We arrived home this afternoon to join with others who are enduring the triple digit dry heat. Who knew Maryland in July would be so cool compared to Texas?
We drove down through Oklahoma, having traveled through Virginia and Tennessee and crossed the state of Arkansas. The parts of Oklahoma we saw were lovely – I have never been to this great state.
Now, when we packed up and left in the morning, we skipped the free-breakfast in hopes of something a little more special on this the last day of our vacation. Assuming we’d also find a gas station we decided to keep driving – quickly covering a hundred miles in the wide-open spaces that I am coming to love.
Unlike Ritchie Highway, (in Maryland) gas stations in Oklahoma are few and far between. This dawned on us when we were enjoying the panoramic views that reminded us of all those Westerns we used to watch, and our cell phones were on “extended network.” Checking the dashboard, we noted our cruising range was but fifty-eight miles, and in all that beautiful hilly country, we saw no billboards, for miles!
Checking my handy-dandy new GPS gadget, I located the next gas station – only it isn’t where the technological wonder says it is, as we find ourselves on some desolate back roads. That rabbit trail cost us ten miles. Oh great! I worried: We are on the home-stretch of a 2500+-mile car trip and we run out of gas on the last leg.
But we find a station, fill up, and spot where we will eat; we have that special breakfast in the local Denny’s. It’s as slow as the one in Maryland, and the waitresses are as nice.
Driving through the Cherokee nation, we listen to The Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick. We have learned many “facts” that none of our respective American history classes imparted.
I know less and less about more and more.
It has been, however, time well spent, especially in light of discussions on the place of faith in the public discourse. In many ways the Pilgrims seemed wiser than we do in adjusting to the challenges of living amongst others who do not share the same convictions. In other ways, what were they thinking? And the author has presented the Indians as evenhandedly; they were as wise and foolish – brave and manipulative as the Englishmen.
Given all the squabbles, fights, and disappointments I’ve seen in the church and the country these past thirty or so years our problems are not so different; nor are our needs. We need leaders who have courage, integrity, common sense and imagination – people who will not start off on a car trip assuming there is always a gas station around the bend!