It was just a spur of the moment trip. I really had not planned to go anywhere last Friday, but there I was, driving west and headed to an old familiar place. I’d taken this road many times—back and forth to my dad’s place over the last 30 years. The road felt like an old friend. I knew where each turn was, where the speed traps were, and how far it was to the next bathroom. I knew where you had to stop and fill up with gas because THAT gas station was always the cheapest. And I would stop there again–just because. I knew I could make the trip in less than 4 hours.
You start off heading west on Interstate 20 as if you were going to California—because, if you don’t stop for several days, that’s where you’ll be—or at least El Paso for an overnight stop! In El Paso, you can catch Interstate 10 and then scoot across the edge of New Mexico around Las Cruces and Lordsburg. From there it’s just hours on to Tucson. That’s where your compass might become confused because you come to a crossroads.Crossroads can sometimes be confusing if you don’t have a clear idea of what your final destination is. But I didn’t need a map today…I knew the road and my destination.
From Tucson, you can continue to California by taking a hard northwest on to Phoenix and then set your sites on The Los Angeles area. Of course, don’t get me wrong…that’s more than the 4 hour trip that I’m making to west Texas…but if the music on the CD is right and the gasoline card and credit card have enough available balance, I just might keep on those west-bound roads and be sipping a cool drink on the pier in Santa Monica. Tempting!
But I’ve overshot my daydreaming just a bit. I’ve just arrived near the small town of Cisco TX so this is one place I have to make a decision. Do I make that south turn and go on to my dad’s place—or do I set out on a 5-day trip that takes me all the way to California.
I know deep down he would think the trip west was a good idea. He traveled all of those roads for many years and told great stories of traveling across the US during the depression and WWII years working when they could.
I would love nothing more than to sit with him again and hear all those great stories. But a few years ago, his life, well-lived, came to a close. I’ve gone back only a couple of times since then…and maybe that’s enough…to see if everything is still the same in the town’s rock-road cemetery. What do I expect will change about it? I don’t know, but it feels as if I ought to watch over his place like he always watched over me.
…could do anything—and I mean ANYTHING! A carpenter by trade, that didn’t stop him from fixing my dainty jewelry, helping with homework, building a house for us, or making sure that we had enough to survive.Seems it didn’t take as much in those days to get through—something about our greedy desires have increased since the 50s & 60s. What we didn’t know about, we didn’t need.
A town of about 5,500 located in the geographic heart of Texas, Brady had been a place I had looked forward to visiting every summer when I was a little girl. My mother and dad would go for a visit to my Mama’s & Papa’s house there, and I’d get to stay for a couple of weeks.
That was just great—especially when I was the last of the cousins (and the youngest of a dozen) to still think it was cool to be gone for a couple of weeks in the summertime staying with some old people. My Papa grew vegetables and they had chickens. I didn’t like that at all so I’d just stand at the wire and watch my Mama feed the chickens from the pockets of her always-present apron.
My Papa would pick and dig up vegetables and put them on the big picnic table under the tree to ripen. I could already imagine those juicy tomatoes, that warm yellow watermelon, and those snap peas cooked in a big pot with potatoes!
Yes, my grandparents were old, but I didn’t mind because I was alone with them and my thoughts. They had lessons to teach if I would just listen.
The town hasn’t changed too much from those days. The roads are still made of shale rock and unpaved in most of the town. Many of the old houses still look like they did when we would drive slowly (because everything in that town was/is slow) to the town square.
The square, built around an old county courthouse constructed in 1878, never changed. There were maybe 40 stores around that square. As I drive in today, some are still closed up and some have transitioned from a theater to a hardware store, to a boutique, to a coffee shop, to another empty store in a dying commerce of downtown shops.
My destination is just a little off the square northwest on Highway 87 There, in the constantly blowing wind of west Texas, is the old cemetery. My dad’s place is looking sleek and clean—because nothing can stay long under that incessant wind. I tell him how much I love him, think to myself of how hard he worked, how much he liked Country Music & TV, how much he loved me from the time I could remember to those recent few years ago. Many times he rode his white horse (really a brown Ford pickup truck) to save me from a bad decision I had made or a situation that surprisingly turned bad.
I put some yellow roses in the vase near his name with birth and death dates. Then I blow him a kiss and let the wind clear my eyes. The skies look clear out here because the wind just blows the clouds out of those west Texas skies. I look up and I feel the power of God in that wind and I know my daddy is resting in His arms.
I’ll get another cherry coke and start that ride back. It’s less than 4 hours. When I get to the crossroad again, I’ll turn east back into central Texas. El Paso, Las Cruces, Phoenix and Santa Monica will have to wait for another time.
Driving away from the setting sun with the road humming along and my music set to old country music–the kind my daddy loved. I start to sing along, like my daddy always did. I felt sad but comforted by the trip to my daddy’s place.
In some ways, today I carved out a new journey down this old road. Traveling never looks the same when your purpose changes.
It’s good to know God will help you if you develop a new vision
or if you need to take a new journey
even if it is down an old road.
WHAT ARE YOU READING?
Reading is like traveling in your mind. I’ve always loved books and love to tell the story of going to the Bookmobile in the summertime. I was allowed to check out only one book. Well, I’d be through with that the next day and had nothing to read until the next week when the Bookmobile came and parked at the school. I asked, and received, special permission to check out as many as I wanted! I was the happiest 4th grader in town.
When I would run out of books, I would read anything around the house–my dad’s Outdoor Life, Field & Stream and my mother’s Bible. Any story was better than none!
You might well imagine my house is full of books. I don’t like to get rid of them, so I buy more bookshelves to hold them. I stack them two rows deep, I file them on shelves, I arrange them by color, I turn them any way making them fit to the top of the shelf. Sell them? Oh, no…never! In my “final wishes” I’ve instructed my family to NEVER SELL my books…give them away…that’s OK…BUT NEVER SELL THEM.
From time to time I will share with you here what I’ve been reading.
Will be back here soon to update you on my reading list!
The first time I came across the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach was in the 70s. At the time I was reading other books like Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet and Shirley McLaine’s Out on a Limb. Those types of books were part of the cultural/spiritual evolution and revolution of the 70s.
That period of time was a particular new discovery for me, and I found “Jonathan” to be inspiring this time for me in a whole new way. As I’ve traveled some journeys in those last 12 years, I have revisited “Jonathan” again and again.
If you are one of those people who needs or searches for some solid comparisons of how your life can be experienced by others and how others find answers, it might be worth a first or another read for you.
“We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free. We can learn to fly.”
I have discovered that being free from shackles of inefficiency and ignorance can lead us to perform great tasks—greater than our minds are capable of imagining.
Upon “Jonathan’s” achievement of the ultimate (he thought it was at the time) life in heaven, he realizes he has broken free of his earthly limitations; he learns the art of flying high and soaring (which is not nature for a seagull). His mentor explains to him:
“You will begin to touch heaven, Jon, in the moment you touch perfect [speed]. Perfect speed my son, is being there.”
Nearly two years ago upon my retirement during an occasion where my colleagues were honoring me and my service, I thought about “Jonathan.”
I told the group what has come to be my anthem about those people and opportunities that come into our life and either pass through or stay for a while or maybe a lifetime.
“If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then we’ve destroyed our brotherhood [mankind]. Overcome space and all we have left is HERE; overcome time and all we have left is NOW. In the middle of HERE and NOW don’t you think we might see each other once or twice?”
That is my belief—that we never say goodbye to those in our lives—we simply meet them on another level.
As the reader nears the last pages of Jonathan’s tale, there are comments and references that will remind you of the story of Jesus—how He came to the earth to help His people. “Loving the flock enough to return to it and help it…” His mentor continued, “…[this] is an unlimited idea of freedom, an image of the Great Gull, and your whole body, wingtip to wingtip, is nothing more than the thought of itself.”
I’m not saying this story is a replacement for any religion or philosophy nor does it suggest nor does it address any religion. I don’t think it is meant to do that. I am, however, saying that the thoughts of who we are encompasses what we are here on earth and the idea there is more that awaits believers.
If you want to watch a process unfold before your eyes, pick up the book today and let the author’s thoughts walk—or fly—among your thoughts.
Richard Bach. Jonathan Livingston Seagull – a story. MacMillan Publishers, 1970. ISBN: 0-380-01286-3; Library of Congress Number: 75-119617
After Notes: this link will bring you up to date on Richard Bach and his writings. After a near-death experience, the new publications are a must read to any fan. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/11/richard-bach-jonathan-livingston-seagull-part-four
Wanted to tell you I just finished From Elvis to Elvira-My Life on Stage by Richard Sterban of the Oak Ridge Boys, with Steven Robinson. Autographed & available from ORB website @http://oakridgeboys.com/merch
If you are a fan of the Oak Ridge Boys and their more-than-40 years of entertaining, you will enjoy this behind the scenes look. Moreover, if you are an Elvis fan, find out how Richard Sterban is associated with “The King.”
When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes. Erasmus
What do we do now that the tree looks so empty?
If that’s what your are wondering today, it may be a perfect time to gather the family round the tree, hold hands and say a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s gifts and opportunities of this past year. Every person may have a different thing for which they are thankful. Sometimes though, families may have the same thanks and wishes for the days ahead.
God honors the requests and prayers of those who remember to give Him the praise for what they already received.
It’s not too early to think about your plans for how you will contribute to the your family, your community, your church, your own future when the calendars change in just a few days to 2014.
If your tree looks empty, fill it with faith, hope and love.
And now three things remain; faith, hope & love…and the greatest of these is love. [ I Corinthians 13:13]
Traveling home ~ Leaving home ~ Missing family ~ Finding friends ~
Check your compass ~ you may be going exactly where you are meant to be!
Louisiana Red Dirt Highway – Oak Ridge Boys featuring William Lee Golden (from “It’s Only Natural”)
The role of a mother begins long before you give birth…it is formed in your heart first when you know you want to be a part of the ongoing process of life. Then, at that momentous second you give birth, few are prepared for how huge the job becomes! The little things of nurturing that child, teaching that child, loving that child, then letting that child go when the time comes for freedom.
That, to me, is the test of any mother’s love…can you let them go?
My mother did all those things for me: loved me, cared for me, taught me, and then…she let me go.
I am well into retirement age now, but my mother still seems young to me. She has two beautiful and smart daughters, 3 fantastic grandchildren, and 4 loving great-grandchildren.
Some of her greatest exhibits of strength have come in these later years. She was married over thirty years ago to her friend and lover. Nearly two years ago she lost him tragically. The way she has handled that great loss is exemplary not just to me as her daughter…but to the grandchildren and adult great-grandchildren. We all pulled together to help her, and it seems, in the long run she helped us through the tragedy.
About twenty years ago, she began her technology training when her husband said, “let’s get you a computer.” She didn’t know if she could learn that but today she is a prolific e-mailer, a web surfer and finds more things on the internet than anyone else can!
What can I say to my mother I haven’t said in my 60+ years? Perhaps I’ll give her the greatest compliment possible. I’ve learned to be a mother by watching her. She is my greatest strength and role model.
Mother, God is giving our family a present this year—to share another birthday with you! Happy Birthday!
The future is the past through another gate.
Arnold H. Glasgow