I’m wrapping up this trip. Thanksgiving is my deadline for returning to New York.
It’s fun going through all the photos I’ve taken since starting my trek in April (seven months ago!). Pictures really do bring back moments I had completely forgotten.
So, why do I think photos of a sleepy little Minnesota town, Remer, are special? That was the moment I felt I was finally in The West. I had just crossed over the Mississippi River. A trickle, really, in northern Minnesota.
Remer has the classic Western two-story wood frame buildings on each side of a broad main street. It’s easy to imagine horses tied up to posts and water troughs instead of the cars parked there now.
I had recently reread Steinbeck’s Travels with Charlie and William Least Heat-Moon’s Blue Highways. Both excellent books – which I wholeheartedly recommend – that romanticize the American diner.
When I entered Remer, I wanted to be that weary traveler who is looking for a good piece of pie, a cup of coffee and a kind word from a seasoned waitress. I got exactly that at Woodsman Café.
What I can’t explain is how disappointed I felt when I saw the T-shirt on the diner’s wall with the message, “It’s hard to beat a Woody.”
I was angry at Woodsman Café for ruining my wholesome Americana experience with their vulgar little marketing effort. I know well that I’m a disgusting and XXX pervert but I hold the rest of this country to a higher standard.