Saturday, October 31, 2015

First Day in Elkhart

Autumn at AMBS

St. Julian Ukrainian Catholic Church near Rosthern
United States of America. There are a lot of them (50, a nice round number—you wouldn't want to add another) and we drove through parts of 5 to get here. Wisconsin was beautiful although it would have been spectacular a few weeks ago with it's rolling hills and valleys under autumn-painted deciduous trees. Illinois means Chicago and you can grow a beard navigating through stalled-traffic backups and construction on the Chicago Loop. The building of overpasses is the apparent job-creation project of the time in America; as I waited to move past another construction site I wondered: Why don't overpass and Passover mean the same thing?

Close call on the 80/90 Interstate east of Gary; we were in the right lane of 3 when a driver in the centre lane made a last-second decision to take an exit. He probably didn't see us, because he cut right in front of us. Luckily, I possess the reflexes of a 20 year-old and I drive a car with excellent brakes. I think we left half of our rubber on the road.

An earlier trip through Wisconsin had Agnes pulled over by a state trooper; she was going 65 mph in a 55 mph zone. She got off with charm and a promise never, ever to do it again. Now there appears to be absolutely no note taken of speed limits, even in construction zones.

You need to be awake driving around Minneapolis-St. Paul and Chicago particularly.

Radio purports to offer entertainment and information as you drive, an absolute necessity on the second and third days of a trip when everything you have to say to each other has already been said . . . twice. American radio appears to be mainly commercial advertising with periodic breaks for another country song that sounds exactly like the one before it, or religious programming of the milk kind (as opposed to meat). Public radio is a better choice; we found that when one NPR FM station fades out, you can usually find another just by searching one or two steps on the radio dial. News, intelligent discussion and classical music leans towards those with CBC 2 tastes.

I remember traveling through southern Alberta on our way to Whitefish, Montana with friends years ago. We stopped at a gas station and Ted rolled down his window and asked the attendant where on the dial CBC could be found. “I don't know,” he said. “What are you, some kind of intellectuals?”

From our apartment on the AMBS campus we could very nearly hit 4 Mennonite churches with thrown rocks. We've picked one for tomorrow on Hively Ave. Down the street from us is the headquarters of MC USA, a conference undergoing considerable controversy right now over the same-sex marriage issue. I hope to spend some time there trying to take the temperature of the conversation first hand.

Monday we begin work; most likely in the data/edit/library areas, but I suspect we'll also be raking leaves. The campus is huge, heavily treed and . . . well, you can picture the rest. We're replacing an Edmonton couple who really enjoyed their time here, so we're optimistic.


  1. Sounds great ! Say hi to Susan in f you get to Mennohof. I attended an interesting New Order Amish church south of Shipshe. I can also connect you to a GREAT Tuesday guys breakfast group in Middlebury ... A few well read post Menno post Amish lefties among them ...

  2. Thanks, Dave. I will say "HI" to season. My cousin from Rosthern and his wife are currently the volunteers at Mennohof.