Art of Roadtrips

Apollonius impressed on me the need to make decisions for myself instead of depending on the hazards of chance, and never for a moment to leave reason out of sight. …”

Marcus Aurelius Meditations Book One, verse viii

South Texas twang music punctuated with a squeeze box prince?

Lord I’m going to ramble until I get back to where I came
White Freightliner won’t you come and haul away my brain

Going out on that highway listen to them big truck whine
White Freightliner won’t you haul away my mind.”

Joe Ely et al, singing Townes van Zandt’s White Freightliner Blues

Just once:
Stuck in the El Paso airport, bumped (by choice), from a crowded flight, I got stuck watching the news, and less news, more “yellow journalism” in my mind. Tabloid-style news, only, on TV. Two American journalists snuck into North Korea, and there was a great hue and cry about releasing those captives of a hostile foreign government, incarcerated.

They snuck in? Like, swam across the river, or in places, it’s easy to wade across the Rio Bravo, right? And once on the other side, treated as criminals?

BBQ in El Paso:
Johnny’s BBQ, Doniphan and, well, close to the Sunland Casino & Racetrack. “Dive” doesn’t convey the ambience. Maybe an old gas station, but not so old as to be historical. Two matronly Mexican-looking women working, a mom and daughter, the daughter with the heavy, pointed eyeliner, a look that’s natural on a lovely Hispanic woman but makes white girls look a high-school, mall-rat “goth.”

There was a third female, someone’s daughter, not sure the two younger ones were sisters, but she was quietly playing an education game and sounding out names in the phone book, while locating a phone number.

“Glad school is out?”

“Uh-huh.”

The BBQ burrito was lean, chopped BBQ brisket wrapped in a large flour tortilla, dressed with (cheap, yellow) mustard, green sauce with a bite, and red BBQ sauce.

“Burrito divorceado,” I suggested.

“Huh?”

Like an egg dish with the same name and an enchilada plate of the same appellation.

Red and Green sauces, together. (Red) BBQ sauce and hot jalapeño (green) sauce. Grace and Ken treated, on the way to the airport.

I had one. It was so good, I watched while the cook made another. Lean, lean chopped beef, fresh out of the smoker. Rich, textured, chopped fresh, not ends and bit and gristle, but the soft, slow-smoked goodness.

Mexican Flag burrito? Red, green and mustard (yellow)? Pickles and onions? It is so good.

I shouldn’t have. But it was so good.

Quaffing nectar at mess with gods, golden dishes, all ambrosial.” Joyce, James. Ulysses. Page 176.

One last thing:
The bucket list? Things to do before I die? Finish reading James Joyce’s Ulysses. One of those excellent novels from the last century, banned at first, and then, well, it’s an acquired taste. I’m working on it.

Eleven Years Gone:
It was, one of those points in time and place, 11 years ago. I looked out the hotel window and saw the tail fins of three DC-3s. Or C-47s. Not sure which. The workhorse airplane, leftover from World War II.

Used to be two or three, when I stayed at that hotel, could see them, the planes, from the third floor. I remember staying on the third floor. Don’t know why I remember that 11 years ago.

Airport Difficulty:
El Paso, it’s a big military destination. I hope that explains what I saw. I watched, as a lady disembarked from a flight, at the far, round end of the terminal. She was trolling a bag and had another one over her shoulder. She went left, walked all the way around the rotunda, and then looked at the sign, “baggage claim, that a-way.”

The bag over her shoulder? A government seal and the letters, “C-I-A.”

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