Some people dream of getting in their car and seeing the country. Jim Janotti is doing it. In fact, as of today, he is in the middle of a two week journey cross country. About a week from now he will return to his Pottstown, Penn., home, where he serves as a minister at a local Methodist church, is a rural mail carrier, and serves as husband to Joy and father to two daughters.
When both Jim and Joy landed new fulltime jobs this year, they knew they wouldn't be able to vacation together this year, so they decided they'd take separate trips.
Jim's a blogger. His Serotonin Rain offers inspiration, insight, family moments and real-world slices, and he has garnered a particularly good following in these parts. He is friends with the Fire Ant Gazette's Eric Siegmund, Archaeotexture's Jeff McDonald and others. You guys may very well know him, too. During the Lenten season leading up to Easter this spring, Jim wrote a devotional blog every day for 40 days called "Lent for Real People." It was the best devotional I've ever read. MyWestTexas.com was lucky to have had his insights.
I sat down for lunch with Jim and Eric and the others Wednesday at Midland's Italian Village as Jim made his way across the country meeting the bloggers he has come to know only through the computer, until now.
Jim would make a fine Texan. Eric, Jeff and I tried to talk him into relocating to West Texas but he apparently didn't bite. You can take the boy out of Pottstown ... you know the rest ...
When he left, Jim would only say that he was headed west and that he had another week to go before he was due home.
I tried, unsuccessfully as it turned out, to get him to spend a few days in Big Bend, but apparently, he was swayed by another blogger in Kansas City, who told him he really ought to visit (insert mystery location here). My money's on the Grand Canyon, but Jim wouldn't give an inch. He did promise, though, to return with Joy for an extended visit to the national park soon.
Why is this all important? I don't suppose it is really, in the whole big picture. But it goes to prove one thing, especially to those folks who think the Internet has depersonalized our relationships (and they do have a point, don't get me wrong). But when people like Jim come through town and you have lunch and talk like you've been friends your whole life, there is a certain shrinking of the global community occurring. If technology helps us build new friendships and introduces us to good and decent people like Jim Janotti, there's good in this whole technology thing.
When we were done with lunch we loaded Jim up with a box of Susie's South Forty candies, a 2007 Texas calendar, a Kinky Friedman Etiquette book and a homemade CD of Texas songs. I still have a problem envisioning this guy from Pennsylvania tooling down the highway headed who knows where singing "Luckenbach." But if you see anyone who fits that description, you'll know it's Jim.
Check out Serotonin Rain blog in the next few days and find out why Midland was lucky to have him as a visitor last week. And find out where he ended up on his mystery destination.