Saturday, October 21, 2006

Item From the Past: October 22, 2002.

Various things have happened lately, but I haven’t been much of anywhere, unless you count Elwood, Ill. Elwood is some distance south and a little west of the metro Chicago area, really a small satellite of Joliet. Its distinction is that it’s now home to the largest inland intermodal container facility in North America, so recently developed that the likes of me get to go to the grand opening.

It isn’t what I would call picturesque, consisting as it does of several long strips of concrete with RR tracks running the length, and a number of enormous cranes on parallel tracks to service them. It was fun to drive the length of the concrete, though, to the tent for the festivities. It was like being turned loose on an airport runway in my car -- a most unusual circumstance.

Later that day I visited Peotone, Ill., famous in these parts for exactly one reason, namely that various interests in the state are eager to destroy it by building an airport larger than O’Hare in its vicinity. Other interests are not so eager, so it’s still a toss-up. In any case, it is a plain little town.

Then I went to nearby Governors State University, an institution that unaccountable boasts a major collection of enormous outdoor sculptures, the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park. It was a cool, clear day, just right for walking around the grounds and looking at these objects, mostly dating from the ’60s and ’70s. Better yet I had the place entirely to myself — hundreds of acres of high-grass fields and queer metal behemoths, including one that looked like a black flying saucer, some twisted and tangled steel I-beams, and other thingambob metal constructions.

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