Monday, February 18, 2013

Another Anniversary

Last month, The Blog celebrated his one year anniversary of blogging.

But, tonight, The PC makes note of a much bigger and more important anniversary.

Thirty years ago today, or maybe yesterday, or maybe tomorrow, or sometime in the past week or so, not yet a curmudgeon, premature or otherwise, but rather a wide eyed, idealistic youngster, packed his every worldly possession that would fit into his Dad's Plymouth Volaré, left his suburban Cleveland home, and began his trek across the country to start a new life and begin a career in Hollywood.

Thirty years.

And in those three decades, life has tested your favorite Blog more than once.

In that time, The Blog has done the "Till Death Do Us Part" thing. He has fathered and raised a child. He has purchased a house and the mortgage that came with it. He has sat with his wife as she was diagnosed with a life threatening disease, and has sat with her during dialysis holding on to the holes left by the needles, hoping to stop the bleeding.

He has followed ambulances, three times, so far, to the E.R. when holding those holes wasn't enough.

He has worried about his son, through his heartbreaks and doubts about career choices.

Thirty years.

A whole lot of scary shit over three decades.

But, none so scary as those four and a half days of driving from Cleveland to Los Angeles.

By the most strict definition, a journey into the unknown.

Stop number one.

Florida, Ohio.

One last night with his college girlfriend. One last Valentine's day.

Against all odds, it ended well.

Ten months later, she landed a job in a Los Angeles suburb, and we married.

Stop number two.

Terra Haute, Indiana.

One last, incredible chicken and dumpling dinner cooked by his Aunt Marie.

That was the last time that The Blog would see her. But, she lived to the ripe old age of 102 and would send her grandson out to purchase the latest edition of Playboy magazine, so she could see The PC's work.

Stop number 2.5.

The Blog's last visit with his grandfather in a Terra Haute nursing home at about 5:00 AM. That was the last time I saw my grandpa, but he hung on to nearly 100 and did get to meet my wife and his great-grandson, before he died.

From there, The Blog followed the historic Route 66.

He got a ticket for speeding just across the Illinois border at about 6:00 AM, no other car on the highway, except, it turned out, an Illinois Highway Patrol car, looking for rubes like me. I signed over a $50.00 Traveler's Check to her and never heard about it again. I'm sure that she enjoyed a nice dinner on me.

                                                         He passed the St. Louis Arch.

He drove and drove over the flat lands of the mid-west.

When the acrophobic future Blog hit the mountains, he suffered for miles until he reached Albuquerque, where he pulled off into relative civilization, called an old college friend and invited her to lunch at Dennys. And, after a ridiculously long meal, calmed down enough to hit the road again.

He saw snow on the painted desert. Because, it actually does snow in the desert.

On night three, he stopped in Amarillo, Texas. The armpit of the United States. The dump that he stayed in made him wish for the luxury of the Motel 6s that he had been spending his nights in.

The next morning, your young pre-PC woke to gloomy rain.

He set out, depressed, scared, and ready to turn around and go back to Ohio.

And then, he saw it.

There on the south side of the highway.

                                                                    Cadillac Ranch.

That weird, awesome place just west of Amarillo. Dozens of tail-finned Caddies planted, nose down in the Texas dirt. Made famous by "The Boss..."

...Bruce Springsteen.

Miraculously, my will to live and to press on was restored.

Thanks Bruce!

By the next night, I was in Barstow, California, where I was in familiar territory.

Back in 1977, my family stayed in the same motel I stayed in that night in '83. I even got the same "wooden nickel" that entitled me to $1.50 off an Egg McMuffin at the McDonald's next door.

Before sunset that day, your young Uncle PC was in Hollywood, CA.

His destination was the downtown Los Angeles home of his Dad's elderly cousin, where he would stay for a couple of nights, before finding an apartment of his own.

But, he got lost on the way. And found himself at the school that he would attend for the next six months.

That's enough for now.

Tomorrow night, Part Two.

See you then.

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