It was overcast and while not exactly cold, it wasn't exactly warm my entire time in Illinois. Like much of the country, there is a great deal of concern about where the country is going economically. The housing market is in the tank, and even farms are being effected badly. If you don't know, many farmers run their businesses off big seed loans (literally) from banks. The bank loans the farmer enough money to plant a crop, and the farmer harvests the crop and pays the bank back with interest. Since the banking crisis, the money is in short supply, and banks are worried that the Federal Government (which has been in the business of subsidizing crop insurance to farmers since the Great Depression) will not be in that business much longer.
The people I spoke to in various places, however, seemed to be optomistic. "We've been through this before and survived. We'll do it again," was the response from the old woman at the airport curb when I asked her how things were in Illinois. She took a long drag on her cigarette and added with a phlegmy laugh: "they've been telling me that cigarettes were going to kill me for a long time now, and that hasn't happened yet either."