May 15, 2021

Dateline: Evansville, Indiana


Tonight is the last night on the road. Tomorrow will be the last drive and the day after I am due back in my usual life and patterns and will have to plug back in to my usual life and patterns. This two weeks of unplugging has been good for me but it is time to get back to those who depend on me in one way or another at work and with life in general. I’ll be in normal patterns through the summer and, in September, I’ll get to break away again assuming that Covid doesn’t mutate in such a way as to shut travel back down. Anything is possible with that disease and we’re fooling ourselves if we think the last chapters of the saga have been written yet. I’m sure there is more to come; I just don’t yet know what form it is likely to take.


Today started with Drag Brunch in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Now there’s a sentence I never thought I would write. Lynn Jensen Kvigne, whom I have known and corresponded with since the early days of Epinions and Mrs. Norman Maine lo these twenty plus years ago, but whom I had never actually met lives in the area and I suggested we get together for brunch before I got on the road. Her researches turned up a decent brunch place in downtown Council Bluffs and, as luck would have it, today was there once a month Saturday brunch with drag queen entertainment. How could we not? She had a breakfast sandwich, I had French toast. We caught up and were entertained by beefy country boys in body suits, wigs that Tommy would want to restyle, and excessive pancake, busy lip synching to disco hits popular before they were born. It was lovely. Unfortunately, I could not order the drinks served in small fish bowls as I had a 600 mile drive in front of me.


After departing Council Bluffs, I headed south along the Missouri river, eventually ending up on the opposite end of Kansas City from the end I hit on my outbound trip, there I turned east, crossed Missouri to St. Louis, became very confused by the interchanges leading from I-70to I-64 and had to get off the highway downtown near the Gateway Arch in order to figure it back out and eventually headed on the right road out of town. (Tommy and I went to St. Louis together a dozen or so years ago to see Roderick George as Tamino in Zauberflote and went up the Arch that trip so felt no need to stop this time). Then, across Southern Illinois, and into the Southern tip of Indiana, stopping tonight in Evansville. None of the scenery was terribly exciting – typical rolling hills, some woodlands, and a lot of pastureland. Also an inordinate number of dead deer on the roadside. Fortunately, I did not hit any.

Historic Evansville


I picked Evansville deliberately. In this town, 73 years ago, Jon Steven Spivey made his entrance into the world. His father was from Crawfordsville and his mother from Russellville, both in Northern Indiana. Steve was a little hazy about how the family had ended up in the Southern part of the state but there was some story about his father needing to make a geographic relocation to stay a step ahead of some sort of unspecified trouble. He never said for certain, but I believe it was alcohol related. Alcohol issues tended to follow the Spivey men and Steve was thirty years sober when he died. When Steve was four, the family made another major geographic relocation to suburban LA (Sun Valley in the San Fernando Valley, just a bit north of Studio City) and that was where he grew up. To my knowledge, Steve never returned to Evansville and the two of us never passed through on any of our Midwest/Appalachian trips when he was doing his genealogical research so I thought I would take this chance to at least see what it looks like.


My audiobook the last few days has been Isabelle Wilkerson’s Caste which has got me thinking about a whole lot of issues but I’m going to need to think about them for a few days before writing about them. Until then, bad television, a good night’s sleep and home tomorrow before dinner time.

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