Even before the sun comes up
this morning I will be headed east-southeast, swinging wide of Chicago, of course, then turning due east, toward Mercer County, Ohio. I'll be staying tonight in Celina, Ohio, with Charlie Mescher who teaches the College English II class at Marion Local High School in Maria Stein, Ohio, that used my memoir, Curlew: Home, as one of their texts this year. I have volunteered to do a Q&A session with Charlie's students; and Charlie and his wife have volunteered to put me up during my stay.
I'm headed east-southeast, and I'll take mostly backroad across Indiana into Ohio, in order to get a sense of the great flatness to be found there. You can be sure I'll keep notes on the landscape and report back here when I return. I'll report on my experience with the students in that College English II class as well. What kinds of questions do they ask? Did they stump me and leave me speechless?
On Friday, I'll take another back route across Indiana, to Fowler, one of my Vagabond focus communities. I'll spend Friday afternoon and Saturday there, doing interviews, taking in the Friday night movie at the theater in Fowler, which is a restored art deco classic run by the group of volunteers that saved the building from the most terrible of fates: being turned into a warehouse. I've already had a tour of the theater, when it was empty; now I want to see it in action, doing what such grand dame of a theater does on any given Friday night. I want to smell the popcorn and get a peek behind the scenes, behind the screen. Maybe, just maybe, I'll catch a glimpse of the ghost of the original owner, the man who built the theater 65 years ago.
On Saturday, the Benton County High School girls' basketball team will be playing in the state tournament, and if they win their 11 a.m. game, they'll have to play again in the evening. Perhaps I will see some of the Indiana Girls' State Basketball Play-offs. Benton County High plays in Monticello, which is 40 miles northeast of Fowler. I should also have time on Saturday for a tour of the barn where the great Dan Patch was born. If you don't know who Dan Patch is, don't tell anybody in Oxford, Indiana, 'cuz they're likely to slap you silly. Just google "Dan Patch" plus "1:55"and you should find out everything you need to know.
I will take a leisurely drive home on Sunday, once again swinging wide of Chicago. You know why: it once took me nearly five hours to drive from the Indiana state line to the Wisconsin state line on a route following the Chicago tollways and skyway. Accordingly, I had to cast the city out. Yet she persists, and still I have to swing wide of her.
In my absence, you will see the usual "Lines" each morning, and the "Morning Drive Journal," and on Saturday the "Saturday Poem." You won't see any "Morning News" while I'm gone, but you'll get an earful when I get back, you betcha.
Okay, farmboy, get on that plough-horse and ride, ride, ride.