A big adventure on a Sunday afternoon...
Wow. Seemed like we hadn’t seen this place in about a year.
And that would be absolutely true. We had not seen this place in a year. We’re talking about Carbondale. The home of the university where the two of us met. The home of the hospital where both of our kids were born. The home of many special memories for our family...seeing a president of the United States...a geology program for young people...a children’s choir...
We hadn’t been to Carbondale since sometime early in 2020. Seems there’s been a bit of a pandemic going on. And we’ve been trying to be cautious. Some say over cautious. Oh, well.
Anyway, the two of us decided to motor to Carbondale last Sunday afternoon. Our latest Pandemic Date, I suppose. Yes, we were still cautious. Over cautious? Guess somebody else will have to decide such things.
We took care of an errand that involved a bit of shopping, where we were reminded about the reality of the pandemic...face coverings were required...and there was a limit on the number of people who could be in the place of business.
After finishing up our shopping, we decided to just do some looking around. To me, it didn’t seem like there was a lot of traffic in Carbondale. Then again, it was Sunday afternoon. During a pandemic.
We headed to the Southern Illinois University campus, driving slowly past Thompson Point...the Agriculture Building...the SIU baseball stadium (where it looked like a game was being played)...and the Banterra Center.
The Banterra Center, you may recall, formerly was known as the SIU Arena. That’s what the venue was called when The Other Half and yours truly went to school at SIU all those years ago.
The SIU Arena has a special place in my memories. As a student, I worked at the Arena...with a lot of fine folks.
Those memories involved concerts, basketball games and a multitude of other special events, some which happened before I worked at the Arena, and some which happened while I worked in the building.
Those memories, of course, did not involve a global pandemic...or signs about COVID vaccines. Thanks to our new “normal,” signs about such vaccines could be seen outside the Banterra Center. The former Arena is one of the places in Southern Illinois where COVID-19 vaccines are being administered. Never would have dreamed of such a thing when I worked at the Arena.
Yours truly had actually scheduled an appointment online to obtain a vaccine at the Banterra Center. Thought it would an opportunity to create another rather unique memory in the building where I spent so much time as a student. However, another opportunity arose which allowed me to obtain a vaccine closer to home. Different memory.
Our next stop was on the shores of Cedar Lake, south of Carbondale. Well, not really the shores. More like a parking lot next to the lake. Judging by the number of pickup trucks with boat trailers, a lot of folks were out enjoying the lake on a warm and sunny early March afternoon. We only saw one boat, with one person in it, during our stop.
We did find a couple of shells on the bank next to the lake. I put one of the shells up to my ear and told The Other Half I could hear the sound of water lapping on the shoreline. Just like you can hear the sound of the ocean when you put a sea shell up to your ear. She just shook her head and suggested that what I was hearing really was the water lapping on the shoreline.
All in all, it was an enjoyable way to spend some time on a nice, warm and sunny afternoon...during a pandemic.