Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Peoria moment, of course

No matter where you go in the world, it seems you never can escape the long arm of Peoria. Tokyo is no exception.

Minutes after we checked in Wednesday, I was flipping through the TV channels when I saw a map. Not just any map, mind you, but a Rand McNally Road Atlas map of Central Illinois, focused on -- you guessed it. The camera then zeroed in on Chillicothe, which as most of you know is located just north of Peoria. The camera then faded to the "Welcome to Chillicothe" sign at the city limits, then showed some street scenes before it focused on the old Santa Fe railroad depot there.

Turns out the show was called "Big Train, Small Town," a documentary on NHK (a Japanese TV network) that followed the Santa Fe line through Illinois and Missouri and did mini-documentaries on some of the towns along the route. Chillicothe's segment focused on a restored caboose located next to the station. They interviewed a few people, none of whom I recognized (now THAT would have been nuts). The next stop was Galesburg, where they showed a Memorial Day parade down Main Street and had a lengthy segment on the Lincoln-Douglas debate that was held there.

I should come to expect things like this now when I travel, but after being associated with Peoria for a quarter-century, it never ceases to amaze me. I've never seen a similar-sized city with such lengthy tentacles. It's a small world, indeed, but an even-smaller one if you're from Peoria, evidently.

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