Nifty Fifty

States I have visited as of July, 2010 Is there any point in creating a map of the states I’ve visited now that I’ve been to all 50? The whole map would be one color. My “final four” states were Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. In addition, my wife and I routed our trip through parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota because she had never been to those two states. Her total is now 47: all but Alaska, Michigan and Oklahoma. Some places exceeded our expectations and others fell short. We had hoped to do more in Wisconsin and Minnesota but found that more than a few small-town places were closed Sundays and holidays. We were in those states on Sunday July 3 and Monday July 4.

Before we left, one of my wife’s co-workers saw a theme in our destinations that we hadn’t realized. Our trip was about the movies. In the days ahead, I’ll give you the details of our journey and how it related to “Field of Dreams,” “Fargo,” “North by Northwest,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Boys Town.”

Like Lewis & Clark, we used St. Louis as a launching point for our trip. We intended to get there in time for a 5:00 p.m. Saturday evening Mass but some holiday traffic in Nashville and Paducah slowed us down. While on Interstate 64, I used my Amazon Kindle as if it were a smart phone to look up I found a church in Mascoutah, Illinois called Holy Childhood of Jesus, where we were able to enjoy Mass without rushing. As usual when we visit a new parish, the people sitting near us asked my wife if she wanted to join the choir.

toasted ravioli at Farotto's in Rock Hill, Missouri On our return trip, we went to a Saturday evening Mass at Mary Queen of Peace in Webster Groves, Missouri. After Mass, we drove past a restaurant called Farotto’s that looked popular. We decided to try it and were happy with the results. They served some outstanding toasted ravioli, which is one of the signature dishes in St. Louis.

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