We have been driving all day. About 400 miles all told. This is probably the longest drive of the trip.
We left Arizona this morning and are staying the night in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. We stopped at the Petrified Forest National Park for a while. It is so amazing to think that all those petrified trees were once upon a time real, wood trees. One thing I learned was that all 50 states have petrified trees. I have not done any research on this yet, but I was surprised and am fascinated.
We stopped for lunch at ArThe Hallelujah Trailby’s in Gallup, NM. I remembered that in 1963, when I was 9, my family stopped in Gallup. We may have even spent a couple days there. What impressed me was that I saw a man with long hair for the first time in my life. That man was Eddie Little Sky, a real Indian (that’s what we called him then). He was amazing to look at. An adult man with his hair tied up in a pony tail! He told us that he was involved in the movie that was being filmed in Gallup, “The Hallelujah Trai”. The actress Lee Remick and Burt Lancaster were in it. We went to the set and watched some of the filming. What a thing to see. I don’t think that the movie was a great success, but we went to see it when it came out.
I saw Eddie Little Sky in other movies and always got a thrill, knowing that I had met him in person!
Somewhere along the way, maybe at the Petrified Forest, we met a couple from New Jersey. They were in their Harley and the man had a huge, bushy, gray beard. Later when we stopped to look at the Painted Desert, the same folks pulled in to the scenic overlook just after we did. We said “hi” to each other and laughed.
As I have said in this blog before, Harleys bring my brother, Dale, back to me. If only for a moment.
It was strange to go through Arizona and not know anyone there. Ever since before we got married, my dad lived in Green Valley and then Tucson, where he died. Nick and I stayed with my dad pretty much every time we were going overseas or were on our way home. The first time with no children. The last time I went with kids was probably in 1991. Carol and I and all five kids went.
I saw my dad several times after that. In Oregon at least once that I can remember, in 1996.
The last time I saw my dad was probably 2000. He was in a nursing home suffering with dementia. The big, towering man I called “Daddy” all my life, had lost so much weight he didn’t look like himself. But amazingly he was able to recite the Norwegian nursery rhyme he always recited when I was little. And he translated it for me.
I have so many ghosts in my life. Too many probably. But I am lucky to have known and loved them in my lifetime.