Keep on Truckin’




It’s been fun to drive our “new” F-150 across the country. We’ve never owned a truck before and find to our surprise that we love it (the years of loading 5 kids into a minivan are finally behind us). The 11 and 1/2 hour drive from Ohio to Kansas was a bit much for us to accomplish in one straight shot, so we bunked in Macon, MO for the night at the Travelier Motel, circa 1952.

You can’t beat the price: $55.00/night! It was very clean and only about a block or two from the police station, so I felt safe . As we entered room number 32, I realized that not much has changed since the place opened over half a century ago, even with the updates. I found the old wooden hangers and lawn-chair strapping suitcase stand quaint, although a bit rusty, and the fresh donuts and coffee in the morning were a nice bonus. There were pictures of the motel from the 50’s on the wall in the office. Don’t you love the cars and the telephone booth?!


We noticed the yard flags in the hotel parking lot in the morning, and realized that we had  stayed at an all-inclusive resort – haha! They certainly DO welcome hunters as we watched our fellow truck driving neighbor, dressed in full camo,  struggle to close his tailgate around a huge set of antlers when we arrived the night before. Hunting season is a BIG DEAL around here.                               

As we left the next morning for the last leg of our journey to Kansas, I was trying to figure out a way to fulfill my resolve to be a blessing to someone while on the road. My opportunity came during our lunch stop. While at Chipotle, a young mom with 2 little boys who spoke very broken English said “hungry”, “single mom” and “other kids at home to feed” – could I help? I gave her some money, thankful for the opportunity to bless.

I expected her to get in line and order some food. Instead, she went out into the parking lot and began asking others for more  and more money. Ugh! I saw a young couple hand her a wad of cash, pray with her and the boys, then come into the store to buy her a meal. I tried to tell the couple that she had been given plenty of cash to buy the food herself, but to no avail. She purchased several burritos, bowls and tortillas which the couple paid for. By now I had a variety of conflicting emotions bubbling inside of me; surprise, aggravation, compassion and indignation. By this time I was curious to see what she would do next.

She waited until the generous couple drove away, then took her boys and the bags of food out the door, walked through a couple of parking lots to a white van that was hiding behind a dumpster, with a big, tough looking man waiting for her in the driver’s seat. She handed out the food and they left.

Admittedly,  I’ve probably watched too many crime shows, but I convinced Rog that we should follow them.  As we pulled out of the parking lot behind the vehicle,  I noticed it had out of state tags, and then my mind began to imagine all sorts of scenarios. Was the poor woman abducted by that mean-looking man and being held hostage? Did the man bully her into begging for food? Is he her husband? Were those boys really her children? Will they use the money I gave them to so something illegal? Are they a modern day Bonnie and Clyde who stole the van and are now on the run from the law?

I decided to call the police; they promised to follow-up, but it has left me with a huge question mark.

This “be-a-blessing” thing is tricky business. Was I a blessing? Did I contribute to a bad situation? My heart was to be a blessing. I believe that is all I can control; anything beyond that is above my pay-grade. I’ll keep trying to be a blessing. What would you have done? What would you do?

By the way, if you read my last blog, you may want to know what Bob asked:

“About how much do you weigh?”  NEVER ask a woman that question, unless you’re about to administer anesthesia!

A Brick Wall and Bob

CONCORDIA, KANSAS “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we ARE in Kansas!”

We were eager to see and to touch the longest hand carved brick mural in the U.S, depicting the rich history of Cloud County Kansas, and we were not disappointed! The mural was carved by two female artists onto 6,400 “green” (unfired; the texture of hard ice cream) bricks each weighing 26 pounds.

Over 90 thousand pounds of clay was used, and now the three dimensional mural measures 140 feet long with five sections 15 feet high and two sections 20 feet high. It’s a beautiful work of art that captures the areas history, from the Pioneer Woman and Man planting seeds and the WWII German POW Camp to the 1935 John Deere “A” Tractor and the Orphan Train Riders (more on that to come). I particularly enjoyed the Sunflowers Abloom surrounding the building’s entrance; if you look closely you can find honeybees, the Kansas state insect, among the flowers! You can learn more about this amazing mural here:

The mural is on the front of the Cloud County Historical Society Museum, so of course we went inside to take a walk into the past. Among a 1902 Holsman and Martha Washington letter we met Bob. He was sitting at a table in the middle of the room in his blue jeans wearing a 5th Infantry Division Vietnam Vet camo cap. His wife of 43 years passed away earlier this year, so he comes to the museum weekly to chat with the ladies to help “pass the time”. He had some stories to tell, but his wartime pen pal saga is the one that touched my heart.

I’m not sure how the letters began, but they were often, uplifting, and full of beautiful, encouraging, loving words. They carried him through those brutal months in Nam.

Bob said, “If there was ever true love, we had it!” He fell for a sweet 4’11” blond haired blue-eyed girl that he had never met! He sent her several pictures of himself over the months, but she never returned the favor. He asked her repeatedly, until she finally, hesitatingly put one in the mail.

While her photo was crossing the ocean, he told us “In my next letter I asked the fateful question, a stupid question, the wrong question, but I was a young kid and what did I know? After that I never got another letter, not a single one, and to this day I have never met that wonderful girl.”

Once Bob was back in Kansas safely, moving on with his life, his dad went out in search of that girl and found her! He wanted to thank her for the difference she had made in his son’s life. He had never seen a soldier who went off to war and became a BETTER person, a happier, healthier man while at battle than he was before he left. That young girl made a remarkable difference in Bob’s life. Can you guess what the question was that Bob regrettably asked over 50 years ago?