With an old man’s laughter in our ears and the smell of old hairballs and racism in our noses, we got the hell out of Missouri as fast as we could, crossing into the great state of Illinois and continuing on our quest to see every awesome road-side attraction between Little Rock and Chicago.
Although we were exuberant about the time we spent with Henry, we were afraid we had peaked too early on the road trip—that nothing we encountered up the road would equal the excitement we had felt in the company of the modern-day Michelangelo who created the world’s biggest ball of hair out of nothing except a dream. And hair.
But our fears appeared unfounded, and as we drove north toward the town of Rend Lake, IL, we had no idea that our spirits would soon be crushed upon the rocky shores of misleading tourist descriptions and false hope.
(In all fairness, most people in Rend Lake probably get their spirits crushed on a daily basis)
According to my itinerary, we were approaching the World’s Biggest Golf Ball and Tee, and the excitement in the car was palpable. Imagine our disappointment when we spotted the attraction through the trees west of the highway, only to realize that this “tourist attraction” was merely a poorly painted water tower.
That’s a cheap way to lure in tourists. We were so disappointed, we didn’t even stop to view it.
So it was with trepidation that we approached the next item on our list: The World’s Largest Cross. We drove up interstate 57, eyes peeled, wondering when we would espy, somewhere far on the horizon, the gigantic crucifix bursting through the faraway tree-tops. After being burned by the biggest golf ball and tee, we were afraid that our expectations would be too high for the cross. This fear proved unfounded.
Situated at the convergence of two interstates in Effingham, Illinois, the “Cross at the Crossroads” is almost 200 feet tall and 113 feet wide. Instead of approaching it at a distance, the interstate driver rounds a curve only to suddenly have this stark behemoth of Christianity looming over the car unexpectedly.
It’s so big that it defies description–It’s just a big friggen’ cross. Words can’t adequately convey how disconcerting it is to turn that corner and be confronted with this monster.
Any Jesus that is able to be crucified upon such a monstrosity would need to be some sort of mega-Christ, a Godzilla-sized deity that could destroy the Midwest during a single violent rampage.
Needless to say, we were impressed. It certainly got the taste of Rend Lake’s balls out of our mouths.
(In all fairness, most people in Rend Lake probably have the taste of balls in their mouths all the time. ZING!)