Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Missouri Uplands

The memories are there of visits to our 320 acre farm in north-central Missouri. A mule farm in the 20's and 30's it is now strictly cash crops and deer draws. In summer I loved driving through the thick, muggy air of a July morning, past the greening fields of exotic milo and through the tiny burgs on route 54, crawling through sleepy Pittsfield, sometimes stopping at the Red Hen Cafe for breakfast, but always stopping at the little crossroad village of Atlas Junction, getting a photo in front of the monument rock spelling out the white history of Pike county.

From there back on 54 across the Mississippi River and through Louisiana, Curryville, Vandalia, Farber, Laddonia, Mexico, and finally to the farm, seemingly a million miles from anything on the Audrain/Callaway county line north of Hatton, MO. I have a heartfelt affinity for the countryside bisected by 54. The golden hue of the wheat and soybeans in the later afternoon October sun give the flat land a slightly different feel from central IL. The beauty of the sparse Missouri uplands is there if you look for it.

A few years back Kim and I stopped in Louisiana on a sunny Saturday afternoon. There a was one of those rickety plastic signs in front a black Baptist church advertising a BBQ lunch. I, of course, made us stop; we were the only white folk in the low-ceilinged, chipped paint walled basement, dining on maybe the best pulled pork I've ever had and watching the old women dance. Come to think of it, I just might have to take a couple days off and wander back down to those parts before the harvest is over.

Soundtrack: The Court and Spark, "Bless You"

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