St. Charles County

(2011)

We were in St. Charles County this summer, driving along the Mississippi River through a hellacious thunder storm. It was pretty exciting. We’d been driving along a little county road for miles and miles, which at one point led us out onto a gravel road that went for miles through the marshes, and the plan was to take this little ferry back across the river into Illiinos and enter St Louis from the east, crossing the giant bridge there with the arch aglow in the twilight. Seemed very romantic.  The rain put an end to that. The wind was blowing hard and the river was bucking and foaming and the ferry,  just  a little two car thing, was tied up at the dock. We drove on, slowly, and when we entered St. Charles County I got a creeped out feeling. I know a guy locked up there. He was a real hip cat in the day….popular college DJ, member of a hip noisy band, he knew everybody. He worked where I worked and was well liked, made quite a presence. Then came the crack up…we watched him disintegrate. Who knows why. The real world is harsh but you can’t hide in the underground all your life. Well, he got weird, lost his job, his wife left him, he headed east, wound up in St. Louis and it all went completely to hell from there. He rotted in a St Charles jail for a couple years. He was rotting there that blustery day we drove along the river. Gave me a weird feeling. It lifted soon enough. The bed that night felt good and I slept deeply. When we passed through St. Charles County again the next day it was sunny and I wasn’t creeped out at all. Kansas City beckoned with a night of blues and barbeque, and we drove straight west to get there.

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