Last week I took a week off and drove south. My ultimate goal was the OU-Texas game in Dallas, but I took extra time going and coming to see friends and family in Oklahoma and Texas. Throughout the trip I covered terrain familiar from a lifetime of experiences, and driving alone through this territory, I had plenty of time to think, and my mind often roamed through old memories. I was sentimental, even maudlin at times. Do these familiar locations and landscapes have that affect generally?
I left on a Tuesday morning which was a little warmer than the days before. I drove west along I-80 and south from York, NE on US 81. Despite more than three years, this severe landscape still feels mostly alien and foreboding. The only real memory tied to this route is when we rolled our car in January 2011 and had our frightening encounter with the local sheriff.
Driving south across Kansas isn't much better. This has always been a most boring drive, though I did recall youth group ski trips on their way to Colorado, or the time Tom McDonald and I went to Manhattan for our first K-O Conference Annual Meeting.
Once I get south of Wichita, it is much better. There are more trees, for one thing. I remember road trips to Kansas City with Marty, Ben, and Chuck and calling out the numbers of the bridges. Check.
In Blackwell I stopped for Braums. This is a ritual.
Passing Tonkawa I texted Michael. It was at the Love's store that we recovered, after two days, the diamond he had lost from his wedding ring. That's a great story, if you've never heard it.
The red dirt rolls on, as I moved south. Red dirt is still somewhat strange to me, as I grew up in Eastern Oklahoma, where it is brown. Central and Western Oklahoma, despite my many years there, is still not "home" territory.
Past the turnoff to Stillwater, and all those trips to and from Michael's apartment come to mind.
Guthrie. Edmond. Oklahoma City.
I spent the evening with Rob and Dub. We stayed in for dinner and conversation. Rob shared a great new Oklahoma beer. I left the next morning before the liquors stores opened, and I could get some to bring back.