29 March 2015

road trip 2015: two stories from the road

As you know, I really enjoy courthouse towns especially if there is an interesting courthouse and the square has a good mix of businesses. Too many downtowns that I've seen on this road trip had empty stores or the highway/streets were intrusive. U.S. 50 was my blue highway of choice across southern Illinois and Indiana. Carlyle, Illinois, is the seat of Clinton County. The courthouse is relatively new and the door on this side of the building said "for official use only" and notified you to go to the other side ... but, but this was the side on U.S. 50 so it seemed like the "front" door. It must be easier to park on the other side.
The square looked a bit bleak but the Old 50 Cafe was across U.S. 50 from the courthouse. The siding doesn't improve the appearance of the building but the coffee-to-go that I got there was one of the most satisfying because it wasn't from a gas-stop or Starbucks. The coffee did taste pretty good and the cafe was clearly a local favorite.
The restaurant door was down a hall. As I was waiting at the entry for my coffee, I noted that the front room was a bar with tables and booths though all of the customers were seated in the restaurant area. I asked if it was OK to take a picture and the waitress turned on the bar lights.
You can rest assured that I would patronize the Old 50 Cafe if I lived in Clinton County. Every time I saw a Clinton County, I first read the "entering" sign as Clinton Country.

That's the first story. When I was in North Loup, Nebraska, I had an interesting conversation with Pastor Scott Hausrath of the church where my dad and grandfather had earlier been pastor. An earlier post described my visit to the house where we lived when I was in high school. Scott asked if he could pray for me on my journey; I asked him just to wish me well. Later, we talked about prayer and how I feel that I don't know how to even though I grew up with pray-ers. He replied, more or less, that it's just involving God in your good thoughts about some person or circumstance. Well, I've been thinking about this and scribbled this little narrative in my journal:

Lovin' the traversing of the Illinois countryside. Past the PBS station I was listening to where Michael Feldman was interviewing T.C. Boyle about his new book [The Harder They Come]. Following a truck that was going about 60, thinking about stopping for a break so he could get ahead. I do know how to pass or to go on highways where you can go 70 and pass more easily. And then there is a lovely little roadside stop as I was thinking they had all disappeared. Scott, there is an answer to prayers! Note: there is a port-a-john storage place across the highway. God moves in mysterious ways.

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