Saturday, July 18, 2009

Look Down

Since I began my love affair with driving Oklahoma Route 66 almost 10 years ago, I've been constantly seduced by the big skies, expansive vistas, monumental cloud formations, and spectacular sunrises and sunsets. I've barely taken a moment to look down, to think small instead of big. So today, I cast my gaze downward as I drove to Afton.

What did I see? Litter, of course. . . But also small, delicate yellow flowers growing by the side of the road . . . . . .roadside crosses memorializing those who lost their lives on Route 66 . . .. . . the sadness of roadkill.
There's so much more on Route 66 than the vintage buildings, the romance of nostalgia, the iconic sights, and the wonderful people. There's also a whole tiny, usually-ignored world down at street level. There is birth and death happening. Animals are being slaughtered by passing cars. Wildflowers are flourishing in their remains. Discarded paper is undergoing natural, albeit ugly, recycling. Aluminum cans and plastic bags are not. Birds are feeding on the seeds from the wildflowers. Grasses are trying to reclaim the plains which belong to them.

A few years ago I gave up my fantasy of finding an old Burma Shave sign lying in the tall grass along the side of the road. It was probably then that I stopped looking down. I vow to correct that in the future.
What began as a fairly slow day at Afton Station morphed into a crazy busy one, with some great, interesting guests, 34 in all. Fifteen members of the Valley Antique Car Club from Russellville, AR came for a second year in a row to have a look at the cars. A gentleman selling popcorn machines stopped in (sorry, we already have one!), a family of four from Kingsville Ontario, Canada visited, as well as folks from Bixby, Ponca City, Eufala, and Salina OK. Chanute, KS and Nixa, MO were also represented in our guest book.

A lovely family from Wales in the United Kingdom visited (my first Welsh visitors this year!). The 14-year-old daughter is a vintage car lover! Wow, that doesn't happen very often. The family has purchased an old Packard in St. Louis and is having it shipped back to Wales.

These three ladies are having the time of their lives on a "Girl Trip". Two of them are sisters and the other is their best friend. What fun they were! They said they'd be buying a motorhome so they can do more traveling together.
This gentleman, Bob Brotherton from just down the road in Vinita, has stories (and pictures) of growing up in Afton. He told me he even has photos of the old building across the street that used to be a livery stable. I've been looking for those. He promised to provide them to me so I can copy them. Yes! Great way to end the day!

1 comment:

Trevor Hilton said...

I don't like litter bugs either. As the jingle says, "Don't lay that trash on Oklahoma."

We used live on an acerage north of the Route 66 town of Luther, OK. Early one morning, when it was still dark, I was driving my truck to work. Up ahead of me, on 66, I saw sort of a blackness against the night. I slowed as I approached it, and saw that it was a SKUNK running down the middle of my lane! I straddled it. I missed it, but bet I scared it half to death.