Safe. Pretty. Boring.
Well, boring when you're 11-17 years old. Everyone loves the town when I mention it. They love it there. They like going there.
They filmed a tv movie here in the '70s - the Gathering - with Maureen Stapleton and Ed Asner. A Hallmark xmas movie, before there were Hallmark xmas movies. I remember being on the 'bustling' streets as an extra. I believe my body of work was left on the editing room floor.
It's also known as the hometown for Tim Conway and later where Bill Watterson from Calvin & Hobbes fame would live (he actually lives very near to us currently).
But even as an adult, I avoided the place. I'd come to my parent's house in a roundabout way where I never drove through the center of town.
There is a "historic" shop (shown here) that people love - popcorn and ice cream. It is cramped and hovers over - literally - a waterfall. In 50+ years, I've never been inside.
Since my mother died, almost four years ago, I've been through town maybe once. There is literally no need to go out that way anymore. And no desire. I'm not the most nostalgic of folks.
Memorial Day weekend, there is Blossom Time Festival. Never mind that blossoms have already blossomed weeks or more beforehand. It's a place for carnies, funnel cakes, sausage and peppers and rides on the Tilt-a-Whirl and the ToothChipper.
Naturally, there is a parade and a Blossom Time Queen. Why wouldn't there be?
We haven't been down there for 15 years, when 710 and I took three nieces / nephews to the event. I believe those kids are now out of college, though one might still be in. Clearly, I'm not keeping track. Or see them.
Yet two days ago I returned. Hardly prodigal. Prodigally?
Weeks ago, when I mentioned to my brother-in-law I was attempting to run the half-marathon, he said I should run the Blossom Time Race. I knew it existed. I knew he ran it. He even inferred he'd be running it and I should join him.
Yes, I waited until four days for the race to sign-up, but it's not so rigid that you can't just sign up the morning of. I shot him a message, but he bailed saying he was doing a golf tournament that day, but maybe next year.
Now I kind of committed myself and paid the $30. Trust me, the t-shirt wasn't worth three Hamiltons. I'm not even sure it is worth three Washingtons. Actually, I know it isn't.
The run was ok. Not great. Maybe 1,600 participants. It started at 09:00 - so the temps started to rise. 72 for most of the run. That seems ok in theory, but you really have to add 10-15 degrees when you run. So it was hot. Starting at 07:00 would be better, but I'm guessing - houses of worship and such nonsense look down on encroaching on their time.
I went alone. No 710 at this race. Honestly, the trip out and back would take almost twice as long as the run itself. Hardly worth it.
After my post-race banana (not a euphemism) and bottle of water, I headed to the draw to the town, the falls. Technically there are three, but two are man made. This one is not.
There is a nice overlook - and lower overlook - to the falls, but I went out into the river to get the real photo op. Luckily, some nice lady was down there with her kids and she agreed to be my photographer.
We haven't had a lot of rain lately, but when it happens, the falls are pretty impressive. I mean, not Victoria or Niagara, but for a small mid-west town, it's ok. I see the draw.
When I got back to my car, there was a flyer for a 5k for B'nai B'rith. I guess I know what I'll be doing on July 23rd.
Song by: Bruce Springsteen