Tales of the 2016 Road: A Heartland Independence Day

July 4, 2016, Francesville, IN- I headed out of Rolla, MO, in the early morning drizzle.  The hapless man who had been asking for sustenance, last night, was sitting outside his room, looking puzzled that I should be heading out so soon.  I had one main destination for the day:  The new Welcome Center of the Baha’i House of Worship, in Wilmette, IL- just north of Chicago.  It would take most of the day to get there, so I was on the road by 8 A.M.

The Missouri countryside is always a pleasure, though while I rolled along I-44, towards St. Louis, it was striking how little traffic there was, headed eastward.  It was also fairly easy to head northward, bypassing the downtown area.  Determined to have my main meal in midday, I stopped around 11, at a Hibachi Grill, in Florissant, near the area that was so much in turmoil, in 2014.  Florissant itself, though, is well-manicured and has a prosperous outer countenance.  I hope the same for the surrounding communities, like Ferguson, while being well aware that a lot of hard work lies ahead, yet.  There were only a few of us in Hibachi Grill, at that hour, while the food was plentiful and varied- with almost as many “American” dishes as Chinese.

Crossing the Mississippi, I knew it would be unlikely that I would see many, if any, of my Midwestern friends, today or tomorrow.  One friend, whom I called, was ill.  Others, I knew, had their holiday plans, so I did not contact them.

Chicagoland always has its traffic challenges, and today’s inbound traffic did not disappoint.  As I expected, it took an hour to get from Bolingbrook, on the southern edge of the region, to Skokie, where I turned off the Kennedy Freeway.  It was easy getting to a gas station, filling up the Nissan, and emptying myself, though there was a line for the latter- not surprising, considering that many of us had been on the freeway for, in some cases, three hours.

The Baha’i House of Worship always rises majestically through the trees, once one gets to the community of Wilmette, and close to Lake Michigan.  I’m always comforted by the sight, and by being in the House.  A particular bonus today, though, was the new Visitor Center.  Here are some views of this fine addition to the complex.


Entrance to Visitor Center, Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette


Symbols of faith, Visitor Center, Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette, IL


Mini-fountains, Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette, IL


Main Display Hall, Visitor Center, Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette, IL


Garden outside Visitor Center, Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette, IL


More Good News for modern man

I knew it would be way over budget, for me to stay in the Chicago area tonight, and the traffic in the morning would be horrific, besides, so after a serene and uplifting hour in the House of Worship, I headed eastward.  Traffic going out of the city was minimal, but I saw an astounding scene unfolding, across the median, on I-94:  Traffic coming from Indiana was at a standstill, for fifteen miles- clear to the Valparaiso turnoff.  It was too late to even think of calling a young friend in Portage, IN, so I headed south on county and state roads, into the rolling farmland and self-sufficient small towns that lie between Chicago and Indianapolis.

Fireworks programs, in many parts of the country, are organized  by cities and towns.  Here in the heartland, as we saw yesterday in Missouri, families set off their own, with the adults carefully monitoring their younger charges.  In Francesville, where I stopped and got a sandwich and some pretzels, for supper, the display was just starting.  I sat and watched, as a few fathers were giving their families and neighbours a visual treat, in a field on the south end of town.


Fireworks over Francesville, IN


Fireworks over Francesville, IN

In all the years that I have experienced Independence Day celebrations, none have been more hearfelt, or more enjoyable, than this time of nibbling chicken salad, whilst watching competing displays from adjoining farm fields, in this solid little town, in central Indiana.

I would go on to Logansport, and spend the night in Manor Motel.  I did get the feeling, though, that I would always be welcome in Francesville, and other little towns along the way.  The heartland is a very warm place.



9 thoughts on “Tales of the 2016 Road: A Heartland Independence Day

  1. I too, think the visitor’s center is wow yet peacefully and unaustentatiously so.. I like how you mention the nibbled sammich and type 🙂 thanks. I’m always a tad impressed by the idea of harmony as a goal. I’m often less than fully at peace… hence perhaps why. I know also I visited ages ago not the more border but inner indiana to a family once of my then church I was warned of country isms like chiggers and or ticks and heard the ill timed to the sun rooster…thus pardon me a smile as I think chicken salad… impishly. one other ademdum… I’m finding as snobbish as all I was told to look for or what counted was and is a bit warped. there is. a point to presenting or “better” this or that, but to think of it in an egoic way rather than a treat or blessing is a touch silliness. some of my favoritest experiences or delights are as cheap as can be managed. I’d admit that for the pride of it, I can say make refried beans from scratch but at 1.39 a pound and 33 cent’s to cover the use of the fancifying stick blender and never even mind the cost breakdown of a dishwasher / sink cleaning it’s obvious 1.39 is NOT 1.09 a sixteen oz. can premade not on special….or the very points of pride of cookery is cost consciousness too. heh. but some days it’s nice to set out a scratch feeling…remember i’ve never made massa let alone a tortilla nor even honestly fried one for a shell… so it’s not quite scratch made lol.. but the point is that feeling of holding that knowlege that while I can not beat a taco bell at 1.49 a toastie…for one that is, I sure can make them for about 70 cents each for the batch and that does make me happy. to know i’m able to choose a dine out or made in experience to share. but then again that’s me. glad you’re enjoying your travels. blessings.


  2. Thank you for the wonderful pictures of the visitor’s center!! I remember I94 and, is it hwy 33 south? Where is the visitor’s center in relation to the House of Worship–in its basement or where the Hazira’t’ul Quz used to be (between the gardens and the parking lot)?.


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