Friday, November 19, 2004


Living within the center of Indy, I have never gone much north of the city. But a friend and I drove up the state highway to a little town bearing the name of a dozen cities in other states to pay our respects to an elderly friend who passed away.

This time of year midwestern homes, particularly in the country and in the more rural areas, are often seen more starkly. The foilage is reduced to evergreens.

Places like this town remind me of Bellmead, the suburb of Waco where my grandparents lived. But towns like this are in many places.

Wooden and aluminum siding covers many of the homes. Little ornamental gardening or ornamentation. If there is an aesthetic value, it is the value of being practical, of working hard, of not being showy or expressive. Keep the house warm. Cut down on time doing maintenance.

Communities like this are the product of hard times -- the Great Depression and World War II had a huge impact on them.

The funeral home was bathed in baby blue -- the carpet, the velvet wing chairs, the flocked wallpaper. Each space had a heavy ornamented glass lighting fixture. We stood in line, visited with the family briefly and left, all in front of the open casket.

Against the gray, evening sky, we drove back down the state highway to Indy.

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