Saturday, June 28, 2008


In 2006 Greg and I took a road trip on two lane highways along the Mississippi. It was one of the most amazing trips I have ever taken in my life. We started in Davenport, IA, saw the green green earth of Iowa and Illinois ("It just seems like you could grow anything here!" said Greg). We got pulled over by a cop in Nauvoo, Illinois who undoubtedly took us for one of the millions of Mormon families that make pilgrimage to the tiny town, clogging the streets and cleaning out its candy supply. We went to Hannibal, Missouri, the boyhood home of Mark Twain, the whole town a kind of theme park dedicated to its famous literary son. We passed St. Louis, stayed in Cape Girardeau, MO where we were shocked to wake up in the Rush Limbaugh's hometown to discover a place that sold delicious multigrain muffins.

Now much of these river towns are underwater. They're a resilient bunch, though, the people who camp on the banks of that river. Are they like abused spouses? Sharing a house with a loving, committed partner with periodic outbursts of violent rage? Are we Americans who live near oceans or lakes or desert or mountains, are we the friend who, one day, over coffee, after yet another excuse (I fell down the stairs, the levees weren't tall enough, etc.), do we suddenly grab the wrist of our abused friend, do we look her deep in the eyes and say: "It doesn't have to be like this! You gotta get out of there! I will help you..." Does she free her wrist from our grasp, pat us on the shoulder and say, "But I love him. He's so wonderful so much of the time. You don't understand..."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Growing in Hannibal, Mo and living in Phoenix now I miss the mighty Mississippi River. Every time I return to Hannibal to visit family I must see the river. There is a park called Riverview Park. Within it there is an overlook. I stand there watching the river roll on by. The barges float up and down the river. Then the trip to downtown to see what has changed. surprisely alot and some ways very little. I am proud to say Hannibal is my hometown. River, floods, Mark Twain but most of its people.