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Monday, August 09, 2004

 

Jacksonville

After I left Rushville, I got about halfway to the next town, Beardstown. It was rather late, full dark, and I wasn't quite ready to stop for the night, and I wasn't expecting any ride offers that late, but a man saw me and stopped. He is with the volunteer fire department and as an EMT at Browning, and works as a driver for a van service for the handicapped. He offered a ride in to town, offered dinner at a KFC, and offered to help me find a place to stay the night. He couldn't find an easy way to do it at Beardstown, so he took me to Mt. Sterling, where the police department has arrangements with some of the churches to house transients. They put me in a hotel called the Irish house, so I had a chance to clean up better than I have done in a while.

Saturday morning I headed to Jacksonville, and a deputy stopped just as I was passing the prison outside of Mt. Sterling. The man I rode with the night before said that in his experience, older, veteran police officers are often friendlier than the young ones, which was the case here: this deputy has about 14 years in law enforcement and had been the police chief in one of the counties south of there before the town decided they didn't need a police department. He talked a little about some of the difficulties involved when the county sheriff is an elective office. He took me across the Illinois River bridge into Meredosia.

I got perhaps halfway from Meredosia to Jacksonville when another man offered a ride. This offer wasn't so pleasant. The man was young and wanted me to perform a sexual act, and even offered to pay me for it. I declined, saying I don't do that kind of thing. The third time he came by, he said he wouldn't insist, but didn't want to see me walk all the way into Jacksonville, so I accepted under that condition, but he continued his requests. I mentioned that I was LDS, and he was astonished; apparently he has been filled with misinformation about Mormons being a cult and practicing polygamy, which he wasn't willing to disbelieve. We got into Jacksonville and he offered a place to stay the night and a shower, but after his earlier requests, I didn't think it would be prudent to accept. I found the public library had just closed, the library at one of the two colleges has very limited summer hours. I went downtown, found a business that was open and had a phone book I could check, and the address of a laundromat. I went down there, did my laundry, and dropped my 2-quart canteen on the floor. It showed its quality by springing a leak. After I finished my laundry, I went to the grocery store, which happens to be located next to a Wal-Mart. Since I can go through 2 quarts a day of water quite easily, and have had experience getting dehydrated, I considered replacing the canteen an urgent necessity. It turned out that the only replacement available there was the same model I had just found less than robust. I bought it anyway. After getting my groceries, I went back to the main intersection, where there was a large public park next to the Jacksonville Developmental Center. I had noticed coming into town a sign advertising "Man of La Mancha" at the local performing arts center. I was tempted to get tickets, but didn't know where to get them or exactly where it was being shown. While I was looking for a restroom at the park, I found that it was being shown at the Developmental Center, and the performance had just ended. Tickets were still available for the last performance, on Sunday at 2:30, but at a cost of $10.oo, which would have been a stretch. It was after 9 pm by then, so I found a place to sleep in the park, and resolved to get up at first light.

It was a little after first light, but still before sunrise, when I got up, and headed for the church. (this time, I made sure to get the address before I reached town). The bishop was more friendly than the average, and I was able to change clothes in plenty of time for meetings. For the sacrament meeting, the speakers were the full-time missionaries. The Sunday School lesson was the same one I had last week, still in the mission to the Zoramites, but dealing with faith in Christ. A family in the ward had been participating in the "City of Joseph" pageant, and they mentioned that on the last day of the performance, it was announced that next year, there will be a new pageant, "Joseph the prophet" in its place. The lesson in Priesthood meeting was on service. Afterwards, the bishop invited me to his house for the afternoon, although his family was out of town and he spent much of it doing ward business. He brought me back to the church to the Family History Center, where I started looking through my genealogy to see whether some of the family on the ancestral lines I had overlooked had been in Nauvoo. I found two more, (making 9 families) and still have a few more too look through. I was going to stay the night in the other park which I had passed on the way to the Church, but the couple that had been in charge of the Family History Center passed me and invited me to stay at their house for the night, which I gratefully accepted. They fed me dinner and breakfast this morning, and brought me to the Illinois College Library, where I am writing this entry.

Illinois College is not very large, but it is one of the oldest if not the oldest college in the state, and has respectable hours, so I should be able to do a little research on my logic, and afterwards the public library also has nice long hours. I intend to stay most of the day here, and then head south to Carlinville.


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