July 28, 2018: Day 35
Mitchell Corn Palace, SD
How could our trip be complete without a stop to revel in true American tacky creativity that makes up for all the miles of farmland and nothingness? Hello Mitchell Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota! I had heard of the infamous building, decorated with murals made entirely of corn and straw, from Keith’s family early on in our dating life. Then there were the rare few who at the mention of Mt. Rushmore would immediately respond,”But are you going to the Mitchell Corn Palace??!!” We did indeed celebrate the end of our trip and return home by eating popcorn at the Mitchell Corn Palace!
The Mitchell Corn Palace is a small town event space for basketball games, concerts, plays, and parties. The outside is decorated in dried corn, and the theme changes from year to year. The inside arena area is surrounded in more corn murals. The game floor is taken over by a massive gift shop selling t-shirts, toys, corn eating gadgets, and of course, popcorn! It’s tacky but wonderful all at the same time.
July 29-Aug. 4, 2018; Day 36-42
South Dakota to Kentucky
From here we head home, slowly but surely. I will not be sharing our current status or adventures as now it’s just pacing out the drive so we don’t burn out. One day in Indianapolis just to stretch our legs and another at my brother’s new house.
Returning home causes me to ponder this adventure. Our average stay was two nights except for four nights at Yellowstone- our longest stay of the trip. If you change days to years, this trip parallels my childhood- a few years in one place and then you pack up and start a new adventure. I always saw each new “home” as a temporary destination, even college and our first years of marriage. The knowledge that we will be in Ashland another year with the potential to stay just one more is comforting, but also makes me uneasy. More than five years is unknown territory for me emotionally. For the first time in my entire 42 years of life, I’m not thinking about disengaging or preparing myself for “the next adventure”.
In many ways I feel like I’ve been banished to the barren wilderness by the local school systems. I continue to network, substitute, and apply for open positions- trying to cross through Jericho into my perceived Promised Land. In all other ways Ashland feels like home, a home I actually want to come home too. That view from the desert side feels isolated, lonely, the place for the unwanted. Is that how God’s people felt? Rejected by their God, counting down the days and years? I’ve been counting the days and years too, watching job after job slip through my fingers, asking God like the Psalmist- “How long o Lord?” But then I see the beauty of the desert. I’m reminded of all the things I’ve been able to do because I do not work- Costa Rica, the Holy Land, Dynamic Marriage, Wolfpen Woods Reenactment. Even theses last six weeks- weeks I was not pouring over lesson plans or rushing through books or even worrying about getting things done at home. These experiences and events are my oases. So if this is where I am, then I will stay and drink fully so that I will be satisfied during the dry season until God shows me a different path. And I’ll try not to look into other fields.
Keith will share more of his own reflections through teaching and sermons.