Your idiotic author disappeared for over a week, so you were probably thinking, oh, he got an invitation (big shot blog writer that he is) to the royal wedding in London. Actually, no, the Princess and I made a huge road trip to Madison, WI (over 2000 mi round trip) to attend the memorial service for my uncle Carly, who passed away a week ago Friday (Good Friday). To my Aunt Mike, cousins Barb, Sue and John and their families, I will say what you already know, Carly was a great guy. He was always doing something fun and interesting, cared deeply about family and the others around him and raised a wonderful family, the proof of which we saw all around us last week. A favorite expression of Carly’s was, “Holy Moses,” and rest assured, he can now use that, and possibly even get a response.
On our way home we stopped in several cities from our past, met some dear friends, and had a chance to reminisce. In some ways it was sad to see a decline since the old days, like the fenced-off, empty and weedy parking lots of my once vibrant, former employer, Miles Laboratories, now just a footnote on the ledgers of pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG. But then we traveled down an old country road outside Elkhart, IN that The Princess, son Andy and I had called “the hill road.” It was exactly the same as it was 25 years ago. There was this one hill that went up steeply and then after the crest dropped precipitously. When we ascended the hill last week, I gunned the engine just as we had all those years ago, and over the crest of the hill for a fleeting moment it gave us exactly the same feeling, a feeling, I suppose, something akin to the weightlessness felt by astronauts. Andy used to say, “That makes my tummy “tickle.” The tickle’s still there.
While I’m on the subject of driving, during this long trip I had ample time to observe The Princess’s navigational skills. With the map open on her lap, I could ask, where are we now? Answer: “How should I know?” Another one, and this happened at least half a dozen times. I’d ask, which exit we should take for such and such. The Princess would commence intense studying of the map and eventually, maybe 10 minutes later, she’d name an exit that we had passed about a quarter-mile back. God bless her, The Princess is a lot of things, but a map reader, she ain’t! Before we undertake a trip like this again, if ever, it will be with a Princess-enhancing GPS system. By the way, I don’t know how we could be so lucky, but on our 7-day trip, it rained on at least part of six of those days. This was a Camry wiper system torture test, and luckily, it passed with flying colors.
A highlight of the trip was a stop in Roanoke, Va to visit the O. Winston Link museum. If you like old steam engines, he took some of the best photos, many of them now iconic images of the age of steam. Here’s a photo I took of a wall size blow-up of one of his images.
He took predominantly black and white photos, at night, and with the cooperation of the Norfolk and Western RR, staged them down to minute detail. He was self-taught, but a meticulous pro in everything he did. We spent over two hours in the museum, so had to forgo visits to the Museum of Transportation and the Roanoke Museum of art. This shot taken through the gift shop window in the Link Museum shows the railroad tracks where trains are going by almost non-stop, and in the background the modern-looking art museum.
We loved being in Roanoke and not just because the sun decided to shine the day we were there. We’ll definitely be making a trip back.
So, no, we were not at THE royal wedding, but you know that I am married to a princess, and of course 42 years ago MY Princess deigned to marry a mere “commoner.” I suppose this now gives me some kind of royal status, but none of the usual royal benefits. There is photographic evidence of the event, and below are a few shots, gleaned from 100’s.
A number of thoughts came to mind as I looked at these photos. First, except for the fact that my Princess is prettier, our wedding was a lot like the other royal wedding. Both involved churches, wedding parties, formal wear, kisses, rides in vehicles, receptions, cakes, dancing. So alright they didn’t get to have a fabulous Polish dance band like we did, but still, very similar. Second, that picture of The Princess smiling so nice with my parents, that was before she found out what a family of loonies she had married into. Third, that stuff on my head is hair, and it was blond because I worked road construction during the summer before the wedding. Finally, the idiotic brothers looked just as idiotic back then as they do now.
One other picture.
This is a shot taken in a Bob Evans restaurant in Champagne, IL during the trip. We asked our server to take a photo on the occasion of my 64th birthday. Which reminds me, I guess I’m going to have to update the “About” page. Although The Princess never gets older, I do!
Another thing that kept me from tractor work. This is the first day’s production of my 2011 jam-making effort. One more day like this one and I should be set for the year. You may place orders now. Price is the same as in previous years, since there is no inflation in That Idiotic Tractorland.
Alright, that’s it. I promise to get back to work on the Pony this week, so tune back in for another update soon. And as usual, thanks for reading.