Stirrings In The Heartland

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July 11-12, 2019, Richmond to Goshen, IN-

I stood in the small drive, next to a fence, and observed a mother donkey carefully watching over her seemingly forlorn baby.  One of the girls on the farm made a move to check on the little one, whereupon the foal got up on all fours and dashed off to a further spot in the meadow.

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Stops in certain areas have become part of my itinerary, over the past several years.  There are people I enjoy seeing, or to whom I feel drawn, and whether I visit them or not, depends on their circumstances on the ground.  Two young women, whom I love like daughters, were obviously busy and nearly overwhelmed by life, this time around, and so I gave visiting them a pass.  Others, like a waitress at Bedford Diner, in southwest Pennsylvania, are always good for an hour or so of bantering.  So, my breakfast yesterday featured some of the finest breakfast sausage anywhere, great hotcakes and the wisdom and humour of K.

After the Baha’i Holy Day commemoration, to which I alluded in the last post,  my route towards the Midwest took me through the backstreets of Homestead and McKeesport, then to I-70, Wheeling and Zanesville, where dinner at a Bob Evans to which I am also drawn, when in that area, was served by similarly engaging young ladies.  Zanesville has made some positive strides, in terms of civic pride, in the two years since I last visited.

I crossed Ohio without further ado, choosing Lewisburg, just shy of the Indiana line, as my rest stop for the night.  Despite some rough characters also taking the evening air at the motel, I had no trouble.

This noon, I was one of the first people to take lunch at Fricker’s, just off the highway in Richmond. It is party place, similar to the Dave & Buster’s chain. Mothers with their young children were enjoying the arcade.  Old duffers, with ball caps and white beards, were sitting at the bar, dispensing grandfatherly advice to the young servers and bantering with the forty-something bartender.  I took a bistro seat, and got prompt, attentive service from J., a shy but caring teen.  I could easily find my way back here.

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By the time I left, Fricker’s lot was full.  On  a whim, I stayed on U.S. 35, to Muncie, another Indiana city about which I had often thought.  Walking about downtown, I saw several references to “Chief Munsee”, who was a Munsee-speaking Lenape and whose real name was Tetepachsit.  In the early Nineteenth Century, there was a brief flurry of  witch-hunting activity, which resulted in his trial, being found guilty and execution.

There is a statue of a Plains Indian, at the southern entry into Muncie.  He is not Chief Tetepachsit, whose forebears hailed from the Delaware Valley of eastern Pennsylvania. Several assimilated Lenape moved west with  European settlers, some settling in Ohio and others, including Tetepachsit’s family, landing in the White River Valley, of which present-day Muncie (named for the Munsee people) is a part.  I could not find a parking spot near the statue, so it is not part  of this blog. More solid buildings, downtown, like this telecommunications office, were walkable from a spot near a coffee house, The Caffeinery.

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First Baptist Church presents a fortress-like image.

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This building houses the Downtown Housing Development Program.

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I saw flashes of artistic revival, on my brief walk around downtown.  This engaging ceramics studio and shop, had a well-attended class in session, at the time of my visit. Anyone is free to come in and paint their own ceramic piece.  I selected a lovely, sale-ready plate as a gift for my evening’s hosts.

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A bright mural, which has been restored, following vandalism, graces the side of another downtown.  It is a response to the Orlando nightclub shootings, and thus is a manifestation of an inclusive mindset.  A man and his 12-year-old daughter were taking this in, just prior to my visit.  It is a testament to the quietude of the area, that I would come across them twice more, taking care to reassure the father that I was NOT following them around.

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I headed towards my place of rest:  Mishawaka, encountering a slog along their development’s main street, due to the other access road’s having buckled from the heat.  After dinner, we took a stroll around their neighbourhood.  Narcissuses are a point of pride here, as are these Tropicana roses.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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My Plant Snap identifies these as Hosta Tardiana.  Anyone think differently?

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I had lovely visits with my hosts in Mishawaka and the next day, here at a farm in Goshen, where the donkey shown above was among the new denizens.    There will, no doubt, be a far different environment waiting for me at the next stop, Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighbourhood.  It’s all great, though, and part of a quite fascinating world.

 

Changes and Chances

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February 16, 2019, San Diego-

When I set out this morning, from Blythe, I half-expected to see nothing but clouds and moisture, once past the San Gabriels and Mt. San Jacinto.  Neither happened, and while a few clouds sent sprinkles our way, here and there, the weather was cool but pleasant.

With a friend in Riverside County at work and not available to visit, I headed for Old Town Temecula, a place I’ve found off-putting in the past, due to the invariably high volume of traffic spilling onto the I-15 freeway.

The half-mile or so, of preserved and reconstructed buildings gives a trendy air to the historic ambiance of Old Town. It’s not Bisbee, or even Virginia City, but Temecula has charm in abundance.  There is an abundance of wineries in the area, for those so inclined.

I am strictly a coffee/tea person, so my refreshment stop was at Press On, a crowded, happy shop, in the midst of Old Town’s Front Street. The shop is on the left side of the photo below.

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Temecula’s history is shown in a mural, two frames of which are shown below.

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Here are some other scenes of Old Town.

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Temecula’s City Hall is quite impressive.  The water in the front fountain is not frozen, despite its appearance. It didn’t get quite that cold today.

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Humour, of course, helped people get along in the most rambunctious of times.

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Thus invigorated, I headed towards San Diego, for a bit of reminiscence.  On the way, I encountered a vehicle darting diagonally across I-215, between Temecula and Escondido.  The driver managed to stop the vehicle and set it aright, on the grass shoulder of the highway, just shy of a very steep ravine.  I hope to never see such a thing again, but who can say what frights await, in the days and years ahead?

In San Diego, I spent some time at Tuna Harbor, part of the city’s wondrous shoreline and a monument to the civilian fishermen who served as lookouts for the Coast Guard, keeping an eye out for Japanese naval forays, during World War II.  Here, I had a nice,cheap seafood meal, at Marion’s, and caught these lovely sunset views.

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It is a great evening, in a very homey city. I will head north, to Carlsbad, for a night’s rest.  Then, will come a couple of visits with friends, in two very different parts of SoCal, tomorrow. Hopefully, the weather will hold up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2018 Road, Day 37: All The Way To Memphis

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July 1, 2018, Memphis-

With apologies to the campy 1970’s band, Mott The Hoople, the above title just jumped at me.  Driving clear across Tennessee in one day would ordinarily be wasteful-no Nashville stops, blowing past Jackson and no diversion to Shiloh or to the Land Between the Lakes. Time is getting short, though, for my stated intention is to get back to Prescott, sometime on July 4, rest up and then do a few days of service at a Baha’i camp, west of Flagstaff.

In the meantime, though, a day or so in Grind City has been long overdue.  I had contacted a friend in the Nashville area, and she turned out to be busy, so after saying farewell to Laureen and Chuck, and making a snap decision to take lunch at Country Kitchen (cute waitress wanted to go to Memphis with me, but that’s another story), I headed out of Crossville, bypassed Nashville and bore on to Jackson, making a brief refueling stop.

Hostel Memphis is a faith-based center, properly called Pilgrim House, in the midst of Memphis’ hip Cooper-Young neighbourhood, in Midtown.  In addition to the hostel, the organization offers separate programs to assist the homeless and needy families.  No Memphis residents, save the staff, are allowed to stay in the hostel.  Shelters are dispersed, elsewhere throughout the city.

I entered here.

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and was permitted to exit here.

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This evening was well-spent, on a Cooper-Young walkabout.

In the immediate vicinity of the hostel, there is a food bank, with a cafe for low income people.  It would not open until 11, on Monday morning, so I had no chance to visit, with the Museum of Civil Rights being on my itinerary, by then.

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The storage unit of Pilgrim House is right next to a playground, so it is dressed up for the occasion.

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Walking further, to the corner of Cooper and Young, I found a number of inviting restaurants and chose Young Avenue Deli.

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The atmosphere was one of modest young partyers, still all having a great time.  I took a table by a window, watching both the antics of a little girl “feeding” her stuffed animal, on the outside patio, and those inside, teasing one another and posturing for people they found attractive.  I find it life-affirming, to be among the younger generations, making the world over, as they see fit.

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After a satisfying Reuben plate, served by a steel and velvet, tattooed waitress, I strolled further down Cooper Street, finding unique little shops.  This little shelter is devoted entirely to the needs of cats.

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It is neither safe, nor legal, to climb up the berm to this railroad overpass, but it surely is a joy to see from below.

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This mural, across the street from an ice cream parlour that’s attached to Railgarten Diner, is one of several that celebrate Memphis’ diversity.  I felt very much at home here, whilst walking and licking away at a double scoop mint chip cone.

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That, in a nutshell, is, to me, the whole purpose of traveling as I do:  Expanding my feelings of being at home, and of who my family is.

NEXT:  The National Civil Rights Museum

 

The Ocean

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February 16, 2017, Carlsbad, CA-

I have traveled, from one healing place

to another,

and then to another, yet.

Prescott has been my refuge,

for six years,

and six months.

Blythe is a wide spot

in the Colorado Desert,

of California’s underscored East.

I stayed there,

because it has the river.

A desert was once an ocean.

Dig deep enough,

past the scorpions’ nests,

and the caliche,

and there will be shell fossils.

La Jolla,

bustling,

overcrowded,

expensive as a place to live,

but sublimely peaceful,

if you look past the mobs.

It reminds me of a time,

long ago,

when I was in the Bronx.

on a Sunday morning,

in April.

No one else was about,

just me,

and Yankee Stadium,

and the animals of Bronx Zoo,

and the murals,

painted by those of good heart.

Today,

it was all the parents and kids,

beautiful people of tomorrow,

and a small colony of sea lions.

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There are few murals in La Jolla,

but  there is a Museum of Contemporary Art

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I left La Jolla,

and negotiated the hordes of people

trying, desperately, to get past

one another,

only to meet again,

at the next light.

We did this dance,

on I-5

and again

on the PCH,

from Encinitas,

to Carlsbad.

Here, I bought

yet another box

of Girl Scout cookies,

because mother and child

were alone,

ignored by those

passing in and out of Von’s.

I bought a box,

because this girl

is our future,

and the future needs

the water of encouragement.

I was followed

by a grandmother,

who bought four boxes,

which Mom proclaimed

the biggest sale of the day.

Encouragement

draws more encouragement.

I settled in,

at my Econolodge,

one of my refuges,

near the ocean.