It was a beautiful dark night in Hanover, IL. The old homes are shrouded in darkness with only the front room lights filtered by curtains or drapes from a bygone era. The streets are lined with old wooden poles with lights atop. The gravel and oil paved roads are so quiet; I could hear the crunch of the pebbles against my shoes as I walked. I looked up to the sky and saw more stars than I ever had while living in the city.
I felt like I could touch them.
As I walked my dog, she pulled in all directions to sniff the scents around her. I figured she had to get her 10,000 sniffs in to be happy. It was so peaceful.
I stopped at a sign that read "Watch for Speed Bump," yet there was no bump. I wondered if this was this a test to see how long someone would stand watching...
Off in the distance, I heard the voices of young people playing. I continued my walk, and I saw a group of young men playing basketball at a lit park. It's been a long time since I've seen young people safely playing at night and not causing any trouble.
A dog walked across the street. I called out to them, asking if it was their dog. A young girl came over and said thank you for letting her know. She retrieved her dog and took it home. She came back by, and she asked me if I was new to town. It seems that this tiny town is so entwined that anyone new to the area is noticed. I answered her that I was, and told her where I was from.
She turned her attention to my dog. She was very gentle in her approach, and my dog felt safe. While she petted the dog, I asked her about the town and what young people did there. It seemed like there wasn't much in Hanover for young adults.
She told me about a skating park a young man raised funds to have built, but then his family moved away, and only a few people use it. She said that many look forward to turning 21 so they can go drink. I felt bad at hearing this. I remembered when I was a teenager, I lived in a town with not much to do. Fortunately, I got involved with the local volunteer fire department and Scouts.
I said goodnight to her and continued my walk. I thought to myself, what can I do to help these kids avoid the path of being lost and having no hope?
The night was quiet again, and the Speed Bump still had not arrived. Maybe tomorrow I will come out again to watch for it.
Hanover IL Pop. 750: In the Beginning
Hanover IL Pop. 750: I Have Entered the Twilight Zone
Hanover IL Pop 750: The Torch of Kindness