Thursday, July 14, 2022

Just Give Me One Thing That I Can Hold On To

Midwest Summer Covid Trip 
Alton, Illinois

Alton, Illinois, P's hometown - on the Mississippi River bluffs
My dear mother in law became ill with Covid and was hospitalized.  Of course she didn't tell her kids because she didn't want them to worry but when we found out, we feared the worst.  We had planned to fly over to visit in Illinois but now rushed to get there and hoped to be proper nurses if needed be.  Our thought was surely she would infect her husband and assumed they would both be bedridden when we arrived and we'd administer care, cook and fetch supplies as needed. We both know how horrible one can feel and could not imagine doing it in 85 year old bodies.

But, although, clearly sickly and needing more rest, MJ greeted us on the couch pretty as a picture and Bub was reading the paper looking healthy as a horse.  The vibe was calm.  She had been treated with some of the new meds and steroids for COVID and was feeling no pain.  They were putting on a good face and were so hospitable as they always are.  The house was immaculate and there was plenty of soda and beers, snacks and love.  After realizing the situation was stable and we weren't needed to do anything but visit, we settled in to a nice stay that would turn into a Midwest Road Trip.                                

Late night Wendy's delivery tasting menu at a hotel!  Apple Pecan Salad, Chicken Tenders, Loaded fries, Chili, bacon Wendy's burger.  When you're too tired to drive again but hungry as heck late at night; fast food delivery is not as bad a choice as you'd imagine.  Everything was freshly made, cheap and damn good!

Arby's Chicken, Bacon and Swiss and some BBQ number for P.  Surprisingly good roadside fast food with table service.  An old gentleman host at the front asked us if we wanted to dine in, or take out.  
I didn't realize how much fast food we had but I will say that in the city, you can't do fast food, its not to be trusted.  Nothing is clean, rarely is it run well.  Usually someone is threatening violence, causing a scene.  So, when we get a chance to experience Arby's in a controlled environment, it's actually quite pleasant. 
Fort Wayne, Indiana - my hometown
As stated on the sign, Fort Wayne's Famous Coney Island Hot Dog Shop, over 100 years old, a city institution.  Unfortunately, we were stuffed and couldn't eat one.

In the 70s my dad helped build this downtown park, Freimann Square. He wrote his name in the concrete somewhere but I couldn't find it. 
My mom on one of the bulldozer rigs as they were breaking ground for the park in the early 70's.  Dad drove us to see the big project his company was working on I remember thinking that my mom looked like a Mexican Eva Gabor from Green Acres. 
General 'Mad' Anthony Wayne

Stoner's Funstore - use to be an old haunt as a kid for gag gifts and magic tricks, costumes.  I spent hours browsing in this musty shop killing time while waiting for my parents who ran a restaurant downtown. 
The Indiana Hotel, birthplace of my parent's first restaurant
Our second house in Fort Wayne where I squandered my youth and made many poor life decisions from 14 until I left at 21.

A meaningful intersection from my youth - this was the exit out of 'the east end' neighborhood
Pizza from a local pizza delivery 
My parent's second restaurant location, now called Mi Pueblo, used to be El Charro
P had the steak fajitas
I had Tio Sam's, an incredibly savory sauce with shrimp, chicken and beef.  I can't describe the depth of that sauce! It was so peppery hot, yet I could not stop eating it, sopping it up with my tortillas, sweating, runny nose and all.  Delicious!  I believe the folks that run this could be related to the immigrants employed by my father many years ago. 

Real buffalo on the range, well, a state park in Indiana anyway
Wabash Lake - rock hard beach but a desolate oasis to swim

Late night gas station pizza bites, ham sliders and an ice cream sandwich - all very regrettable....let's move on

Pulled Pork sandwich and Italian Sub below from the Fairfax Bar and Grill at Lake Monroe, Indiana

The hotel had an eerie Stanley Hotel feeling from the Shining film. 
Grilled Chicken Greek Salad and Chicken Tenders and Fries from the Windjammer Bar
The pool was half inside, half  out.  I don't know how to feel about that.
Coffee and breakfast sitting on red Adirondack chairs watching the day break and all the smells sites and sounds of a Midwestern lake is comfort I'd love to bottle and take home to Brooklyn.
Tacos from the Windjammer Bar and Grill
The best times are when you think something is going to end tragically and instead you are rewarded with a pile of delicious days of celebration and get to spend time with the best people.
Back to the city

Did I mention they gifted P a truck? My secondary gift was I finally understand John Prine after listening to hours of recordings on the road.


  1. That pic of your mom is EVERYTHING

    1. Thanks!!! I love that pic. How are you?! Text me. I found some crazy cute cat bowls I've been meaning to share with you!


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