A Mid-West Triangle 1: Sights along I-70

Posted October 21st, 2014

The Columbus (Ohio) Airport has beautiful restrooms! Well the women’s is beautiful; my Dear One says the gent’s is small. But no mind. I entered a well-lit space both immaculate and ample. The stalls feature locks that work and toilets that flush, seat covers and plenty of toilet paper; there is a shelf on the commode wall with plenty of room for handbags and other items; a large hook on the door that easily accommodates coats and scarves. Attractive molded sinks are wide and deep; there’s lots of soap and hot water; “Xcelerator” driers and ample supplies of paper towels ensure that one departs with hands that are clean, dry and warm. Then there’s that massive wall mirror so one may take a good look, be confident that one is leaving those private precincts tidy and put-together, just as my Nannie would have insisted.

blue waterglasses

blue water glasses

Dayton is looking a bit bedraggled these days. A scattering of highrises looms hopefully above the Miami River and McKinley Park and the Dayton Art Institute rises over the northern bank. As we departed the city down Salem Avenue toward I-70, that ribbon of asphalt of hypnotic boredom that connects the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland, to the general vicinity if Fort Cove, Utah, we drove past decaying bungalows and timeworn Tudor revival houses, flimsy apartment houses and strip malls boasting ten-percent occupancy or less. Yet those bungalows, Tudor revivals, and Italianate homes are an expressive memory of past prosperity, of a bustling urban center that energized the farmlands spreading outward like the rich fabrics of a ball gown around a bejeweled socialite.

"The Four Seasons"

“The Four Seasons”

But what a collection! One small gallery leads to the next; Baroque seems particularly good. There is a yummy little Ruisdael. My favorite was the extremely naughty Allegory of the Four Seasons (c. 1610) by Bartolomeo Manfredi; Summer is all over Spring and Fall and poor old Winter is, as they say, left out in the cold. There is also a substantial display of art glass. I think they need something a little more substantial than that eye-candy. I think they need a bench or other architectural piece by Howard Ben Tré (b. 1949) and a work of poetry in glass and steel by the late and truly lamented Christopher Wilmarth (1943-1987).

The dried stalks of corn and soybeans undulate over the rise and fall of fields. Massive silos sit stolid in the distance, modernist industrial silhouettes of dignity, certainly compared to the big-box buildings and strip malls that appear as ramps lead off and on the interstate. Clouds hang low in the sky and rain is intermittent, bursts of slanting drops, then the greasy mist kicked back by semis, and now and then a break as I play with the windshield-wipers control.

Saint Theresa of Avila

Saint Theresa of Avila

Next up: Indianapolis.

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