Sunday, July 27, 2008 (very early morning)
I woke up feeling perky, got myself showered, and was ready to head for Afton with a little extra time on my hands. Therefore, I decided to watch the slide show on the website of the Route 66 People group, of which I am a member. Beautiful photos stretching across the whole of Route 66… my favorite Route 66 song playing in the background (The Mother Road by Rhody and Welch)… but by the time Slide #100 passed before me, I found myself with tears in my eyes and a pain in my heart that requires explaining. Such a huge sense of loss overwhelmed me, loss of that original unspoiled love I had for Route 66 the first time I rediscovered it in the mid ‘90s. I mourned for the awakening, before my pristine love became polluted by politics, favoritism, and idolatry in the Route 66 community. Don’t get me wrong -- I do love just about every one of the extraordinary individuals I’ve come to know in that community, but it’s the cumulative ethos that has bummed me out this particular morning. There are a couple of ways I can combat this feeling, I think. Perhaps I need to pull back a bit and get a bit less involved in things like eGroups and online communities. Perhaps, for a while, I need to concentrate on nothing but my own little hunk of the Road, the 100 yards that runs in front of Afton Station which brings me the uninitiated folks I am privileged to meet and greet every day. I have no illusions that my beloved Afton Station is anything but extremely low on the totem pole of Route 66 “icons”, and although that used to bother me a bit, I’m beginning to think it might be a blessing in disguise. Did I ever strive for idolatry? Hmm… perhaps more than I’m even willing to admit to myself. But realistically, all I really hope for is that I can be a pleasant, hospitable waypoint for those who are having their first Route 66 experience and are forming ideas in their minds about what the Road is all about, just as I did back in the ‘90s. I know my love for Route 66 was fired up by the hospitality of folks like Bob Waldmire and Lucille Hamons on some of those first trips. Perhaps I need to change my approach to what I DO impart to my visitors, and start thinking more about them and less about myself. That will be my goal for today, and that, I feel certain, will boost my spirits.
P.S. Shortly after I got to the Station this morning, Marly called to tell me that when he brought the Model A back from the car show last night at 9 p.m., all the lights in Afton were out. Betty told me later in the day that a snake got in a transformer and caused a power shortage in both Afton and Grove for 6 full hours! By the time I got there in the morning, everything was back to normal. A snake! Only in Afton! BTW, the Model A won First Prize.