There’s No Place Like Home

June 15, 2009
Yes, it’s great to be back, though by the looks of things, my absence was not greatly felt. I discovered I actually had as many hits on this site on the days I was gone as I do on any given day that I post.

Lesson #1: Laziness pays off.

So I spent a week in Arkansas, and let me just say this: I had heard of the term ‘Bible Belt.’ I thought I knew what ‘Bible Belt’ meant. I thought I even lived in the ‘Bible Belt.’

Turns out, I do not live in the Bible Belt. Holy crap, you people in Arkansas love Jesus! I couldn’t go ten feet without stubbing my toe on another church. Have you people ever heard of going to the movies or bowling, or is church just your night out?

Whenever my wife and I prepare for a vacation we vow to ourselves that we will not look like tourists. We’re not toting kids around, we don’t need to make spectacles of ourselves. We will blend in, dang it. We prepare for our ‘non-touristy’ vacation by packing the following items:

Fanny pack
Oversized camera with neck strap
Spare camera in belt bag
Souvenir ball cap with unfolded bill
Birkenstock sandals
White tube socks
Walking Stick
Souvenir T-shirts
Cargo Shorts filled with other souvenirs
Baby Stroller filled with even more souvenirs and no baby

We pack these items…into a large trash bag and leave them at home, venturing out with only a small digital camera. Americans go to Paris dressed in things they would never normally wear if they were trying to be taken seriously, butcher the local language and then wonder why the French think Americans are dopes.

Still, at the end of our trip, we realized we had indulged our touristy side. We had engaged in the age-old tradition of finding really beautiful scenery and taking pictures of it…with our own faces obscuring the view…because we somehow need proof that we were actually there. Or we just can’t get enough of looking at ourselves.

We also inadvertantly took part in the ancient tradition of taking our picture in front of really really big stuff. I don’t know what it is about really big things, but people are just attracted to them and want proof that they saw this really big thing.

I also told myself I wasn’t going to post vacation photos on a blog like all those other tourists, but it is a season of firsts. But it’s only three photos and only this one time.

This first picture is me in front of some really big hills built by Indians. They were named after some Indians who, it was later decided, did not actually build them. But they never changed the name of them.

The visitor’s center lady at Eureka Springs told us that the world’s biggest windchime was just outside of town. We laughed. She said everyone laughs. She also said she doesn’t know why everyone laughs. It was kind of sad, but I couldn’t stop laughing. But the windchime was everything we could have imagined…maybe even more.

There was one last really really big thing to see. Literally every person whom I told I was going to Arkansas asked me if we were going to see the ‘Passion Play.’ I had never heard of it, but it’s kind of a big deal, like Ron Burgundy. Shows what a great Christian I am. Well it turns out that the Passion Play also has North America’s biggest Jesus, the “Christ of the Ozarks.” We had to see this.

He wasn’t…what we expected. He wasn’t bad. When we turned around and looked him in the face for the first time, he seemed to say something to us…

“I am OZ, the great and powerful! Who are you?”

I had kind of hoped there would be an elevator to the top, like the Statue of Liberty, with a little sign that says, “If anyone is in Christ, he will be raised up.”

Okay, that does it for the vacation wrap up. There’s only a couple more stories that I’ll share another time. Anyone have any really really big things nearby that everyone needs to see on their vacation? What’s your favorite tourist spot? What do you think Jesus is saying?

Oh yeah, and if I wind up going to hell, it will look like Branson, Missouri. That city doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘tacky.’ Maybe another time we’ll talk about that…

There’s no place like home.