Do You Ever Wonder?

Sometimes I just like to get out and drive.

I hit the open road for an hour or more and go back home.

I love the anticipation of what I may see around the next corner.

I love to see the way certain light makes ordinary things glow.

And I can’t help but wonder, when I see the older buildings, what lives have been lived here?

I know that their lives were so different from ours now.

Things were harder without the conveniences we have today, but then again,

they weren’t as distracted as we are now.

Do you ever wonder if, in some ways, they had it better then we do now?

I mean, indoor plumbing can’t be beat but what about everything else?

The Reminder

Stark cold concrete built into the ground, you are a reminder of the fear and turmoil that we humans create while on this earth.
Yet as the sun sets for another day, the fleeting beauty covers everything like a blanket to remind us,
 if we will listen,
that the one thing we have for certain is this present moment.

That Old Diner Took Me Back in Time

 On our way home from the farmers market, my husband suggested we stop at this small diner-type restaurant for breakfast. I had been curious about it for a long time so thought it was a great idea. Just from the outside I got the feeling of nostalgia, it was a small town diner from yester-year.

You see, the town I live in is the town I grew up in. I’m nearing the big 4-0 but when I was a child, this town was “out in the stix”. It was country. I lived in one of the ‘new subdivisions’ that started popping up here in the mid 70’s. Our main highway was a winding 2 lane country road. We had to drive ‘into town’ a whole 5 to 8 miles to get to the store, unless the “Hucks” gas station just down the road had what we needed.

 Yes, a subdivision surrounded by corn fields & country roads is pretty much where I grew up.

Only, as I was growing up, so was the area around me.

One by one the corn fields became subdivisions. The fields for grazing cattle became bigger highways or shopping malls or strip malls. More land was dozed to create schools to handle all of the people moving to the burbs. I guess since it happens so slowly, yet in retrospect, so quickly, you dont notice as much the little things that you miss about ‘small town’.

The abscence of traffic.

The abscense of stop lights & stop signs at every intersection.

The hustle & bustle replaces the slow & steady.

 Rooftops now fill my views where once you felt like you had elbow room.

Gone are the lines made by the rows of corn that now seem almost theraputic to the eyes.

Maybe its just the simplicity of it all that I miss so much. Maybe its the quiet.

 

This is what going into that diner this weekend reminded me of. It was so ‘retro’ in that small town, country way. License plates, old & new hung on the walls along with signs from the old diner days. The seats were the old formica type of booths, room for 4. It amazed me that places like this still existed in the middle of a thriving, overpopulated suburbia. The waitresses called people by their names and as some of the customers left, they said “Bye, see you next Saturday!” Yep. it was a cozy, familiar, time warp that made me long again for the country way of life.

 I’m a country girl at heart, surrounded by a suburbia that came in and took over like a rash. Oh there are positive sides, like the fact that before the economic downturn, more jobs were created closer to home. It used to be you’d have to drive into the city of St. Louis (about 30 miles) to get a decent job. Now there are more out here, in fact , I work only 8 miles & 21 stop lights away from home. (I’m not kidding about the stop lights, I’ve counted). 

The people here, even though there are literally tens of thousands more than when I was young, they are mostly good. Its still a freindly, clean, safe place to live.

There are still places within driving distance that have not been taken over by suburbia, but now, since acrage is more scarce its also much more expensive. Usually the only homes built with any acrage now are beyond my price range by far.

Even my old High School is no longer recognizable. It used to sit on an old army base. Where the old army barracks used to house the offices for the school, now have long been torn down and a huge new state of the art gymnasium now stands. The school used to be an interesting mix of farm kids and the first suburbia subdivision kids (like me) to inhabit the area. Now the kids are all suburbia kids with possibly a few farm kids but I doubt there are more than a handful of those.

A big new super highway is under construction that replaces the four lane highway that replaced the 2 lane highway. I shake my head everytime I pass the construction because it is most definately a monumental task. Earth movers, pavers, buildings being moved, the landscape has definately changed, its almost unrecognizable.

 Life is change, I get that. I accept that even.

I love my town, in fact, I’ve never lived anywhere else.

Sometimes though I can’t help but miss the way it used to be.

So Much to See

My husband and I went to Chicago recently. It was one of those, “Lets get the heck out of Dodge for a few days” trips, and since it’s only a few hours drive, its easy for us to do on a long weekend.

I’ve been to Chicago a few times before, but he’s from there so I’ve been there to visit family & friends, but I never really got to see the sights. Not until this trip, I insisted.

In fact, we stayed downtown, within walking distance of Navy Pier and other attractions.

 The food there is great if you know where to go! Try Mr. Beef for instance…

Oh it may not look like a whole lot from the outside, but they have some awesome beef sandwiches. They heap on the beef and let me tell you, its delicious. So delicious that we stopped here first….before the hotel! 

But beyond the food, the city is beautiful.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a ‘city’ girl.  I’m a suburbia girl who wishes she lived on some acreage, a country girl at heart. I tend to feel a bit clausterphobic in the city if I’m there for long but I do LOVE to visit. The city has so much to see, tall buildings, people from everywhere, cars, taxi’s, tour buses and chaos.

The buildings. They are a mix of the old and the new, all jumbled together like a tapestry of glass, steel and stone. I have to say that the old buildings are my favorite, so much more character than the new. The new buildings in their tens’ of stories of glass & steel are a sight to see, but its the old buildings made of brick, of mortar and with so much beauty, history, style & detail that I love.

On some, ivy crawls across the cold, hard stone, giving the illusion of warmth.

There is history inside and outside of buildings like this. Men who constructed these buildings with their hands and sweat, without many of the tools we have today. People for centuries have gazed upon the very same buildings admiring the architecture and beauty.

 

We walked to Navy Pier, after meandering & shopping & taking it all in, we sat by a window in a restaraunt just inside Navy Pier. It was a hot, sunny day and I wanted a bite to eat & a glass of cold water. As I watched, I saw people, young and old, big & little, and the expressions on their faces as they walked onto the pier. I watched as couples walked hand in hand enjoying the sun and the sights. I watched moms and dads bring their children and point up at the ferris wheel with wonderment and awe. I could tell the first time visitors with that look on their face that said they had been looking forward to coming here for a while, & now, here they were. 

We all watch t.v. and read our books and blogs, but I recommend you get out and watch life…watch it unfold right in front of you.