January 19, 2011



Boy, I screwed up this time. But, some of you may get an opportunity to read this. If not now, next week.
As before, I’m writing this on Monday from a motel in Texas. I guess I just keep drawing the short straw. But when you are old, and you get in the traffic around Houston, time just slips away. You know, their construction season never ends. And when I drive all day, I start looking for a room about dark. I guess it’s just me, but I have a heck of a time. My lights get dimmer. Everyone else’s get brighter.
So I turn off at a place with lots of businesses. All eating places. No motels. And a jillion people driving like mad men. All knowing where they are going except me. I follow the lights to the east edge of Conroe. No motels. So I take a left to get turned around. One way street. Not going the way I’m going. I hate that. So, while everyone swears at me in Mexican, or else they were giving me directions, I get turned around and take the next left. Under construction. I end up in a trailer court. Not good. I finally see a motel sign on the other side of the interstate. I make it over here and ask directions to a restaurant.
Since all the roads are under construction, I have to go a mile south, take a right, and there will be a burger place. But, to come back to the motel, I’ll have to go under the interstate, take a left, go to the second stop light, take another left, jump over the interstate, take the next quick left, no the second quick left, go past the construction equipment, take a quick right, and I should be there. But then my Spanish and Indian (like India) leaves a little to be desired.
Oh, I found the burger place alright. Was good.
And for the last hour, I’ve driven around and around, sometimes swearing, sometimes crying. But always lost. I ended up in a cotton field. A couple of times I saw the motel. But it was always on the wrong side of the highway. I finally found this place. If anyone needs a room tonight, I have two. One on each side of the highway. Both paid for in advance. I think I’d rather be chaining the pickup up in the Badlands. But you can get lost there, too.
I remember when I was a kid at Berthold. Rolling hills. The prairie pothole region. Gary was working for us and got lost in a blizzard. Grandpa had taught us to keep the wind on our left cheek, and we would get home. Unless the wind switched. Well, the wind switched, and Gary was lost. He finally found a set of horse tracks, and knew we were out looking for him. He followed those tracks for about twenty minutes and then came across another set joining them. A bit later, another rider joined the first two. He was pretty sure he must be getting close to home with all the traffic. Turned out he was riding in a circle. If grandpa hadn’t found him he’d have worn a hole in the ground!
And that reminds me of a guy I met in Wyoming last winter. Old codger sweeping up at a gas station. Wind was ripping about eighty miles an hour and it was a whiteout. I asked this old boy how long it was supposed to last. “Well, sonny, it’ll blow till it stops, and snow till it runs out!” Wonder how he got old.