As I write this, Jim Janotti is - or is very close to - pulling off the highway, and pulling into Pottstown, Pennsylvania ... bringing an end to a two-week journey that has covered thousands of miles on the actual highways and byways of America, and the virtual highways and byways of the blogosphere.
That included a stop in my own little American town, and my own little corner of the blogosphere ... something for which I'm very grateful.
Jim is a blogger at serotoninrain and has been a virtual acquaintance of mine ever since my first, tentative steps into that online neighborhood. Being a dang Yankee from back east, myself, I enjoyed being able to share that unique perspective with him ... and being able to exchange with him secret passwords and high-signs (in d' vuh-nakyu-lah, y'know?) that mystified native and normally-astute Texans such as Eric at The Fire Ant Gazette.
This virtual acquaintance became an actual friend during a stop of the Serotoninrain Road Tour at the Tall City. I first met Jim, when he and Eric met me at the southside Starbucks. Remember that old television commercial, 'talk it over, over coffee' ? Well, we did, and what a talk it was! Among other things, we covered the idea of a Christian narrative in the works of Tolkien. I had just come out of class - Wednesday evening, church night - and was still rushing through the Bible and the Lord of the Rings, simultaneously. Jim was more than patient with my ramblings, and also offered some points - he is a minister, after all - that have since set me off along new lines of inquiry ... he's good!
The next day, Eric, Jim and I met another local blogger - Jimmy of Sticky Doorknobs - over lunch at Italian Village. It was a wonderful gathering of good food and great company. The wide-ranging topics covered everything from Jim's journey (though NOT about what was ahead!), to our families at home, to our work ... Jim and Eric had already visited Jimmy at the MRT, and me at KWES, earlier that day. Telling us of his own work as a rural carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, Jim described - among other things - the thoroughbred horse farms along his route, back east. Having seen something like that, myself, I suspect there is enough beautiful scenery to elevate what might otherwise be just another day in the four-wheeled office.
We also touched upon the impact - sometimes significant, sometimes not - that music performance has had upon our lives. I suspect hardly a day goes by that music fans in eastern Pennsylvania don't wonder ... 'whatever happened to the Daytrippers?'
Jim, Eric and Jimmy also share their their thoughts and observations.
In closing, this wasn't the first time I found that, as good as the virtual person is, the actual person is even better ... and I will remember the day it serotonin-rained in West Texas.