At the end of a long day of road tripping, after hours of walking and perusing and appreciating and photographing and learning and gawping and filling your head with new mental notes about memories-to-be and storytelling to come, sometimes all you want to do is return to the car and head straight home without stopping, not even for bathrooms or snacks.
Then you pass one last roadside attraction that catches your eye and won’t let go. It lassos your brain, sweet-talks your sense of exploration, and hollers like a rowdy bartender, “I reckon y’all could spare us just a few minutes ‘fore ya head for the hills, can’t ya?” Next thing you know you’re piling outta the car and takin’ a look-see at what they wanna show ya, if’n you ain’t yella-bellied and if you don’t get up too much gumption to ask why the voice’s southern accent is more cornpone than Rogue’s dialogue in old issues of Uncanny X-Men.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Then came 2020 A.D.
Even in an ordinary average year, sometimes you really need to get away from it all. In a year like this, escape is more important than ever if you can find yourself one — no matter how short it lasts, no matter how limited your boundaries are. Anne and I had two choices: either skip our tradition for 2020 and resign ourselves to a week-long staycation that looks and feels exactly like our typical weekend quarantines; or see how much we could accomplish within my prescribed limitations. We decided to expand on that and check out points of interest in multiple Indiana towns in assorted directions. We’d visited many towns over the years, but not all of them yet.
In addition to our usual personal rules, we had two simple additions in light of All This: don’t get killed, and don’t get others killed…
After the Red Skelton Museum we left the city of Vincennes satisfied with our busy Tuesday and headed back north up US Highway 41. As we headed toward I-70 in Terre Haute we couldn’t help staring at a store on our right called Boot City. I’d seen their billboards on past drives but hadn’t paid them any mind. Then again, I’d never headed this far down Highway 41 before. They’re a large purveyor of Western-themed apparel for the fans of cowboys, rodeos, and honky-tonk bars out there. They carry thousands of pairs of pants, an untold number of boots, and bushels of other wares as described on their website: “Take time to check out our swamp monster, cowbell collection, over 500 collectible belt buckles, our oil lamps, and a great collection of horse clocks.”
In hindsight I’m kicking myself for not having passed through those doors nor gotten a gander at all those cowbells. We were plumb tuckered out and respectfully declined to shop, but it would’ve been rude to give the cold shoulder to all the statues and other collected gewgaws strewn across their front lawn.
…and then we rode off into the sunset. Except it was still afternoon rush hour. And we were facing east, not west. And no one watched us leave or asked each other, “Who was that masked couple?”
To be continued!
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