Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tim Jenkins, Kerry Grant, and the Beautiful "Driftless Area" of Wisconsin

Tim Jenkins, playing fiddle on the right, at the Old Oak Inn, Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin
Two weeks ago I visited an old friend, Tim Jenkins, in a small farm community in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, not too far from LaCrosse Wisconsin and Winona, Minnesota. The Driftless Area was unglaciated, and it is full of green, steep hills, beautiful valleys, and fine farm fields. When we arrived, Tim took us to a music gig he had at The Old Oak Inn in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin. Tim and three of his friends essentially played for their suppers--played beautiful Irish and American music, featuring fiddles, guitars, banjos, and percussion. We had a wonderful family-style meal at the Inn, compliments of Tim, and we met some of his friends. I have read that this is, in some respects, the poorest county in Wisconsin, but it really is rich in culture, community, and cooperative spirit. Nearby Viroqua is the home of more co-ops than any other small community in the state. And the area is rich in music, alternative education (with their local Waldorf School), and various forms of communal life.

Unfortunately, Tim's wife Kerry was not there the day we visited (her 95 year old mother was in LaCrosse). So it will have to be another day when we see her again. She and Tim have created a wonderful life together, living simply and creatively on very little money. That's the way they have lived since I first met them in the early 1970s. In the mid 1970s they lived in an intentional community in Spencer, West Virginia. Many of my friends were in that commune, and I was able to visit it a couple of memorable times. Some friends associated with the Spencer Community include Kenny Przybylski (deceased), Wendy Rawlins Tuck, Sherry Lung (now deceased), Tom Harman (now a physician), Robin Wilson, Patsy Harman (now a successful author), and several others.

Here are a few pics of the farm where Tim and Kerry live:

Tim and Kerry's simple, beautiful home.

Ben, a physician, and Julee, a teacher, live in the old farm house. We slept in the attic of their house.

Barn dances, parties, and receptions are held in this barn.

Tim and Kerry's home, left, and the huge barn.
Tim ands Kerry have remained faithful to the spirit of the Peacemakers, Quakers, and Catholic Workers I first met in Cincinnati in the early 1970s.

No comments: