My husband and I just returned this evening from a 2200-mile car trip which we drove over the last five days. The purpose of the trip was to meet our new granddaughter who lives in Indianapolis and is just three weeks old.
Little Hallie Corinne made her appearance on September 15th and is almost exactly two years younger than her older brother, Graham. As you can imagine, we were over the moon to finally get to meet Hallie, and to see both of our grandchildren…as well as their parents!
Since I was going to be in Indiana, the folks at Das Dutchman Essenhaus Gift Shop in Middlebury asked if I would like to have a book signing there while I was visiting from Texas. The Essenhaus Gift Shop is very special to me, because it was the first store to carry my first book, “The Button Box.” Since that day in October of 2014, they have carried and sold many copies of all three of my books. I was delighted to be asked back for a third signing in their wonderful store!
It was a fun morning spent talking with people about my stories and signing books. I was surprised over and over again by family members and friends who came by to say “hello” and to get a copy of my books. One of my surprise visitors was my author friend, Donna Frisinger, who brought by a copy of her new book, “A Transistor Christmas” for me to see. The illustrator is an artist named Vicki Guess!
We usually make the driving trip from Texas to Indiana once or twice a year, and one of the things I most enjoy, is watching for the different landmarks along the way. My very favorite landmark on the trip is the Effingham Cross. The first time I ever saw the Cross, I thought how odd it was that this very large, but simple symbol of Christianity, stood alone in the middle of one of the flyover states.
Called the “Cross at the Crossroads” in Effingham, Illinois, the Cross is located near the intersection of Interstates 57 and 70. It’s estimated that 20 million travelers pass by the Cross every year.
The Cross stands at 198 feet tall and 113 feet wide, and is the largest one in America. (The next largest is the Groom Cross which sits along I-40 in Groom, Texas and is 190 feet tall and 110 feet wide.) The builders of the Cross made sure it was under 200 feet tall because FAA regulations would have required a light on top if it were 200 feet or higher.
The Effingham Cross at the Crossroads was built in 2001 and is made of 180 tons of steel which is covered by a thick layer of cement. It’s visible up to 20 miles away and is illuminated at night. For me, it’s always a familiar, beautiful, and welcome sight. If you’re ever traveling near Effingham, Illinois, I encourage you to take a look for yourself!