I ate breakfast in New Harmony, Indiana. The café was full of dulcimer players… it turns out that there was going to be a dulcimer get-together (‘Dulcimer Chautauqua on the Wabash‘) in town that weekend.
After breakfast, I headed across the state line into Illinois and then up to St. Louis. I needed to stop at the Apple Store because my laptop’s power supply had crapped out back in Kentucky. To Apple’s credit, they not only replaced the power supply with a new one on-the-spot, but they also allowed me to sit at the Genius Bar reading email for a few hours!
I then headed off southwest for a two-hour drive to Fort Leonard Wood, where my brother Donald was training for re-deployment to Iraq. I knew that I was getting close when the normally low pornography density of Missouri started rising exponentially. I especially loved one ambitious smut theme park called “Big Louie’s” which featured a porn store, a video emporium, an ‘exotic cabaret’, and other venues, all decorated to look like a wild west town. Right next to Big Louie’s was a billboard reading “Pornography Harms Women and Children”.
As I got closer, there were lots of porn shops, bars, ‘gentleman’s’ clubs, and pawn shops.
Finally I was at the gate, where my brother Donald met me. MPs had me open all of the cabinetry, asked whether Ed was poisonous, and then gave me a 3-day pass to the base. The “MARRIAGE = + ” bumper sticker didn’t seem to phase them. Off we went to Donald’s barracks.
Donald is now a Captain, and officers get their own barracks. Luckily, the officer’s barracks is much less crowded, but the guys still share one open room, called an ‘open bay barrack’. As Donald puts it…
For those of you who are unfamiliar, an open bay barrack is where you and 40 of your new, best friends learn about each others little ‘quirks’. Think about the embarrassing habits that your spouse knows and your co-workers must never learn, and you know what I’m talking about. Privacy not included, modesty optional.
After a round of hand shakes with Don’s barrack-mates, he and I went off to dinner.
We went to a place called Adonia’s. Over a red meat dinner, Donald and I discussed the war and the current political situation. It was actually really fun… normally when we try to discuss these things, our respective spouses ‘break us up’. I think that the adversion to political debate in the United States is partially responsible for the reduction in political participation.
After dinner, I brought Donald back to his place, and then I headed down the road about 10 miles and found a campground. It’s been a long day, and I’m really tired.