Monday, April 10, 2006

Ever Heard Of...

Ever heard of Rensselaer, Indiana? Me neither...until two days ago. It's amazing how little one cares about the small towns you travel through on your way to a specific destination until you get stuck in one of those little towns. By stuck, I mean stranded. In the middle of nowhere. Without a car. The closest restaurants (which happens to be an Arby's and a--*gasp*--McDonald's) are a good 1/4-1/2 a mile away. The road to freedom (Interstate 65) can be viewed by simply looking out your hotel room window and you're on the wrong end of that interstate.

Flat Corn Field
Flat Fields fo Indiana

Welcome to my world. My family's world really. It's been a trip of ironies and providences. We drove up to the Chicago area for the weekend to visit an old family friend who is getting up in years. That goal achieved, we began to head towards Indianapolis in the direction of home Saturday evening only to pull over at a gas station with smoke billowing from under the hood of our van. Visions of family trips going drastically awry flash into my mind. The closest place to get supplies at 9pm to try and patch up the problem was a Wal-mart some 6 miles away from our hotel. Wal-mart. The first irony. I hate Wal-mart. But it was there that a couple of employees heard about our plight and drove us to a hotel. I love Wal-mart employees. Irony #2: There's a McDonald's at the end of our hotel's road. I hate McDonald's...but now I realize I love the McDonald's employees. (Some times it takes dramatic and crazy situations to make you separate your strong dislike for the huge world-wide conglomerates from your opinion of the individuals of those who work for the huge world-wide conglomerates. Good lesson for me to learn!)

Clark Street
Clark Street: The Road to Wal-mart

So, yesterday I set out on a pilgrimage back to Wal-mart to pick up a few things we left in our van and to leave a key in one of those little magnetic hiding boxes for whoever was going to tow the van. It was a good walk. Long but good. I got a good look of the little town we're stuck in. It was a clear, cool day yesterday with blue skies and flat farmland painting horizons in every direction (basically there was nothing around for miles but I prefer to look on the aesthetic beauty side of life!). I went into the little grocery store right beside Wal-mart and discovered a gold mine in the form of a wine corner. Who da thunk! Podunk Indiana has a wine corner! I was so psyched! I've been in similar situations before where I found wine and didn't have a de-corker which means at home I have a collection of wine openers but the one's at home weren't useful at that point. Irony #3: Cashier, "You're not going to like this, but we're not allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays. You could go to Illinois." She says this as she 1) takes away my wine bottle and 2) rings up my wine opener. I admit, I was a little snippy, "Um, I'm not going to need that then am I," pointing to the opener. Sigh. I had to settle for Gatorade instead.

So here I sit, writing and documenting our adventure, why? Because I have a lot of time on my hands and I just so happen to have 1) my laptop and 2) an Internet connection? Yes, but I'm also looking for all the neat ironies, all the moments along the way where God has provided and our family has had to work together just to keep from going crazy! Oh, and if any one ever needs a place to stay in Rensselaer, Indiana, I recommend the Holiday Inn Express just off I-65. We know the owner now, so just tell 'em the Shore family sent you!

Holiday Inn Rensselaer
Holiday Inn Express Rensselaer

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