Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Iowa 08 (The Long Road Home {Minonk, IL and Dunkin' Donuts})

Every town should have a Dunkin' Donuts (Pittsburgh closed their downtown location and Richmond doesn't even have one -- WHAT?!). If you don't have the luxury of a Prince Street Cafe (and there is only one), Dunkin' Donuts (hereafter DD), is your next best option (sorry Southern friends, Krispy Kreme doesn't quite cut it and is one K short of offensive).

From Bloomington-Normal (once you've gathered your morning coffee) the Veterans Parkway, I-55 South and, I-39 North take you to Minonk, home of the Patriot Diner and all-things small-town-middle-America. Jeri-Lynn keeps the history books (at least in her own mind) and Mr. Jacick keeps you company. One is amenable to being photographed and the other, not-so-much.

The Land of Lincoln is an interesting (poor word choice) place and even two days from May, sleet and snow might fall. The old men grow restless as premium-planting season is seemingly passed by a second year in a row. No one will be taking 66-west though; this is not the dust bowl, it is quite the opposite: precipitation prevails.

The Regulars sit around the Round-Table in the Patriot and Russ prepares meals in mere minutes, keeping his customers happy (all but Jerri-Lynn, of course) and in-and-out in under thirty. There's a new place opening down the street and Russ is a little more than peeved; "It won't last a week", he says. No one really knows quite yet, let's hope for his sake he's right.

The sun is out and up and down again, bringing more sleet, rain and snow which finally give way to cottony-blue clouds and whipping winds along the now sun-splashed plains of central-Illinois. The green is out and as we all know, green is the colour of life, and no matter what these blustery late-April temperatures tell us, spring is here.

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