September 7, 2022
The flat farmland of central Illinois holding little interest, I dozed sporadically during the morning drive from Chicago to Springfield, IL. Mike drove, enjoying the silence. Usually avoiding fast-food chains, we opted for Wendy’s for lunch, hoping for quick service and a Frosty. The cooler air lifted our spirits which deflated at the lunch counter. We left the restaurant after 10 minutes before placing our order. The pleasant but challenged young woman served none of the customers at the counter. Across the street, Portillos beckoned us. In the days ahead, I would come to regret not packing picnic lunches for the road.
Outside Springfield, the land teased us with alternately lush rolling hills and plain flat lands. I was excited, though: we were on our way to visit Mark Twain’s Childhood Home and Museum in Hannibal MO. What writer would pass that up? I was not disappointed, humbled and inspired by this word genius who wrote about small-town life with insight and humor.
An interesting fact, nothing to do with Samuel Clemens: upper and lower case print designations (what we called capitals and small letters when I was a child) came from the way tiles were stored for moveable type. I always wondered about that.
We continued through the forests and fields of central Missouri, bare of towns or rest stops. The home of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, MO assured us that some leaders are intelligent, compassionate, and eloquent.
The hilly terrain of Independence provided a beautiful setting for the large, shady, well-manicured lawns framing the homes of the privileged. As we left the library, we glimpsed a view of our destination: Kansas City, MO.