Thursday, October 4, 2012

Edwin Starr -- "25 Miles" (1968)

I, I, I, I, I'm so tired
But I just can't lose my stride

I've done a lot of walking on my post-tornado visits to Joplin, Missouri -- where I grew up and where my parents still live.  (As Louis XV might have put it, "Apr├ęs la tornade, la promenade.")  I certainly don't walk 25 miles like the singer of this song -- who has a very good reason to get to his destination -- but I do enough walking that my dogs are barking pretty damn loud by the time I return to my parents' home.

I've also done a lot of picture-taking with my trusty Blackberry.  In fact, I've done so much picture-taking that my memory card gets filled up and I have to e-mail the old photos to my Gmail account so I have room to take new photos.  (Given the poopy speeds of my wireless provider's network in Joplin, that's a s-l-o-w process.)

I usually am looking up when I'm walking around Joplin, but sometimes it pays to look down.  For example, here's a thriving pumpkin plant that is growing on the edge of Campbell Parkway, which is a relatively busy street.  

I saw plenty of morning glories along Campbell Parkway, too.

Here are some little wild asters I saw growing near that street:

I've previously posted pictures of a very large and severely damaged tree that stands near the intersection of Campbell Parkway and East 20th Street.  When leaves sprouted from it and other crippled trees last summer, the experts said that didn't mean much -- that those trees would likely die over the ensuing winter.  But this tree has put out even more leaves this year, and I have to think it's going to survive if it's lasted this long:

I've also posted a picture of what is known as the Joplin "Spirit Tree," which stands on East 20th Street near the railroad tracks:

Someone who has rebuilt a house on the 2000 block of Texas has painted a dead tree in the front yard to match that house:

They've decorated that tree with painted butterflies, symbolic of the "butterfly people" -- guardian angels -- who reportedly appeared to some Joplin children during the most harrowing moments of the tornado:

Next to another new house in my parents' neighborhood is a tree stump from which a cross has been carved:

I'm not sure what this real estate agent's real first name is.  (Surely it's not more of a tongue-twister than Nguyen, which may be quite common in Vietnam -- in fact, it's the last name of almost 40% of the Vietnamese population -- but is probably a challenge for those on non-Vietnamese descent to pronounce.)

My parents have long done their banking at the Commerce Bank branch at 20th and Connecticut.  The bank should have checked with a local historian before putting up this sign -- Commerce Bank was founded in 1865, but Joplin didn't exist until several years later.  (Lead ore was discovered in 1870, and the influx of miners seeking their fortunes led John Cox to plat a town in 1871.  Joplin was incorporated as a city in 1873.)

Finally, this sign -- which once read "Joplin High School," but lost the J, L, I, and N in the tornado -- still stands in its original location on the northeast corner of the destroyed high school's campus.  Everyone has agreed that it should be preserved somewhere, although I don't think they've agreed on where it should be relocated.

Edwin Starr (his real name was Charles Edwin Hatcher) had a top ten hit in 1968 with "25 Miles," which was released by Motown but sounds more like a Stax-Volt record.  Starr's first single was titled "Agent Double-O Soul," which was obviously inspired by the James Bond craze of that era.  But his biggest hit, which reached #1 in 1970, was "War."  ("War . . . GRUNT . . . what is it good for?  Absolutely nuthin'!")

Here's "25 Miles":

Click below if you'd like to order the song from Amazon:

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