Wednesday was excursion day; we kept CJ home from day care and daytripped around western Greater Madison. First stop was the Cave of the Mounds, about a half-hour’s drive southwest in Blue Mounds. Not the grandest cave in creation, but a good one for a little kid — easy walking, no steep drops off the side of the path, no ancient paintings to ruin. I was worried CJ would be scared, but he was quite delighted with the cave; he kept leaning up against the railing and saying “Hi, cave!”
Next we drove north through Mt. Horeb — sadly, there was no time to stop at the extremely promising Mustard Museum, because we had to rush to catch a tour at Frank Lloyd Wright’s workshop at Taliesin. We are huge FLW fans in our house, and we’ve managed to visit both famous out-of-the-way buildings (Fallingwater, the Dana-Thomas house in Springfield, IL) and pretty unfamous out-of-the-way buildings (a bank in Whitefish, MT, the College of Education Building at Wichita State University) but we’d never made it to his central workplace an hour from home. The hour-long Hillside tour, covering the school building where Wright’s students worked under his supervision, is just right if you’re traveling with a toddler; even that was a bit long for CJ, since the short drive from the cave didn’t allow him much of a nap, so he spent most of the second part of the tour outside with me digging in the gravel with a stick.
On the way home, we made an unscheduled stop at The Shoe Box in Black Earth, where I selected from the massive stock a new pair of Chuck Taylors. In 2007 is it ridiculous to have a pair of Chuck Taylors? I don’t know, but it’s been a long time since I had any and they’re still both pleasantly cheap-feeling and pleasantly cheap. Also, the Shoe Box is chock with sports memorabilia, mostly pertaining to the (baseball) St. Louis Cardinals, and there’s a dog and a parakeet walking around. Stores with loose animals and stores with identifiable rooting commitments always make me want to spend money — I suppose because they create the impression that you are doing business with a person — a Cardinals-loving, parakeet-feeding person — rather than an abstract entity.
Supplementary note on Wichita State University: If you happen to be in Wichita, certainly go visit the campus: besides the Frank Lloyd Wright building, there’s a surprisingly good collection of modern sculpture distributed around the grounds, and the original Pizza Hut!