Excursion 7, Part 2 (Urban Urbana)

In which our intrepid hero encounters a county seat…

What makes you love a place?  I grew up in El Paso, Texas, and though I have not lived there in over a quarter century, I am still possessive and protective of the place.  When I left Texas in 1988 to move to Ohio to go to graduate school, I really did not know what to expect.  Having grown up in the west, I had a number of prejudices against the eastern United States.  To the extent I knew anything about Ohio, I knew that it got very cold there in the winter and humid in the summer and that the state was part of the “rust belt.”  I also knew that it had none of the grandeur of western geography.  It had no mountains, no gorges, no big waterfalls.   When I arrived in Columbus, Ohio, I was pleasantly surprised (except about the humidity, which is indeed nasty).  But between then and now I somehow moved from being pleasantly surprised to loving the state.  I can’t say how exactly Ohio started to grow on me, but I know it started early on and I was soon defending my adopted state from the disapproving remarks of some of my stuck-up fellow graduate students.  I came to love the diversity of Ohio, the quiet beauty of the Midwest, the little places.  Over the years, more and more, it just seemed like home.

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Excursion 7, Part 1 (The Anchorhead of Ohio)

In which our intrepid hero embarks upon a journey to the mythical land of Troy…

Everybody who has ever seen the movie Star Wars knows the city of Mos Eisley, even if the name is not familiar.  That’s the city on Tattooine that Luke and Ben and the droids go to that has the funky bar with all the aliens.  It’s where they meet Han and Chewie and from whence they lit out on the Millennium Falcon.   But you know what?  It’s not the only place on Tattooine.  Brief references in the movie tell the viewer about another place, a much less exotic place, called Anchorhead.  It’s the place where all the moisture farmers go to buy a new clutch.  It’s a farm town.  Nothing happens there; it is only a place from which people depart.  “I can take you as far as Anchorhead,” Luke tells Obi-Wan.  “You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you’re going.”  It’s a Greyhound Bus stop.  Well, Ohio has its Anchorheads, too.

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