|Early Fall view of Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois|
The imagination that stretches farther than the eye can see, into the sediments that were laid down under heat and pressure and then fractured, now constantly eroded by time and the elements of nature, this imagination becomes fertile ground. SAM has just such an imagination, and he doesn't mind sharing some of it with Grandson (peeking over Grandpa's shoulder) on a sunny day in early October, sitting on a rock formation in the Garden of the Gods.
|Looking inside Cave-in-Rock|
Storms of discontent grow the river into a wild, frothy, water-breathing dragon. It leaves its boundaries and carves a cave for pirates to hide in. They lie in wait for the next unsuspecting victim to come along, someone who will listen to a Grandma's story about a ferry...and its god-smother.
The ferry takes the family safely across the river this time, but it wasn't so lucky on one particular day. On that unlucky day, the ferry's chain that ties it up so that vehicles and their passengers can safely load and unload was broken by the weight of a dump truck carrying rocks from a nearby quarry. The steel from which the chain was made was imported from another country, one which didn't pay attention to quality but was only concerned with selling lots of chains. Now our ferry wasn't about to let a broken chain keep it from its appointed rounds, back and forth across the mighty Ohio River. So it calls on its god-smother.
"God-smother," says the Ferry. "You've been sitting in the backseat, breathing down everyone's neck on this trip and slobbering too. What do you suggest that I do?"
Well, the all-knowing god-smother thought for a while and then came up with a solution. "Use that thick, well-made, American rope to hold the two ends of the chain together. Tie them up nice and tight with one of those knots you learned in the Navy. And from now on, don't buy any more chains from that country that doesn't care about quality. Buy a chain made from good old-fashioned steel crafted right here in the U.S. Now let's get across this river and go to Marion, Kentucky, so I can show you one of the key ingredients for making that strong steel."
"Here it is, fluorspar, once mined in Illinois and Kentucky, now imported from that other country and showcased at the Clement Mineral Museum." The godsmother could have talked all day about the risks and benefits of imports to this nation's economy, but Grandson's attention span wouldn't stretch that far. Besides, he had lots of pretty rocks to admire and a grandpa nearby who could tell him all about them if he had any questions. And what little boy doesn't have questions?
The family left the museum, drove back to the river, and boarded the ferry once more for the trip over to Illinois. End of story? Not until this imagination runs out of ideas, and that won't happen...
...unless the rocks cry out.