It is an odd experience to be pedaling through a new community and hear someone call your name.
It happened in Springfield, IL. I met Brian while entering town. He was on a bicycle too.
Brian had questions about touring. He led me to St. Aloysius Church and the rectory across the street. He took off before I rang the doorbell.
The priest wasn’t home so I opted for camping at the county fairgrounds nearby.
After a stop at the grocery, I made my way west and that’s when I thought I heard my name the first time.
I turned to look and that felt weird. So I started to take off, and again I heard my name.
I stopped and this time Brian, the only one I knew in Springfield, was biking to catch me.
“I raced home and asked my wife and she said it’s OK if you want to stay with us tonight,” he said.
Brian didn’t have to ask twice. Funny, too, that he was well aware of the protocol at home.
A bike is a common denominator. Brian was genuine. A good guy and a warm bed sure beat camping.
I followed Brian home and we chatted the whole way.
Brian’s wife Lynn was a doll. She had a sharp wit and conversation came easy.
“I really would like to tour,” said Brian. ”Not like you… but just a couple of days.”
I was encouraged. I looked at Lynn.
“I don’t want to do it,” she said. ”I like things like home and a bed.”
Brian said, as much as he wanted to tour he had some reservations.
“Of course, I’d miss my wife,” said Brian. ”But I’d really miss my C-pap machine.”
Lynn rolled her eyes.
“Stop making excuses,” she said.
I echoed Lynn’s ribbing. Brian was outnumbered.
That was until their neighbor Terry came over. Terry was part of the family. He jumped right into the conversation, changed the topic to food, and then went to get some.
Terry was a self-taught baker. He brought over homemade chocolate turtles with crisp pecans.
While we raved about the treat Terry talked about how he was preparing to retire by following his wife around the house. Closely.
“Oh she hates it,” said Terry. ”I can’t wait.”
Spent some time at the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, IL. The fascinating history of a lanky lawyer who was described as ”unkempt” and ”often out at the elbows.”
Lincolns also had “a very defective taste in hats.”
He wore straw hats and broad low brimmed or felt hats. Best known for his stove pipe hat Lincoln habitually used it as a desk and filing cabinet stuffing letters legal papers and scribbled speech notes inside.
One entry read, ”It was not always wise. As a congressman attending the 1849 inauguration of President Zachary Taylor, Lincoln supposedly had his hat stolen losing whatever literary treasures were inside.”
North of the museum is Lincoln’s tomb. The Oak Ridge Cemetery is immaculate and majestic and has an aura about it, probably because of its strong ties to history, tragedy, and the final dark days surrounding Lincoln’s presidency.
A couple interesting notes:
- Lincoln’s casket was moved 17 times.
- The docent also said the casket was reopened five times. There had been a trend in the 1800s of grave robbing. One scoundrel even wanted to steal Lincoln’s remains and hold them for ransom.
Pedaled 62 miles from Springfield to Clinton, IL, and then 99.69 miles to Ottawa, IL on Thursday. Dodged an incoming storm in the morning but picked up some strong miles on the Constitution Trail, a wonderful paved trail through Bloomington, IL.
Ended the day .04 miles short of a century. When I checked in that evening with my team back home I was encouraged to get back on the bike and spin it around the parking lot to even out the mileage at 100. I just didn’t have the strength.
If the way that somebody lives pleases the Lord, the Lord will lead him into good things. Psalm 37:23 Easy English Bible
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