If any younger people happen to be reading this, I have a word for you. REMEMBER. Yes, remember. I guess driving across the lonely plains on a hazy morning like this one gets a person to thinking. . . and remembering. Or, maybe NOT remembering. I was mulling over my childhood in a rather abstract and probably overly nostalgic way during my drive, and I found myself obsessing over tiny vignettes from my past that I've never really thought about before. Like this one: Did my father, when he came home each night after work and sat down to read the newspaper before we went to dinner, loosen his tie or keep it tight around his neck? I can't remember, there is no one left who can tell me, and then again, does it really matter? This morning it mattered to me, maybe not in a specific sense, but in the greater context of all the little details of life that buzz around us every day and go largely ignored. Some of them hang on as memories forever, but it's the ones that are lost that return as obsessions when one realizes they've faded into nothingness. Remembering is a form of preservation, and I'm all for preservation. So, people, every now and then look around and stuff your mental file cabinet chock full of details, because you'll be searching for them later. I guarantee it.
Speaking of young people, my first visitors today at Afton Station were a dad and his 12-year-old son from Peach Tree City, GA. As the dad and I discussed the sad loss of so many historic buildings all over the country, the boy stood by taking it all in. Will he remember what he heard? Will he dredge up those thoughts some day in the distant future and recognize that his father's losses could be the impetus for his own actions toward preservation? Will he save a building some day?
Here's the boy, poring over the guest book with genuine interest.
My next guest, Mike O'Keefe, was a gift sent to me by Debra Hodkin at the Mother Road Route 66 Museum in Barstow, CA. When he told Debra he was driving East, she asked him to deliver a bundle of their brochures to me. He arrived today, and turned out to be a very nice, interesting guest who stayed all day and even helped me close up the Station when it was time to go home. We had great conversation and found we had many ideas in common.
Michael O'Keefe of Long Beach, CA
While Mike and I chatted, other visitors came and went. Charles, the cookie-maker from Commerce, OK came and brought with him an elderly gentleman, also from Commerce, who wanted to see the cars. Other domestic guests hailed from Muskogee OK, Tulsa OK, Dallas TX, and Galena, KS. Foreign guests included a foursome on motorcycles from Tokyo, Japan and a couple from Brest, France. Another excellent day on Route 66!