I have been doing some reading regarding the old west, cowboys, rodeos, etc. in preparation for our upcoming extended (3 weeks--at least) out west trip. Beginning with South Dakota, across Wyoming, Utah and looping back through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas car trip my wife and I will be taking this June.
In Dirk Johnson's book Biting the Dust he makes a description of what he feels describes various places in the west or what he calls the Great Plains. I would agree with his statement but I feel it could also fitly apply to areas I have known traveling back in my home state of Indiana.
"In so many forgotten towns on the back roads of the Great Plains, people sit on their front porches, gazing into the twilight, as if keeping watch before something else vanishes : another store, another church, another family."
Dirk Johnson--Biting the Dust
On one of my last trip's back home I decided I would drive somewhat out of my way, drive something other than the usual highways I take when driving back home. I guess to quote a line from an old SStatlerBrother's song maybe it was cause "I had time on my hands and memories on my mind" that I did such.
Where I normally would have headed north when coming into Indiana I decided to turn and head a bit east crossing the Ohio River at a place called Rockport. From there I drove west on highway 66 driving to Tell City on to Cannelton.
There I stopped a bit and drove where literally one can park their car within a few feet of the Ohio River. Leaving Cannelton I drove to or through the very small hamlet of Rome. I smiled when doing such. I had been there once before. Don't think much had changed. From there on to Derby. From Derby I continued to travel back roads stopping at a convenience store (one of them places where they sell velvet Elvis''s) and got me a diet Dr.Pepper. Sitting on a bench outside was a teenage couple who had no clue there was another person anywhere in the world. Uh....they were rather taken/ smitten with one another.
On to Jasper, then up the road to Ireland. The Ireland Spuds. Made quite a splash in 1963 with their high school basketball team. They had one of the craziest coaches ever, Pete Gill. He once told the student body at a pep session that if they won the sectionals he would take his pants off at the pep rally. They did and he did.
Someway or another I made my way a bit west and went through Petersburg. Just outside of Petersburg I saw a church which had a sign, "Revival--every night---Come and hear the Gospel." I smiled and thought "I'd like to show up there one of the revival nights and just see what does happen." From there on to Monroe City then up to Bruceville. Shortly after Bruceville I hit highway 41 and was somewhat back in known country.
My point is in all due respect to Mr.Johnson there are a lot of places in this U.S. where folks are sittin' on their porches and gazing into the twilight and keeping watch as many things they once knew.....have and are vanishing and they are not all out west.
April 30, 2017