There I was, having my usual breakfast of oatmeal with flax seed, wheat germ, apple sauce, and molasses, and coffee thick enough to float horse shoes chased by a cup of warm water with whole apple cider vinegar, lemon and honey, while reading emails and a note from a friend brought me up short. He actually said that it often seemed as though I had been transported into the modern era from some point in time around 1930
I pondered this a bit as I buttoned up the union suit, pulled on my well worn old boots, hitched up the suspenders, and checked the pocket watch. When was the first time I heard that, or at least something similar?
In some cultures the term born with an old soul is used to describe an affliction such as mine. Ma wasn’t overly philosophical so she just told folks I was born ninety and just never seemed to age.
If I wasn’t born this way then childhood most assuredly would have bent me in that direction just as the winds on the Texas plains give every tree a very distinct slant. At age six I helped dad hand grind valves on an old Chevy six. The bicycle I learned to ride on at age eight under a blazing desert sun in Arizona was probably as old as the abandoned section of Route 66 that I rode on.
Lessons learned – to fix something is usually cheaper than buying a new one and pretty paint won’t make it roll any faster. In the years to come those two lessons were applied to every used car purchase with the exception of one.
Pa had a tough love, over the top way of teaching life lessons. Put simply, as I aged it was cheaper to teach me how to do the grunt work than hire someone.
At some point along the way, the world rolled on and I settled into being comfortable in my own skin, even if that hide was marooned in time. In an odd twist of events that can only be afforded to those who live long enough, the world has gone full circle and has caught up to my slow plodding along the back roads of life.
Route 66, the road I was traveling when most folks were flying down the modern wonder of the interstate highway, now has an international fan club. Station wagons, a vehicle type cherished since I was 18, are now highly prized collectors items. For almost as long as I can remember there has been an affection for ancient trucks sort of like the cowboy of old had for their horses. These too are now deemed treasures worthy of collecting.
What an odd state of affairs. I have been out of style so long that I am almost in style. Now, I wonder how long it will be before the world discovers that progress isn’t measured by gadgets, that just because we have the technology to do something doesn’t mean that we should, that people are more important than stuff, and that a focus on self will always lead to a self with nothing else left to focus on.