* 31 … HOLDING PATTERN (04/30/2012)

A few days later, the brothers still did not know when they were leaving on their Route 66 trip, even though both were now ready to go. The younger brother had the approval from Kyle at WSM to do live broadcasts along the road and had already secured the necessary equipment for the journey. The older brother had mapped out the route and contacted several people, including Becky at Becky’s Barn in central Illinois, just north of Dwight IL where they would start the drive. The brother had also corresponded with Rich at Henry’s Ra66it Ranch in southern Illinois, Gary in Missouri, Melba at 4 Women On The Route in Galena KS, Laurel at Oklahoma’s Afton Station, Dawn at the Rock Cafe in Oklahoma, Angel in Seligman AZ, Jim Hinckley in Arizona, and Debra in Barstow CA. The eldest had also finalized plans with his sister and the local Route 66 Association to keep the family business open while he and his younger brother were away. The brothers had also even decided to take the family car, their parents’ and now the eldest’s 1976 Caprice Classic sedan.

But, holding them back was the couple from Illinois. By now, the eldest had told the middle sibling what was happening and why the couple was there. Not that he understood it fully himself. He needed some time to think about it and what, if anything, he would do. The shopkeeper, of course, had his opinion, and while he held back, he let the eldest know that he wasn’t too keen on trusting the couple.

Meanwhile, the rebuilding of the town’s train depot seemed to roll ahead. The local Route 66 Association requested a meeting with the town council about the project, funding, and how to prepare to battle the State, in terms of getting it approved and authorized, just in case the State balked at the idea. The town itself was a buzz with the progression, and one couldn’t escape the conversation, mostly favorable, all over town.

* 32 … THINKING TIME OR NOT (05/04/2012)

At one point, mid-afternoon, the eldest found himself at the site of the long-gone train depot. He had just finished lunch and was working his way back to the business. His brother and sister were already there, greeting and conversing with visitors. But, he felt the need to take his time getting back.

He got out of the Caprice Classic and slowly closed the driver’s door. He looked around, eyeing the still-visible concrete steps. From there, he remembered where the depot stood, how it was situated, and how it looked after the storm sucked the life out of it. He started walking along the gravel toward those steps. As he did, he wondered if the town council would bend again, should the state pressure it, or if it would accept the meeting request from the local Route 66 Association and make plans to fight. He hoped they’d meet with the local Route 66 Association to send a message to the state that the town wouldn’t back down this time.

Just as the eldest reached the steps he heard two distinct sounds. The first was a train whistle; the second was tires crunching the gravel in the lot. He wasn’t surprised by the whistle, but the other noise caught his attention, particularly since it sounded like more than 4 tires making the sound. He glanced back to see the same LTD wagon that had been in his driveway coming to a stop next to his Caprice. Behind the LTD was the shopkeeper’s old pickup.

Not exactly happy that he now had company, the eldest sighed and sat down on the concrete steps, sweeping his eyes across the basically vacant lot. He knew he wasn’t going to be able to do much more thinking, and he had a hunch that he wasn’t going to get back to the business anytime soon, either. He watched the couple from Illinois exit the LTD, while the shopkeeper’s pickup came to an abrupt stop. The shopkeeper hurriedly exited the pickup and, while pointing to the couple (now walking mid-way between the cars and the concrete steps), shouted out to the eldest, “I WARNED ya ’bout ’em!”

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