Mr. Lincoln (or, Mr. Lincoln's statue) peers through a couple of trees at the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds.Statues of Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Douglas stand, steadfast, at the picnic grounds in Jonesboro.The statue of Mr. Douglas, the Little Giant, was casting a rather lengthy shadow on a sunny autumn afternoon.

Please read this...Chatting with Mr. Lincoln after 2016 election

Wednesday morning, November 9...the sun rose in the east, just like normal...

...Thursday morning, November 10...the sun rose in the east, just like normal... Two days in a row. Life went on. Which was good. Very good. Very reassuring.

Given the story which unfolded during the vaguely fascinating presidential election campaign of 2016 (you know, the campaign which started sometime back in 1924), one might have thought the end result could have been the equivalent of the Apocalypse, an epic, end-of-the-world disaster heralded by the Four Horse people, accompanied  by a sound track featuring the music of Gabriel's trumpet.

Such was not the case. Thank goodness. On the day after the 2016 election, which now is starting to seem like ancient history, the sun came up. Life went on. And so it should.

Given the craziness of our recently completed election campaign, which, at least in this writer's very humble opinion, was about as divisive and caustic as could be, I thought it would be nice to pay a visit to one of our local landmarks, just to take in a bit of history, enjoy the calm, and, pretty much, just sit.

So, shortly after 2 o'clock in the p.m. last Thursday, I motored to the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds in Jonesboro. The day was sunny, a little bit cool, not bad, though. The sky was a bright blue. Not a cloud was to be seen. 

I got out of the car, and just kind of looked around. Many, but not all, of the trees at the picnic grounds, had lost their leaves. A squirrel was chattering. Off in the distance, a crow called. 

I sat down on a bench for a little while. The remains of what appeared to have been a walnut were on the bench. A squirrel's lunch, perhaps? As I sat on the bench, a dry leaf from a sweet gum tree rattled across the bricks beneath my feet.

As you may know, the picnic grounds are the home of statues of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, two of the more important men in the rich history of our nation. The two came to Jonesboro in September of 1858 for one of the most important events to have happened in Union County.

A plaque on display at the picnic grounds explains what happened: "On the afternoon of September the 15th, 1858 upon this acre in the Jonesboro Fair-Grounds and as rival candidates for the United States Senatorship from the State of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas met in the third joint-debate of the seven Lincoln-Douglas Debates.

"Upon the principles set forth here the Senate election was lost to Mr. Lincoln, but he did gain much prominence nationally and was elected to the presidency in 1860, served as Civil-War president, was re-elected in 1864.

"He truly was Illinois' gift: 'The Man for the Ages.' This debate cast a long shadow upon the pages of history." As did the two men themselves, although I'm thinking that the shadow cast Mr. Lincoln on the pages of history may have been just a little bit longer than Mr. Douglas's.

In the little fantasy world which I sometimes call home, I had a bit of a chat with Mr. Lincoln. He didn't say much. Actually, he didn't say anything. He just listened. 

Maybe that was the message. Maybe we should all spend a little less time talking, and a little bit more time listening. Well, enough pontificating. You folks probably had enough of that during the election campaign. Just think, in four years, we get to do it again...

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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