Traveling home for the holidays



This archived story discusses traveling during the holidays in the midwest during the 80’s.

NI Archives

Editors Note: This is from the Northern Iowan on Dec. 8, 1987.

A normal Thanksgiving break is a pretty straightforward deal, right? You ho home, see the folks, pet the dog, tell the relatives about school, eat food, maybe see a few old friends, watch some football, etc.

It’s time off, and I was looking forward to it. Who wasn’t?

Rainclouds scummed across the afternoon sky as I made my way to the Coyote, gassed up and loaded chock-full of dirty clothes and things. A foul wind, smelling of death and great, wet hairy balls whistled across the parking lot as I made final preparations for the journey home. 

Destination: Peoria, Illinois. 

You see, I had lived in Clinton, Iowa, and called that home. But a few weeks ago, due to a faltering economy and a strong U.S. dollar abroad the family was forced to pull up roots and shed its shackles, as did the pioneers in days of yore, to travel as pilgrims to the tiny town of Glasford, IL.

A thriving example of rural America, the rustic hamlet of Glasford boasts not only its very own post office and laundromat, but a gas station, open quite often to fulfill all of our gas buying needs, I learned. 

Personally, I was unfamiliar with the area, and had no idea how to get there. My mother (bless her heart), knew this, and tried to alleviate my anxiety by mailing me directions to my new home. Fifteen pages worth. I have them on display in my room for disbelievers. 

Actually, the trip was kind of interesting. Once off the interstate, I found myself in the very heart, crotch, and bowels of Illinois. Litty-bitty towns dot the countryside, separated by cow pastures and babbling streams. And it seems that each town is fighting to outdo the others in some small way. 

One town claims to be the marigold capital of the word. Another has the oldest brick-lined, free flowing sewage system in Illinois. Another is the home of the second largest orange building in the free world. Fascinating. 

It became apparent to me that Illinois would be an amazingly interesting place to live.