Push us higher, Collinsville Mayor John Miller! Higher!
Look, nobody in St. Louis or the Metro East just wakes up and thinks, "Boy, I'd really like to get pushed on a swing by Collinsville Mayor John Miller," but leave it to the brodaciously wholesome vlogging team of Julien Solomita and Collin Duddy to open our horizons.
Last week, the Los Angeles-based duo's hit YouTube show "Last Minute Trips" dropped the premiere episode of its second season with a trip to Collinsville, a destination determined after Solomita and Duddy threw darts — seriously, darts — at a map.
That highly scientific method resulted in a Twitter poll that pitted Duddy's dart-struck location, Collinsville, against Solomita's, the Texas farming town of Brownfield. Thankfully, the Twitterverse ruled in Collinsville's favor, and so the two vloggers showed up in our neck of the woods the very next day.
And that's how the two met the Illinois city's affable mayor, John Miller, who seemed both pleased with the situation and vaguely befuddled by what two Cali dudes — Solomita with his neon yellow hair and Duddy with his dazed-and-confused Johnny Depp look — were doing in his modest heartland hamlet.
But then they got to the swingset, and it was ... look, just watch this gif:
Have you ever — EVER — been as happy as Duddy in that gif? Just look athis face, the beatific grin of a fully grown man being pushed on a playground swing by the elected executive of Collinsville. It is like a butterfly landing on a puppy's nose, but better. We submit to you, readers, that there are now many people who would like Collinsville mayor's to push them on a swing at his earliest convenience.
The material with Miller contain the episode's strongest moments, not just the heartwarming variety, but incisive ones, too. Miller describes Collinsville's history, musing on the fact that, as a bedroom community, the city's residents have largely commuted to St. Louis for work. The town itself, he notes, has few job prospects. "But we are surviving," he says.
Duddy then asks Miller for his advice on how one goes about changing one's community. Miller responds, dispensing some grandfatherly wisdom, "Just put your nose to the grindstone. And don't give up. And always do the right thing."
In addition to the meeting with Miller, plenty of premium local content is crammed into the episode's 26-minute runtime, including nifty drone footage of the Collinsville "catsup" bottle — the largest in the world — and a stop at the Kruta bakery for a gooey butter cake.
As the episode winds down, the two make time to check out St. Louis, though that visit amounts to a stop at Top Notch Axe Throwing, where Solomita impressively nails several bullseyes. The episode concludes, fittingly, with the dudes cruising on Lime scooters.
Someday, we hope, the Last Minute Trip team returns to St. Louis to give the Gateway City the full Collinsville treatment. Heck, they could go to City Museum with Mayor Lyda Krewson and have her push Duddy down a two-story metal slide — we'd watch that gif for years.
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com
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