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4 Corners and Miles to go before we sleep

September 23, 2009

It’s far too often I have an idea for a blog entry and never get around to actually writing it.  I think I need to shift gears and focus on shorter, more frequent posts, instead of trying to write major essays.  I’ll do so in the hope that it adds up to an as-yet-unseen whole.  I read a wonderful intervew of Lydia Peelle by Gillian Welch in the recent issue of Bomb.  In it, Peelle talks about sequencing a collection of stories and making choices about what to include while trying to have a sense of the whole.  Welch says the same goes for her when making an album’s worth of songs.  Oddly, even though my home is overflowing with albums, I’ve never though of one in that way – like a photo album, a collection of things carefully and intentionally assembled.  I’ve now read three of Peelle’s stories and listened to her read one on line.  I’m very excited about reading the rest of her book, Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing

Speaking of albums, I have yet to organize the pictures from the summer road trips, but I want to return to the original concept for this post.  Over Labor Day weekend, we continued our exploration of America with stops in 4 previously unknown (to us) corners of this great land:

1- Union City, PA.  We were there for a wedding of a former nanny for our boys, held on her family’s farm.  On a beautiful late summer day on a hilltop looking over the little valley that holds her childhood home, a bluegrass band played while a horse-drawn wagon arrived with the wedding party.  We shared a harvest meal in a giant tent while the kids played in the barn, watched the horses (a brother and sister), and counted the endless stars in the country sky.

2- Presque Isle, PA.  This dozen or so mile long peninsula juts out into Lake Erie right next to the city of Erie.  Little did we know we’d find a monument to Commodore Perry and the war of 1812, endless pathways for bikes and roller bladers, and pristine beaches.  On one we found a collection of kite enthusiasts who gather there to take advantage of being out in the lake, open to strong winds and few beach  bathers.

3- The Geauga County Fair in Northeastern Ohio.  For a while we were worried that we would be the only ones there as we drove along winding roads infrequently dotted with little houses and farms.  Until we hit the traffic – miles of it waiting to get into the fair.  Geauga County knows how to have a fair – it rivaled the Wisconsin State Fair in number of rides, food booths, and bad tattoos.  We took the boys to their first truck and tractor pull and witnessed first hand the bitter Ford vs. Chevy rivalry.  We were there for the first hour of an event that would go until midnight, but heard plenty of loud engines struggling through the dirt to pull the load before the weight transfer machine ground to a halt and the John Deere tractors re-groomed the surface for the next driver.

4- Shipshewana, IN.  Giant signs advertising a Pat Boone concert outside of the enormous Blue Gate Restaurant were just the start of our adventures.  For the boys it was their first look at the Amish, and they were excited to see a horse and buggy pull up next to us at the gas station.  The food was fantastic – I think apple butter will now be a staple in our home as well.  We didn’t buy any furniture but we did talk about the way the Amish live as we drove around, seeing people enjoying a simpler life.  We were a bit confused by the Amish kids we saw sending text messages at the truck and tractor pull the day before, but we’ll save that for another day.  See photo below (coming tomorrow).

Kind of Blue as I head off to bed, completing the pun of this post’s title  🙂

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