Friday, April 25, 2008

Mr. Carroll, report to the bridge, please

Photo by LeftWingCrackerYour humble Cracker, beginning tomorrow, begins a two-week vacation that includes a week-long trip with stops to see the fabulous Cathie Ryan at the Southern Illinois Irish Festival, which will also include a visit and overnight stay with local blogger/Ph.D candidate LeftWingCarolinaBlue.

Then, the next morning, we will wind our way north through Cumberland County, IL, ancestral home to my mother's side of the family. Lauren has never been to that part of Illinois before, and I want her to see it. This knowing that some day I will have to explore the unrelenting excitement that is Wichita, Kansas, but I digress.

Then, on Sunday afternoon, we will return to the place where I was born and Reagan grew up (before Nancy corrupted him), Dixon, IL. My hometown, bisected by the lovely yet polluted Rock River (which is hopefully back in its banks by now) is a town of 15,000 which was 20,000 when I lived there from by 1959 birth through August 1967, when we migrated to Northeast Arkansas. Of course, 5,000 of them were residents of the now-defunct Dixon State School, a state mental facility. (Note, they were always breaking out of there, I looked out our back door one evening when I was about 6, and a woman who looked like one of our neighbors but turned out to be one of the residents of DSS was there. Mom was upset, but the poor woman was harmless.)

Yes, this is far more boring than our beloved Newscoma's Annoying Autobiographical Pause, but if I don't keep practicing, I'll never be as good a writer as she is. Oh, hell, like ANYONE will get to that level, but, again, I digress, back to our story.

My last note about that is that my grandfather, who was a carpenter at DSS, used to drive past our street on the way home, and I had this tendency to go to the corner, wave at him, and he would come to our house, confusing my mother, who would ask "Hi, Dad, good to see you, why are you here?" only to learn that I had flagged him down. Good times.

While Dixon isn't Sin City, there is great fun to be had in that area; there, we are two hours from Chicago, an hour from the Quad Cities. an hour from Rockford, and an hour from God's Country, America's Dairyland, home to Brennan's Market, Little Switzerland and, of course, THE MOUNT HOREB MUSTARD MUSEUM. OY, I almost forgot, The Grumpy Troll Pub of Mt. Horeb! I speak, of course, of Wisconsin.

Yes, they may be Packer fans, sadly, but otherwise good people, even if Joe McCarthy hailed from there. Remember, so did LaFollette and so does Russ Feingold and Tammy Baldwin; it's a hell of a state and it's beautiful, unless you're there in the winter, then it's nothing but snow and deer hunters.

So, I will be coming home with cheese, beer and sausage for a few (sorry, can't do it for everyone or I'll have to charge!) and will return before the Kentucky Derby on May 3. There may be posting from me while I'm gone, but it will be up to Mr. Carroll to keep the fire going until I return.


No comments: