By Ginger Wells
The OASIS group from First Baptist Church of Vandalia recently took a trip to Northern Illinois and Wisconsin.
The theme of the trip was "Christmas in July." The group boarded the coach on Tuesday, July 15, and returned on Saturday, July 19.
Each person brought bingo and Christmas grab bag gifts, and was anticipating a Christmas holiday – minus the snow and sleet. We got to know each other by playing games and singing.
Back on the coach, we played a game called "Where in Illinois Are You?" while admiring the farmland as we drove by. We ate lunch at Culver's in Dixon.
Dixon is the boyhood home of former President Ronald Reagan. The group took a trip back in time while touring the Reagan home. The Senior Line Dancers from the Sterling Senior Center came to the motel to entertain with Christmas line dancing.
One of Santa’s helpers left to go to the Timber Creek Golf Course to decorate the tables with red placemats and Christmas napkins folded to resemble trees with a jeweled toothpick at the top. The restaurant owner welcomed the group and told them that, as a boy, Reagan caddied at the golf course.
The seniors returned to the motel to relax with TV or join friends for a game of cards.
On Wednesday, the group took a short drive to White Pines State Park. They had chosen to go to that dinner theater because it was featuring "White Christmas." Unfortunately, that show had been replaced by "The Golden Girls." However, the cast had heard of the OASIS trip theme, and had rewritten the script to include some Christmas elements.
The OASIS group then made a 90-minute drive to Fort Atkinson, Wis. There, the managers at the motel had heard of our Christmas theme and had decorated the breakfast room with two Christmas trees, snowmen and wreaths. There was also a grab bag game and a Christmas devotional by Walter Philbrick.
On Thursday, the group ate at the Fireside Dinner Theater, where they saw "Driving Miss Daisy." The play spans 20 years during which Miss Daisy and her driver, Hoke, face trials and triumphs, and ultimately learn the value of true friendship.
We then drove to Geneva, just 45 minutes from downtown Chicago.
On Friday morning, the group went Christmas shopping in Geneva, which features more than 100 specialty shops and antique shops. A favorite store was The Little Traveler, an old Mansion with 30 different shops.
That evening, we went to our final dinner theater – the Goodfield Conklin Barn – where we saw "You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown."
We arrived home on Saturday.
The next trip is a mystery trip on Monday, Sept. 15. We will leave Vandalia at 9 a.m. from First Baptist Church and will return about 6:30 p.m. The cost is $35. For more information, call Ginger Wells at 780-2260. Get your name on the list before the coach is full.
By Ginger Wells