Thursday, June 28, 2007

Road Trip

When I wrote Tuesday, I was in the middle of a business road-trip. I like my job, and I handle the day-to-day stuff just fine. But what really excites me is getting out of the office to consult with folks in the towns and counties around our state. That's what I got to do this week. There's something about "hitting the road" that excites me.

The trip this week was to some far-flung rural places. For me, one of the best features of this trip was this it was entirely on state and county roads. In two days and nearly 500 miles of driving, I never set tire upon an interstate highway.

I started my work in Warrensburg – a town whose chief "claim to fame" is that it was the site of the "Old Drum" court case back in 1870. As the U.S. Senate site describes the case:
The lawsuit concerned the shooting of "Old Drum," the best hunting dog of a local farmer. A neighbor who suspected that Old Drum was moonlighting by killing his sheep gave orders to shoot the dog if it appeared on the property again. When Old Drum was found dead near the neighbor's house, the farmer filed suit, seeking damages of fifty dollars. . . . Vest's summation to the jury (pdf) at that trial has become familiar to dog lovers across the country through succeeding generations. . . . So famous did it become that, in 1958, the town of Warrensburg, Missouri, where the speech took place, erected a bronze statue to honor Old Drum . . . .
Hanky Alert! If you are a dog lover, don't read Vest's "summation to the jury" without a Kleenex nearby. This is the speech in which "A man's best friend is his dog" was coined. Vest's closing argument in the Old Drum case, known as his "eulogy to the dog," won the case and became a classic speech, recognized by William Safire as one of the best of the millennium. For the sake of my dog-loving friends, I captured some shots of the bronze statue of Old Drum on the courthouse square.

Then I headed north, almost to the Iowa state line. Maybe it's just a sign that I've been in the Midwest for so long that I found these vistas beautiful.

As I neared my destination, turning north from one county road to another, this sight stretched ahead of me. I don't know whether you can make it out. In the distance, what I saw was a huge wind-farm ahead of me. I talked today with someone who lives there, and she tells me that these gigantic windmills were 12 miles away. Amazing!

All in all, I was amazed at the quiet beauty of this little corner of Missouri.

I know: You count on me to deliver opinions and rants on the state of the Anglican Communion. This week, I simply enjoyed a delightful drive through some rural areas of Missouri. No doubt, I'll be back to Anglican commentary and ranting in the next few days.


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