Sunday, September 20, 2009


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!
Japanese visitors laughing at their friend trying to use the penny smasher.


Beth said...

So true. I find that when I look back now, there are significant things that I can't remember from various times in my life. I'm sure that some of it is selective, but much of it is just...gone. It's worth making an effort to try and hold on to the good things. Hugs, Beth

Ken Riches said...

I am a terrible one for memories, they pass through so fast. I have found with my job that I focus on the necessary, and the little fun details are the ones that do not get remembered.

Susie said...

I really enjoying reading your blog.
We left Aug 1st for a trip from here in northern NY to CA and back and traveled about 300 miles of Route 66. We fell in love with it and are making plans for next summer to travel the whole route........well as best we can.
Hope to stop in for a visit,

Laurel said...

Susie - Please plan to come to Afton Station on your next Route 66 trip!

Trevor Hilton said...


My High School, Lenapah High School in li'l ol' Lenapah, OK, isn't there anymore. It's an empty lot. Makes me feel old.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

Susie said...

Will do our best to stop by.
Do you have any advice on what map to get to follow 66 the easiest?

Laurel said...


It's a pretty universal opinion that the EZ66 Guide by Jerry McClanahan is the best guide to Route 66. It can be purchased at
Check it out.


Susie said...

Thanks Laurel.
Hope to see you in Aug. :)
Susie in northern NY