The plan was for all 20+ people to ride their bikes about 8 miles to Swig, a hip little bar/restaurant downtown, and then on to The Village Idiot, another bar with live music. As the rain hit only an hour before we were all supposed to meet, all but five people backed out of the biking. Scott and I were two of the five who stayed.
What a fun, refreshing ride through the rainy twilight!
Swig, as promised, had a great beer selection and delicious food. Two things I really love about traveling through the midwest are the excitement people have about beer, and the many creative ways they come up with to cook cheese! Tonight I had the most amazing beer cheese dip with homemade soft pretzels. Yummmm!
I so thoroughly enjoyed myself among these fantastic people. They are the hippest of the hipsters among groups of friends I've come across in my U.S. travels, complete with skull caps, tight jeans, and ripped leather jackets. From first appearance, I loved their collective grungy, artsty, thrift-shoppy style. They have names like Snack, Boombox, and Entree. They are in bands. They are bartenders and warehouse workers. They are married and single and divorced, some with kids, some without.
But more importantly than these demographic details were their over-flowingly kind hearts. Every single person introduced themselves to me personally with a hearty handshake or a hug, a smile, and a welcome. I felt instantly part of their tribe, and proceeded to laugh my ass off with them through the rest of the night.
After both bars and three total bike rides between all places, everyone ended up back at one of their houses. One particularly kindred spirit I met, Travis, had set up a slack line between two trees in the front yard. Nevermind that it was wet, dark, 2am, and that most of us were in some stage of inebriation. There was slack lining to be had. And I gotta say - I did pretty well! I'm hooked now.
|As the night and the inebriation level wore on,|
we started adding obstacles - like people sitting in the
middle of the line that had to be stepped over.
To me, finding genuine community is one of the greatest treasures about traveling. Seeing groups of people live with or near each other and love each other day in and day out, through all the crazy chaos that life brings their way, gives me hope in humanity, and hope that I will find such a community wherever I end up. Thanks, Toledo tribe. Much love.