Even though I was driving east of Amarillo on Route 66 with my swollen cried out eyes, toward Sante Fe, my mind was filled with black spots called unfinished business. I had just passed the Amarillo Air Force Base approximately thirteen miles east of Amarillo when I realized I could go no further. I found the perfect crossover spot to make a U-ee and headed full speed directly back to the fair city of Amarillo. It wasn't merely an emotional U turn, it was more some sort of centrifugal force pulling me back from my core. A rather frightening feeling I recall as though not of my own doing.
So what did I think I was going to do in Amarillo? I presumed my supernatural pull was regarding Tom Baird and his family, who had closed himself off to any help I offered due to his core issue called Pride. I was in great hopes the force that pulled me back would also show me the way.
I drove around town until I ran into the famous Polk Street, well known for its young men "dragging" their souped up Chevy's and Ford's, back and forth, over and over. The many lights, huge signs, and noise from the mufflers had Duke sitting upright and intent. As it did me also.
It was getting dark and I needed to find a place to stay for the night. I decided against any and all Roadside Parks considering the trouble they had brought into my life since leaving the Boundary Waters of Northern Wisconsin. That would be, trouble with a capital T.
There were at least fifty motels within seeing distance. We were not able to stay at any of the tall fancy ones considering I had no way to hide Duke to get him in an elevator. Not that I would have tried anyway. The ones with the pools looked so darn inviting but then again there was Duke to consider. I supposed I could take a dip while he slept in the room but then again I hated water more than I hated anything on this earth. Long as I could stay in the 3' area I was fine. But going out into a pool alone at night brought all sort of noises inside my head to the point I could have carried a sign around my neck that read: "Out of Control" or "In Need of Service! " That said, I took a sabbatical from any stress whatsoever that night.
I passed the "Sante Fe." At first I thought it was a bank because it was the tallest one in town. As Duke and I got closer the sign on the doors read, "Headquarters of the Western Lines of the Santa Fe RailRoad", fancy and all lit up like a Christmas tree. Then we passed "The Downtowner," and then "The Holiday Inn." I landed at Rice's Motel. It appeared to have one story rentals as well as the high rise section for people who didn't have to sneak their pets in. I parked around the back as was my usual game when dealing with motel stays. I had to hurry because it was warm outside. I left the windows open just enough for Duke but it still concerned me. Room P-22 all the way around to the side section. Perfect unless someone saw me take Duke out to relieve himself and turned me in. So far so good. We were leaning on the side of cool for a change.
I walked to the Rice Motel Restaurant and ordered us up a couple hamburgers, fries, chocolate cake, and a coca cola. For Duke I added an extra bowl of chicken soup in case his burger wasn't quite enough. That is after I dissected the burger and soup with my own personal fork induced surgical removal of all large and small onion pieces. That was fun. But onions are not good for dogs or me.
While we were both woofing down our burgers I was telling Duke about the nice young girl named Pam I met in the restaurant. She took my order and because it was a weeknight and not very busy she visited with me for some time. I was thinking she might get into trouble with her boss but then she told me she was the boss. She asked me where I hailed from and all sort of questions like she was writing an article or something important like that. I didn't share my entire mess with her. Nothing about my fiancé Harper Rutherford, or rotten Roger the thumber I picked up in Illinois, or my jail time with the hookers, or the rich Joseph Justice, or Governor James Connally and his handsome grandson Billy. Nope none of that mess. That would have been very tacky as they say in Texas. No, just the fact I was traveling Route 66 to Los Angeles and the big city lights.
She told me she would be working in the morning to come on back for a good Texas breakfast on her. I thought to myself, why would she pay for me a breakfast only knowing me for a half hour. Humm. O well, a free breakfast is a good thing to look forward to. But at that particular moment in time, Duke and I were happy with our supper.
I had come to a quiet time in the day when it all came rushing back to me. Old prideful loving Tom Baird, daughter Shamika, her little girl, and his ill son Shamanta laying on that awful uncomfortable cot being hand fed and I supposed all other intimate bodily functions had to be handled as well. Those people needed a larger home, a hospital bed, toys for the child, and a job for old Tom. Maybe I was thinking too much of myself. Why did I think these people couldn't make it in this world without me. Why did I think I had to save them. I did and I didn't. Regardless, it also didn't matter either way. The force of something greater had pulled me back. I could have had food, toys, and a bed delivered. I didn't because it seemed there was something greater going on. I always did have a sixth sense about things. And that was one of the times. When it came time to sleep I recall having no idea what the following day would bring, if anything. But sleep didn't come.
So there we were. Laying on a bed at a motel in Amarillo, Texas. Watching the news that in no way pertained to us. I was once again sitting in a Cardboard Box able to easily get out but feeling as though God had nailed the boards down tight for now. I wasn't going anywhere just yet.
I pulled a TV guide out of the bedside table to find something to detour my mind from all the noise it was making. I had missed The Guiding Light, a soap I had watched with my Nana since I was a tot. I missed George Burns and Gracie Allen, they always made me laugh. Rawhide was over. All that was on was Johnny Carson. So Johnny it was until we both fell quietly into the darkness and peace of the night.
all photos from: http://www.amachron.com/amarillo_graffiti2.htm Ronn Wood has allowed me to use his wonderful collection of Amarillo photos. ( a must see website)