Tuesday, July 06, 2010
30 Days of Smelling -- Aroma
I've been driving a lot the past few days. From mid-Indiana up to the lakes part of our state. Specifically, through Warsaw and Winona Lake (home of famous baseball pitcher/revivalist Billy Sunday) to Dewart Lake (home of Quaker Haven Camp -- scene of much of my mis-spent youth ministry).
I decided to "Wander Indiana" as one motto appearing on some 1980s license plates urged us to do. So I stuck to most state and county highways for the 150+ mile trip back to the farm.
And that's when I saw Aroma. I don't mean smelled an aroma. I mean saw "Aroma." A town I did not know existed in Indiana. It's just off Indiana Rt 13.
I saw other towns I'd heard of but never seen. Swayzee ("The Only Swayzee in the WORLD" the town's sign proclaims. Oh really???). Normal. (Seeing that I remembered an old headline from an Illinois paper proclaiming "Normal Man Weds Oblong Girl" -- using two distinctive town names). And a host of others.
Now I grew up in a state (Ohio) that prides itself on respectable town names. Columbus -- after the great explorer. Athens -- after the cradle of philosophy. Knockemstiff -- after the ... well, let's not go there.
But still, even though I could not really smell Aroma, sealed hermetically as I was in my air conditioned Camry cruising down the highway, I was grateful for it and the people who live there. Small towns, it seems to me, bring the scent of what we value as a people -- the smell of honest, hard work; care for one another; love of the land we call home, faith in God; faith in each other; and so much more. All things that help Aroma, and places like it across our land, send out a fresh, clean smell of the best of what our country blessed with. And called to be.