Is this a glimpse into my future? On a boat with a hundred senior citizens? Julia (my wife) and I took a trip to England a few years ago and signed up for an excursion to a place called The Eden Project,
a huge geodesic dome housing three distinct “natural” environments, jungle, desert and semi-tropical. We arrived at the bus to take us there and discovered we were easily the youngest people on board. I remarked to Julia that life does not put us in situations by accident. Making “old folks” jokes the way I did in my 20s and 30s doesn’t come quite so easily to me anymore. Go figure.
As was the case at The Garden of the Gods in the Shawnee National Forest down south, this excursion on the Illinois River showed me a side of the Land of Lincoln I had not imagined before. And why would I have, sitting in traffic on the Kennedy Expressway or riding the El underground? Age meant nothing as we were gently carried by the river and paddle wheel past mile after mile of green banks and natural beauty. Frequently on this show Tom and I have benefited from the cooperation of the elements and nature, and this trip was no exception. The day was perfectly crisp, the sky unblemished by a single cloud. And the wild life! Thousands of pelicans, a bald eagle or two…the only thing we didn’t see was a deer swimming across the river, as “riverlore-ian” Brian had described in one of his interviews.