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Ruston, LA

Emma had a rough night, so we let her sleep in today. Some nightmares ... probably the result of not burning off enough energy during the day. That put us behind schedule today, so we stayed back in the trailer during the morning and met Jody and Joe for lunch at the Faculty Club.

And thus the Tour Of Ruston began! First stop was the Exploratorium at the university, which is a small but packed hands-on science museum for kids. Emma learned about how tornadoes form, played with some pendulums, handled some rocks she hadn't seen before, etc., so that helped us do the science homeschooling for the day.

Ruston Emma mirror.jpg
At one point it seemed we had four children

Next stop was Hart Associates, a custom lighting manufacturer. Jody has been enthusiastic about these folks for a long time, and with good reason. They make some fine stuff and absolutely everything is made to order. Consequently, they are high end and worth it.

We got a full factory tour by Sandra Grady Hart, who is half of the husband-and-wife team that runs the place. They seem to be able to make a lamp out of any material, in any size, with a wide range of designs that they develop right there, and put on any finish you might dream of.

Ruston Hart worker.jpg

From there we were guided by Gary McKenney, the General Manager of the local radio stations. He took us over to meet Ruston Mayor Dan Hollingsworth. The Mayor is a nice guy -- proven by the fact that for many years he and his wife took their five children Airstreaming! We had a nice conversation in his office. He asked about Emma's homeschooling. It turns out he's really concerned about kids learning to read, and thinks (as I do) that it's the most fundamental and important skill they'll learn.

Ruston Mayor.jpg

Done? Not hardly. We zipped over to Libby and Andy Follette's pottery store along I-20, and then over to their shop on Pea Ridge to see Andy making some of the pottery.

Ruston Andy Follette.jpg
Andy demonstrates making a plate

Like Hart Associates, we got the full tour, including a peek into a kiln to see finished products coming out. Each piece is a little different, so it's a bit like watching a birthing.

Ruston Andy kiln.jpg

The peach trees here aren't doing much this time of year, but the peach store at Mitcham Farms is still open. So Gary took us over there, too, and we just caught Jim Mitcham as he was about to leave. Apparently in June peaches are a huge thing here, with a massive festival that has been held for about 50 years. Peaches are a very perishable crop, so they don't ship like apples or oranges. If you want the really, really, fresh peaches, you have to come here in June and eat 'em right away.

Yeah, it's hot and humid in June. But I bet the peaches are worth it. Since it's January, we'll just taste the peach jam and peach salsa that they sell in the off season, and think about those fresh peaches ...

Ruston peach trees.jpg
A dormant peach orchard

If you think that was a lot, there's more coming tomorrow. We're scheduled to present at the country club tomorrow after lunch. I've recruited Eleanor to co-present and supply the "woman's perspective" since the audience will be mostly women. Then we hope to meet up with Scott Terry -- the guy who wrote us the funny letter -- and go see the Bonnie & Clyde stuff.


Glad to see that you and your family are having a peachy time in Ruston (pun intended!). My wife and I both grew up 20 miles to the West in Arcadia and I went to Louisiana Tech. BTW, what university is best known for Terry Bradshaw, Karl Malone, and Women's basketball - LaTech.

Great area to grow up with lots of outdoors activities and yes, the Ruston natives go on about the peaches but, to tell the truth, they are exceptional and there are many varieties.

So you will get to go to Sailes tomorrow to see the B&C monument. Been past it many times to go to my wife's folks on Kepler Lake.

Have a good time. While I realize that it is popular these days to make fun of Southerners, just remember that the term Yankee is much more derogatory than Redneck.

This is riveting - 'Course it does involve an Airstream.

We look forward to learning more!

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