Becky Agostin didn’t know what to expect when she set off on her road trip across the Midwest.  Check that, she did have a very good idea of what she expected.  She envisioned fields of corn, wheat, and other crops.  She imagined pastures of horses, cows and sheep.  She even believed that she would see a Norman Rockwell-style farmhouse.  Becky did catch a glimpse of all those things, but that’s all it was – a glimpse.  Mostly what she saw was a bunch of mammoth, gaudy, view blocking roadside signs.

There were signs plugging the power of Jesus, signs plugging the power of Buddha, signs telling her to love her neighbor, signs telling her where to buy guns, signs advertising jewelry outlets, signs advertising cash for gold, signs telling her that the world would end if she voted for this politician, signs telling her the world would end if she voted for that politician, signs advertising casinos and signs advertising credit counseling.  It was sign after sign along I-69, I-94, I-80, I-55, and I-72.

Why do people need so much garbage, Becky wondered.  What’s wrong with just sitting around the kitchen table telling stories like her grandparents used to do?  When did spotlights become more beautiful than stars?  Who decided that warehouses full of boxes ready to be shipped were better than being grateful for what you already have?

Becky drove on, wondering if maybe things would have been better if she had taken the back roads.


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