A Trip for Him

           She drove away from Midland with nothing much on her mind. She sang songs from Pandora since stations this far out were scarce. She had chosen to create an Eagles station on Pandora and song after song reminded her of the purpose for this trip. When “Take It Easy” came on she laughed and thought of him.
                When she told her friends she was driving to Arizona during Spring Break, alone, they thought she was crazy. They couldn’t understand why she didn’t want to go to Fort Lauderdale with all of them. They worried she might be overworked since she was taking 15 class hours and was working at Starbucks at least 20 hours a week. One friend even suggested that she might be running off to meet someone from the online dating sight she had mentioned. At any rate, they had no luck talking her out of the trip.
                She finally stopped for gas in Amarillo to insure she would have enough to get to the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest without worry. Now her mind wondered and she soon found herself thinking of him again. Although he had always been a part of her life, she felt like she had only really gotten to know him recently. Spending this past year in his house was a blessing and a challenge. Day by day, she learned not only about who he was presently, but also about his past. What she thought she knew seemed real before, but the more she learned of him, the less she really knew. He loved his music and soon, though endless hours of listening to it, she came to love it, too.
                As she thought of him, she found herself recognizing songs she was hearing because of the stories he would tell her about each of them; stories of his times in Vietnam, stories of his youth, and stories of love. Whenever “Dust in the Wind” would play, it hearkened him back to his coming home one evening to find his love had passed away. That song was the one playing while he waited on the porch for the ambulance to arrive. Every time she hears it now, it makes her sad for him. She couldn’t imagine what it would be like to come home one day and find your loved one gone. Songs like that and many more had brought them together over the dining room table. Once he told the story of how he had met his love. It was her favorite story and the song that accompanied it was the reason for this pilgrimage.
                The Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest just flew by the window and as much as she thought she would want to stop and take pictures, she instead felt it necessary to press on. Time was going quickly and happily the weather was holding. The clouds looked threatening but, so far, there was no rain. That only lasted another hour or so, for when she entered Winslow, the sky opened up and that was her cue to find the hotel. She had already made her reservations. She had found it online and thought the idea of staying in a converted railcar sounded fun and again it reminded her of him. He often told of his train trips as a child to see his grandmother in Tennessee.  He would laugh each time he heard the song “Walking in Memphis” because his grandmother never let them walk anywhere in her hometown. She insisted they drive. Even if they were just going a couple of blocks to the grocery story, they had to drive.
                She slept peacefully through the night and after a filling breakfast, she headed to her destination. She drove slowly through town. When she got to the center of town, she took in the sights of the small, unobtrusive square. For being such a renowned place, it really was quiet and quaint. There really wasn’t much to see, but that really didn’t matter to her because she, like everyone else who visited here, was only looking for one corner.
                Taking a spin around the square she noted the small hardware store, a coffee shop, a feed store and, of course, a bank. She parked on the far side of the square, pulled out her gear and slowly walked to the corner. The statue was right where he said it was. Using the water bottle she brought, she cleaned the statue a little and began walking around it. Looking at it from all sides, she noted the way the sun glinted off its dark cast and determined the direction from which she wanted to work. She then thought about the angle at which she wanted to capture the image. Finally, she was ready. She set up the tripod and adjusted the angle of the shot. Then, correcting the aperture, she took 2 or 3 photos, but that was not enough. She changed locations many times taking 5 or 6 pictures at each one and within less than 5 minutes, she had taken more than 60 pictures. About two angles into her task, she realized she was humming the song and it brought a smile to her face.
                Dad had met mom here 42 years ago. He had been in the hardware store when he saw her sitting on the bed of her father’s truck. Instantly, the song came to his mind and he approached her.  He wasn’t sure how she would respond if he just asked if she was the girl from the song, but what could it hurt.  It seemed like a silly thing to do to him back then, but it worked beautifully and now, their daughter was here collecting memories for him.
                When she had finished, she packed up her tripod and began back to the truck. On the way she decided to stop in the coffee shop. She ordered a latte, which she was not only surprised they had, but was also pleasantly surprised at how good it was. While sitting there, she texted her sister to let her know all was well and to check on dad. He was fine but was worried about her and her mysterious trip. She sent hugs, kisses and love then headed for the door.
                When she got to the truck, there was a gentleman standing near the hood. She started to open her door when he asked, “Are you from here?” “No,” she answered. “That’s interesting,” he observed, “I thought you were part of the hype.” At first she was offended and she looked at him incredulously. “I’m sorry. That was rude. Let me explain,” he quickly added. “I came here to see the statue, but when I saw you, I thought you were the girl in the flatbed Ford.”
                She had not even thought about that. It never even occurred to her that she was driving a flatbed, or the fact that she herself had been standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. She chuckled and thought, “Maybe this is what dad meant when he said that meeting mom was like a line from a song!”  With a bit of curiosity she looked up to meet his eyes and smiled.

1 comment:

  1. Great Story. Pondering the possible outcomes.