Aug 11, 2015

The noble legacy of Ferguson, Missouri.

I missed it, dang it, and the current Ferguson news keeps reminding me of my cultural loss.  It happened this way:

Just 19 nights ago,  terrified in my more dependable truck with Texsun camper in the box,  I found myself  among the fleas of the giant unwashed armpit usually known  as the St. Louis, Missouri standard metropolitan statistical area. ("Fleas" is metaphorical, of course. The reference is to eight lanes of frantic 10 p.m. westbound traffic,  fleaing, so to speak, the area.)

I can handle such motorized riots and have for years, in fact, when my own bad judgment leads me to the world's great Gothams. But this was a little worse because a new trans-Mississippi bridge project had hurled me into a detour under the superhighway mixmaster, down into the bowels of the city.  Berlin in June of 1945, but with less charm and security. I locked the doors and blundered through the abandoned warehouses and grimy brick row houses, actually thankful that the street lights were burned out. Or turned off. Or shot out. I undoubtedly would have been more disheartened if I could actually have seen the cultural environment most famously documented by The National Lampoon  report on its 1983 vacation.

I re-entered the upper world in due course, hugging the right lane when possible. Shortly I spied one of those earthy white-on-brown exit signs our government erects to guide us to special attractions.  I always associate them with sylvan settings where I might see Yogi chuckling good-naturedly  as he totes off his latest pilfered pik-a-nik basket.

Wrong, this time, Jim.  It said , "Historic Downtown Ferguson."

I mourn having rejected the invitation. The only bright spot is that if I return to the area I can visit an even more historic Ferguson. I certainly hope I live long enough to accomplish this dream.

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