Betty Baumann, the very nice lady who made all those beautiful hand crafted items we sell at Afton Station, died, along with her boyfriend, in a motorcycle accident last night. I'm quite shaken by this, having just heard about it on the news program I was watching during dialysis this morning. She and Jim, her boyfriend, loved to ride their Harley and spent many weekends touring the back roads. This is such a tragedy. Besides being a lovely person, she was an incredibly gifted seamstress and craftswoman. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this at a later time.
Lately, I've missed out on several great Route 66 gatherings, most of which take place on weekends when I don't like to leave Afton Station, even though I have capable, trustworthy, and usually-available help. I believe in the philosophy that an owner/manager should be on site every moment, if possible. There are a few exceptions to this, such as a couple of short trips I'll be taking soon, but for the most part, I won't go anywhere during our "open" hours.
I missed two great events this past week. One was the Blue Tie Affair and the Blue Whale on Route 66 in Catoosa, held to raise funds for restoration of our beloved Whale. It was an evening, al fresco dinner party and from what I've heard it was extraordinarily fun. In that case, I didn't go because I was afraid it would be a long night, and I had to get up the next morning around 4 a.m. for dialysis. (I'm not as young as I used to be!) Then, this past weekend, Pontiac IL held a tribute to Bob Waldmire during the Red Carpet Corridor event, and among other things, attendees were each allowed to paint a bit of a large mural as a tribute to Bob. That, too, sounded like a lot of fun, and it would have been nice to visit with some of my Route 66 friends from around the country. Alas, when I made my choice to commit myself to Afton Station, I knew I'd be limited in my ability to travel. I'm not complaining. Sometimes I'm just wistful.
Yesterday I was interviewed by a writer and researcher from Albuquerque, NM named David Dunaway. David King Dunaway - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia He's doing some oral history research and was interested in me as an example of someone who hasn't had a business on Route 66 for a very long time (although 10 years seems like a long time to me, it's peanuts compared to folks like Angel Delgadillo and others). He's a fantastic interviewer and the hour went very quickly. I took one of his books that I own and he autographed it for me. The interview took place at the McBirney Mansion in Tulsa, a huge mansion left over from Tulsa's "Oil Boom" days, and which is now used as a very elegant hotel/ bed and breakfast. The only problem was lack of air conditioning on a very warm afternoon. All in all, it was a good experience. McBirney Mansion - Tulsa, Oklahoma