Well, since I didn't have much planned here in Sparta for the 4th, I decided I needed a holiday up in Champaign. So, I drove up on Monday morning and chilled (or tried to at least, it was durn hot) with Fred all day. We sat in Aroma Cafe and I did a little reading and some people watching. I really enjoy sitting at a table at the window front to just watch the people striding up and down the sidewalks. Roland came over for dinner and the three of us ate meat. Lots of meat. It was such a fun, zero-pressure day and I also saved some money, too. Here's how. So, I've known that the gas mileage on my near 19 year-old truck has been steadily decreasing over the years (been driving it for 7.5 years). And to combat that with the near $3 gas prices, I decided to drive slow on the interstate. Sounds like a drag, eh? Well, it pretty much was, but decreasing my average interstate speed by 15 mph saved me like 10 bucks on gas. I figured it was worth it. We'll see how long my patience lasts.
Tuesday brought rain. This was the first time I had been in the Midwest for the 4th in about four years. Fred and I went on a run in the morning and then I had a chance to catch up with Casey. He and Brooke live on the floor below Fred (and soon to be, Erica)...how convenient. Wish I lived in that building. We went over to Espresso in Champaign, which was entirely dead. So, we had the place to ourselves and we sprawled out on the couches with some books. I soaked up four chapters of N.T. Wright's Following Jesus. It's a fairly easy read, but so insightful. He gives his views on the themes and motives of each Gospel writer on the person of Jesus...at least those are the chapters I've read so far.
Tuesday was destined to only get better because Amber was rolling through town with her family, which had been in Ohio for the weekend. After a long ordeal of my cell phone batter dying and me going on a hunt for a functional pay phone (What a difference ten years makes), we finally met up for dinner. After her family left, she and I went back to Fred's and then to the Dawg Haus, before going out to watch the fireworks. So, Chris had a great spot picked out to watch the show. And I have to say that Champaign's fireworks display did not disappoint. It was quite impressive! But where we lay happened to be the same place where all the fireworks shrapnel decided to land. And a few pieces decided to land in my eye. So, I missed the last five minutes of the show trying to wash out my eye. No worries. I've still got another one. So, in the future, when watching the fireworks directly underneath where they explode in the sky, take some old chemistry lab goggles. After the dust settled, I drove Amber to Bloomington to hang out with some of her friends who were in town. I topped the holiday off with a picnic with Amber during her lunch break at work.
I'm back home at the ranch in Sparta. Both eyes are functioning once again. All in all, amazing weekend. Very refreshing and energizing getting to spend quality time with friends up in Champaign.