Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Day 1 in Hoosier Land

It's been a long day. Up at 5:15 to finalize packing and ready the house for brother David to step in. Then to the airport to catch the 11:15 flight to Indianapolis, a two part trip with a 45 minute layover in Dallas.

When we checked in at the American Airlines counter, we were offered an upgrade to first class for a few dollars more. It being my birthday, we took them up on it. Just let me say that it definitely makes a difference to fly first class. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Free wine, excellent lunch of smoked chicken, field greens salad, pasta salad, applesauce cookies, cheese and crackers. Real cloth napkins and glass tumblers. Service with a smile and a half. We did our best to act like celebrities and not be too obviously rubes from the sticks.

When we picked up our rental car, we were offered another upgrade to an SUV, for a few dollars more. (I sense they were seeing us coming.) And we started to Fort Wayne. Which we sort of expected to look like a big sized town on the interstate. The next thing we knew, we overshot Fort Wayne and were seeing signs that said Michigan ahead. And no where to turn around. We finally made an illegal crossover and made our way back.

And finally we are ensconced in our hotel room and getting woozy. (It has nothing to do with the free wine or the whiskey sour I had with dinner.) Tomorrow we make our first foray to the famous Allen County Public Library to see what they have to offer.

It's funny, but for the first time I enjoyed my plane rides. No nervous knots in my stomach. Aside from a brief moment of disquiet on all takeoffs, I really had a good time watching the clouds roll by.

My first impressions of Indiana are of farm after farm after farm. Lots of farms. Lots of barns of a different type of architecture than what we are used to in Texas. In addition to barns, every farm has a silo or two or three. Familiar, yet foreign. When we drove through downtown Fort Wayne, the houses are lined up side by side with about 3 feet between them. Row houses with stamp sized yards, like you would expect to see in the east. And the architecture is somewhat American Gothic. Again familiar, yet foreign.

I look forward to checking out a new library, but I really am most looking forward to driving around America's heartland and seeing the country of my ancestry. My Niccums, Hughes, Beauchamp, Dunavan and Wilcoxen lines have been in this part of the country since the early 1800s. If great-grandpa Wilcoxen had not had an itch to go to Texas, I might be living in this neck of the woods.

All in all, a very enjoyable birthday. Full steam ahead.


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