vineyards, hidden oak barrels, the Grand Royce Estate and even the quaint Fireside Books. There is something wrong with White Oak’s drinking water, and birds are falling from the dark skies. A darkness has taken root and crawls like ground fog into the lives of the innocent.
Ready to ready my stories? I hope your sofa has a seatbelt!