The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 17, 2019 — Hometown Edition | 8/17/2019 | Chaplain Mike
vpp1219 (Posted by) Level 3

The closest I have to a “hometown” is Dixon, Illinois, on the Rock River in north central Illinois. It’s really my dad’s hometown, but I spent enough time there as a child, and lived there for a few years too, that it’s where most of my small town Midwest roots were nourished.

Dixon was where I learned to love the Cubs, sitting with my grandpa and watching games together. Dixon is where I sang my first church solo, showed promise for the first time on the baseball field, bought my first record (Best of the Kingston Trio), climbed the cliffs of the old quarry on the way to school, fished above the dam for bullheads and catfish in the Rock River, and spent all my money at our little neighborhood store buying baseball cards.

Dixon - Arch - Bridges - Rock - River

Dixon is famous for its arch, its two bridges crossing the Rock River, and its designation as “The Petunia City.” When Dutch Elm disease wiped out the trees gracing its streets and yards in the late 1950s, a group of concerned citizens began planting petunias all around town and tending them each year. Now there is an annual festival and the city is abloom with color. Dixon is also known as “The Catfish Capital of Illinois.” And Dixon has one of the most beautiful high school buildings you’ll ever see.

My grandparents, my little brother, and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends are buried in Dixon. All of our family ties with the town are now historical.

Dixon - Childhood - Home - Ronald - Reagan

Dixon was the childhood home of Ronald Reagan, and you can visit that very house today. Charles R. Walgreen Sr., who founded the drugstore chain, was from Dixon by way of Galesburg, another Illinois town where I lived during my childhood. A couple of pro basketball players and a major league umpire hailed...
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