Barstow, California: The photo I shot of a gorgeous sunrise this morning, on the Arizona / New Mexico state line, belies the pace of a life on overload. One of the interesting things about this job is the sheer amount of activity that is crammed into a short span of time. It was only four days ago that I was 1,700 miles away from here, at home in Lake Charles, Louisiana, concluding a three-day break from the road.
My respite began with my sister handing over the keys to her kitchen, where I made my signature dish; a lively batch of red beans and rice. The secret ingredient, in case
you were wondering, is music. A combination of Zydeco, Blues, and Dixieland Jazz filled the room while my nieces worked on their two-step dancing and I did a little jig while slicing the bell pepper, onion, and smoked sausage to include in the mixture.
Evidently remembering the little incident a year or two ago, when I badly sliced open a finger while cutting flowers for my grandparents' graves, my oldest niece saw me doing the boogaloo while handling a knife and asked her mom, "And why are we giving him sharp instruments?" Not to worry, though. There were no injuries, and the food was the subject of much critical acclaim as my sister dubbed the recipe, "Grampydoodle's Kickin' Beans," which was miles ahead of my suggestion of "Father Time's Little Farter Starters."
Time spent with people who get along, people who share the same basic values, is always sweet and seems almost always fleeting. The only melancholy moment occurred when, for the first time, I had to click on the "Unfriend" button on a social site. I hated to do it, but there comes a point of reckoning, I suppose. Despite political views that seem practically to the left of Lenin, I felt I owed great deference to the gentleman's distinguished military career. His postings that tarred Tea Party members and those whose views align with our founding documents as racists, including one that alluded to the reptilian sexual slur on Tea Party members, gave me pause, but I knew that would come with the territory when I accepted his "friend request." Besides, I'm given to linking to Ricochet Posts and other comments as well, though I haven't (and won't) stoop to the sort of slurs I was reading. Still, I refrained from commenting on his political posts.
Unhappily, tolerance isn't a two-way street with liberals, and when I posted a screen shot of MSNBC's reference to Governor George Wallace as a Republican, my friend went slightly batty, first commenting that Fox News "doesn't know what history is," (notwithstanding my post wasn't concerning Fox) and then launching a veritable blitzkrieg of posts referencing one half-baked left wing attack after another before writing his own dismay at my "one-sided B.S."
The blood pressure rose. I thought about the situation briefly and concluded two things: First, I frequent that site as means to enjoy the everyday experiences of family and friends, to share my own experiences, and to enjoy the company of people who share the same fundamental outlook on life and events. Not everyone there agrees with me all the time, but we do agree to refrain from turning the place into a battleground, something it was fast becoming with this particular person. Second, it occurs that constitutionalists are currently forced to conduct political triage. America, as the founders intended, as our ancestors knew it, is disintegrating before our eyes. Accordingly, it makes sense to focus our attention on those who can be saved which, unhappily, does not include someone who spent a career defending the nation against the totalitarian impulse only to succumb to its seductive fantasies at an age when he ought to know better. I clicked the "Unfriend" button with regret, but with the resolution that comes with the knowledge that there are, unfortunately, some causes that are not only hopeless, but that will drain one of every ounce of energy, replacing it with only frustration and stress.
Back on the road and aiming for California, the days pass quickly and the events become a blur, though perusing my recent Facebook postings, I see the following entries:
* "The good news is that the guy across the restaurant has a robust sense of humor. The bad news is that his laugh is loud enough to wake the dead. I'm gonna clobber the next person who says anything funny."
* "If you're ever in Huntsville, TX, and happen to stop at [a certain truck stop] on I-45 at exit 118, be sure to stop in and eat at [a certain restaurant]. After all, 300 gazillion flies can't be wrong."
* "Well I'm standing in a truck stop in Winslow, Arizona and there's not very much to see. There's no girl, my Lord, nor a flat bed Ford, but I do think I need to go… never mind…"
* "Waitress: 'No wonder the music is loud. You're sitting right under the speaker.' Me (looking up a the speaker): 'Awww man! I thought my hearing had improved.'"
* "What a lovely Italian restaurant next to the truck stop! Who woulda thunk it? They were playing an operatic howler, singing her little aria off. Now they're playing Sinatra. Soup is on the way. I like this place!"
There's more to trucking than checking out the restaurants, of course. There's the news, which I've labored to catch up on since taking a few days off. Concerning which, a few quick observations:
* My heart is positively aflutter after hearing portions of Jeb Bush's recent speech. If, at some point in the future, I decide to abandon trucking for a career in burglary, I will make a beeline for the former governor's house. Intellectual consistency, of which I'm sure he has truckloads, will require him to apply the same standards to trespassers on his property as he would apply to those who illegally enter the nation at large. I look forward to a lack of security and doors flung open. I will be greeted as a member of the family, the governor having already vouched for everything from my work ethic to my fertility. Indeed, I expect him to praise my general industriousness even as he disparages those with the dumb luck to have been born into his family recognizing that I, unlike the immediate family, have earned it. And then, perhaps after I've been there awhile, I can convince him to level at least as much criticism toward the left as he does to the right. Meanwhile, I look forward to a new lease on life.
* If I hear one more radio commercial featuring Messrs. Rubio and Ryan lauding the ostensible conservative merits of the monolithic immigration bill being shepherded through Washington, I'm going to write an ode to Farmer Brothers coffee (which in my opinion is even worse than dishwater) just to get my equilibrium back. The odious little recording underscores these men's commitment to, "secure the border first." This is a curious claim in light of Rubio's vote against the Grassley Amendment which would have done precisely that. Here's an idea: Secure the infernal border. Period. Let's first repair the gaping hole in the dam, then we can start fussing over what to do with the water-logged homes in the valley.
* A $60 - $100 million trip to Africa for the First Family? Followed, in a few weeks, by another vacation on Martha's Vineyard? Will they fly in separate planes again? This "man of the people," business sure is taxing. Meanwhile, the Marines in Afghanistan are told to make do with one less hot meal per day. The mind in which this makes sense is a dangerous place to live.
* Did you hear the one about that cradle of progress, where liberalism and unionism intersect, where abandoned homes stand in the shadow of abandoned industries, where they have (to use Lady Thatcher's phraseology), "run out of other people's money?" Detroit is officially, "tapped out," according to the city manager, who himself was dispatched to the place at the behest of Washington. Facing unsecured bonds, unfunded pension liabilities and other debts totaling over $11 billion, the city manager has suggested to unions and bond holders that they accept less than 10 cents on every dollar owed. Saying that Detroit's "risk of bankruptcy has increased over the last six months," Moody's downgraded several of city's debt obligations last week and suggested it may take further action. Watch this case study in applied liberalism carefully. It could be our future.
* Lastly, I understand that the Supreme Court has resumed our march toward oblivion with today's ruling regarding the protection of a citizen's vote against the inevitable dilution that comes from voter fraud. Evidently, the Motor Voter Law supersedes Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution, so that all one needs to do is sign a federal form vouching one's citizenship without any further proof. I wonder how many cases of voter fraud the Arizona law stopped before the courts stopped Arizona? In any event, it is now deemed unconstitutional to require as much identification to register to vote as is required to purchase a package of cigarettes. The fight for reason and constitutionalism continues, but I'm getting a sinking feeling.