Trust Hollywood funnyman Nick Offerman on this one: Campustown just isn't the same without Nature´s Table, the “groovy food spot/hippy jazz joint” across from Krannert.
“For a bunch of broke theater students, it was heaven, especially because every morning they baked fresh baguettes — a half cost a quarter, or 50 cents for a whole, warm with butter," remembers 2017's campus commencement speaker.
"Added to which they housed the most kick-(butt) scene of tea-heads old and young, plucking out Thelonious Monk tunes at any given moment. When they closed up shop in 1991, we all stood across the street staring, adrift and skinny, our forlorn pockets full of quarters.”
The pride of Minooka High School, Offerman took some time getting accustomed to Campustown. Particularly its bus system.
“I had such a rural, smalltown upbringing that, upon arriving in Champaign-Urbana, I was terrified of the mass transit system, specifically the city buses. They were so big-city. After a couple months of blister-ridden, long-distance walking, I finally girded myself and dared to board the bus heading north on Lincoln Ave.
"Here follows my conversation with the driver, as I clumsily slotted coins into the meter by his side:
Me: Hello! So, this bus just keeps going up Lincoln?
Driver: Yup. Have a seat.
Me: So, no turns? You just keep going on Lincoln?
Driver: Where you wanna go?
Driver: OK, sit down. I´ll tell you when we're there.
Me: (sitting) You promise?
Driver: Promise. Take it easy.
Me: Thank you. It´s my first time.
Driver: No (expletive).
"I´m happy to report that I have since fully mastered the city bus, the subway, the elevated train and the occasional funicular, although I still prefer the slow pace of perambulation, so that I can see how the neighbors´ gardens are faring and have a chat with my peers, the squirrels.
"Nonetheless, I will always be grateful to the C-U MTD for making my first time so gentle. It went by a lot faster than I´d expected, but it only hurt for a second.”