It seems so long ago now, 24 years later…


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Les and Joan Ralstin’s house in Hot Springs Arkansas. This is take from the road towards their house. Sometimes the scanner can’t pull images apart when the scannees put them too close together.

Our guest photographer today is Joan Ralstin. All of these are her pictures from Hot Springs Arkansas.

I first visited this wonderful location in December 1990. Barb and I had gotten engaged (a long and sad story I’ve shared before) in early November. Barb’s parents had sent her a plane ticket to visit them in Hot Springs. unsorted524They extended the invite to include me. Bloomington Airport was literally frozen closed the day of our flight so instead we drove to hot springs for that Christmas.

They were tucked into the mountains (Ozarks) in Arkansas above the town of Hot Springs. We drove there (Becca, Barb and I. Jakki didn’t appear for another year and a 1/2) in my old Ford Tempo. The roads weren’t bad until we got to Effingham Illinois and we ended up stopping and spending the night in Southern Illinois. The next day the roads were passable and we made it to Hot Springs.

We were a day late, but we had called Barb’s parents. Back then they were volunteering for the life alert system and were actually out installing the system when we got to their house. Barb was nervous (her parents were never late) but in the end they drove up a little after when we got there. I will never forget that first meeting. People had never met but who I would spend a lot of time with and in the end grew to love very much.

They were truly great in-laws, and eventually I would even say drop the in-laws and just say parents. They accepted me from the first day.

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Walking sticks, Armadillos and many other wild creatures came to visit their house out in the middle of no where. The first time I went I was still running (minor knee issues back then) and got to run in the mountains. It’s a lot different running in mountains than it is running on somewhat flat and hilly Bloomington Indiana. Barb, her mom and dad got a little worried the first time I ran there and her dad came to find me. I was struggling to make it up the final hill (1/2 a mountain) when he found me.

Like I said they welcomed me into their home from the first minute. That was more than 24 years ago now (we left their house on January 2nd as I had to get back to teaching. 1/2/1991). We saw them again six months later as we celebrated our wedding. 6/15/1991.

My fondest memory of that first visit (other than the welcome) was playing sequence with Les and Joan until 3 in the morning several nights. We were there for six or seven nights and we played sequence at least 5 of those nights. I was and am addicted to that game.

It seems so far away now.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow!

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