Even with a bit of jet lag we’re pretty sure this is Indiana. I took some photographic evidence today to confirm that we’ve left Oregon.
I’ve never seen a Kudzu attack in the Northwest. I thought that Kudzu was a purely southern botanical nightmare, but the tenacious tendrils around the attackee here, Jerry Pagac (husband of Laurel’s sister, Mardee), prove otherwise. Jerry is the director of state parks in Indiana, so you'd think he'd know better than to get so close to rapidly growing Kudzu. Hopefully this non-native nuisance can't grow in Oregon. It'd be the devil's twin if it hooked up with that damnable Himalayan Blackberry that is such a nuisance in our south Salem lives.
I looked and looked during a walk in the woods today, and didn’t see a single fir tree. More proof. I also felt a lot of humidity, another unusual sensation in Oregon for which Oregonians can be hugely thankful. When we got off the airplane, at first I thought the sauna-like atmosphere was kind of cool (figuratively speaking, of course). But it doesn’t take long to realize that a sauna is pleasant because you can get out of it. This Indiana sauna is the very air.
Wonder of wonders, there are still places in the country where you can smoke in a Burger King. Probably there are lots of places. We non-smokers are spoiled in Oregon. Our Veggie Burgers had a faintly smoked essence to them, and that didn’t have anything to do with the ingredients or how they were cooked. The “smoking area” actually took up about ¾ of the Burger King, non-smokers being confined to a small strip under the sign. I guess the closer you get to Kentucky and points south, the bigger pull tobacco has.
I’ve gone into many public restrooms in Oregon and can’t recall ever seeing a bunch of Christian save-your-soul booklets scattered around. The first public restroom I entered in Indiana (other than at the airport) had this possibly blasphemously-positioned pamphlet right where I couldn’t miss it. Well, actually I could miss it, if you get what I mean, which saved me from engaging in a decidedly blasphemous act.
The real Indiana is, I feel, embodied in this vegetable stand in front of the grower's home. The guy was wonderfully polite and straightforward. He was manning the stand at the moment, but there was a plastic box on the table for when he wasn’t that said “Leave money inside. Thank you.” Yes, this sort of trust also can be found in Oregon. It just seemed so quintessential mid-West. We liberal West-coasties sometimes mock those with “traditional values.” Yet when you meet someone solidly Indianaish, you realize there is an awful lot to like about them.