Sunday, June 29, 2014

Happiness is . . .

. . .sitting at the computer, fresh-from-the-farm ear of corn in one hand, deciding what to say on my blog about the wonderful visitors we had today without running over at the mouth or using too many superlatives.  I guess I'll just munch on this heavenly ear of corn and plunge right in.

Today there were 34 visitors smart enough to make the pilgrimage to Afton Station.  Some were taking long Route 66 trips and some were just taking in a bit of the Mother Road for the weekend.  They came from Memphis TN, Edgewater WI, Middleburg FL, Columbia MO, Checotah OK, Lakeville MN, Hartford SD, Alexandria VA, Lexington KY, Paris France, Dallas TX, Springfield MO, Sacramento CA, Anaheim CA, and Afton, OK    Quite a varied group from all over the USA, with a couple from France to add to the  international flavor of Route 66.

When Ron M. and I arrived at the Station, a car was just leaving.  We gestured to them to please not leave because it might take us a few minutes to open up all the rooms, but they should come in anyway.  I'm so glad we did that.  It was a great couple I've met before, from Memphis, TN and real veterans of the road.  He kept telling me that he's been waiting to meet me after I wasn't around for the last couple of his visits to the Station.  He also said something like I was the  highlight of his trip, but I think he was just trying to make me blush.  Here they are, practically newlyweds after a two year marriage.
This mother, father and son are visiting Route 66 from just outside of Paris, France.  
This family from Checotah, OK was mesmerized by the pressed penny machine.
Toward the end of the day, these two lovely '55 Thunderbirds pulled in right in front of the Station.  They were two friends, one from Sacramento, CA and the other from Anaheim, CA who are traveling together to the International Tbird Convention coming up in Springfield, MO.  The cars were painted in warm and eye-catching colors -- mint green and coral -- and they looked beautiful in front of the Station.    Coincidentally, a couple from Springfield was also visiting at the same time, and they have a white '55 Tbird!  Copious Thunderbird chat ensued as would be expected.

Betty came by and showed us the neat airbrushing she just had done on her brand new Jeep Latitude.  I like the shield so much that I'm seriously considering getting one on my Subaru.  The airbrush artist did a nice job on Betty's name as well.

 I wish I had photos and write-ups on each and every traveler who visited us today, but there just wasn't time.  Needless to say, they were all interesting people... because aren't ALL Route 66 fans interesting and special?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Back to Work, and Play

When I refer to Afton Station as work, please correct me and remind me that I have more fun there than anywhere else on earth.  Today, after over a month's absence, I was back behind the counter greeting visitors and enjoying every minute of it.  It was a busy day and I'm kind of tired tonight, so I'll try to make this as short as I can, considering that do tend to run on when I'm writing about Route 66 and the Station.

We had a group visit from the women of Markartplace in Catoosa, OK.  I've told you about these talented and crafty  ladies before, and today my friend LaSandra Nickson, who is the member of the cooperative herself, brought 8 of the gals to the Station.   Here they are in a group photo with me.
 Betty arrived and was a big help when needed.  She's very good at crowd control. She also brought a huge strawberry cake, a hot-out-of-the-oven rhubarb pie, and a large bouquet of lovely orange roses for me.  She is just the best baker ever, her goodies always from scratch and delicious.  Robin, Tattoo Man, and of course Ron M. were all there today and we wolfed down those goodies in about two minutes.  We actually had enough cake left to give some to our guests.
There were 20 other visitors today, too.  The guest of honor was Joe Paul, the tech who takes such good care of me at dialysis.  He's visited before, and he stayed all afternoon today.  Like Betty, he's always willing to step in and help with the customers, too.  Other visitors were from Raleigh NC, Miami OK, Guatemala, Carthage MO, Overland Park KS, Wichita Falls TX, Big Rapids MI, Rockford MI, Anderson IN, and Rogers AR.
The gentleman on the right, from Big Rapids, MI happens to know a dear friend of mine who also used to live in Big Rapids.  Quite a coincidence!   He's an old pro at Route 66 travel, and on this particular trip he was accompanied by one son on the first leg and then a second son in the return trip!
 I'm running out of steam, so I'll quit while I'm ahead.  I know I've missed something, but it can wait until tomorrow.  I'll be back in Afton then, ready for more action.

P.S.  I'm getting around with a walker now, and I'd forgotten since the last time I needed to use one, how hard it is to do small everyday things while using it (like hefting it in and out of the car, unlocking my back door, which is one step up from the welcome mat,  carrying things while still needing both  hands to manipulate the walker, tasks I've always just taken for granted.  I'm doing fine, though.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I'm finally going home from rehab tomorrow, and I have a few loose ends to clean up in the way of "orphan" photos I've taken or accumulated in the past couple of weeks.  Be warned.... except for one image, these have nothing to do with Route 66 whatsoever.

Here is the medal that was given to those who finished the Route 66 Blue Whale Ultra on Saturday.  Pretty cute, I think.
I found this on Betty Wheatley's Facebook page.  It's a fantastic old picture of an oil derrick "farm" in Oklahoma.  Oil as far as the eye can see.  There were lots of panoramas just like this in the early part of the 20th century That's a lot of black gold being pumped out of the ground!
I snapped a coupe of photos today to remember my weeks here at The Villages rehab.  Here's my cozy room. . . 
. . .  and here are my two therapists, Jennifer and John, who have been extremely helpful in my recuperation and are, additionally, really nice people whom I'm proud to call my new friends.  
My next post here will be this weekend, after I'm back at Afton Station, and I'm sure I'm going to have a lot to talk about.  See you then!

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Few More Photos. . .

. . . from Saturday on Route 66.

Here are a few more pictures taken on Saturday at the Blue Whale and at the Route 66 Diner at the Hard Rock Casino.
 Blaine added eyelashes to the whale on the Ladie's Room!
 Brad taking a group photo of the runners from Runners World.
The nice neon at the Diner
 Here we are, left to right -- Laurel, LaSandra, Brad, Linda, Blaine, Ron

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Whale of a Morning

This week, I found out about a brand new Route 66 Fun Run sponsored by Runners World Tulsa  that would be held today, starting in downtown Tulsa and running all the way on Route 66 to the Blue Whale in Catoosa, then back to Tulsa (a distance of 32 miles).  All proceeds would go to the Blue Whale for maintenance of grounds, etc.  So, I decided to enter.  Ok, just kidding.   I'm still in rehab and still mostly in a wheelchair.  However, since this is the first year of the run, I thought it would be fun to drive out to the Whale and meet the runners as they arrived.  So, Ron M. picked me up, we got my own car, and off we went at 7:30 a.m.  I had told our friends Brad and LaSandra about the event and they met us there.   Blaine Davis, the Whale Keeper, and his friend Linda were also there to greet the runners as they came in.
                                         Photo by Brad Nickson

It felt so good to be out of rehab, and even though I had to go back later, the feeling of freedom (and driving my own car) was exhilarating.  Although the number of runners was small this first year, they were able to donate a sizable amount to Blue Whale upkeep.
                                         Photo by Brad Nickson

 Here's proof that I was out and about today.  With me are LaSandra and Ron M.

Afterwards, Brad, LaSandra, Linda, Blaine, Ron, and I  decided to try the new Route 66 Diner in the Hard Rock Casino complex.  It was the first decent meal I've had for a month, and it was wonderful.  I don't know about other meals there, but the breakfasts were satisfyingly large and delicious.

It was a great Route 66 outing, and now I'm back at the rehab place impatiently awaiting Thursday, when I'm going home for good.

The Blue Whale is looking for volunteers to work in their gift shop. What a fun job that would be!  If I didn't have my own place, I would love to help out there.  If anyone is interested, let me know and I'll tell the Whale folks.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

One More Week

At this time one week from today, I will be sitting at my usual spot behind the counter at Afton Station and will be cheerfully and gratefully greeting visitors from all over the country and the world.  My therapy has been going well and I'm feeling strong, or at least as strong as I was just before my back quit on me.  I can't wait.  Meanwhile, I'm existing on short text messages from Robin when anything happens there -- either good or bad.  Fortunately, most happenings have been good, but there have been a few minor disasters, too.  For one thing, our phone quit.  It was old anyway, so Ron is heading for Best Buy to replace it.  But until next Saturday we'll be without phone service.  If you need information about the Station, call this cell phone and Robin will be able to help you - 918-314-0156.

Robin reports that she's having a very good day today, lots of visitors buying lots of our merchandise.  Here's a group she describes as International Military Student Officers, apparently from all over the world taking military classes here in Oklahoma and learning the American way of life.  Can't think of a better way to do it than on Route 66!  Tonight they will be attending a Native American pow wow.

I'll try to keep everyone informed of anything interesting that might happen in and around Afton Station.  Meanwhile, enjoy the fact that it's now officially SUMMER!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hot Off the Presses....

The early-arriving Mother Road Rally came through Afton this morning and stopped to visit Afton Station and take their customary group photo in front of the showroom. They are a band of intrepid motorcycle riders who traverse all of Route 66 under the guidance of George Higgins, tour guide extraordinaire.  This year since I couldn't be there to enjoy visiting with them, my "crew" of Marly, Robin, and Tattoo Man were there at 7 a.m. to offer them our early morning hospitality.   Robin just sent along these photos.... hot off the presses, since the group just left a half hour ago to ride on to breakfast at Clanton's.

And, as also customary, Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones (yellow shirt) was there to display his inked tummy to the awestruck crowd.  That's George Higgins, group organizer and leader, standing with him.
Robin said she also took a short film of the riders waving and saying hello to me, but she can't find it on her phone at the moment.  I'll post it later if it reappears.  Meanwhile, I'll just sit here and mourn the fact that I had to miss this visit from one of my favorite groups.  Only 11 days and I'll be back!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Out on the Town

On Sunday, Ron McCoy picked me up and took me for a much-appreciated and much-needed outing, coming just prior to the point at which I was contemplating climbing out the window and making a getaway from this rehab place all by myself.  Again, I must say that I really have few complaints about this very nice facility or the wonderful therapists who are working with me, but the roadies among you will understand my extreme need to get out, get in a car, and GO SOMEWHERE!

So despite the rainy, gloomy day I was more than ready for a short road trip, and of course I wanted most of that drive to be on Route 66.  I had just heard that the Tulsa Goodwill Retail Store had finished a new building on Southwest Blvd. (Route 66) and I had seen a photo of the sign they had put up in front of the building.  I was astounded that Goodwill would be so aware of Route 66's importance to the community that they would erect a sign that honored that history, so I wanted to see it for myself.   Indeed, it's wonderful, even in the rain!  A very cool example of googie signage which even includes a Route 66 shield!
The architecture of the building itself honors the Deco heritage of Tulsa and seems appropriate right across the street from one of our larger oil tank fields, another important part of the history of the city.  Good job, Goodwill!
Some banners appear on poles in the Red Fork neighborhood of West Tulsa so we stopped to snap a pic of one of them.
From there, we drove downtown, specifically to the Brady Arts District, where we just cruised around the  wet, virtually empty Sunday morning streets and marveled at the growth of that area since 2004 when, to much public skepticism, we chose it as the venue for our International Tulsa Route 66 Festival.  We still feel we were pioneers in recognizing that rundown part of town as having a lot of promise for the future.  Now, just 10 years later, Brady has become known for it's art galleries, trendy bars, restaurants, green spaces, and new apartments and condos!

We finished our outing by driving to my house. I hadn't stepped foot in for almost a month.  It was so good to be home, even if only for about an hour.  I "practiced" getting around, since it won't do me much good to go home too soon if I can't negotiate my own house.  I did very well, although I think I need a little more therapy before I'm totally comfortable going home by myself.   I picked up some accumulated mail,  listened to my phone messages, and gathered a few items I needed to take back to rehab, and made sure that all security measures were working well.

It was a wonderful day and just what I needed to put me in a great mood.  Thank you, Ron, for giving me the opportunity to breathe fresh air, feel a few raindrops on my head, and mostly return to a little bit of Route 66.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Robin's Nest

Since I've abandoned Afton Station for a while (not by choice, of course) and put it in the hands of Robin, I'm getting daily communication from her about what's going on there.  Yesterday a large shipment of merchandise arrived, so she was busy putting it out, pricing it, etc.  This is, of course while a steady stream of Route 66 travelers is coming through the door.   She's doing a good job for me, and today she even sent some photos she took.

Here is a honeymoon couple, Guy and Helen Lancaster from Wales, UK.   They have been married for only a month.
They are traveling with this group from the UK -- Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.
There may be a few times that the Station will have to be closed for an hour or two while I'm away and I've instructed Robin to hang a note on the door if she has to leave.  It won't happen often, but I don't want anyone to be disappointed.  Chances are she'll be back shortly.

Meanwhile, Ron M. and I are doing our part to tell folks about the wonders of Route 66.  I have a pile of Oklahoma Route 66 Association Trip Guides in my room which I hand out to anyone who will take one.  I've had nice visits from some Route 66 folks, too -- Marian Clark, LaSandra and Brad Nickson, and our dear Tattoo Man.  Route 66 is alive and breathing even even here at rehab!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Alive and Sort of Kicking

It's amazing how busy one becomes when one is in a place meant for rest and rehab.  It's the story of my life. Physical Therapy in the a.m., Occupational Therapy in the p.m., a constant parade of nurses taking blood pressures and oxygen levels, meals (consisting of some items that occasionally but rarely resemble real food), visit from doctor, visit from cheery lady who wants me to "socialize" with the other patients (no, thanks), and really no rest at all.   My back is feeling much better, meaning that I'm more than ever wanting to get out of here.

With a little nudge, I could go into a full-blown depression.  I won't let it happen. All I really want to do is get up to Afton and resume my wonderful life there, meet my wondrous and varied visitors, and hang with the folks who have been so kind as to take over for me in my absence.  And, I want to drive my car!  Of everything, I think driving is what I miss the most.  I miss the corn fields and the cows.  I miss Route 66, although I'm only a few miles off of it here.  The computer keeps me in touch with what's going on, but that's not enough for me.

The best times I have here at the rehab place are when I have visitors.  I wish I had visitors every hour of every day.  I have several friends who have been faithful visitors, and seeing their faces at my door makes my heart sing.  And then there's Ron M. who, as I've said before, is the best kind of friend in the world.  My gosh, he even did my laundry for me today!  That's above and beyond the call of duty. He brings me food (the edible kind, not the kind they serve here).  He brings my mail.  He takes me on "wheelchair walks" around the halls of this huge place.  I don't know how I'll ever repay him for his constant attentiveness and care.

Tomorrow I am getting a pedicure and "relearning how to take a shower".  'Scuse me?  I've been doing that for over 60 years.  I think I can figure it out for myself.   That's what they mean by Occupational Therapy, or learning how to live well despite a body part going wacko (in my case, my back) and not behaving properly.  Tomorrow I'll fight for my right to take a shower without help, and I will win the fight.

I know this blog isn't the place for ramblings like this, having nothing to do with Route 66 or Afton or anything else, but I felt the need to vent.  I've been off the pain pills for a couple of days now, so it isn't a drug-induced ramble.   Just telling friends how I feel at the moment....

So, if any of you are in the general Tulsa area, consider coming for a visit.   I'll probably be here for at least another week and I'd love to do some entertaining while I'm "rehabilitating".