From cornfields to festivals, Midwest small towns have something special

The corn is as high as an elephants eye

The corn is as high as an elephants eye

We just returned from a one week stay in Hume, a very small town in east/central Illinois, about a three-hour drive south of Chicago.  Tim grew up in this area and still has family living there.  Our journey was primarily to spend some time with his father who is fighting a difficult battle against both cancer and Parkinson’s Disease.  Our son, Dane was able to join us for part of this trip and I was grateful he had this time to spend with his Grandfather.

The last census taken in Hume in 2010 showed a population of 380, but I think that number has dwindled since then.  With a 1/2 dozen streets, one store/café, a small central park, a couple of churches, no gas station, and a bank that has closed and was sold a couple of years ago, this is a small community by anyone’s measure.

The surrounding area is flat and ideal farm land with the two primary crops being corn and soy beans.  The soil is rich and the climate normally cooperates with enough rain and sun for the fields to thrive.  They don’t even have to water their crops!

Of course this means that the grass also grows rapidly and mowing is a weekly and sometimes twice weekly event.  People take pride in keeping their yard mowed and trimmed and there is an underlying community gossip about anyone that neglects to do so.

In a small town like this, everyone knows everyone.  That often means knowing a bit too much about each other’s business, but politeness keeps it from being flaunted.  Neighbor helps neighbor, friends lend a helping hand, and you are probably related through birth or marriage to 1/4 of the county.

We arrived in Hume just before the 2013 Hume Festival was to be held.

The Hume'n 5K Race

The Hume’n 5K Race

Once a year they have a festival and we arrived just in time to participate.  The day started off with a 5K run.  Our son woke up early and decided to go sign up, then came back to Grandma/Grandpa’s home, ate a big breakfast before walking the two blocks back to the park just in time for the race to begin.  I slept through all of this and my first knowledge came when Dane triumphantly returned back to the house after winning the race!

The rest of the family managed to arrive at the park in time for the parade.

Hume Festival Parade

Hume Festival Parade

The parade consisted of a few floats, tractors, cars, people in costume, a couple of fire trucks (complete with a dalmatian dog on top), clowns, two WWII vets, and a lot of candy being thrown from windows.

Other activities of the day included a pancake breakfast, kiddie tractor pull, redneck games, a talent contest, Lion’s club lunch, Methodist Church cake walk, the cornhole tournament (Tim and Dane got third place), bingo, a contest to see how many people they could stuff inside a horse trailer (they got 62), and a fish fry dinner which my mother-in-law and I helped serve.

And just in case like me you don’t know what a cornhole tournament is, click here.

We moved out of our big city mentality, joined in the fun, participated in as much as we could and had an amazing home-town wonderful time.  Thank you Hume for your hospitality!

About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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