Tag Archives: Sarah Harmon

Lincoln Tribute

Writer Sarah Harmon participates in the Lincoln Tribute

Note: The article is Sarah Harmon’s account of the two-day Lincoln Tribute held in Washington D.C. at the Ford’s Theatre this week.

“The Lincoln Tribute was definitely unforgettable and I am so glad I was able to experience it,” Harmon said.

Sarah Harmon
EW writer Sarah Harmon in Paris

Lincoln Tribute, 150 anniversary

By Sarah Harmon

EW Emma’s Writings

“Lincoln shot! Condition considered hopeless!” Those were the headlines around America this very week 150 years ago. The night of April 14, 1865 changed the history of the United States forever when actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth jumped down onto the stage of Ford’s Theatre screaming “Sic semper tyrannus!” (Thus always to tyrants) and ran out the back of the theater after shooting President Abraham Lincoln. What should have been a time of celebration that after four long years, the Civil War was finally over immediately became a nation in mourning for one of its greatest leaders.

Lincoln Tribute
The box with the flag on the upper right of the theater picture is where Lincoln was sitting when he was shot.

The National Parks Service, Ford’s Theatre, and Civil War buffs everywhere have eagerly anticipated the commemoration of such an important turning point in American history. Museums throughout the D.C. held special exhibits in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and Lincoln assassination, and Ford’s Theatre in particular opened a special exhibit featuring artifacts that had not been all brought together under that roof since April 1865. Notable elements include the Derringer pistol Booth used as well as the bullet itself. They also show the objects that were in Lincoln’s pockets that fateful night. Perhaps most interesting of those was a Confederate five dollar bill.

Lincoln shot 1
The brick and white building is Ford’s Theatre during the vigil.

The two-day Lincoln Tribute at Ford’s Theatre began at 8 am on the fourteenth with a behind the scenes tour of the theater and concluded with the 7:30 pm performance of the play “Freedom’s Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War” on the fifteenth. In addition to the usual spring performances of the one-act play “One Destiny” and the Detective McDevitt walking tour, several dozen living historians were on the sidewalks of Ford’s and across the street at the Petersen House, where Lincoln died. Both days included a panel discussion of the parallels between Lincoln and his legacy in America and the life and legacy of South African president Nelson Mandela. From 9pm to 10:15, the moment  Booth fired the gun, a special performance, “Now He Belongs to the Ages,” took place on the stage at Ford’s. It was streamed live online and at the National Portrait Gallery for those unable to get tickets inside the theater.

The show began with music and an introduction by Colin Powell. Actors and historians shared words spoken by and about Lincoln including some criticism from his peers to remind us that the sixteenth president was not just the perfect marble version in the Lincoln Memorial, but was a man with faults who loved to laugh, tell stories, and be a loving father to his sons as well as his nation.

Lincoln Tribute
Crowds during the candlelight vigil on Tenth Street with Petersen House on the left and Ford’s Theatre on the right at 11:30 p.m.

The sound and emotion of 150 years of history reverberated through the theater and Portrait Gallery courtyard as the audience  joined in singing “Amazing Grace,” a song Abraham knew and loved. Following the presentation, most participated in a candlelight vigil in honor of the president’s last hours, which he spent laying diagonally on a too small bed in Petersen House.

Actors in the crowds would suddenly burst into a monologue, telling of how she saw Booth just that afternoon or how he held Lincoln’s head while the doctor examined him. It truly felt almost as if the entire block traveled back in time a century and a half. The vigil and tours of the theater continued throughout the night and culminated in a ceremonial wreath laying outside Petersen House at 7:22 am, the moment Lincoln passed from life into history.

Artifacts at the Ford's Theatre on display.
Artifacts at the Ford’s Theatre on display.

John Wilkes Booth wanted to be a hero for the Confederate cause by murdering the American President. He hoped that it would help to erase the name of the Great Emancipator from time, but in fact, his actions did more than any other single episode to make sure that the name of Abraham Lincoln would echo forever throughout the ages.

Copyright (c) 2015 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.


WordPress anniversary

Two  years with WordPress

Two year anniversary with WordPress
Two years with WordPress

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- Two years ago, on this day, I published my first post on WordPress. It was my author’s bio that I had later moved into About section. I introduced myself in a story with an author’s photo.

One hundred and ninety-six posts later, I am grateful that I had chosen the WordPress platform. It was a pure coincidence. I wanted to like and comment on the Hawkins Chamber of Commerce in Texas, and I was directed to the press site.

I wanted a blog anyways after Writer’s Digest suggested that every writer should have a blog or a website. At the time I started writing memoir “Greenwich Meridian” and I needed the exposure.

McGregor, Iowa
Rediscovering treasures on the Mississippi River

And I fell in love with WordPress for its finesse, sophistication, the variety of themes and the community in general. I found Rumanian colleagues Valeriu dg Barbu and Cristian Mihai, French photographer redstuffdan and many others, whose work I admire. They inspire me in my writings.

I started learning the ropes. Coming fresh from the print media, it was very different. I must say that I like new things, and this was right up my alley.

The constant challenge of change, new themes, new ways of posting, the speed and the prompts delight me.

I feel like I am being pulled deeper and deeper in. Like today’s prompt in The Daily Post “Connect the Dots,” Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.

100 posts
100 Posts on WordPress

While sitting in a folding rocking chair in front of the wood stove, I reached into the library and grabbed “The People’s Chronology” and the third sentence on page 82 is entertaining in itself. For once I got lucky.

It reads: “Canon of Medicine by the Arab physician Avicenna (Abu Sina) follows the thinking of Aristotle and Galen but is so well written and organized that it will be a major influence on medical thinking for centuries.”

I couldn’t ask for a better prompt.

EW Emma's Writings
EW blog on Gatehouse Media 10 million reader market

Ironically in my Internet discussions, I asked, “Where will the Internet take us?”

Today I realize the real question is, “Where will we take the Internet?”

I took it to the next level. In July, I started my writing and blog design company on WordPress, Emma Blogs LLC. It is a portfolio of 10 blogs that covers a range of topics from health, outdoors, homes to brides and farming suited for advertising, whether affiliate or traditional.

I also write and manage a bilingual blog CJ Aunt Jarmilka’s Desserts in Czech Republic on http://jkarmaskova.wordpress.com

I have great writers like Sarah Harmon who bring their unique style to the blogs, and salesperson Ed Donahue.

Sarah Harmon
EW writer Sarah Harmon in Paris

EW Emma’s Writings also feeds into the Gatehouse Media, a 10 million reader market including the Ionia Sentinel-Standard.

What I like the most about writing on WordPress is that it does have an impact on people and it gets the message out.

Friend Tina Sicialiano Cadwallader asked me when is the book coming out at a Christmas party at the Fallasburg Historical Society.

“We’re going to take a selfie with the book at the Lowell museum,” she laughed.

Last Saturday, I ran into Betsy Davidson, owner of Addorio Technologies, LLC.

“Have you been travelling?” she asked. “I am really enjoying your stories because I don’t get to go to places like that.”

Vizovice, Czech Republic
Vizovice, where old meets new.

Longtime friend Ruth Hall said, “I absolutely love reading your posts.”

Comments and advice on the posts are also very gratifying and informational. Following is a comment by Herbal Weight Loss Remedies & Tips at http://url.darkillusion.us/weightloss748972

“Great articles you post on your blog, I have shared this article on my twitter.”

I find the happiness engineering support team very helpful at times when I pull her from my head.

And as I ask in my story interviews, “What don’t you like about so and so?”

Off the top of my head, I really can’t think of a single thing that would stand out that I don’t like about WordPress. I might think of something later as I toss in the bed in the wee morning hours with my chronic insomnia.

Thank you WordPress for two great years.


Fallasburg Historical Society


Addorio Technologies, LLC


Copyright © 2015 Emma Blogs LLC, All rights reserved

Looking back at year 2014 II

Looking back at 2014 II

Editor’s note: This article  continues from yesterday’s “Looking back at 2014.”

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI-My dad  Vaclav turned 80 on July 23rd. We went to Don Quixote restaurant in Valparaiso, Indiana. My dad is friends with the Spanish owner Carlos and he likes to practice Spanish with him. It’s a nice haul from Lowell, Michigan and we even met some Czechs at a rest area. Carlos’ paella is out of this world.

In July, I established my business Emma Blogs LLC, a rolling portfolio of versatile blogs suited to anything you wish. I introduced my employees Sarah Harmon, Ed Donahue and Udoy Karmakar among other contributors.

Emma Blogs LLC
Sales Jakub Pala, writers Sarah Harmon and Emma Palova on EW team.

But, I also had my “Eyes with Dr.Verdier,” cataract surgeries after I went almost blind and I couldn’t write or drive. I don’t need glasses anymore. Read about the series on http://ehealthwellness.wordpress.com

Verdier Eye Center
Dr. David Verdier, a recognized eye surgeon

I’ve never been longer without make-up than during the six weeks long process. I even put make-up on when we were picking hops in Western Bohemia fields.

August meant preparations for the Pala Ruegsegger wedding at Saint Patrick Church in Parnell. We were running to the finish line with the wedding scheduled for October 25th.

We got the house ready for 15 people and arranged for a wedding bus to house them in our front yard. Some of them stayed at Jake’s new house in Hastings.

The first week in September I went for a walk with a bad premonition. Someone will die. It was a beautiful day. Sunny skies, not too hot or cold. One of few days we had like that. I kept walking farther and farther, not wanting to return home. I just kept walking on the old railroad tracks.

Farewell Haryk
My dog Haryk

“Who’s going to die?” I asked myself.

My dog Haryk was waiting for me laying under a lilac bush by the driveway. After my husband Ludek’s birthday, we had to put him to sleep.

The big October. The international party arrived one week before the wedding. They came from Czech Republic and France. But, before the wedding, we had another baptism. It was time for Samuel Chavent to get baptized. The godfather is Jake Pala.

And  we threw a huge welcome party. Ella and I made a welcome sign in three languages. Having that little mean streak after her mother, she asked:

“Why don’t we make a goodbye sign?”

The wedding was big and I am glad nobody fell into the Wabasis Lake below the reception lodge. You can read about it on http://ebridesandfashion.wordpress.com

Wedding reception at Wabasis Lake lodge
Mr. Jakub Pala and Mrs. Maranda Palova enter the Wabasis Lodge

Baby Josephine celebrated her one year birthday at the new house in Hastings on Nov. 21, 2014. Thanksgiving was at my parents’ house in Big Rapids accompanied by a classical Czech holiday fight between my mother and my brother.

And finally December. We observed our 25th anniversary of arrival to the USA on Dec. 22, 1989. Read the story on http://emmapalova.com

Christmas was peaceful and quiet, so was the New Year 2015.

Copyright © 2015 Emma Blogs LLC, All rights reserved

Toast the Season

Leelanau wineries toast the season
By Sarah Harmon
EW Emma’s Writings
EW writer Sarah Harmon in Paris
EW writer Sarah Harmon in Paris
Leelanau Peninsula, MI-Between family gatherings, shopping, holiday baking, this time of year can get extremely hectic. However, the first two weekends of November, the wineries of the Leelanau Peninsula have the perfect antidote for all that holiday stress. Toast the Season features tastings and pairings at 25 wineries throughout the area and showcases the incredible diversity among reds, whites, rose, and cherry wine, not to mention hard cider, all made in the same region. At $50 per person or $75 per couple, you can hardly afford not to embrace your inner sommelier. Tickets also include a bag with a Toast the Season glass to be used for sampling wines, a Christmas ornament, and other goodies.
Toast the season in Leelanau wineries
Toast the season in Leelanau wineries
Even on a dreary, wintery day, it’s impossible not to be charmed by the panoramic views of the hills, lakes, and fields of grapevines in picturesque Northern Michigan, though when it comes to aesthetic appeal, Aurora Cellars was one of the most unique.
Toast the season in Leelanau
Toast the season in Leelanau
The exterior beckons you to imagine that you are no longer outside Traverse City, but rather have been transported to a centuries old Tuscan villa. In addition to delicious wines, Aurora rents its facilities for weddings and other events. Of the dozen wineries I experienced over the weekend, one of the best whites had to be Blustone Vineyards two time gold medal winning Reisling. While most vineyards are known only for red or white, Blustone has both award winning Reisling and Pinot Noir. For lovers of rose, 45 North, named for the line of latitude on which it sits, has a delightful Rose of Cabernet Franc that is sweet and fruity while still maintaining an elegant sophistication.
Toast the season in Leelanau
Toast the season in Leelanau
As for reds and cherry wine, my personal favorite was Black Star Farms. Their Artisan Red has the richness of a red with the sweetness of a white so that lovers of both colors of wine can be satisfied. The Vinter’s Select is also excellent if you prefer something a bit more dry, and a cup of their hot mulled cherry wine is perfect on a chilly day. Black Star also doubles as a charming inn. For the eco-conscious wine lover, Good Neighbor features organic wines and ciders. Possibly their most unique offering were the coffee and chai flavored hard ciders. Sparkling wine lovers can’t go wrong with L Mawby/M Lawrence. Their tasting room has a fun, almost rock and roll feel to it that matches well with the creative names and luscious tastes available there.
The vineyards of Leelanau
The vineyards of Leelanau
Since not everyone is a wine connoisseur, many of the wineries offer a range of hard cider options as well. Verterra Winery’s apple pie flavored cider is just the thing for the adults’ table at Thanksgiving dinner. The notes of cinnamon and sugar are the perfect complement to turkey and stuffing. If you prefer something a bit more dry, Tandem Ciders is the place to be. Their ciders are vaguely reminiscent of what one could find in Normandy, France as opposed to the light sweetness of many of the other hard ciders available in the area. While you can get bottles of Tandem Cider in stores around Michigan, It is most definitely worth stopping in for a visit. In addition to the regularly available ciders, you can buy a custom blend of any or all of the options on tap.
Wine and cider loving Michiganders, forget flying out to the Napa Valley for tastings; you need go no further than your own backyard to Toast the Season at the spectacular Leelanau Peninsula.
Copyright (c) 2014 All rights reserved Emma Blogs LLC

Historic Bowens Mills

Bowens Mills presents Civil War weekend

By Sarah Harmon

EW Emma’s Writings

EW writer Sarah Harmon in Paris
EW writer Sarah Harmon in Paris

One hundred fifty years ago, life was much simpler. There was no television, no Internet, and the only kind of Apple you could buy in stores grew on a tree.

Visitors to Historic Bowens Mills on the last weekend of October are able to feel as if they’ve been transported back in time to experience what life was like during the Civil War era.

Children can sit in the antique desks in the oldest one room school in Barry County to be taught about American history by eighty-four year old Virginia Alles, dressed as Abraham Lincoln. Alles enjoys giving pennies to young visitors, telling them it’s a picture of her.

Historic Bowens Mills re-enactment
Historic Bowens Mills re-enactment

One of the highlights of the weekend for her this year was meeting a couple of descendants of actual Confederate soldiers. Next to the school-house, Dave Rowgo makes hairpins and honey dippers on a wood lathe fashioned from a 1920’s toy woodworking set and the treadle of an old Singer sewing machine.

Ladies spin wool into yarn and weave cloth outside the tiny Plank House where families lived as long ago as the 1840’s. Elizabeth Barker shows chemistry in action by making soaps in a variety of scents in the Bowens House, and music lovers can’t resist a stop to hear the live bluegrass in the Trading Post.

Abraham Lincoln impersonator at Bowens Mills
Abraham Lincoln impersonator at Bowens Mills

If you play an instrument, you can even join in! A couple of the best demonstrations in the village are the mills themselves. Fresh, sweet apple cider has been made on the press here since soldiers were going off to fight the real Johnny Reb instead of just reenactors. The delicious results of the press can be bought by the glass or by the gallon. A cup of their hot cider with a homemade doughnut is the perfect thing for a cool fall day.

As delightful as all the other diversions are, the highlight of the weekend is by far the battle. The Third Michigan Federal troops go up against Confederate forces from Virginia and North Carolina across the field, taking shelter behind trees and fences. They try to change the battle slightly each year for repeat visitors; the North may win one day while the South come out victors the next.

For true history buffs, the fact the Third Michigan uses a cannon whose barrel and fittings were made in 1861 and was actually used throughout the Civil War is especially exciting. From the homespun crafts to live combat, Bowens Mills’ Civil War Weekend can’t be beat for an old-fashioned good time.

Copyright (c) 2014 All rights reserved Emma Blogs LLC

Grand Rogue Encampment

American history comes alive in the Grand Rogue Encampment
By Sarah Harmon
EW Emma’s Writings
EW writer Sarah Harmon in Paris
EW writer Sarah Harmon in Paris
Anyone who says time travel is impossible has clearly never been to a living history event. This weekend was the 28th annual Grand Rogue Encampment in Belmont, MI where you could see American history come to life from 1755 through modern times. The focus was primarily military, although there were plenty of civilian re-enactors as well.
Each morning began with the unmistakable drone of bagpipes, followed by the deafening explosion of a British six pounder cannon fired by gentlemen dressed as Revolutionary War soldiers. After the smoke cleared and you regained your hearing, you could chat with one of Roger’s Rangers, a group that worked as scouts through the wilderness during the French and Indian War. They’re happy to explain exactly how our own George Washington’s mistake caused that war to ignite on this side of the Atlantic.
Grand Rogue Encampment
Grand Rogue Encampment
In between watching demonstrations of how rifles were loaded and fired during the Civil War, a stop at the French Voyageur’s tent was a must. While there, you could try on a real beaver fur top hat that cost a man six months’ wages in the 1800s. Next to the hat, you could find actual pipes used by Michigan fur traders 200 years ago. Similar artifacts were in a recent exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, although here, you are allowed to touch them instead of seeing them through glass.
Reliving American History
Reliving American History
If you’re a parent or a teacher, you’ve probably heard kids whining that history is boring and they don’t see why they need to learn about things that happened so long ago. Admittedly, in a text book, World War II is hardly exciting. However, a teen boy is certainly not going to tell you he doesn’t want to learn about the Allied forces when he’s able to sit in the driver’s seat of a WWII armored transport vehicle. For those who are less enthralled by watching old styles of rifles shot, they could watch the blacksmith heating coals with an enormous set of bellows and forming metal into functional works of art. The kids were also welcome to try their hands at a traditional Native American game or to help power the hand cranked wood lathe. Little girls  loved watching brightly dyed wool spun into yarn on an old-fashioned spinning wheel and dancing to live Colonial era music.
No matter your age, if you were at the Grand Rogue Encampment last weekend, you learned a lot and had fun doing it. If you missed it this year, it is an annual event, so make sure to mark your calendars for next September!
Copyright (c) 2014 Emma Blogs LLC

Coming soon

Stay tuned for the following stories:

Sarah Harmon: Supermom hosts exchange students on http://placeathome.wordpress.com

Emma Palova

Interview with the bride at http://ebridesandfashion.wordpress.com

EW writing team Sarah Harmon and Emma Palova in front of Ball's ice cream parlor in Lowell
EW writing team Sarah Harmon and Emma Palova in front of Ball’s ice cream parlor in Lowell

Ionia County Free Fair

10 best days of summer
by Sarah Harmon
                                        “Lions and Tigers and Camels, Oh My!
EW writer Sarah Harmon in Paris
EW writer Sarah Harmon in Paris
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step right up for the greatest, or at least the biggest, free fair on earth! By the middle of July, the novelty of summer vacation has worn thin, and most parents have reached a point where they’re ready to scream if they have to hear “I’m bored” one more time. The Ionia County Free Fair is the perfect solution for moms and kids alike. With no entrance fee, you can hardly afford not to spend a day or more there. It’s a complete sensory experience from the moment you step through the gates. Nothing quite says summer like the scent of deep fried cheesecake and elephant ears accompanied by the screams of delighted children spinning high in the sky on rides.
Come to the fair in Ionia
Come to the fair in Ionia
Of course, if you’re used to the only animals at the county fair being livestock,you’reboundto be disappointed. In addition totheusual4H barns filled with goats, cows, rabbits, and chicks barely hatched from their eggs, Ionia County has multiple free daily performances of Circus Pages. A rare white lion races around the caged ring, performing tricks with two white tigers and two other lions. Once they’re safely removed to several smaller cages,theringis transformed into a magical scene with girls dancing high above the crowd, suspended only by their tenuous hold on a rope and metal hoop. Other performances include a group of trained camels, a woman who does a stunning routine on the aerial silks, and some impressive acrobatics on a trampoline. The show finishes with a couple of elephants, surprisingly agile for their size, that are available for rides afterward.

Exhilarating rides at the fair
Exhilarating rides at the fair
A favorite of mine was the barn filled with baking, canning, sewing, knitting, and crochet projects of all kinds. For creative quilters, they sell $10 kits every year to be turned into 14 inch quilt blocks. Your only limitations are the materials in the kit, the theme, and your imagination. The completed squares are turned into a full quilt to be raffled off the following year.
Quilts at the exhibit building
Quilts at the exhibit building
For those feeling nostalgic for days gone by, there is a mini museum full of antiques, as well as a building filled with classic cars. When you do stop in to check out the Corvettes, the irresistible odor of roasted almonds beckons you next door to the Meijer Marketplace. The combination flea market and community expo has something for everyone, from homemade ice cream to fashionable accessories. There are special events happening daily throughout the fair that include concerts, tractor pulls, and kids’ activities, so even if you bring them more than once, this is one week you will definitely not hear “I’m bored.”
For more fair information go to http://www.ioniafreefair.com
Copyright (c) 2014 story by Sarah Harmon, photo by Emma Palova



Come to the Riverwalk

Summer is in full swing, don’t miss out on anything

Riverwalk Festival duck mascot
Riverwalk Festival duck mascot

The Kris Hitchock and Small Town Son country rock band played on the opening night of the Riverwalk Festival Friday.

For full schedule go to http://www.lowellchamber.org

see Sarah Harmon’s story on local events page