Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bartley Midwest Tour 2008 - Part 2

Megan and I are back from the Bartley Family Midwest Tour 2008. We rocked several cities including Plain City, Ohio; Louisville, Kentucky; and, lastly... Union, Missouri.


Union, Missouri, is my real home. My mom was born there. My grandpa still lives there. I have 16 aunts & uncles who still live there (and 2 in Minneapolis for those keeping score at home). Here is a picture of my grandpa's children (minus Joyce in Minneapolis and Kathie who died in the early 1970s):

Grandpa Brueggemann is in the wheel chair. He is not doing well these days, but he is doing better than you would be doing if you were 86. He is much sharper than I thought he would be. I was worried because my mom was telling me stories about how sometimes he slips into his own world and you can not understand him. When I hung out with him, he only had one episode. We were sitting in a hall. He leaned over to me and said, "how much do you think they want for that tractor?" He was pointing at a wall. There was no tractor anywhere to be seen. He definitely saw a tractor. He kept talking about it... asking me if I needed a tractor down in Texas. I told him, no... I got a Smart Car... but thank you.

It got me thinking about the perception of reality. If my grandpa saw a tractor, doesn't it mean that a tractor existed for him? Maybe some things exist in my head that do not exist for other people... love, humor, my invisible friend Harvey.

I can never live in Union, Missouri, because I have idealized it too much in my head. I have a huge family there. I go back... we eat, we drink, we shoot things, we laugh our ass off. I have never had a bad time in Union, Missouri. Because I have such a great time there, I can not live there. When I am in Union, there are no bills to pay, no work, no worries... just a bunch of funny people and a lot of fun.

I hung out with my cousin Eric Straatmann on Sunday. My cousins Eric & Greg are probably my oldest male friends. I do not remember a point in life when they were not there for me. When I hang out with Eric, I get to shoot guns. Before I drove out to see him, I stocked up on supplies... it was the ultimate American shopping experience: clay birds, shot gun shells and Bud Light. Here is a picture of my shopping cart at the Wal-Mart in Union, Missouri:

Yes, I shopped at a Wal-Mart in Union, Missouri... forgive me, judgmental ones. Is it only in America that you can buy fire-arms and alcohol in the same store? "America, fuck yeah, here we come to save the mother-fucking day."

While in Union, I went to my cousin Jeff's wedding. He married Jackie. Here is a picture of the love birds:

I also spent time with my cousin Clare. For those not in Missouri, Clare is my cousin who is the firefighter/photographer/drinking buddy. Here is a picture of Clare with her son Adam:

Megan got to hang out with her friend Ellen. Ellen lives in St. Louis. Ellen is from St. Louis, but Megan met her while in graduate school in Louisville. Here is a shadowy picture of the 3 of us:

That wraps-up the Bartley Midwest Tour 2008. The tour T-shirts have sold-out, the roadies have packed-up the gear, the groupies are all on their way home and the stadium wreaks of urine & beer. It was a great tour... but I love Austin, I missed PugPuggy and I missed my friends. It is good to be home.

I saw this quote in my mom's kitchen in Kentucky. I thought it was funny and appropriate for my blog entry:

Well said, George Burns, well said.


Anonymous said...

Ben- Haleigh says this is a great quote - I loved reading about the tour - Fuck Yeah America!

Ben said...

Thanks Haleigh. I loved the kayaking pictures. It looked beautiful.

Jennifer said...

Although I won't shop at Wal-Mart, the picture of the ammo and beer together made me happy. If you can't fight our mid-west stereotypes- join 'em!