Coming in to Pittsburg thirty minutes later, it was tangible, this draw. Yet, the houses along the north route into town were the same, the businesses more or less so, the downtown as honest and open as I remembered. Old square facades, decorative on the Fox Theater building, plain on the Bess Hotel, were tidy and quiet. Even after all this time, still, no one walked the sidewalks.
But the restaurants were full: lines waited at Jim’s, at Harry’s. The large mirrored clock on the back wall of Harry’s tells me I have been here for 18 hours. I’ve eaten with good friends that keep up with my wandering taste buds. We leave little time for sleep between feasts: next stop Chicken Annie’s.
Tomorrow, I speak at the splendid Pittsburg Public Library about Biting Through the Skin: An Indian Kitchen in America’s Heartland. The building was constructed with Carnegie funds and, sometime since I have left the area, they have added on to it seamlessly. I remember the wood of the check-out desk, its dark grain. The periodical section, with newspapers hung on dowels, and its flat tables. It seems curious I do not anticipate changes within. I understand, with a nod to Lori and to Debbie, that of course there is a computer lab there now. But I go fearlessly on without worry. My patient friends are the real glory.
Coming home. Nice.