|Madison, Indiana on the Ohio River|
A Slice of Americana
by Gregory E. Larson
“We’ll give you free delivery if you win it.” The man on the street corner pointed to the bright red golf cart with chrome wheels and shiny rubber tires. “Just twenty-five dollars a raffle ticket. The proceeds go to maintaining the river walk.”
“I live in Kansas City and I really don’t need a golf cart.”
“You can opt for $7500 cash.”
The guy was going to have a busy day. It was only 9:00 in the morning but he was in his element. He pointed out to the man in the pick-up truck at the red light. “Hey Jack. I’ll put you down for four tickets. I know you got a hundred dollars cash in your pocket.”
I sat at the outdoor table by the curb, and viewed the surroundings while I ate a homemade apple-cinnamon muffin and washed it down with a big cappuccino. The guy never gave up. He almost had me believing I needed a golf cart. I got up when he wasn’t looking and started walking towards downtown Madison, Indiana, a historic district on the Ohio River. I looked down a side street through the mist toward the Kentucky side. Kentucky mist. Sounds like a good brand of bourbon. The sun and humidity were invading the quaint town in the late September morning while the people filled the sidewalks. It was the annual arts and crafts fair, and there were booths full of handiwork, as well as homemade jam, local honey, and baked goods.
|Outdoor market at Madison, Indiana|
I wandered over to the outdoor market on Broadway and sat on a bench by the fountain to wait for my son-in-law and granddaughter. Amish boys took turns pulling each other in an old Flyer wagon, as they wound their way through the crowd. A guitarist was twanging and singing at a microphone. I thought the lyrics sounded familiar but the quality of his voice and guitar kept me from remembering the original group or the song title.
Two dogs on their leashes passed each other in the crowd. The small bulldog strained and pawed to get near the little cairn terrier. The terrier glanced at the bulldog as if to say, “Why bother?”
I sat down and thought, this is a happenin’ place. A shapely gal walked by in flip-flops, zoomba pants, and a top that left her midriff bare. Then I noticed a guy with a curly beard so big it made me think of the beards worn by some of the major league baseball players these days.
My son-in-law with the granddaughter in the stroller met up with me. We applied sunscreen and began to look at the arts and crafts booth. There was more than you could imagine: leather goods, blown glass, jewelry, wooden walnut bowls, photo art, bonsai trees, pottery and sculpture, but not much framed art. A woman and her friends walked out of the bonsai booth. “Oh lordy, my cats would never leave those things alone.”
The town folks were working to cash in on a good opportunity. Signs on the lawn at the Christian Church read, “BBQ Lunch $10.” The church volunteers had their propane grills fired up and ready to go. I was thirsty so I stopped at a private home where the owners sat by a table and cooler on the other side of the wrought-iron fence. The homemade sign read: Ice Cold Bottled Water - $1.00.
“How’s it goin’? I’ll take one.”
“Business is brisk.”
The whole town was spruced up for the big weekend. Historic private homes had their mums out, hedges trimmed and fall gourds and decorations strategically placed. Bi-planes and helicopters buzzed overhead. This is a happenin’ place.
|Historical homes in Madison, Indiana|
Cecilia, the granddaughter, reached her hand out over the stroller and yelled, “Ooo, hey,” while she waved her finger towards a big bounce house for kids. At two years old, she didn’t know what it was, but the colors definitely got her excited.
The food trucks down by the river looked like they had just pulled in from a state fair. Wisconsin Cheese, The German Haus, Funnel Cakes. The aroma and steam from the brats and burgers added to the stifling heat. Step right up and stuff yourself silly.
I loved being in such a vibrant atmosphere, but the heat and humidity kept bearing down. Before walking back to my car, I made a special trip over to a back street where there was a doorway to a townhouse that I used for a watercolor painting I completed a year ago. It spoke to me as an image that summed up the historic town. Every time I go back to a spot that I’ve painted, it feels like a space where I’ve taken root, and that in some special way a piece of my spirit is always there. Today, I experienced another slice of Americana.
|Doorway and Steps|
2018 watercolor by Gregory E. Larson