Monday, August 04, 2008

Catching up

I love road trips. Even the one that contained a horrible ugly breakup in the middle of the desert was great. They are the chance for spaciousness. Horizons. Unconstrained time. Uncluttering the mind. This one was hard on Heather (because it was a thing-that-had-to-be-done in the middle of a complicated move without her pregnant wife) but great for me. We went through NM, with its unexplainable beauty like something out of another Mind, and into the rolling ancient mountains of the northern South, all trees and red dirt and granite (or is it slate?) rock sheers.

It was a easy trip, roadwise. Except yesterday morning, when we deliberately left early so Heather could spend time with her sister, going back to pt school. We were stopped near the edge of Tennessee, about 200 yds behind a semi tractor on fire. 1 hr 45 mins of alternating prayer, boredom, and bladder needs. Many emergency vehicles came; we saw only one leave. But -- when we finally passed the blackened carcass, it looked like the kind of thing a driver could see coming and escape. At least we hoped so.

About an hour in yesterday, I realized I'd forgotten to send our worship team liturgy for an agape meal. Nothing to be done at that point, which was good: it meant God had to step in and provide for our quite-capable team. How wonderful to leave liturgy (the work of the people!) in such Capable Hands.

Now, headed toward New Orleans, Denver, and home. Blocked ears, open heart. And a few more emails to clear out of my inbox before I get home.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

There's a there here.

1:15ish: A sign of hope in Tennessee

p.m., North Carolina welcome center

Austin doesn't know it, but he's nearly home.

2:40 p.m. Asheville, NC, Heather's sister and brother-in-law's house, Austin meeting Tuck.

2:47 p.m. Sisters & lunch: Home.

Pics of Heather are blurry, 'cause the fatigue was falling away and the contentment flowing on.
Narrative tomorrow. It's time to sleep.

Cookeville, TN

Just off 40 for gas and coffee at 8:22 a.m., an hour and no coffee after setting out. Austin ate both last night and this morning, so he's happy and relaxed. Or, maybe he knows it's the last day on the road, and is just grateful, like his mom.

Over the last few days, I've gone to a double venti nonfat misto.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

MEG in her Natural State (Arkansas)

We stopped for lunch today in North Little Rock, where my wonderful husband's mother, Elaine, lives. 101 degrees, only God knows how much humidity.
Austin (see above right -- he's much handsomer in person) didn't even want to walk around the beautiful big park we stopped in.

Elaine (left, obviously) looked cool, as always, and brought a picnic of goodies. (MEG -- I finished all the cookies tonight!)

That plate was made by her eldest when the kids were young. Yes, I saw the one that my wonderful husband made when he was maybe 4. Caterpillaresque.

Tonight we're walking distance from Opryland and the Grand Ole Opry, but are sleeping rather than walking. Tomorrow, God willing, Asheville.

The chains remain the same

7:14 Oklahoma City

The sun rose late today,just a half hour or so ago. Starbucks, 1.2 miles away next to a hwy entrance,opens at 5:30. It looked closed -- no cars. But Heather's half-caf and my double venti nonfat misto were ready lickety-split, one of the advantages of an empty store. This is the second empty Starbucks I've ever seen, the first being yesterday in Tecumcari, NM.

It's 81 degrees. We have the windows open because it's so cool.

No, I have never said or written "lickety-split" before. All kinds of firsts are happening.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Where do terrorists come from?

We're in Oklahoma City tonight, home of the Redhawks, the Will Rogers Park and Horticultural Gardens, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

It is also the home of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. Its tagline is "On American Soil". The home page and front history page tell the story of the bombing of the Murrah federal Building here in 1995, killing 168 people. It is a nice website, and I imagine the memorial itself is quite special.

A couple of mouse clicks down through the History menu options you will find one sentence on the bombing itself:
On the morning of April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh parked a rental truck with explosives in front of the complex and, at 9:02am, a massive explosion occurred which sheared the entire north side of the building, killing 168 people.
There are 13 more references to McVeigh, most in the first person remembrances, but that's the only "official" mention. There are 30 references to "terrorist" and 62 to "terrorism". The Memorial has become a center for the study of the "impact of violence" the futility of using violence to affect governments, and "the importance of personal responsibility". Fair enough: the mission is broader than the tragedy that inspired it.

That said: one narrative reference to the terrorist, McVeigh, an Anglo-American. One narrative reference to "domestic terrorism". And 22 to this being a terrorist attack "on American soil". That is, if you missed the reference to McVeigh, and the one to "domestic terrorism", you could easily assume that this was a foreign attack on a national landmark. Even though, of the 335 incidents of terrorist acts in the US logged by the FBI between 1980 and 2000, 250 (75%) were committed by American citizens.

As we crossed the border from Texas to Oklahoma, Heather and I commented that we didn't know much about Oklahoma. Heather knew about Oklahoman Indian branches on her family tree. I knew of the Cheyenne and the Cherokee. We both knew the Rodgers and Hammerstein 1943 musical. And we both remembered the Oklahoma City bombing.

To the dead and the survivors, we remember you.
We remember too that violence and terror live not-so-deeply in our fallen souls.
And we remember that all acts of terror are on domestic soil, all are against our people, for we are all "part of the main", and potential immortal citizens in the Kingdom.