I am enjoying another vagabond summer, taking a break from the schedule and heat of Jubilee to catch up with family and friends. Home base is Columbia SC, with road trips to Abingdon VA and the Chicago/northern IL/southern WI area. Here are a few snippets/scenes—smatterings—from my privileged travels.
- Saw two plays at the legendary Barter Theater. Especially interesting was an actress Southern drawling most convincingly in The Savannah Sipping Society one night, and the next afternoon executing a perfect British accent in The Cottage, a hilarious farce. What a treat.
- Worshiped at a church near my sister’s place in Chicago. A fun Sunday morning walk right past Wrigley Field where all hands were on deck to transition from a Sat. night concert back to baseball. Hustle-bustle among the bronze figures of Mr. Cub Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams and Harry Caray. Cubs are in my blood for generations.
- And then an early morning sister walk in the opposite direction to Lake Michigan on July 5. Amazingly no firecracker cases or beer bottles on the beach. And, oh! that view of the skyline across the lakeshore.
- The 20-something clerk behind the counter of a convenience store, big husky guy with a crewcut, receives his baby boy from his wife, positioning the little guy in a carrier on his chest, the full-faced baby facing out. The dad waves his arms around and says, “Okay, baby, this is where I work, and it sucks. That’s why you’re going to school.”
- Overheard at an Indiana rest stop, I would guess from an urban-dweller: “I done had enough of them cornfields for today!”
- Wind farm along I-65 between Chi-town and Indy—stretches for over eight miles on both sides, as far as you can see. I am on the positive side of this renewable energy source, viewing the huge turbines as 21st century majesty rather than an invasion of alien techno monsters.
- Chilling message on overhead electronic billboards over interstate in Tennessee: “Where’s baby? Look before you lock.”
- Exit near Caryville TN: Stinking Creek Rd. How’d you like to live there? Furthermore, where’s the Chamber of Commerce when you need them?
- An encounter at the Palatine Metra station: Another sister and I were chatting while waiting for my train and a woman joined us as though she knew us, asking, “Did anybody ever give you $5?” With great enthusiasm, she told us in detail how that had happened to her and continued right on to ask if we were Irish and tell us of her heritage. Red-haired and middle-aged, she was socially unusual. I experience such encounters as a gift, most times. Definitely this one, because the main characters of the novel I’m currently pitching* are also socially unusual, and one scene in the book takes place in this very spot. Wow.
*Next blog entry I will catch you up on how the novel enterprise is going. One newsflash: I have a new title: Beyond the Gate
How’s your summer going? Any memorable moments to report?