The amount of public art in a community certainly says something about the spirit of that community. To me, it says the town cares about what it looks like, and what residents and visitors feel when going through the town.
If any of that is remotely true, then the Tri-Cities certainly know the value of having fine pieces of art on display.
Each year, we admire things like the painted Bulldog statues in downtown Batavia, the painted fire hydrants throughout Geneva and the artsy Adirondack chairs in St. Charles.
Those are examples of small things that catch your eye, as they exist as part of a much bigger picture of interesting sculptures and art pieces dotting many corners of our cities.
Not to take anything away from all of the other active arts groups, organizations and galleries in the Tri-Cities, but the St. Charles Arts Council is relentless in its pursuit of showcasing local art. The council's most recent Celebration Gallery just came to a close -- but some other pop-up art show or event is surely to be right around the corner, literally.
In admiring the various pieces of art in our downtowns and outlying areas, some simply catch my eye as a "favorite" during a particular time period. I like to point these out, in part to bring more attention to one that maybe we've taken for granted and haven't stopped to notice enough.
This summer's "favorite" goes to the Jailhouse Rock sculpture in Mount St. Mary Park in St. Charles. This interesting piece may not bowl over all art lovers, but "interesting" is the key aspect that caught my attention with this display as part of the park district's annual Sculpture in the Park exhibition.
The metal and stone artwork by Douglas Eageny of St. Charles is somewhat hard to describe, but "Jailhouse Rock" certainly comes as close as one can to explaining what it is.
As for a best newcomer to the scene, the term "interesting" also applies to sculptor Guy Bellaver's latest piece on public display.
It's called "The Key" and it honors Vern and Sharon Oie's contributions to the city of St. Charles.
It is a real eye-catcher in its spot on the west side of the Riverwalk, just south of Indiana Street.
You can't always put exact words out there to describe what you are looking at with these pieces. But that, as much as anything, is what makes our public art pieces such excellent parts of our parks and cityscape.
It was just a small item in the business section of the Daily Herald last week. But it caught my attention because the stock of a company called Biogen Inc. shot up after it had revealed some positive results for a drug that showed some promise in slowing down the progress of Alzheimer's.
The pursuit of medical answers to the mysteries of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cancer and other illnesses are always complex and winding roads.
I learned more about these types of pursuits after spending a lot of time with Herrington Inn general manager Paul Ruby of Geneva and his doctors in their support of Parkinson's research, and Ruby's foundation -- all at the same time he was dealing with the disease attacking his own body.
We have to celebrate the small victories in medical research, while also realizing new discoveries take years to further develop and make available to patients. We also have to make sure people can actually afford to obtain the needed medications.
A complex and winding road, indeed.
Mouth just watering:
This sort of had my mouth watering because my neighbor used to bring peaches from a tree in his yard -- until bugs and squirrels and such made it too hard for him to keep the thing alive.
In any case, I spotted an order form for homegrown peaches through the Kane County Farm Bureau.
It was probably more peaches than our empty-nest house needs, but maybe others would find it appealing.
From now until 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7, members and nonmembers of the farm bureau can order these 25-pound boxes for between $30 and $32.
You can call in orders at the farm bureau at (630) 584-8660 and pay via credit card.
There's a few do's and don'ts regarding what to do with the peaches to keep them fresh, but the folks at the farm bureau can fill you in on that stuff.
I just had to share the offer because it made me so hungry for a fresh peach.
The fair and Ma Nature:
If county fair time is near, then Mother Nature is going to hit the "extreme" button for either heat or rain.
It always seems to work that way, and it's what comes to mind when the Kane County Fair advertises its dates of July 18 to 22.
I've put in enough time at the county fair as a reporter, a parent and a 4-H judge over the years to know it's a popular and important event each summer, regardless of how the weather plays out.
After all, my first task as a reporter in this area in 1977 was to attend a show by "Cookie the Clown" at the fair and various other events the following days. To be sure, I probably haven't written a word about popular clown shows, demolition derbies, rodeos or 4-H contests in many years.
But it's all there at the fairgrounds next week, not to mention some really good musical acts. It's the annual reminder that this is still a pretty rural area -- plus it's a fun place for kids to go to pass away some summer time.