Speaking of the “triangle of wonder,” there’s an actual song on an actual record about an actual place there: “Tolono,” by Utah Phillips. It’s a melancholy train song, but you can tell (I think) that he really went through there.

“I got off at Tolono, just below Champaign,
A flag stop on the edge of yesterday.
The whistle blew a song,
I whispered so long,
And waved my hand and slowly walked away.

“No round-trip ticket, you’re on the final run
This Cannonball is never coming back.
Tomorrow she’ll just be
another memory
And an echo down a rusty railroad track.”

Of the town itself, it can be reported that the public library owns one book by Al Franken (“Why Not Me?”) and one recording of that book, and not a single volume by Bill O’Reilly. So much for those stereotypes about what’s going on in The Heartland.

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