Sunday, January 31, 2010

Roads less traveled

“Take a trip, take a TRIP, take a little trip with me” (ALABAMA)
I took my first virtual, international trip before I left home. (Sounds like I was already in the 60s)The reason was that of an assignment at school. The teacher directed us to write about our summer vacation. The report had to be at least five hundred words long. I didn’t know five hundred words!

Where and when I grew up along with our economic status didn’t allow for much of an exotic summer getaway. We built fences, mowed lawns or worked where directed by Dad. As a recent graduation of life to the lofty status of a teenager I generally carried out most of my tasks with out too much protest, I have always be able to postpone the inevitable to a microsecond before the deadline. I informed my Mom of this mentioned assignment on Sunday afternoon before the following Monday morning due date. Mom looked at me, sighed and asked where my assignment was. I shrugged my shoulders, announced that I hadn’t started. I needed her help. My parents always worked really hard at home and at the out of home employment, so the consequent conversation with Mom about the last minute disclosure was not well received. Shoot, I figured death was more acceptable than writing about ‘stuff I did on summer vacation’. And, for a brief moment, I thought ‘death’ was fixin’ to happen. A second or two dragged by, Mom slowly turned to me, smiled and said, use your imagination. She then turned back and walked to her bedroom and closed the door softly.

I didn’t know at the very mature age of thirteen, Mom had raised two brothers, cooked for her family and other field hands for wages, which were working the harvests from Oklahoma to Kansas. Yes, she grew up quickly in the Great Depression era, So much for the good ole days.

Anyway, back to this story. I have always had a good deal of what we called in those days ‘horse sense’. That is something I think that was programmed at the DNA crossroads to run in the foreground of your brain.(it is that inner voice that tells you not to stick your tongue to the frozen flagpole.) Once you start watching television your ‘horse sense’ logic table gets a little blurred. By now, we had had a TV in the household for one year. I was allowed to watch TV two hours a week. However, TV was very educational, consequently I was thirteen, and I knew everything!

I managed create the report, there were fifteen or so written pages, some misspellings, all kinds of grammatical errors, but, I used my imagination. I have no idea the word count. I wrote large. I won’t bore you with all the details. The story was about me being a stowaway on an airplane. Keep in mind, at that time I had never been on board an airplane much less to an airport. Carswell Air Force was as far as I knew the only airport around. They flew the SAC bombers, B-36s out over and around where I lived. The only look inside of an airplane for me came from the show, ‘SKY KING’ (Saturday morning 9A.M. just before the Lone Ranger.) I don’t know how I connected all the dots and logic but I worked on the paper all Sunday evening and thru the night, into early morning where I fell asleep.
Mom woke me at around four A.M. It was time to get up and go to bed, even just for an hour before getting ready for school. I protested and asked her to read my paper. I was excited, but that didn’t last. As Mom turned the pages, she saw the first picture, I saw her jaw tighten. Something was wrong. She asked where I had gotten the pictures. I answered, out of that old encyclopedia set that was beside the couch. She went back to reading. In my story, I had traveled to places in Africa, one of them being Cairo then across the Suez canal, to Israel, exotic areas and sand dunes of Arabia, Australia, back through Hawaii, who had just become a state (I didn’t know it at that time) and back home. I told the story with pictures from the encyclopedia and my imagination gone wild.
When she finished she told me to tell the teacher that she wanted this report back no matter the grade. I didn’t know, maybe she wanted to put all those pictures back into the encyclopedia set.

The next evening just before supper, Mom told Dad about the destroyed encyclopedia set. Death was imminent, again. Up to that point in my young life, it was the quietest meal I had ever experienced.

As it turned out, Mom enjoyed the story. In later years Mom and I would at the mention of a trip, smile. We were both gypsies at heart. Once bitten by the lethal and potentially incurable, wanderlust bug, the only known cure is travel and a compass, maps are optional.

I survived those times in rural America, the 50s and 60s and I still remember how it was before automatic and remote. The only thing I remember that was automatic was the transmission in Dad’s 52 Chevy. That in itself is another story of travel, Moms liberation from the ironing board and how we nearly lost Dad and his false teeth out the car door.

All this verbiage is a precursor to some postings on the following blog.
There are roads all over the country that call to us, well me anyhow. If I could ever win the lottery, I’d share them all with you.

It is 2010 and my imagination is intact along with my undying love of travel and how it could have been if only I had stopped to smell the Roses.
In many of my other blogs you will notice there are a lot of pictures of very mature or old subjects. I’m not necessarily talking about the people. I remember driving into a gas station and hearing the bell sound as my tires drove over the airline that signaled a new customer. There is magic out there. I remember, do you?

Just a note and I’ll get on with the Blog. I wrote all of this once before in a manuscript about life and growing up in rural Denton County. I seem to have misplaced it some where. Maybe for the better, I know that J. Milligan, Curtis Fanning and Monty Jones will probably sleep easier, if the book stays lost. It seemed to disappear about the time I had planned on posting it by episode on the blog. Everyone else in the book is dead or no longer in the area.