Rain drippin’ off the brim of my hat; sure is cold today.
Here I am walkin’ down 66….

— Charley Pride

One of the things I love about my new job is the fact that the office is just over a mile and a half away, which means I can ride my bike or walk to work. It was raining this morning, and I was tempted to drive, but I didn’t want to get in the habit of making excuses, so I sucked it up, got out my umbrella and trenchcoat, and took a walk down Route 66 in the downpour.

The strap on my backpack broke (apparently it couldn’t handle the weight of the jar of chocolate-flavored peanut butter I’d put in it), and my purse kept sliding off my shoulder while I was juggling my umbrella and a cup of hot cocoa on the way home this afternoon, so I decided to take half the money I’d have spent on a week’s worth of gas at my old job and invest it in a messenger bag to make my commute a little easier.

There were lots of fun bags on Cafepress — some with save-the-planet messages, some with Route 66 designs, some with funny slogans — but in the end, I just had to have this one.

Now I just need a pair of yellow galoshes and a raincoat to go with it….


10 on Tuesday

I love this week’s 10 on Tuesday topic: 10 places you’d take a tourist to see in your hometown.

I’ll do two lists — one for the town where I grew up, and one for the town where I live now.

10 places I’d take a tourist in Herrin, Ill.:

1. The Annex. That neon sign is dazzling.
2. Bryan Furniture. An even more dazzling — and historically significant — neon sign.
3. Park Avenue Motel. Walk into the lobby, and you’ll swear you’ve slipped through a hole in the space-time continuum and landed in 1963 — plus the neon sign out front is great.
4. Burger Nook. Burgers and fries the way God intended: cheap and greasy. You can’t beat ’em. I worked there for three or four years as a kid and never got tired of the food.
5. Mary’s Restaurant. Upscale dining in a great old house.
6. Baldwin Pianos. Worth a trip just to shoot the bull with Bruce and test-drive sheet music on those gleaming concert grands in the showroom.
7. Herrin City Park. I grew up tossing bread off the bridge and watching the ducks and minnows nibble on it … when I wasn’t fleeing in terror from that big goose with the attitude problem or trying to work up my nerve to climb up into the flying saucer or the fort with the telescopes on it.
8. Church of Jesus Only. Never set foot in the place, but oh, that beautiful neon sign out front!
9. Louie’s P&R Market. Is there anything better than a great Italian grocery?
10. Diamonds 4 and 5. If you don’t smile while watching a bunch of 7-year-olds in pigtails learn to play softball, there is something pathologically wrong with you.

10 places I’d take a tourist in Tulsa:

1. Lyon’s Indian Store. Gorgeous Art Deco building on Route 66.
2. Boston Avenue Methodist Church. Spectacular Zigzag architecture, with tons of incredible flourishes.
3. Downtown Red Fork. Wonderfully historic buildings on Route 66, right across from …
4. Ollie’s Station Restaurant. Enjoy fried chicken while umpteen model trains run on little tracks above your head.
5. Hank’s Hamburgers. The Big Okie is the best burger I’ve had anywhere on Route 66 … and the peanut butter balls are to die for.
6. Swinney’s Hardware. Just because I love it … plus the neon sign is great.
7. Circle Cinema. Beautiful, historic, and run by volunteers who appreciate artsy little indie films. One of the coolest places in town.
8. Green Country Feed and Seed. How many feed stores are heated with woodstoves and have a pack of dogs wandering around, sampling the bulk pig ears and making friends with the customers?
9. 11th Street Bridge. Now called something else long and complicated, but still there and still beautiful.
10. Admiral Twin Drive-In. You can’t beat a trip to the drive-in on a summer night.

What would you put on your list?