Jim Terry
June 4, 2010
The value of Texas
By Jim Terry

As I left home on this two week road trip, I grabbed a cap from my collection. It was my University of Texas 2005 National Championship cap. I wear it frequently (except when I am in the presence of Baylor friends) and when traveling. It has been an icebreaker on many occasions and proved to be beneficial on this trip.

We left St. Louis around one o'clock and meandered northward toward Chicago. The morning's visit to the Arch was tiring, but a late and large breakfast at our hotel carried us a few hours. Litchfield, Illinois was the next town of size and we found a mom and pop place to eat. Jubelt's Bakery and Restaurant is on the old Route 66 and has been in business since 1922. The food was good and I couldn't resist their apricot stix.

We finished our meal around three o'clock and noticed the restaurant had become filled with senior citizens. The waitress was offering them a menu different than the one we had seen. I inquired and learned the restaurant participates in a program which allows seniors (those who have signed up for the program) to choose from a special menu and pay only a couple of dollars.

We rolled across the flat Illinois countryside past rows of giant pinwheels spread across the landscape. The white uniformed three bladed electro soldiers stood at attention guarding fields of wheat or oats while they cranked out electricity for the nearby farms. According to Wikipedia, in 2009, thirty-six states were producing wind energy. Illinois was ranked seventh in wind energy capacity.

Chicago was our goal, but not for the night. We wanted to be near Chicago in the morning, but avoid Chicago hotel prices.

We pulled into Joliet, Illinois around eight o'clock, concerned about room availability at that late hour, and found a hotel. I entered the lobby and two young women at the desk simultaneously asked, "How are you this evening?"

"It depends on your answer to my question. Do you have a couple of rooms for the night?" I answered.

One of the women commented on my Texas cap and asked if I was from Texas. When I told her I was from the Dallas area, she smiled and said, "I just came here from Austin. And yes we have two rooms. Oh, and let me find a discount for you."

And to my request to have the rooms adjoining or near, "Yes, I have two across the hall from one another and I have upgraded your room to a suite and you have a discount which saves you forty dollars on each room."

As I went out the lobby door, the two ladies heard a loud, "Yahoooooooooo." That Texas cap had paid off.

We arrived in Chicago after the morning traffic rush, found a place to park near Michigan Avenue and strolled along this famous street past the schools for art, schools for dance, schools for almost any discipline and found a place to get a Chicago pizza on Wabash Avenue a couple of blocks off Michigan. People talk about Chicago style pizza as if there were no better pizza in the world. It is arguable. The pizza was good, but I'm a thin crust guy.

Our comedic exit from Chicago began when son-in-law's GPS woman routed us in a continuous circle because of construction she didn't know about. After the third pass along the same streets, son-in-law found the correct route. We were then caught at an unmanned toll booth. The machine would accept neither coin nor cash and we couldn't back up for the long line of cars behind us.

Two highway workers suddenly appeared and helped us contact an unknown government employee via a speaker system mounted on a post. One of the highway workers read son-in-law's credit card numbers into the microphone. The gate went up, we thanked the two and sped onto the highway away from the line of angry drivers behind.

Next: Whoa there, Texans!

© Jim Terry

 

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Jim Terry

Jim Terry has worked in Republican grassroots politics for 40 years. Terry was an administrative assistant to a Republican elected official in Dallas for twenty years. In 1996, he ran for and was elected to Justice Court 2 in Dallas County where he served eight years. Contact Jim at tr4guy@flash.net

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