Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Small Thing for Which to be Thankful

I got up this morning (Thanksgiving) at 6:30 AM, an hour and a half before the rest of the family, in order to put the garbage out. At first, we put the garbage out the night before, but the following morning the cans were overturned and the contents scattered.

The week after that, we put the garbage out in the evening but kept the light on at the back porch and watched the yard from inside the kitchen. Sure enough, a family of five ample raccoons appeared from under a bush and crossed the porch as a group toward the cans. I marveled at their sneaky, careful manner. I could hear them say,

"Clear the ramp! Thirty seconds!"
"Fire in the hole!"
"Where's our rallying point?"
"Behind the maple."
"This mission's FUBAR."

Not really ... Soon, I scared them off and brought the can inside the garage. But as stealthy and determined as they were, I felt thankful that raccoons don't have covering fire.

Challenges of Leadership

I'm picking up some of the themes that I wrote about in my October 5th entries, "Churches Want Pastors Who Have Great Skills."

The other day, I watched a show in the series “Classic Albums” on VH1. This episode concerned Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” Early in their career, the band had attempted to compose music for the movie “Zabriskie Point,” but the director was never satisfied with any of their efforts. Band members thought the director couldn’t make up his mind because he wanted to be in control. As it turns out, Richard Wright’s gorgeous piano music for the movie became, four years later, the moving song “Us and Them” for the “Dark Side” album.

This show made me think about issues of control, empowerment, and leadership. A book that I love is Leading the Congregation: Caring for Yourself While Serving the People by Norman Shawchuck and Roger Heuser (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993). They tell this story on page 189:

“We are at the time of this writing consulting in a congregation of 900 members, with five pastors. The communication between the pastors and the board could hardly be worse. Yet one pastor told us that during his seven years there as a pastor he has been invited to meet with the board only three times. The board complains that this pastor isn’t doing a good job. But how would they know? They have never observed his work firsthand, they have never talked with him about his work, they have never provided him any training in the areas of his suspected weaknesses. So if this pastor is doing a poor job, who is to blame? First, the senior pastor, who doesn’t want any other pastors to attend the board sessions, and who has provided his staff no training. Second, the governing board, who has allowed this foolish waste of human ability to go on year after year without calling the senior pastor to accountability.”

Many organizations in addition to churches have unhelpful structures of power: certain people in authority retain power while expecting others to exercise leadership, in effect setting them up for disapproval and/or failure. It’s a foolish waste of effort and ability, as Shawchuck and Heuser write, but very common. (A biblical example would be Saul and Samuel: Saul was king, but Samuel never trusted and empowered him.) Any leader does well to identify and address these kinds of dynamics---and address them before too much time passes.

Another kind of story from another book that I love, What Ministers Can’t Learn in Seminary: A Survival Manual for the Parish Ministry by R. Robert Cueni (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1988). Cueni writes about a married couple, Darryl and Marie, both clergy who came to the same church. They discussed their approach of a “team ministry” with the board, which approved them. “Eight months after their arrival, Darryl and Marie resigned. The congregation was told of a ‘clergy team,’ but many did not understand the significance of the term. Some said they always thought of the minister’s wife as part of the ‘team,’ but they did not understand why she should preach on Sunday morning or conduct funerals.” The congregation had no women in positions of leadership, but the couple mistook this fact as a lack of empowerment, and so Marie preached a sermon on the femininity of God. But the congregation’s women enforced the leadership roles in the congregation, not the men. Marie's well-intentioned and caring efforts were off-putting. The couple misunderstood the power dynamics in the congregation and, unfortunately, had a painfully short pastorate.

Again: the congregation had structures of power, but the couple did not recognize how power was distributed in the congregation. Congregation members exercised power by withholding permission for Marie to lead. Ironically, the couple had sought to empower and give permission to the laity to serve---exactly the goal that church-growth pundits like William Easum espouse (for instance, in his books about permission-giving churches, Dancing with Dinosaurs and Sacred Cows Make Gourmet Burgers). Simply to give people permission to do ministry--to "get out of their [the laity's] way," as one pastor I met put the matter--is not nearly enough, though.

Still another book that I love: R. Paul Stevens and Phil Collins, The Equipping Pastor: A Sysems Approach to Congregational Leadership (The Alban Institute, 1993). As Stevens and Collins put it, leadership is “L=(L, F, S),” or “leadership equals the function of the leader, the followers, and the situation” (p. 9). Although the pastor exhibits the kind of spiritual authority that gains people’s confidence, the pastor really derives his or her leadership from the congregation.

Not just a pastor but any leader needs to know the organization very well in order to understand where power structures lie. Organizations are complex collections of power issues, old loyalties, people with control needs, traditions, community values, and others. I just read a summary of some ideas from a new book by Marc Brown, Kathy Ashby Merry, and John Briggs, Does Your Church Have a Prayer? (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2009). The authors describe different, unhelpful “tribes” that describe congregations: the Tribes of the “Good Old Days” (people are stuck in the past), “Forgetting the Past” (people neglect the church’s history), “Control” (people want to “run” the church), “Spiritual Elitism” (people judge others by their own faith-values), “Business Values” (the church’s health is judged solely or predominantly by economic/business values), and “Apathy” (people are detached and unconcerned). The authors call people to be “remembering encouragers.” Resources like this one can help leaders identify types of organizational behaviors and determine goals towards which to lead the people.

Unfortunately, even very good leaders might struggle in an organizational environment because he or she (either through naivety, inexperience, misinterpreted cues, or a lack of psychic ability) did not grasp the complexity of motivations, traditions, emotions, and values at work in that organization. That is one reason why, I’m sure, even very good leaders shine in some circumstances and not in others. There are famous examples: Winston Churchill comes to mind as one, also President and later Chief Justice William H. Taft.

But…the late Richard Wright’s gorgeous piano music for "Zabriskie Point" failed to please in one context but transformed into something even greater, later on. Leadership can be like that, too! Not only that, we have the assurance of the Holy Spirit that God brings us to circumstances where the leader and the people truly “sync” and amazing things start to happen.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


The theologian Karl Barth has interesting thoughts about giving thanks. All this is from pages 166 and following of the Church Dogmatics, Vol. 3, part 2 (Edinburgh, T. &. T. Clark, 1960). He describes human being as a “being in gratitude” (Sein im Danken) because of our ability to hear, respond to, and obey God’s word of grace.

In other words, giving thanks is part of our being/essence, not just a behavior that we pick up.

Furthermore, “Only as we thank God do we fulfill our true being” (p. 170, that is, Nur indem er Gott dankt, ist der Mensch, was er ist, p. 203 in the original). “The fact that God tells man (Mensch) that He is gracious to him, that He reveals to man his grace, His indispensable, pure and perfect benefit, is the objective and receptive aspect of the being of man, and the fact that he gives thanks to God is the subjective and spontaneous [aspect]…[O]nly as he gives thanks to God does man fulfill his true nature. By doing this and this alone does he distinguish himself as being from non-being…”

So (to translate inclusively): “In this action [of giving thanks to God] alone are we human beings” (pp. 170-171).

Barth goes on and on from there in his characteristic way, examining the ontological nature of human beings from a Christological standpoint. But I’m always struck by that idea of giving thanks as an aspect of human being.

Is it too much to say that giving thanks is as much our essential nature as our biological aspects (for instance, being bipedal not quadrupedal)? God made us this way: to be thankful to our creator and redeemer.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Far Sickness

When federal and state highways pass through towns and cities, the roads are identical with local streets. This is not the case with interstate highways. But I like to reminisce about the older roads as they still wind and turn through communities. One of my favorite series of highway “jogs,” for instance, is in Pana, Illinois, where northbound U.S. 51 becomes Poplar Street, turns east four blocks on First Street (which is pretty), turns north a block on Cedar St., turns east again on Jackson St. for a mile or so, and then returns to its northerly path. (I also love the slight turn the highway makes a little ways north, at the undulating landscape around the turn to Dollsville, IL) You don’t get that kind of local commonality with interstates; you just rush along to get where you’re going. Most days, that’s what I want.

I share my late father’s odd habit of studying maps for no particular reason. I ordered a 1950s St. Louis map from eBay because I wondered where the older highways had been located in the city, prior to the interstates.

This map revealed a fact that I’d always read about in Route 66 histories: the St. Louis versions of old 66 were several, including the main route, the city route, and the bypass route. Today, U.S. 40 is also Interstate 64 straight through St. Louis (locals, in fact, don't even call the interstate "64," they call it "Highway 40"), and U.S. 50 follows the southerly route of Interstate 255. But 40 and 50 once followed the city and county streets and also had alternate routes; 50, for instance, was additionally signed “Turnpike 40.”

Manchester Road, a major west-east street in St. Louis, is locally commemorated as an early path of Route 66. This map, however, revealed to me that Manchester Road was also U.S. 50 through the city. U.S. 50 is still a transcontinental highway, from Ocean City to Sacramento--unlike routes 40, 60, 70, and 80, its route has not been truncated in the West--and was the subject of a Time magazine cover story a few years ago. In Nevada, 50 is "the country's loneliest road." How interesting to see that a street I regularly travel had, at one point, been part of that highway.

My own favorite section of U.S. 50 is the ten-mile stretch between Sandoval and Salem, Illinois, about 45 minutes or so from my hometown. This area is farm land, numerous small houses, the village of Odin, IL, and a few small industries. When I was a kid, my parents made country drives to this area to shop for antiques, for instance the Lincoln Trail shop at Odin, which is still there. Another antique store, on the north side of Route 50, looked promising but was open "by chance or appointment." Unfortunately, the store was NEVER open when we chanced by. Its perpetual closure became a family joke. Sometimes we stopped at a mom-and-pop hamburger place in Sandoval, at the north side of town across from an abandoned motel at the 50-51 split. You waited forever for your burgers but they were so good!

I’m sure I was bored and restless on these country trips, but they shine in my memory. U.S. 50 connected to the "home roads" IL 185 (via IL 37) and U.S. 51. But the highway was a Sunday drive away; we lived in another town, and the houses, businesses and churches along Route 50 were other people’s countryside. In a childish way I wondered what people’s lives were like in this “distant” rural area. Homes along the road had nice yards like mine, but behind those yards were cultivated fields, and beyond the fields were lines of deciduous timber. To me, the landscape incorporated pleasant aspects of town and countryside, both cozy and spacious. (The landscape along nearby U.S. 51, including the area in and around Vernon, IL, provides a similar nostalgic mix of highway, farm, timber, and home.)

I discovered a German word, fernweh, which means “far sickness.” It’s the opposite of “home sickness” but is a similar kind of longing: longing for a place that’s not home, a nostalgia for some place distant. I’ve experienced this feeling for places more exotic than the Sandoval-to-Salem highway, but that road was enough like--and close enough to--my own home places that home- and far-sickness mingled.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Loving Ugly

A few years ago I wrote an issue of FaithLink, “Just Shopping” (Nov. 27, 2005). We raised the issue of box stores that expand to larger facilities but leave behind empty buildings that sit vacant for years. (My hometown has a Wal-Mart super store but the former store has been unoccupied for years.) A difficult issue! Economic well-being sometimes involve facility expansion, but what happens to the disused place? Earlier I researched a similar theme for the FaithLink issue, "Saving Main Street" (June 11, 2000).

The topic is larger than just box stores. Drive through many small towns and you’ll encounter vacant store fronts in the business district. If the stores become occupied, the business may be just a shadow of the place’s former self, for instance, a nice small-town clothing store that had sold good brands for an appreciative clientele becomes a thrown-together antique mall. That's not always the case, and some amount of commerce may be better than a completely disused store. You also see deteriorating commercial buildings in many communities; they’ll never house anything and will someday be torn down.

A haunting building that I once encountered was an old church. The words M. E. CHURCH were set into the concrete steps in front. The paint had worn away so that the building was mostly bare wood; it leaned slightly, the glass of the windows was long gone, and an auger was backed up to one of the sanctuary windows. Not far away was a brick building that, I was told, had been a bank that closed during the Depression. It was vine-covered but structurally solid. The small village was a few miles off “the hard road” but, nevertheless, had been an economically busy community at one time. At least the church was in use, although as a storage place for corn.

The other day I purchased and studied two books, Vanishing America: The End of Main Street: Diners, Drive-Ins, Donut Shops, and Other Everyday Monuments by Michael Eastman (New York: Rizzoli, 2008) and Approaching Nowhere by Jeff Brouws (New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 2006). Both books of photographs documented disused and abandoned landscapes, including buildings in disrepair, deteriorating signage, and ugly landscapes of urban, small-town, and rural areas.

Now, if you’re like me …. you want to look through these books again and even to go exploring deteriorating landscapes yourself! What is the appeal of such places?

Familiarity is part of it. In his classic book Topophilia: A Study of Environmental Perception, Attitudes, and Values (New York: Columbia University Press, 1974), Yi-Fu Tuan writes, “Familiarity breeds attachment when it does not breed contempt. We are well aware of how a person can become deeply attached to old slippers that look rather mouldy [sic] to an outsider” (p. 99). If you’re from a particular kind of location, your emotional response to a landscape may be very positive even though the landscape may not be attractive at all. Tuan quotes another author to describe a nearly mystical response to unappealing environments: “I still remember walking down the Notting Hill main road and observing the (extremely sordid) landscape with joy and astonishment. Even the movement of traffic had something universal and sublime about it” (p. 99).

Tuan also writes, “Intense awareness of environmental beauty … is least affected by received opinions and it also seems to be largely independent of the character of the environment. Homely and even drab scenes can reveal aspects of themselves that went unnoticed before, and this new insight into the real is sometimes experienced as beauty” (p. 95). I experienced those feelings as I leafed through Eastman’s and Brouws’ books; these aren’t attractive scenes, necessarily, but there is a lonely appeal to them, a poignancy of human habitation that has changed because, after all, economy changes and our human needs change.

I enjoy a book called Small Town America by the photographer David Plowden (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994) in which he chronicles locations and business districts with a melancholy appreciation for the way modern America has bypassed smaller communities. His earlier, angrier book, The Hand of Man on America (Riverside: The Chatham Press, 1971) also decried the loss of distinctive environments, but I found myself disagreeing with him on which of his pictures depicted ugliness and which depicted unexpected beauty in the homely and drab. He loved a soon-to-be-razed railroad depot that I found hideous, while he criticized a tourist landscape that I found attractive both in its ugliness and its glum evocation of its original 1950s era.

What I struggle with, and haven’t resolved, is the contradiction between the strange attractiveness that abandoned and disused landscapes can have, and the real and painful economic failures, the economic expansions, the waste, and the failures of stewardship that lead to discarded places. David B. Jenkins explores this paradox in his book Rock City Barns: A Passing Era (Chattanooga: Free Spirit Press, 1996), in which he loves the old, faded barns but sadly realizes that their quaintness and deterioration indicate the passing of vital eras of American family farming.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Anniversary of a Door

My grandma Crawford lived in an old farmhouse in rural Brownstown, Illinois. Her father, Albert Pilcher, built the house in 1907, but he died only three years later. I'm not sure when Grandma and Grandpa moved to the house, or why exactly when Grandma's mother remarried and moved away. My mother was born at the house in 1919. My own association with the house began, I assume, when I was a baby in the late 1950s and continued as long as the house stood.

I also don't remember when I discovered the tiny letters and numbers on the outside of the kitchen's back door: C. E. Pilcher, Nov. 17, 1907. These were in a lighter color than the door's dark stain. Grandma said that Cassius E. Pilcher was a housepainter, and her father's cousin. I was pretty young, but the old designation was fascinating to me, something unobtrusive and nearly forgotten, like a building's cornerstone.

In fact, I did nearly forget the discovery. For years I puzzled about November 17; it seemed to be a significant day but I couldn't remember. Someone's birthday? Elton John's third album? Finally I remembered the old door.

This coming Sunday is November 22. For those of a particular age, we will always associate that day with John F. Kennedy, because we remember that day in 1963. Some anniversaries are much more personal, and so ephemeral they nearly fade from thought until some lucky spark of memory brings them back.

John Wesley on Reading

A few fellow pastors have said to me, "Oh, you must love research!" Although I'm probably being sensitive, this annoys me. I feel like I'm being pigeonholed, and I feel like they're being a little anti-intellectual, as if true pastors care more for people than for books.

You don't have to call it "research," you can just call it reading and thinking. Finding time for reading is maddingly difficult in the parish, but it's a matter of organizing one's time as best as one can (knowing that plans for the day do go awry). Reading is a pretty essential habit to develop, and not only reading but reflecting on the things one reads and putting ideas and reflections together into sermons or, in my case, short study books. In turn, preaching and instruction is done to help people!

Today I found this quote from John Wesley, from a letter written to John Prembroth on August 17, 1760. The quote came from a blog: The blogger's source is an editorial by J.B. Chapman in The Preacher's Magazine (Vol. 6, No. 1, January 1931). I haven't checked the works of Wesley to verify the quote, but I know that Wesley said similar things on other occasions.

"What has exceedingly hurt you in time past, nay, and I fear to this day, is want of reading. I scarce ever knew a preacher read so little. And perhaps, by neglecting it, you have lost the taste for it. Hence your talent in preaching does not increase. It is just the same as it was seven years ago. It is lively, but not deep; there is little variety, there is no compass of thought. Reading only can supply this, with meditation and daily prayer. You wrong yourself greatly by omitting this. You can never be a deep preacher without it, any more than a thorough Christian. O begin! Fix some part of every day for private exercises. You may acquire the taste which you have not: what is tedious at first, will afterwards be pleasant. Whether you like it or no, read and pray daily. It is for your life; there is no other way; else you will be a trifler all your days, and a petty, superficial preacher. Do justice to your own soul; give it time and means to grow. Do not starve yourself any longer. Take up your cross and be a Christian altogether. Then will all children of God rejoice (not grieve) over you in particular."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thinking Ahead to Advent

I’ve written two Advent study books, “Call Him Emmanuel” in 1997 and the new “Celebrate the Newborn Jesus,” both published by Abingdon. Advent is still a couple weeks away, but I’m thinking about the whole idea of “preparing” for the coming of Christ, which is one of the topics I discuss in these books. Here in mid-November I’m preparing for the upcoming preparation, as it were.

Advent is historically a penitential, reflective season in the church, but the expenses and many tasks of those weeks make difficult a meaningful focus upon Jesus.

But I’ve been struggling the last few years with how to help people focus upon the Gospel while, at the same time, stressing that our salvation is already accomplished in Christ and therefore the Gospel is never about anything we do. We preachers can so easily stress volunteerism, financial giving, and personal devotion to the near exclusion of the real Gospel: the free, unearned grace of Christ that saves sinners. We assume the real Gospel in our preaching, but we don’t communicate it very clearly because we’re under such pressure to increase congregational membership and revenue. We end up preaching less Gospel and more works-righteousness.

This was difficult for the Apostle Paul, too. He preached Christ alone, but if he didn't remind his congregations about holiness of heart and life, the people slipped into unloving behavior and attitudes. Paul kept his focus, though, on Christ: his people that they already had been gifted and blessed by the Holy Spirit. God had taken the initiative.

That’s good to think about at Advent. We are not making ourselves spiritually ready for Jesus, preparing the soil in order to convince God we're ready for grace. Jesus is already at work in our lives. Jesus has already done everything necessary for us. Advent is a way to help us see more clearly what God has already done decisively for our eternal benefit.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tristadecaphobia and Paraskavedecatriaphobia

Today I looked online for the name of the fear of Friday the 13th. I found the above two words, the second of which names the fear of the day, and the first names the fear of the number 13.

I had a very nice Friday the 13th! I went to "my" Barnes and Noble Cafe to do some writing. At some point in the day I found an online article about Betsy Palmer, the star of the first "Friday the 13th" movie. I remember her best, though, as a game-show celebrity in the late 1960s. In the afternoon I ran some errands and did some more writing.

We speak informally of things like luck, fate, jinxes, and karma. We don’t always stop to think that, when God is our Lord, we are not subject to such things! We may still have serious questions about why things happen the way they do. But God cares for us and guides us across our years. God calls us not to lose heart at life’s hazards but, instead, to focus on his love and care. God's Holy Spirit teaches and matures us. God’s plans and purposes may not always be clear, and sometimes we may feel quite "unlucky." But even those awful times may become seasons across which God provides.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Knit Together

I don’t believe in karma, in the sense that we’re rewarded or punished in our life as a consequence of our actions in a previous life. I am, however, impressed at how our actions, even small ones, do have ramifications.

A couple years ago, I postponed a routine service check-up of our furnace-AC system because I had a mild cold. Our system was working fine, anyway. The service call was rescheduled for another day. But on that day, a storm temporarily knocked out our electricity. So I told our maintenance fellow that he could come the following day. He knew about the power problem because he’d already passed the team who were working on the lines.

Well, our power came back on. But wouldn’t you know it: our AC stopped working properly! It blew but did not cool. I called the company and scheduled an actual service call, too. But I thought: I should’ve kept that service check-up appointment a few weeks ago! Then I wouldn’t have AC problems on a hot day.

This kind of thing usually happens when I’m driving: if I’m in a hurry, I’ll always hit all the red lights!

That’s a joking view of life. I try not to become superstitious about changing plans, and anxious about possible outcomes of small decisions. You could become consumed in anxiety that way; I certainly do, if I'm not careful. But I'm constantly sobered by the way even small, everyday kinds of things have an interesting interconnection. Even as I write this, the Good Morning America show, playing in the background, has a story about how our telephone voices give crucial impressions to people: a small thing that can have significant consequences.

Again, I'm not affirming the notion of karma in the spiritual sense, but only the interconnectedness of "life," which all of us can observe. The theological issue of God's providence is important here: God does work for good in human circumstances (Rom. 8:28), but we cannot know exactly how or to what extent (Isa. 55:8-9). I once knew a church that struggled as a consequence of judicatory decisions (apparently handled with inadequate finesse) twenty years before. I've no doubt that God worked in that church, and yet the congregation was not spared ongoing, difficult challenges stemming from earlier events. Any of us can think of similar examples, in congregations or other aspects of life.

Paul says in Ephesians 4:16 that we are "knit together." Broadly applying those words, I think that "knit together" doesn't just mean fellowship, but the consequences of decisions and events which are always characteristic of human existence. All the more reason, as Paul teaches in that chapter, to knit ourselves together in the sense he means: love and mutual support!

Fort Hood

I found a good article about the Fort Hood shootings that occured earlier this week.

I'm not Muslim but I respect the tenets of the faith, have had warm Muslim acquaintances, and seek to teach the faith accurately in college classes. I become angry at these kinds of events because I wish the American public could see the caring, peace-loving aspects of Islam that are not presented on the evening news and certainly aren't propagated when someone commits such a heinous crime.

I'll write more about this subject later this month. In the meantime, prayers for everyone involved in this awful event.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

U.S. 460 Revisited

When we were dating in the early 1980s, Beth and I used to meet in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, to spend Saturdays together. We lived in two different locations, and the small town was about halfway between us. With a mall, an art gallery, a decent downtown, and several antique stores, we could spend a nice day together.

I’ve a small collection of highway signs; since most are 24” x 24” and in so-so condition they’re impractical to collect and display, but they’re fun to me. They’re fun for others, too; for instance, the website features dozens of pictures of signs. Looking over that site, I noticed a photograph from Mt. Vernon which intrigued me. I recognized state routes 37 (a favorite highway) and 148, and I knew state route 15 passed through town, but I’d never heard of U.S. 460. I would’ve remembered a U.S. highway there.

Turns out, the road was a major highway at one time. Today, 460 runs from Frankfort, KY to Norfolk, VA, but between 1946 and 1977, 460 began in downtown St. Louis, crossed the old MacArthur Bridge, and traveled across Illinois and Indiana into Louisville before proceeding, along U.S. 60, over to Frankfort and beyond. Here are two other sites, and

I’ve traveled on the now-state highways that comprised this busy, pre-interstate road. The former route of 460 is Illinois 15 from East St. Louis to Mt. Vernon, south through Mt. Vernon on Illinois 37, then southeast on Illinois 142 to McLeansboro, east Illinois 14 to the Wabash River, and then Indiana 66 to Evansville and finally Indiana 62 across that state. Beautiful countryside! I’d also traveled a lot on U.S. 60 in Louisville, not realizing that this spur route had once also been signed along the same highway, en route to Frankfort. Pre-interstate, St. Louis-to-Louisville travelers must’ve taken U.S. 50 and U.S. 150, but travelers also had this more southerly route. I could imagine a traveler requiring much longer to drive 460 than the five or so hours upon the modern I-64, which supplanted the older road (see my 8/9/09 entry).

Southern Illinois two-lane countryside south of U.S. 40 and east of U.S. 51 shines in my memory: country drives with Beth, drives by myself, and earlier, antiques-hunting trips with my parents. Studying old maps to discover the route of 460 makes me nostalgic for that area, truly “landscapes of the heart”. Perhaps I’ll take a couple days this winter or spring to reconnect memories and country vistas.