I have lived in Chicago for almost a decade. By now I consider myself a city girl. But there are days when I want to sit down to a plate full of blue gill and hear the words "Hi baby doll." from a server I just met.
When I was young, I couldn't wait to leave my hometown of just over ten thousand. But there are small things that draw me back. Things like pecans harvested from a neighbor's tree that I like to stir into Fudge-Pecan Pie.
So I travel south, 350 miles south. I pass acre after acre of soy and corn. I stare at a landscape that is numbingly flat.
During the final hours of my trip, I wait for the scalloped wings of hawks to appear in the sky, like finely crafted kites. I read billboards that tempt drivers with fast food, but there are others that offer a proper southern meal. Their lineup, - chicken, corn bread, cobbler - is more inviting. I stop for a glass of ice tea and a zing of caffeine to push through the last of my six hour journey south.