Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
When we got the wanderlust out of our systems, we headed back to Afton feeling a little guilty for having dissed anybody who may have come while we were gone. But we were back by just a little after 12 noon so it wasn't too bad, and there was no evidence of anyone having been there.
We sat around for a while, cleaned out the refrigerator, ate our "picnic" lunch, assembled the new easel my daughter gave me for Christmas, and complained about having no visitors. Discouraged, at about 2:40 I suggested we start closing up for the day. I must have said the magic words, because immediately two cars pulled into the parking lot at once! Yippee! Visitors!
One car contained a local mother with her son who was visiting from Norman OK. He was a super car guy, and had lots of comments and questions about the Packards. I love it when that happens. The other car held a family, also from Norman (by coincidence), consisting of mom, dad, and little 3-year-old David, who had been nagging them to take him to "the place where Lightning McQueen drove" in the movie "Cars". Y'know, that movie has brought a lot of visitors to Route 66, and those of us who are preservationists and business people are so thrilled by the interest it's generated. Although little David was camera shy, I managed to get a lovely picture of the back of his head.
The bonus of this whole thing -- second only to being able to greet some travelers after such a long, dry month -- was that the family purchased $40 worth of Route 66 merchandise, so my bottom line wasn't "0" for the month of December, which is where it was heading before today.
OK, here's the proof (for those who tend toward doubtfulness) that we had visitors today. Yep, real, warm-blooded, living, breathing PEOPLE!
ALSO: I wanted to mention that although I wasn't at Afton Station yesterday, Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones was kind enough to open for me and play host to my very dear friend Pat Bremer and his father, who were passing by on their way home to Indy from a Christmas trip to Amarillo. I'm SO sorry I missed them, but I'm glad Pat's dad was able to see the Station and the cars.
Friday, December 26, 2008
But my emphasis here is a bit different. The NPR show got me to thinking about the importance of good old everyday listening skills, not necessarily oral history. I have a friend named Molly (although because we live in different parts of the country, I haven't seen her for some years) who was the very best listener I've ever known. At the start of our friendship, I was a young newlywed and she was about 10 years older, yet we became great friends and remain that way to this day. I remember the first time I met Molly at a party, I was taken by the genuine interest she took in me, a total stranger. She asked so many questions about my life, my past, my feelings, that it took me a several hours to realize there were no ulterior motives in all of her queries. On the contrary, as the years passed, it became obvious that Molly just had a true and unselfish interest in other people. Her gentle nudgings were never intrusive, and yet my inclination was to open up to her. In fact, sometimes I felt inadequate because I wasn't very good at leading the conversation back to her. I always wanted to be as good a listener as she was, but even now, 30 years later, I can't begin to convey my interest in others (although I feel it!) with the genuineness of Molly.
There's no doubt that a person learns so much more by listening than by talking. Everyone has a story to tell, some stories more interesting than others. The important thing to remember is that the person telling the story wouldn't be telling it to you if they didn't care about you [except those folks who just like to hear the sound of their own voices, and you all know which ones they are]. One should be flattered to be the recipient of shared stories, and those stories deserve attention. I'm convinced that by learning as much as we can about one another, particularly those very different from ourselves, we can take giant steps toward peace and understanding in our world.
ADDENDUM: Wouldn't you know it? A friend of mine from Indiana will be passing through Afton tomorrow, and I won't be there! My dialysis appointment was changed from today to Saturday, so there'll be no Afton Station for me until Sunday. I'll report on activity there when I get home on Sunday.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
All I want to do today is to impart my wish to each one of my readers for a most wonderful holiday, whatever you celebrate in this season of so many celebrations. May your celebration be filled with the warmth of memories and the hope of a bright future.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Ok, back to the kitchen.....
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Ron M. and I were astounded when two visitors came through the door of Afton Station today! It's a very cold and gray day, and after a few hours we decided that maybe we ought to just go home, since seeing any travelers seemed hopeless. Then, lo and behold, a couple from Illinois showed up with lots of questions, a healthy interest in everything, and plenty to say themselves. He spent much of his young life on Route 66 with his parents, and was taken aback by how much it had changed from his childhood memories. Many people feel that way, and it's true in part. (In fact, I struggle with accepting those changes, too). But, I think most people are disconcerted by the changes as a result of their altered perspectives and recollections which are very different from those of our youth, not just the actual changes along Route 66. Granted, there are A LOT of changes along the Route, but there are still many, many places and things that live on in original, or close to original, condition. It's always interesting to hear folks' memories from years gone by.
Betty came by and brought us a plate of her home made peanut butter fudge. This has got to stop! Betty is TOO kind, and her cooking is TOO good! We finally closed up and went home around 1:30.
I had a call from a tour company in Minnesota that wishes to bring a busload of tourists to Afton Station on Oct. 19, '09. Although I think it's amusing that they're lining up stops so early, I understand the need to do so, and I applaud their efficiency. And, I'm flattered to be "booked" so early with a big tour company like this one. Onward to 2009!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I started collecting roadside memorabilia before it was even considered memorabilia. I’d pick up the free postcards that were always offered at motel desks, I’d sweet-talk waitresses out of menus from diners, and I’d spend way more than I should have on pennants, plaques, ash trays, and other tacky souvenirs offered for sale at tourist traps. My collections alternately grew and shrunk depending on the housecleaning whims of my mother.
As the years passed and I became all grown up, I retained some of these early acquisitions and also added to them via antique shop and flea market purchases. Then, on a sailing trip to Maine with my husband in the early 1980s, I managed to acquire over 5000 roadside postcards in one bunch, and at a bargain price, too! While sorting this astounding find, I realized that a large number of the cards were from old Route 66, and they brought back such vivid memories of our yearly trips out to the Grand Canyon and California that I separated them out from the others and decided that, from that moment on, Route 66 would be my primary collecting interest. Now, years later, I have about 5000 Route 66 postcards along with an estimated 15,000 roadside postcards from other parts of North America. I specialize in motels, but also love cards that depict diners, tourist traps, wigwams, and Main Street scenes with old cars. On top of all of that, I also have another 5000+ postcards of other specific subjects such as cards showing smoking smokestacks, cards of 1950s Miami Beach motels, Cliff House in San Francisco, South of the Border in S. Carolina, Victorian erotica, cards showing chenille bedspreads, orange Danish modern chairs, and so on.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
1/2 lb. butter1 1/2 c. brown sugar1 1/2 lb. mixed dried fruit (approx. 4 1/2 c.) : raisins, currants, peaches, etc. I also add maraschino cherries, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. cloves, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 c. water, 1/2 c. sherry, more for moistness, 3 beaten eggs, 1 tbsp. orange rind, 2 tbsp. golden syrup, 2 c. self-rising flour, 1 c. plain flour
Mix first 8 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring often. Allow to cool. Add eggs, orange rind and syrup. Fold in flour and mix well.
Place in a 9 inch square pan lined with brown paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. This cake is more moist if kept in an airtight container a week or more before serving.
Monday, December 15, 2008
On the subject of baked goods, I have decided I must be the world's worst cookie baker. I'm actually a very good cook (or so I'm told), and I even taught cooking for a while, but when it comes to cookies, I have some sort of mental block. All I want to do this year is make a respectable assortment of cookies to give to all the nice people at my dialysis unit. But it's becoming a project rife with defeat and discouragement. The Amaretto cookies I made a week ago were 100% tasteless. I followed the recipe precisely, but later I realized that the recipe left out the Amaretto and I failed to notice! No wonder they tasted like a cardboard box. Then last week I made some Chocolate Espresso Balls, similar to chocolate truffles. They taste great, but as soon as I remove them from the fridge they turn into tiny pools of melted chocolate. How am I going to get them to the hospital without dry ice? Forget that! Today I'm making Raspberry Bars, which I've made many times before. I think they might be ok (except for those burned pecans on top). Oops! Tomorrow I plan to make Chocolate Macaroons. There are only three ingredients, but if there's a way to screw them up, I'll find it. I feel like drowning my sorrows in a 5 lb. fruitcake!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I arrived at Afton Station an hour early this morning (fueled by that guilt, perhaps, as well as by the fact that I woke up this morning at 4 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep). I was up so early that I stopped for gas ($1.37 today), went to the grocery store for some stuff I need for tomorrow's cookie project, and also stopped for breakfast at Eggbert's in Claremore. I could barely stay awake while driving, but forced myself to remain alert in order to avoid being blown off Route 66 by the ferocious wind gusts. When I got to Afton, our Packard sign was almost doing 360s, and I only put out the flags for a short time before deciding not to sacrifice them to the wind and bringing them back in again.
My mood was lifted enormously when I had two visitors from Minneapolis within 30 minutes of opening up. Hooray! People ARE traveling! This father and son duo not only showed up, but were a couple of the nicest and most interested guests I've ever had. After much chatting, I sent them off to do both segments of the Sidewalk Highway and other interesting places to the east. And since Ron M. is going to accuse me of lying about having visitors (LOL!), I asked them to pose for this picture.
Here are Ward and Jake, a rare species of Route 66 Winter Traveler.
Later, I had several more visitors. Betty stopped by for a while, and also another one of my "regulars" from Vinita. Then, another local couple stopped in to have a look at the cars.
Betty brought me the most thoughtful Christmas presents -- several pounds of Amish butter and old receipt book from the former Buffalo Ranch Western Store, just down the road. Both are just perfect! The receipt book is already in my display case, but here's a picture. There aren't many places that still use those paper receipts with carbon.
The Western Store was just one part of the old Buffalo Ranch. It sold all sorts of Western clothing, hats, boots, belt buckles, Indian moccasins, and jewelry, according to Betty. In the picture below (from one of my old postcards) you can see the Western Store as well as the Trading Post. To the right, but not visible on this postcard, was Dairy Ranch, Betty's drive-in from which she sold buffalo burgers and awesome limeades, among other things, for 41 years.
It's incredible how a couple of guys from Minneapolis, some butter, and an old receipt book were able to turn my mood around completely. All in all, a very nice day!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
I tried the reflection thing again at dialysis today, but this time with a tiny tripod balanced on my stomach as I lay in my recliner. It worked a lot better.Ok, folks, you will be glad to hear that I'll be in Afton both tomorrow and Sunday, so instead of enduring these little vignettes about my life, you'll be able to read about what you came here to read...... thoughts of a Route 66 business owner. At last!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Another reflection off the window, prior to sunrise.
Ron thinks I should try again on Friday, using his little tripod. I probably will, but since I have nothing else to report today, I thought I'd go ahead and post these.
More info, for anyone who is interested: My dialysis unit is in a hospital and consists of two rooms. The "big room" holds 16 patients and the smaller room holds 7. I'm in the smaller room because I requested a window. The big room has none. There are three sessions each day, beginning at 6, 11, and 5. I'm in the early morning session, Mon., Wed. and Fri. That's a lot of kidney patients, and ours is by far not the only unit in town. I know of at least 7 more in Tulsa. The personnel consists of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and renal technicians. We get doctor visits once every month, or as needed. Most people sleep during dialysis, but I don't sleep a wink. I just get impatient, to the point of wanting to jump out of the chair. But, I behave for obvious reasons. In reality, a dialysis machine is a technical miracle, and I have a great deal of respect for it as well as for those who work so tirelessly in the units.
Sunset from my front porch tonight.... about 5 minutes ago.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The weather outside is frightful, but inside it's delightful..... That song is pretty perfect for today. There's no snow (yet), but it's cold, windy, and drizzly... unfit for man or beast. I just got home from a day of running errands, followed by a meeting at a friend's house on the far other side of town, so being indoors -- and knowing I don't have to go out again tonight -- is indeed delightful! And yes, I'm very glad I didn't drive up to Afton today. I've managed to get most of my Christmas shopping done, so now all I have to do is wait for the stuff I ordered online to arrive, wrap it all, and pack up some of it for mailing. I've decided not to go to Chicago for Christmas this year because it didn't work out well with either my daughter's schedule or mine, so instead we'll be taking a long weekend together in January, when we're both more free to spend some quality time. Now I'm thinking of having a Christmas party here at home, so I have to get in gear mentally for that. Since I'm divorced, with only one living relative (my daughter), it could be possible for me to be very depressed at Christmas time, but thanks to good friends, that hasn't happened yet. The Christmases of my childhood, as well as those of my married years and motherhood years, were always so warm and festive and special. I'm determined to keep that going, and so far I'm doing ok.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
I took this pic this morning. This is Tripper's cousin who works at a local Harley-Davidson dealership.
After the parade, we wended our way back to Tulsa's Chandler Park, a huge city park which puts on a drive-thru light show each Christmas. It was on this leg of the trip that we decided to call Brad in Texas and tell him what we were seeing, since he was unable to be with us. This turned out to be such a great idea that Brad set up a conference call, and by the time we arrived at the park we had three of the cars in the caravan voice-connected such that we could exchange commentary with one another while describing every little detail of the light show to Brad in Texas. The bluetooth in my car allowed everyone in the car to share in the conversation, which became hilarious to the point that at times I was laughing/crying almost too much to keep the car on the road! Fun! The light show consisted of mainly inflatables.... hundreds of them.... and lights wrapped around the bottom 5 feet of just about every tree trunk in the park, but the view from the top of the hill, overlooking all the lights of Tulsa, was quite spectacular.
After that, I just dropped my passengers off at their homes, then came home myself and crashed.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Did I mention that it's a dangerous place? Killer hamsters, perhaps? LOL!
Just down the road is the Booster Feed Mill, the last old style feed mill in the city of Tulsa....
... and possibly the only rhino on Route 66, too. I believe this guy is left over from a long-closed miniature golf course.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Today, David called around 1 p.m. He's been at Afton Station working on cars all day, and so far hasn't had any visitors. I'm not a bit surprised. But, since he told me he'll be working at Afton Station more often this winter than last, I have hopes that any passers-by who want to see the place might be lucky enough to have someone there to let them in. I'll be there Saturdays and Sundays, of course (except this Sat., when I'll only be there for a half day, since I have something to do in Tulsa in the afternoon).