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Small Comfort

Tourist Cabin, Idle Inn, Meadville, Missouri

I retreated to the cabin, dodging the first big raindrops as the atmosphere broke loose from its moorings. The weather radio called out tornado sightings in nearby towns amid torrents of rain and lighting so frequent as to resemble a flickering neon light.

I speculated as to how little wind it would take to spin this little cabin off its blocks into the Missouri night, like Auntie Em’s Kansas house. Fortunately, the roof of my cabin began to leak, taking my mind off more serious possibilities. Water pooled on the dresser, pattered onto the floor, but by some miracle avoided the bed. I pulled off the dusty bed cover and unrolled my sleeping bag on the musty sheets and went to sleep as the stormed moved off east.

By first light the world was silent and damp. I rolled up my sleeping bag, lit the camp stove on the truck tailgate, and put on the coffee pot. As it perked, I set up my tripod and camera outside the cabin and awaited that instant when the growing light of dawn equaled the light from inside my tiny shelter. I made several exposures in those few moments of grace, poured a cup of strong coffee, and headed south. The café was closed, and Roger was not around.

What became of Roger Windell and the Idle Inn? I haven’t been back since, but a look at the place on Google Earth suggests it is closed and perhaps abandoned. Somebody has built a big new house out behind the trees, and while I imagine the dusty sheets in my cabin got changed the next day, I’d venture that nobody has slept in that cabin, or any of the others, since my stay.


Reader Comments (2)

After a recent funeral for my father, I stopped to take some photos at the Idle Inn. It is closed and looking pretty sad. I was delighted to find your reflections and to see the inside of the lunch room when it was a happier place. If you would like to see the photos please contact me.

August 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDon DeWitt

A Roger Windels died in Meadville in 2003. He was born in 1914. Not sure if this fellow was your Roger. He is buried in Kansas. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=36410168

August 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDon DeWitt

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