Jigs

… PRAIRIE CENTRAL ELEMENTARY, THAT IS!

We enjoyed our return visit to Fairbury, Illinois. A big thanks to Lisa Lange for arranging our visit (and YES, you should apply to be the Iditarod Teacher on the Trail!).

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Thank you to the artists: Brianna, Brenna, Lainie, Sklar, and Mia. We ADORED the sign you made for us!

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Yesterday before our Iditarod talk at the Pendleton Community Library in Pendleton, Indiana, we discovered this cavedog graffiti on the concrete trestle under the CSX railway. I’m opposed to all types of graffiti and destruction of property, yet these simple figures caught my attention, prompting me to pause and admire, and even smile. I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that four dogs — Jigs, Chloe, Romano, and Noggin — were leading us down the gorgeous paths of the Falls Park Trails. Or maybe it was the simplicity of the modern-day pictograph — woman and her dog — and what it represents, what it feels like to be in such a relationship. To all of you who have shared a profound bond with an animal, I’m sure you “get it”… so I’ll just let the image speak for itself.

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Karen, Jigs, and Noggin

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Even though it was a perfect autumn day in Indiana and there were dozens of football games on the tube, we had an awesome turn-out at the Pendleton Library. I really enjoyed visiting with everyone. Our always-delightful-host, Kristen Case, let us take home a sheet of her famous Romano Stickers. 

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Chloe enjoys the view from our favorite motel.

I first stopped at Welsh’s Motel in 1993 on my maiden voyage west from Indiana to attend the University of Montana in Missoula. I met Mr. Wes Welsh that day, and ever since I have looked forward to his warm greeting and smiling face when I walk through the lobby door after a long day of travel. Time passes, and over the years I’ve driven this 1700-mile route 40-some times. This last June, though, Mr. Welsh was not there. When his daughter, Kelly, greeted me, I knew our Mr. Welsh was gone. Kelly has the same big, open heart and beaming smile of her father. Over the registration counter, we shared memories of both her dad and my parents (who had also stayed at Welsh’s over the years). We couldn’t help but cry. They were tears of painful loss but also much joy. We both know how fortunate we are.

I’m traveling west again soon. Headed to my “homes” in South Dakota, and then Montana. Home is where you share your heart. Thank you, Mr. Welsh, for sharing yours…

And Kelly, we’ll be seeing you soon.