The Midwest...or at least approaching it. According to the endless cornfields, I'm gonna call Indiana at least something akin to my early memories as a child in Nebraska. Although, there are changes...
Farms no longer sport a windmill next to the barn. The few that appear here and there are decrepit reminders of a time when electric pumps weren't the cheapest and most reliable form of obtaining water. Instead, cell towers dot the landscpapes. Clapboard farmhouse of indeterminate years, garage with a few random four-wheeled creatures in front of it, a larger shed for the big equipment and then either a billboard or a cell tower. The cows are the same. You don't see the corn cob hills that figured so large in my "Don't play on that" childhood or the few chickens scratching in the yard, either. Farming is bigger, and the fields less...cared for.
Other triggers that brought me back...the smell of a summer thunderstorm. We passed through one near the end of the trip today. It's...intense. Back in the East, we do talk about the smell of rain, but this is different. It hits you hard. Something significant just happened. And it makes you smile. The sound...of the grasshoppers. This is not such a pleasant memory, but still...it's there. If you've never heard about the "year of the grasshoppers" story, I'll have to tell you sometime. Expect me to wiggle and frown. It was not nice. And finally, the lilt of the accent. I didn't find that until we checked in at the campground. Not so pronounced in the swing of the vowels as the south, but it's still much softer than the east with a healthy complement of r's in all the correct places :P Wonder what I sound like to them these days...
And finally, my two cents about the current NASCAR controversy:
Last Saturday, Carl Edwards spun Brad Keselowski in the final stretch of the Nationwide race. It resulted in a scary wreck you've probably seen twenty times on the news by now. Well, NASCAR decided enough was enough in the "have at it boys" world and docked Edward's No. 60 team 60 driver and owner's points, fined Counsin Carl $25,000 and placed him on probation until the end of the season.
I don't know if I like this. I wonder...is NASCAR permitting the fans to dictate their actions? The world had Carl painted as an assassin after the race. He was racing hard. He spun Keselowski. We've seen these kind of finishes before...remember Earnhardt Sr. & T. Labonte back when? It was hard racing then...what's different now? The intent between competitors isn't any different. Is it us? hrmmm... You could tell me the sanctioning body has changed, that's truth. But not what makes this sport go round, so to speak.
If (yes, we're playing the "if" game) nobody else had hit Keselowski's No. 22 at Gateway, I am fairly certain that NASCAR would've looked the other way. It wouldn't have made international headlines. Fans would've still hated Edwards and still said Keselowski got what he had coming...but it changed when that No. 22 was nailed again and went spinning across the finish line. It blew the intention and the actions of the competitors out of perspective.
What do I hope for in the near future? Now I want to see another pair of competitors (let's say Harvick and Logano) go at it for the second time this season. I want to see the same actions by those specific competitors without the entire field piling into the wreck after and then I want to see what the NASCAR Gods decide to do...it'll be a joke. Guaranteed. Because they just took the "have at it boys" logo off the big screen and now nobody knows what to do.
Catch ya'll later from outside the frontstretch of Indianapolis Motor Speedway!