Road Trip! Can’t believe it, but it is just two weeks and I will be on the road again. This time it will be heading east, two weeks through the south to DC and then back just slightly north of our route there. I’m so excited about it that I figured out I could get back into this blog with a few more “last trip” segments. I was going to start a bit more of a philosophical bend to this thing, the wonderings, but I really like the wanderings!
What further excited me about all of this was that I found a blog by a guy who is walking across the US just to do it–mid-life crisis at age 30? I went through the whole 60+ days entries yesterday and somewhere in there he hit on that chord that is important to me as well, about connecting with people. On the front of his push cart is a sign that reads “We may never meet again”, a saying he apparently borrowed from a friend who encouraged him on his way. I liked that because it might just encapsulate the fact that these chance meetings are both insignificant and maybe have a little gravity as well, as singular experiences in our otherwise routine lives. As I have found and related here, these can also turn into more significant connections and lasting memories if you remain open to the possibilities.
So, as usual, while I wrote the words above, I got an idea. Between now and when I leave for DC, I think I will just highlight some of the folks I met and photographed as I traveled around the country last September–and maybe a few others as well, the ordinary people who took the time to stop and talk and share a little bit about themselves. Maybe the best way to do this, so I don’t get confused as to who I have done and who I haven’t, would be to follow a somewhat chronological order–somewhat being the operative word.
So, I’ll start it off today with Danko, who I met in Omaha while I was getting the truck worked on. At the time, I was on my way to find the train stations that I featured in this entry . I got rather lost after I followed one sign and found no others. But, as luck would have it, there was a pretty cool building along the way, the Chicago Lumber Company building. It almost looked like it could have been a train station at one time, although it was apparently built by the company. I went inside to get some directions–and to see if the interior was as cool as the exterior.
Danko was the counter salesperson who greeted me as I entered and we just started to talk. I don’t even remember if I asked directions first or commented on the cool building, but Danko was soon telling me the history of this particular part of the city. It seems Danko’s family immigrated from Poland(a part that is now part of the Ukraine) in 1951, sponsored by a church group, and ended up living just a few blocks from here much of his life. Apparently, this part of the city was heavily occupied by those who came over from eastern Europe after the war. As I heard about the history of this area, it was obvious that the Chicago Lumber Company had not only been in this location for a long time but that it held a very special place in Danko’s memories. I heard about the great red fence that used to line the street outside and his playing in the streets around here.
When I asked if I could take his picture, he was a little confused and a bit shy about it, offering up the receptionist that was sitting by the door in his stead. But I insisted that I photographed the people I talked to and he actually seemed pleased, if not a little stressed by the request. He agreed, however, wanted to get his bosses permission first. I saw a great smile come across the bosses face as Danko came out with the go ahead.
More people and their stories can be found on my website under the categories “Americans” and “Across the West-1”.
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