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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Memories and Life

Notah just sent pictures of Helen and Dorothy! And then I talked with them! He and Kerra and the kids are visiting them this weekend. Some times I miss Rock Springs so much it is a physical ache. It isn’t the same place I knew when I lived there, but the rocks remain and the huge blue sky does, too. The people are older but we have the same memories and the love is just as strong. Time doesn’t take that away.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone so much. The trip will be difficult with my knees and maneuverability but I’m simply trusting the Lord to work it all out. I always enjoyed the trip out to NM with the changing geography and the varied housing and building styles. I’m anxious to see what changes have come about. I was reading an article in Smithsonian about Old Route 66 that was once the artery of movement from the mid-west to the California coast.

I first began traveling to Gallup when only portions of the route had become interstate highway. The small towns had mom and pop diners and little four-or-five room motels and friendly people. We could stop almost anywhere along the road and find a homey atmosphere. I remember that Oklahoma had the friendliest people and how great it was after crossing the long empty stretches between the OK stateline and Amarillo to come in to town on old 66 and pass the beginning motels and groceries and souvenir shops and gas stations. Those scenes are gone for ever and now we look across the distance of the bypass and see only semi-deserted towns.

Now when I look for the favorite stops and places where I once walked my dog in the field behind the motel then walked across the parking lot to a cozy diner that had real steaks from local beef, I can only see those favorite places as boarded up motels and diners. It’s sad.

I remember a little town call San Jon NM, where there was a museum run by a tiny withered lady who had worked on paleontology digs across the south west. The things she had on display were things she personally had unearthed and labeled. The last time I pulled off the interstate the whole town was almost gone. The building where the museum had been was empty, the long murals on the outer walls were faded and peeling. The guy at the only local gas station said the old lady had died and willed her museum contents to the university that she had worked under. What a fantastic experience to be lost except in the memories of those who had visited. My grandchildren will never meet the woman who unearthed all of those amazing things. They will never hear the stories that she told as she gave personal tours. For the gain in convenience and speed we have lost deep and intimate experiences. The trip has been cut by hours, almost by entire days, but so very much has been lost.
(For a quick trip down memory lane.
check out: http://www.theroadwanderer.net/66NMex/sanjon.htm It isn’t as good as the real thing was, but this is as close as we can come.)

But at the end of the trip, the desert is still there. My memories fill the desert and the road in between here and there with lost people and rich experiences. That will never change. Now my son is giving his children a whole new set of experiences and memories, all colored by his own rich background. Life continues different but always full.

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