Sunday, September 25, 2005

Travels with Nicholas Part 4

Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2004 12:03:20 -0700 (PDT)
To: Friends & Family
Subject: Travels with Nicholas - Part 4

Howdy friends and family,

As promised (not again you groan) here is an update on my meanderings. Yesterday was spent visiting the birth sites of famous people. I started out with Mark Twain's birthplace in Hannibal, Missouri. Very interesting. Later in the day, I visited the home of Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Missouri. Very moving. I then moved on to the most famous of all, that of Nicholas Bowen born on Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. Very interesting indeed. I pulled up at the guard house at the base and was met by one of the guards. The conversation went something like this.

"Please state your purpose sir!," demanded the guard. "Why I am here to see the birth site of me....Nicholas Bowen", I cheerily replied. "May I see some identification?" again demanded the guard. "You bet sir. Here's my ID," I again cheerily replied. He looked at my ID for a second then said "Sorry you cannot enter the base!" "Why?", I queried. "Could be some sort of forgery." he responded, "a lot of people are claiming to be Nicholas Bowen these days." You mean other people are using fake ID to try to get on the base to see my birthplace besides me?" I asked incredulously. "You'd be surprised" he replied. "You mean I can just waltz up to Mark and Abe's birth sites (us folks born here in the Midwest tend to use first names loosely) and see them without a problem but I can't get in to see my own?" "Well, yes that is about the size of it" he responded, "they are not quite as famous." I could sense he really wanted to reach out and shake my hand in the event I really was the one and only Nicholas Bowen whose birthplace he was protecting, but he showed restraint only a military guard would show. "Now please turn that rig around and get off this base," he commanded, "you are blocking traffic." With that I turned my motorhome around and headed off the base, somewhat dejected that I traveled all that way and couldn't see my birthplace, but at the same time quite elated of my importance over old Mark and Abe. Wow what a day!

Future updates to come,

Your traveling bud,


P.S. In the event that I had you totally fooled...yeah sure..... the aforementioned conversation was conjured up while passing the miles (except for "Now please turn that rig around and get off of this base") for my own amusement....and yours... and I'm sure masks some of the disappointment I felt for not being able to visit my birthplace. But in the aftermath of 9-11 (and tight restrictions on military bases and with M-16 armed guards) the very least I could do was cheerfully comply. I am now on my way to South Dakota and the Black Hills. Hopefully I can get in there!


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