Springfield Continued: Still July 4th

Springfield Continued: Still July 4th

Fraternity Row. Closed.

As I am sitting here in my room in Springfield, Missouri, it feels like this is good practice for my move to Latvia which happens in just three weeks. In 22 days, I’ll be on a plane headed for Milan, Italy, and then on August 1, I’ll be in Riga, Latvia. So everything here and now is a bit surreal—even this BK coffee that I’m drinking out of desperation for coffee. The silence and semi-isolation of this flat feels almost monastic, and I feel, if I weren’t lazy, that I could accomplish just about anything. But back to my ground-truthing of Springfield.

After my walk and my beer and pizza, I went out again for some more truth in the early evening. I changed my clothes from the “casual business” teacher attire, to much more comfortable shorts and a t-shirt. I traded my dress shoes for my Brooks running shoes, and the sun had begun it’s retreat in the western sky, so Springfield had cooled, and the light was now lovely. I wonder how much of my mood could be explained by any of these factors? The bottom line is that my second walk through Springfield was much more pleasant than the first.

Public garbage.

It could also be the direction that I went, and the surroundings. Even in the alleyway of dumpsters, my mood was light, and my steps full of energy and optimism. I was contemplating the situation of public garbage that exists in American cities. Why is it that people think it is okay to simply toss trash out onto public lands? Is it a question of ownership? If we thought that this land was really our land, and that it belonged to all of us, would we still abuse it? And why is there garbage piled up outside of an empty dumpster? Were people just too lazy to take that final step of opening it up and tossing it inside? I don’t know. I just know that wherever I walk, I see garbage lining the streets of America.

And let’s not forget music. On this walk, I was wearing my headphones and listening to my heart-pounding punk rock mix making even a trip into the CVS an enjoyable experience. The one detriment to this addition is that I didn’t have my hearing aids in, and most people just don’t talk loudly enough for me to hear. Take these shrouded cars, for instance. As I walked by, I wanted to get a nice photo of them because it looked interesting. The owner came out and started chatting with me. He said something about putting my cell phone away because it was just bad news and mumble mumble. He told me some other things about California and life, and death. Cars. I’m sure he spouted some wisdom about old age and love in there, too… but it was all too quiet. I did ask him specifically about what was hidden under the covers, but I’ll just let you think about it before I tell.

I started the walk by taking photos of some interesting older buildings with cool signs. Then I got to the official campus of Missouri State and took note of the lovely trees that line the campus. I wanted to get off the main road, so I dove into a quiet neighborhood. It took me a little while to notice that there are seemingly no hills in Springfield, or at least none where I was. You kind of forget how hilly Omaha is until you go to other towns that are flat and think… “Hey, I could ride my bike here forever.”


The foliage in this little quiet neighborhood was beautiful. I couldn’t resist taking pictures of some houses and flowers. It was so peaceful and clean. This part of Springfield was just the opposite of the concrete nightmare of the early afternoon that I had walked through before. This was ideal, romantic, beautiful. There was a little coffee shop in an old house, so full with young coffee drinkers in the evening, that I didn’t even get myself a cup.




As I roamed, I longed to write, so I stopped at the CVS (which is way better than Walgreens) and bought a journal. So far, I haven’t really collected much that is profound, but I did try to figure out what Rachel did to earn a “thank you” from Burger King.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

In Springfield there is no beer.

The evening ended with a margarita at the bar across the street, Ebbett’s Field. It is apparently owned by the pervious coach of the Missouri State Bears, Terry Allen. The saddest thing that can happen in a bar happened. I wanted a beer, but all the taps were out of order. Something with the keg system, they said. Couldn’t be helped. But my roommate, Blake, joined me for a margarita, and we spent some time on the patio discussing fireflies, mosquitos and the fate of the postmodern world. It’s what you do.

Update: The walk took place on July 3, and now it’s July 4th. I am thinking about teaching my first lesson in the morning, and this is probably the first 4th of July I have ever spent in my 45 years without seeing or lighting off a single firework. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing… it feels pretty weird. I suppose I should be used to weird by now. I’m going to have to write something about 4th of July’s past… I’ll keep you posted. 

I leave you with the flora and fauna of Springfield, Missouri.




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