Friday, July 7, 2006

Greetings from the Crossroads of America

And when they say crossroads, they mean Cross / Roads. Seriously, if you didn't believe me about the scary giant cross I keep mentioning every time I pass through here, click on that link and look at the tiny people at the foot of the cross. And btw, when that website says it's meant to be a beacon of hope, do they mean it as in "Oh boy, I hope I make it to that cross, where I know there are gas stations, before my tank hits empty"? Because that's what it means to me. When I got here I'd driven 395.9 miles on a single tank of gas and I'm a little lucky I made it, given that I only had about half a gallon left when I filled up!

In all fairness I have to say that this huge cross is quite classy and understated compared to the Godzilla-Jesus somewhere south of here on I-57. Bullock and I saw it on our way to a wedding in southern Illinois. It's a statue of Jesus's bust and arms rising out of a pond in front of some megachurch and I swear to the FSM the head alone is the size of a house. Given the size and the watery setting, the first thing Bullock and I thought of was Godzilla. I think I was supposed to be thinking of baptism, but since there was no John the Baptist (and we're all grateful for that!) and Jesus looked to be rising out of water, rather than being submerged in it, baptism didn't come straight to mind. Giants rising out of the water always mean Godzilla to me.

Anyway, back in Effingham, I think I freaked out the waitress in the Cracker Barrel next to my hotel by actually playing with that peg game that's on the table. I used to be able to do that thing -- it's the one in the shape of an equilateral triangle and you have to jump pegs until only one is left -- but this time I could only get down to two pegs. I only gave it three tries, though, before my beef stew came. And can I just say that I myself momentarily freaked out when, upon entering a Cracker Barrel for only the second time in my life, I realized that it looked just like the other Cracker Barrel I'd been in. I realize that that's probably a design element and I guess they think it's comforting to most people -- and maybe it is -- but it really unsettled me. I felt a hole rip in the time-space continuum as I suddenly occupied two places and two times simultaneously. Creepy.

Speaking of creepy, the part of Effingham I've seen is a very weird little place. Of course, I've only seen the part that caters to the truckers and roadtrippers on I-70 and I-57, so maybe it's a nice place away from the highways. Still, it makes me want to sing lonesome songs. Maybe I'll listen to some Neko Case when I get back on the road tomorrow.

Well, that's all I've got for now. I think I'm going to try to be good, go to bed, and get up bright and early so that maybe I have some time to stop at the scary giant cross myself and take a sunrise picture of it. What can I say -- I love roadside kitsch.

Oh, and when I get back to substantive blogging, I want to post about yet another Brit Lit anthology. Just got the medieval volume sent to me and the table of contents alone has me very excited. But I still need to read some of the headnotes. But now, to bed.


Anniina said...

Both Cross and JesusZilla sound wicked scary to me! Dying to hear about the anthology. *big hug* for the potentially taxing weekend, you can do it, Super-V!

Murky Thoughts said...

Is Effingham where that feral pig derailed that train that was carrying the English ambassador and the boys choir that was on its way to the World's Fair? Or did I just make that up?

What Now? said...

Every time I'm in a Cracker Barrel (which doesn't happen very often, but there is one at a convenient point on a trip I've made multiple times), I play that peg game. And I'll confess that I can never get fewer than four pegs, which means, according to the key on the game, that I'm an "ignoramus." Very depressing -- so I'm impressed that you got it down to two!

Rob Barrett said...

This wouldn't be the Broadview Anthology, Dr. V? It's good stuff, albeit with some curious omissions here and there.

Dr. Virago said...

Bingo, Rob. And man, I've *got* to get back to blogging so I can say something about it!

Anonymous said...

I grew up on Effingham and the interstate section of town is strange. Next time you drive through, you should head to the little downtown area. There are still some stores open after the Wal-Mart devastation.