OT Back from the road

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Just returned from a week-long excusion of 3200 miles. Up through the middle of Texas, into the Panhandle, dashed across the sliver of Oklahoma into Kansas, and back again.

Here are some snapshots I gathered for you all.


The sorgum is head-heavy

In the turnrows,

And dances to the wind

With blackbirds,

One to a stalk.


My friend said to watch for 160 to turn west at the mountain. Mountain?, I said, in Kansas? Yeah, it's a big feed lot, and they have their own mountain - a mountain of cow shit. You can see it for ten miles and if the wind is right, smell it for twenty. The wind was right, and so was my friend.


The dust clung to pant cuffs with the friendliness of farm-wives, who still wave as they pass you on the way to town.


Kit, beside me, his seat back, sleeping off a Benadryl fix for his itchy nose. His shaggy mop of hair, soft and shining from motel-shampoo, his face so peaceful and beautiful it breaks my heart all over again.


Two men, late, in a grain elevator, playing "catch-up" by the glare of floodlights; the soft brown dust running in rivulets down grinning faces.


I see these great and beautiful farms. These fields heavy with late harvest or verdent with new season crops.

Nothing could ever disrupt this. Yet, there. And again, there. In fencerows and bar-ditches, careless weeds, the gramma and fescue stand envious of their lost realm.

Oh, yes, they will inherit these manicured fields again. Long after the fallen gods men have maniufactured. Long after the earth has shrugged off this tempory blight which was the glory of mankind.


The little "Norther" chased me out of Kansas on Friday night. Tumbling down the Rockies, and biting at my ankles like a spinster's lap-dog, it herded me to Witchita Falls, before I shook free, only to be caught again in the dark.


It's good to be back to the bayou again. But I have to marvel at the exprerience of travel through cities and towns, large and tiny. Nowhere did I see obvious signe of Y2K preparation. Not one person I spoke to, seemed even aware of the potential. Instead, I saw new businesses, new buildings; car lots full of shining chrome, theme resturants overflowing with lunch crowds. The only time I saw the term Y2K was on bank yard banners, confidently telling the world that they could safe-guard the American dream.

Can it be that we few have so much clearer vision than all these? They are investing in high-rises and gas stations; we are burying gold. Can we truly be smarter somehow? They are buying new cars, keeping up with fashion, getting ready for Halloween and Christmas; we are stockpiling Spam. Are we really the "insiders" here? Do we honestly know something others fail (or refuse) to see? Or, are we all just Flint's Fools, mesmerizing ourselves with repetition of the Doomers catechism?

I've never been smarter than anyone in my life. I've never been an insider to a profitable "deal". I've never been ready for anything in advance. So why don't I feel better?

-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), October 19, 1999


Good writing! I felt exactly the same after my driving through states: WA, OR, CA, UT, WY, CO, ID, and NV this summer.

-- Count Vronsky (vronsky@anna.lit), October 19, 1999.

Good to see you back, Lon. And, thanks for sharing some of your Road Trip. I suspect if we're lucky enough that Y2K is a BITR, the rising cost of post-Y2K fuel could still make such travel impractical in the not too distant future. Here's hoping that the American Dreamers have the clear-eyed vision of eagles, and that we may still hear these Norman Rockwell snapshots next year.

-- (RUOK@yesiam.com), October 19, 1999.

Excellent writing Lon! Reminded me of one of my favorite books; "Travels With Charley" by John Steinbeck.

-- CD (not@here.com), October 19, 1999.

Welcome back, Lon. Your artist's eyes have been missed.

-- Donna (moment@pacbell.net), October 19, 1999.


Perhaps you are right. We could indeed be the deluded ones. Perhaps, for once, governments and businesses, all working separately, have together delivered something *Right* AND *On Time*.

Please, please, just this once, let it be so......

Lon, we have only 73 more days until the story begins to unfold. Whether we are (tragically) right or (to be mocked and laughed at) wrong, we may as well stay the course.

There comes a time in everyone's life when they must make a gamble on incomplete, imprecise data. What does your "instinct" tell you?

-- mushroom (mushroom_bs_too_long@yahoo.com), October 19, 1999.

Gov and biz have bet that Y2K uncertainty = low Y2K impact. I have bet that Y2K uncertainty = high Y2K impact.

If they win, I win (use my preps). If they lose moderately, I win (use my preps). If they lose big-time, I lose (preps swallowed alive by the chaos of Y2K meltdown).

I can tell you this WITH certainty: this is not an event where the way things "look" matters a whit. Whether the "looks" are grain elevators, new businesses, shopping for Christmas or Y2K PR reports.

Y2K CAN'T be spun -- in the end. It can't be spun by Koskinen or by Yourdon; by Flint or by me. Not much longer now.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), October 19, 1999.

Did you happen to inquire as to whether any of those farm wives like to mudwrestle?

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), October 19, 1999.

Nice piece Lon!

It's the same where I've been too. Nothing unusual at all going on. I asked everyone I did a job for, if they had their food and water for Y2K. Out of 60 or 70 people, only TWO had any supplies. I always ask, "Why are you optimistic?", and to a person, it's because they don't know anything other than what they've read in the paper, seen on TV, or had some friend tell them.

I don't know. I have never benefited from "insider" stuff either. Certainly, it does take some desire to know the truth, to be able to even contemplate some of the worst scenarios. It seems most Americans under 60 can't concieve of life being different here. Yet, 3 people I explained things to thanked me, and I'm sure will at least have some basic supplies. The others will just go on, ignoring the whole thing.

As for me, I've already taken my course of action. Problem for all of us is, that it has been a year (or more) long plan. Oh well, I called like I saw it back then, and if things are better than expected, I'm sure that will be easier to deal with than what we have thought we might have to face.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), October 19, 1999.


Great post, it just seems to short :o) No doubt sequals will be coming in due time.


I read Travels with Charlie long ago. Charlie was the dog if I am not mistaken. Good folksy view of the US.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), October 19, 1999.

Outstanding Lon...per usual

-- Billy Boy (Rakkasan@Yahoo.com), October 19, 1999.

Wow, I'm forever amazed by the conversation on this forum. Such answers! I particularly liked the ones where you compared me to Rockwell and Stienbeck (or was it to the dog?). :

-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), October 19, 1999.

dear Lon, would you please consider starting a Y2K journal/book, using your above posts/reflections as the opening? i would buy one later...

-- Loverof (beautyin@language.com), October 19, 1999.

Did you happen to inquire as to whether any of those farm wives like to mudwrestle?

KOS,...Your Muddiness,... Sir...ROFL!

I'll go one better to the request to Lon for a journal. I challenge everyone to journal. Y2K or not, we live in amazing times. Journaling is a powerful tool for personal insight, a tool for developing the 'new eyes' that human beings will need to face the challenges of the future. It doesn't matter if you think you cannot write. Look...write...describe images before your eyes. Color, ...sound...texture...Try a week. Let no one read what you write. Do not censor yourself, or criticize your grammar. Write!

Oh, Lon, of course you must continue! I think it's there in the FRL bylaws. ;-)

-- Donna (moment@pacbell.net), October 19, 1999.

KOS - Farm wives, knowing mud; being intimately aquaited with cleaing from floors and shoes and clothes; and havin gseen the contributions made to the local mud from the local flora and fauna of various 1, 2, 3, and 4 footed critters of various sizes (see Kansas mountain referenced above) - are not going to be mud-wrestling fans.....

Waving fans at mud-wrestlers, perhaps. But not personally involved wrestling fans admist the flora and fauna ......

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), October 19, 1999.


I don't think I've ever been given a nicer compliment. But I could never sell my words, anymore than I could sell my blood. But, there are so many good writers on this forum, that someone should take up your idea. The sonnets of Donna and Hallyx, the verbal paintings of RUOK and Rob Micheals. The various poetry styles of Trish and Diane, and so many others. And then, there's always the shining, beauty of a gem from someone who you would never suspect (and who, I imagine, never suspected themselves) as a wordsmith.

I love this forum, and all it's living, teeth-gnashing, laughing, inhabitants. If anyone finds a moment of enjoyment in what I write, I am greatly honored.

-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), October 19, 1999.

Welcome back Lon, I hope they weren't comparing you to me....: )


The Dog

-- Dog (Desert Dog@-sand.com), October 19, 1999.

Lon, you made me think. . .

Of my swamp sunflowers, glowing--but still softly golden--in the odd light from Irene's bands of cloud, buttery silhouettes against a strip of sky the color of a pigeon's dark grey wing feather, all else in the garden subservient.

-- Not (usually@the.muse), October 19, 1999.

Brian-- "I read Travels with Charlie long ago. Charlie was the dog if I am not mistaken. Good folksy view of the US."

Yes Brian, very good armchair reading and very good "folksy" view of the US. I imagine that picture he painted of backroads Americana has long ago faded away, replaced by fast food chains, "pump-your-own" gas stations and boarded-up mainstreet store windows. I'll always remember the book as having sparked my obsession to travel.

Lon-- "But I could never sell my words, anymore than I could sell my blood."

"Loverof" is right Lon. As witnessed by the unsolicited comments on this thread, you obviously have a gift for writing. In your case writing a book isn't a "sell-out", it's sharing a gift with others. I have no idea what you do for a living but... you SHOULD quit your day job. There's a book in you. Write it!

-- CD (not@here.com), October 19, 1999.

CD is right. You inspire people to stop and see and hear their own beautiful thoughts about everyday things.

-- Not (usually@the.muse), October 19, 1999.

Lon...your writing is wonderful...and that part about the waitress really hit home. The old cliche about best of times, worst of times seems so apt.

From your description, the food is there...it's ALL about distribution.

I came across an article in the September 6, '97 Economist titles "Loose wiring" which would seem it indicate that banks will be much less vulnerable to overseas disruptions than many people belive. Still, I think we called this accurately. Most outfits are FOF anyway.

-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ it's ALL going away in January.com), October 19, 1999.


She was a young woman, but no longer a girl. Her thin, flowered blouse clashed quietly with the knit pants whe wore. Neither her hair, nor her eyes shined, and she did not smile as she waited on customers in the little convenience store. We talked about the weather. She wished it would wait for a little longer; she had no heat in her house. Someone was supposed to come later with an electric space heater, but her three kids, 7, 5, and 3, would be getting cold by now. I looked at her, opened my mouth to speak, but had no words. I was late for an appointment.

I love the poignancy of your pen. Piqued with the mystery of the familiar. It is so gratifying to escape through your eyes to natural places, seeming untouched by the root of the coming debacle. And yet, your almost unwritten passage, imbued the greatest reaction from me. That *moment* of rapture, during which no muse may pass through ones lips. That instant of the reality of the hopelessness and futility of regurgitating, once more, the insiders malaise. The helplessness of wanting so badly to placate the potentials from another fellow being. But the words just won't find passage. The moment after, the heart sinks, the back stiffens, and the preps continue. "It's too late", I tell myself.

Thanks for your sharing your gift with us.

An appointment with history?

Respectfully Michael

-- unspun@alright (mikeymac@uswest.net), October 20, 1999.

Along with the habit of flaming posts, ignoring posts is almost as annoying. Lon's writing's are wonderful,..and they could be the inspiration for so many people to write...(see my above exhortation). Get it. Take on the responsibility to record your life with your eyes, ...your heart...Y2K or not, YOU change the world. Write. (see above post for provisos)

--She in the sheet,...unrelenting.

-- Donna (moment@pacbell.net), October 20, 1999.

Thanks again to everyone for your kind words. I have struggled with writing as a hobby for most of my life. It seems to kinda come and go, with the fortunes of various years.

It used to be, that writing was a mirror that I searched. But now it has become more often a window upon a consistently new world. I suppose that means I have gotten more comfortable with the image in the mirror, while becoming more fascinated with the view from the window.

I will echo Donna's exortation to keep a journal. But remember, you're among friends here, and you can be anonymous, should you wish. It's a fine place to post a reflection, observation, or just a ramble through the countryside. Although this forum is about Y2K, it has traditionally welcomed unguarded moments between it's neighbors.

I believe some of us have found here a unique, symbiotic relationship. We each are nourished by the others' creativity and expression. For a week now, I have carried around a line from a small poem posted on the FRL thread by Tricia:

"Lapfull of warm cat"

It's said that love makes poets of us all. Perhaps Y2K has the same effect.

-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), October 20, 1999.

Lon, I'm honoured! Your ability to evoke pictures is so far above my own. I second (or tenth, as the case may be) the request for you to keep writing and to share that writing with others - you'll have a reader here.

-- Tricia the Canuck (tricia_canuck@hotmail.com), October 20, 1999.

Lon, the blackberries are fragrant and luscious, staining thorn-bled fingers with their juicy plump bursting abundance. We think of you and always thank God that you returned. Your thoughtful reflections are as cherished as your Circus hilarity. You have enriched our lives so much. Journeys through cyberspace on the eve of Change. Every post takes on a nostalgic golden hue. Every nuance is savored and recorded ... remember, remember these times, these possibilities, these freedoms, this Asylum of mutually concerned, silly, profound, biting, caressing, sympathetic truth-seekers, who by some strange miracle of click-search-and-stumble-upon magnetism have formed a family in the Waiting Room ...

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), October 20, 1999.

A halloween present just for KOS.

They awaited his return. Patiently at first, then less so as summer came and the relentless sun baked the wet earth which enveloped them into a fractured collage of tan. Several small ones having sought shelter in the shade of the larger sow, slept. For now, dreams of hope consumed the fear of their inescapable predestination. Hope that KOS would again return for one more scuffle. One more, before the summer paled to the cold-blooded chill of autumn and their gruesome appointment with the slaughterhouse executioner.

-- MoVe Immediate (MVI@yepimhere.com), October 20, 1999.

MVI !!

-- ickabod (crane@see.future), October 21, 1999.

YOU GUYS!!!! You're gonna force tears this morning! I'm not all that well wrapped this AM as it is......


Couldn't say it any better than above:

Quit yer day job and write!

This'll have to become an "Honorable Fruitcake Thread"!


-- Chuck, a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), October 21, 1999.

I am certainly flattered - that some of you think I actually have a day job.

Didn't I tell you that we are positively awash with talent here?:

"buttery silhouettes against a strip of sky the color of a pigeon's dark grey wing feather"

"truth-seekers, who by some strange miracle of click-search-and-stumble-upon magnetism have formed a family in the Waiting Room ..."

And MVI, all I can say is, Encore!

-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), October 21, 1999.

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