Friend of ours was driving from the upper Midwest to the East Coast the other day, with family. They left at night, got hungry for breakfast around dawn, and then remembered:
“Yikes, we’re in Indiana.”
Indiana, with the new law permitting bigots to refuse to do business with gays – on religious grounds.
Just for the record, this is not a family that is going to arouse the deep fears and prejudices of the smugly religious. But this is a family with quite American values. So they kept going, 153 miles from west to east on Interstate 80/90, heading east, toward gasoline and biscuits.
That is the way to go, while Gov. Mike Pence makes a total ass of himself on national television, trying to explain what is so obvious from the hard look in his eyes.
He is standing up for his base, the rabid core, that will say it loves everybody but doesn’t want to make a wedding cake for two men or two women who love each other, or sell coffee to them, or gasoline.
The reaction from major companies like Eli Lilly and Cummins Engine Co. has been instructive. I can speak about Cummins a bit. When we lived in Louisville, Ky., one of our most beautiful outings was on a crisp fall Saturday, visiting the great architecture of Columbus, Ind. -- a Saarinen church, courtesy of Cummins. Just memorable.
I loved the southern part of Indiana, near the Ohio River, even with its county-by-county time zones that could make you nuts. Loved the stone county courthouses. Loved the hills of Brown County. Loved the great music from Indiana University.
But these are new times. The base is threatened by having to do business with the emerging America, the minorities-becoming-majorities, plus the gay couples getting married, many of them raising children.
Indiana has made its statement. Drive on.
"....the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.