STE. GENEVIEVE LAYOVER
We slept in. Today is the halfway point. We are 60 days into a 120 day pilgrimage. We are tired.
Signs of exhaustion are becoming clear. Mornings are getting slower, nights less productive, and yet, we are still making it, and every moment in between, every moment running, riding, listening, is still being done with great commitment.
We are just ready for the downhill.
We spent some time in the morning typing up conversations and notes, then walked around town, exploring. We stopped in at Stella and Me Cafe for lunch, soup and a sandwich in a tiny house on the main street.
This time we are the ones being interviewed. We did end up learning a bit about Toby himself, recently returning to a running practice and planning to participate in the Chester Popeye picnic 5K that weekend.
Bob Mueller walked in as we were finishing up with Toby. We chatted for a bit at the hotel, Bob quite a local historian and so erupting with stories of the past as we spoke. But Bob was eager to locate the stories out amongst the geography of the community, so he and I jumped in his SUV for a driving tour of Ste. Gen. We not only saw most of the historic vertical log houses, but he also took me out to the newly developed section of town. Here you get a different picture of modern day Ste. Genevieve with a new state of the art community center, water park, Challenger Field (an all-inclusive, universally accessible playground and baseball park), amongst all the other stores and restaurants you expect to see on a major highway.
To close out the day, we gathered with a few folks at the Welcome Center to share stories. These events are becoming less about me performing for a gathered audience, and more about a performance of everyone together, a performance of sharing.
Through this whole journey, I’m learning that every aspect of this project is constantly being redefined due to the needs of a community—what I set out with, as a theory, is oftentimes a decent starting place, but also very wrong. I thank the folks of Ste. Genevieve and all the other communities we have been through for teaching me to listen and change, and in so doing, hopefully be of service to their stories.