Thursday, May 28, 2009

Yankee Land

Way down upon the Wabash
Such a land was never known.
If Adam had passed over it
The land he’d surely own.
He’d swear it was the Garden
He play’d in as a boy,
And straightway called it “Eden”
In the State of Illinois.

Well, that’s where we’re headed now. Eventually. Off on our “late spring break” of a road trip. Yankee Land. Minnesota is our first destination, then on to Chicago for a family wedding. All around, we’ve been promised fair weather…no snow, in other words.

I’m not certain I believe those promisers, even if they’re family. You know as well as I do that the states “north of the Line” are the next best thing to Arctic regions.

Bless ‘em, they’re channeling travel ads, just like the verses that begin and end this post. This traditional folksong was damned popular in the early 1800s. Property speculators used it to attract settlers and sell land in the “fertile land of El-A-Noy.” Don’t you dare believe it – I have been in Chicago in the middle of winter and the wind that comes off Lake Michigan freezes the cones off the pine trees. Starting around October.

Today we’re driving north. Unlike those early 19th Century settlers, we’re using our Prius. The mpg’s not as good as oxen but we’ll get there faster. I’ll keep up the blog while on the road. Later, y’all.

She’s bounded by the Wabash,
The Ohio and the Lakes,
She’s crawfish in the swampy lands,
The milk-sick and the shakes.
But these are slight diversions
And take not from the joy
Of living in this garden land,
The State of Illinois.

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