Crossroads

Indiana is known as the Crossroads of America and it would seem fitting that these last 2 towns that I have passed through fit that bill. Incorporated in 1836, Logansport sits between 2 rivers, the Eel and Wabash and in the last century the Erie Canal would weave its way through but with the burgeoning onslaught of the railroad, river transportation would die. As I approach from the west the corn and soy bean fields that have dominated my periphial vision for the last 4 states has given way to woods, glorious woods and the smell of oak and maple trees. I sense fall just around the corner and I see just a hint of leaves starting to turn. Coming into Logansport I see Happy Burger and a giant cow out front. They advertise 49 cent hamburgers, a throwback to prices of the late 50s and early 60s and they actually serve Indiana raised beef. In a time of big business and franchises it is refreshing to see a place so original and family owned still standing. In a time of strip malls and mega centers and Super Walmarts I find it more appealling to see small town America fighting and surviving with businesses that carry a Norman Rockwell quality. Logansport once had several railroads and vaudeville performers who would stop on their way to Chicago. In time 5 highways would lay their cement web through and on the outskirts of town. Progress, as sure as the sun rises and sets would transform this town.

 In the one thousand nine hundred seventy three steps it takes me to run a mile, I see alot. The world and its pace are slowed dramatically by my slow and steady forward motion. Today I found a total of 42 cents which now brings my grand total to $14.12…..give or take a few indestinguishable coins. A long, rolling hillside and 4 lanes of road with a huge shoulder to travel on, lead me to Wabash.  It is an old Union city, as the memorial at the courthouse proclaims. Wabash also lays claim to being the first lighted city in the world. Fact. It was 1880 and carbon lights were attached to the courthouse, which at the time was the highest point on a hill which overlooked the city. Certainly other cities may have had electricity and would follow Wabash shortly thereafter with lights. Wabash was also the site of Modoc the Elephant short stint of freedom through town and the neighboring countryside back in 1942. He escaped when, while tied to a post outside the gymnasium, dogs startled him and he pulled loose and made his way down main street. When the smell of roasted paunuts filled his trunk he pushed his way through a 42 inch door (taking the frame with him) ate some peanuts and moved on. Five days later he was eventually lured on to a truck with 10 loaves of bread and promptly ate 20 more and drank 30 gallons of water. Modoc is now etched in local lore and the downtown coffee shop and sandwich store bears his name.

The word crossroads carries a special meaning today. As I climb to a top of a long hill I sense a truck pull up behind me. It is maroon and small, something economical. The woman who steps out is tall. I guess she is in her 50s. She is quiet and I don’t know what to expect till she says, “You have my nephew”…..His name was Chad Lake, he was from Ocala, FL and was 26. I didn’t have his flag. It had been placed Aug. 19th on Blackjack Road, outside of Galena, IL. My aunt was with me and she had placed it. I remember it clearly. Whats the chances that I would meet the aunt of this soldier on an obscure road out of 4417 names? That my aunt would place his flag? That I would even remember that? I noticed that she couldn’t speak. She had tears. Her lip was quivering. Then she walked away and I ran on………Crossroads of America….towns and people….entwined……

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5 Responses to “Crossroads”

  1. donald wood Says:

    Mike – many times have you brought tears to my families eyes as you recount your chance meeting with relatives of our fallen soldiers. Your blogs have been simply outstanding and very informative. Looking forward to
    your stay with us in about 4 weeks.

    Don & Sunny

  2. kath Says:

    I read your experiences on your journey, I wonder and am amzed how you can put it into words. I can only try to visualize it in my mind what you write, what you see, the wonderful people you talk with on your encounters.

    God shed his grace on thee!

  3. Joe Says:

    You sir, are a great American. Thank you.

  4. Donna Mullane Says:

    OMG Mike,
    This gave me Goosebumps!!! Love reading your Blogs. Keep up the great work, and remember, we are soooo proud of you and love you very much!!

  5. James Troutt Says:

    Mike you are coming to New Egland at the Best time of the year the Colors are all most at there peak in Northen Maine. I keep watch of you daily and will be there when you get to Maine. On 4-6-06 i lost my grandson in Iraq his name was Spc Dustin J Harris from Patten, Maine. I can only see in my mind the many people you have meet and the hearts and minds of Our Fallen Hero’s Familes you have got a chance to meet along your way. Take Care My Freind and Be Safe You are almost to the End of your Journey. God Bless

    Jimmy

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