Monday, November 26, 2012

What Would Willie Say!?

I just finished reading the memoirs of Wm. C. McChord, the man who built the Little Red Hen Cafe... actually, he had no idea it would ever become a cafe!

He built his law offices there, and shortly afterwards, the home we have made into a B&B and named the "Cinnamon House," 202 Lincoln Park Road. Of course, it will also always be "The McChord Place.'

We received a copy of Mr. McChord's memoirs when we took possession of the house, and I recall being a bit intimidated, since he had been such a prominent citizen of Springfield, a descendant of the founder of both Elizabethtown and Bardstown, and also the man responsible for bringing the railroad line to Springfield.  The photo above shows the L&R train when it was on a turntable in Springfield.
But I should have read the book earlier, because through the stories I got to know the boy Willie. He was born in 1850, and his life spanned slavery, the Civil War, World War I, the arrival of plumbing and electricity (our house was the first in Springfield to be constructed with these) and the automobile and telephone.

He didn't build the house downtown until 1902, when his 3 sons and one daughter (another son died at age 13 months) were grown. Even so, the boys never married and the youngest lived in the house and practiced law in the offices that are now the "Hen," staying on until he died at age 93! The house has only been owned by three families prior to ours. Upstairs is a big open room that was built as a ballroom.
This is one of Mr. McChord's sons, the one that went to VMI and was named after his father. I am going to imagine that Willie looked like this when he was young. He was a bit of a rapscallion! He never paid any attention in school, and had to drop out when he was 14 and his parents lost everything during the Civil War. He only became a lawyer by sheer gumption and perseverance. I'll share some more of Willie's stories as I go along, but right now, I am just having fun imagining him and how he might react to what's become of his town house and law offices. He had a good sense of fun and humor, so I think he'd enjoy it.
The Cinnamon House will be open this Saturday as part of a Christmas Tour sponsored by the Historical Society. Hours are 1-5 and there are several locations on the tour... there is a suggested donation of $10.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

FUNKY Chicken

This is the time of year when many of us get funky.

Call it the doldrums, winter blahs, or just plain old seasonal affective disorder, it hits when the days grow short and the skies darken, and sometimes sticks around until Spring.

For me, mild to moderate depression in its many forms has been a curse throughout life; even though I am an optimistic person who loves life and tends to think positive, those things don't matter when my bio-chemistry decides to go awry. Things look bleak and days can be very challenging.

I've learned a lot over the years about depression. It can affect anyone, even upbeat, happy people, people who have a lot of faith, people who have friends, rich people, successful people! Like addiction or asthma or diabetes, it's an illness that is largely beyond our control.

That said, there are many things those of who have either depression or mood swings can do make life easier and less unpredictable. Whether you use medication is a personal choice, but it is always helpful to eat a balanced diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.

It also helps to keep life simple and wholesome, honest and real. That's why I started the Little Red Hen Cafe, and those are some of the values that are behind it! Hey, you can walk over to the cafe and get that exercise in, too!

Meanwhile, if you are doing the Funky Chicken this winter... you aren't alone!

Monday, November 5, 2012

SUGAR! and other scary things

 Thank heavens that is over! Actually, Seth had a wonderful Halloween in Springfield, and so did we!

That's not our pile of candy.. just an image I found online! But, we are lucky. Our adoptive son Seth doesn't ask for candy, and, although he will consume sugar when it's given to him, we've found that since we don't keep it around and don't serve it (no soft drinks, no sugary desserts, no candy) he doesn't even think about it. He has got to be the only kid whose parents have a cafe with a freezer full of ice cream who doesn't even seem interested! His pile of Halloween candy has already "disappeared" and he won't miss it!

But he does NOT like vegetables, and that's something we have to work on, since we have recently confirmed that he has Autism. We need to learn a lot more about the link between foods and behaviors. He only likes certain foods, and some of them come packaged and refined. We made a huge breakthrough when he progressed from chicken nuggets to liking simple chicken breasts, or tenders, which we could then buy locally, or saute, or grill. YAY! He still loves hot dogs, mac & cheese, and Campbell's noodle soup.

Kids, especially those with challenges, may not have the discernment to choose wisely all of the time, but adults do.

Every time we shop, make a choice to dine out, or sit down to a meal, we are contributing to the health of our bodies, our families, our communities, and even our planet.

It adds up.

That's what the Little Red Hen Cafe is all about. Making an effort to use less packaged, refined, foods, with as few artificial ingredients as possible, and as many locally sourced products as possible. Supporting local economy and keeping out harmful pesticides, chemicals, additives, and substances that can harm our health and the health of our community. Educating ourselves and each other. It's the only place I know of where you can ask exactly what is in everything you order and get the answer! If these things matter to you, and if you've read this far, they probably do, it's your kind of place, and I ask you to help spread the word so it can be viable here in our community! Thanks.