Tuesday, December 24

i'll be home...

Turns out, miles and miles on interstate highways are not all that conducive to writing. In fact, I now believe the genius of Jack Kerouac is not what he wrote, but that he made the time to write at all.

Otherwise, our cross country pilgrimage has gone rather well. We've visited various holy sites such as Stake N' Shake and a museum with Evel Knievel's X-rays. Spoiler alert, the man broke a lot of bones.

But the high point came with an unexpected detour in Carthage Missouri to a place unceremoniously called Red Oak II.

"Oh, you really should go if you have time," our rosy motel hostess said.

"What is it, exactly?" I asked, unconvinced.

She couldn't really say, only that it was some kind of model old town and that you just had to see it to understand. And I'm not sure why, but I decided to take the bait.

I'm so glad I did. Red Oak II is indeed a collection of 20s era buildings re-created into a small town of a bygone era. The man behind the imagination is Lowell Davis, a painter and general renaissance artist most famous for his farm life depictions. The little town is complete with church, jailhouse, and general store, but as a painter might dream it, in an array of vibrant colors.

Mr. Davis himself came out to greet us when Keeper the dog got the attention of the town pack. He then offered a tour of his personal dwelling and painting room, even humoring me for a photo on his porch which couldn't have been more story-like if I'd written it; the dog and cat posing like seasoned models for portraiture.

It was a beautifully warm day for December, and we were the only people in the town, aside from the few locals who make their home there. Scattered about the grounds, we found rusting automobiles and a small plane. It was quite the collection of junk, really, but arranged so thoughtfully, it left me feeling I'd stepped into a life-size doll town.

The visit to Red Oak II more than made up for other disappointments of off season closures and one very unfortunate gas station dog-poo-stepping incident. I don't want to talk about it.

It just goes to show, some of the best and worst things in life are those you stumble into...

It's good to be home. A very Merry Christmas to you and yours,


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