People sometimes ask why I drive Route 66 every summer instead of finding new places to go on vacation. “Why would you want to see the same stuff over and over?” they ask. “Why not see something different?”
My response is always the same: I don’t see the same stuff over and over. I might drive past the same things over and over, but driving past is not the same thing as seeing. Looking over my photos from this morning, I realized that most of them were new additions to my collection — things I’d never once stopped to shoot in all the times I’ve driven down Southwest Boulevard (a.k.a. Route 66) since we moved to Red Fork. It’s all right here in my own neighborhood, yet I never seem to see it.
I think this is an old hardware store. It breaks my heart to think of all the indie hardware stores we’ve lost over the years.
Ford panel truck outside Billy Ray’s BBQ.
Roses in front of an apartment house.
Midway Trailer Court sign. I shot this once before, on a cold, icy afternoon in 2006 … but I think it looks completely different with a dazzling spring sky behind it.
How long do you suppose this old hat shop has been closed? When was the last time you saw a lady wearing a hat?
If I could, I would buy this building and turn it into my own personal office/playhouse/whatever. I just love little teeny buildings. Especially little teeny buildings with better than half a century of history behind them.
A rose bush thrives at the corner of the property where the late Shady Rest Court once stood.
Wildflowers grow along a chain-link fence on an overpass above I-244.
I-244 overpass. The interstate sliced through Red Fork, effectively cutting the neighborhood in half.
Sign of the times: You used to find big, elaborate metal hubcaps lying in gutters next to 66. Now all the hubcaps are plastic, and you just see broken pieces of them here and there.
A used-car lot and auto repair shop occupies this old service station next to Crystal City. Note the neon “USED CARS” sign in the window.
The old Crystal City shopping center sign’s colorful design hints at the property’s former life as a once-popular amusement park. Efforts are afoot to redevelop Crystal City and restore it to its former glory. I wish the next owner would buy the Zingo roller coaster from Bell’s and put it in the parking lot. I’m told the original Zingo was at Crystal City. How cool would it be if it came full circle? I’m terrified of roller coasters, but if Crystal City got Zingo back, I would ride it at least once, just for the sake of history.
Yellow Submarine is long gone, but its sign still remains. The building now houses a very good Bill and Ruth’s with a very friendly owner whose mama helps in the kitchen, making killer falafel and baklava and all kinds of other wonderful treats.
This is 66: beauty and history and a million untold stories, and if you go too fast, you miss all of it.
This is true in all aspects of our lives, isn’t it? How many times do we overlook things because we’re in a hurry, or we’re preoccupied with our problems, or we don’t think they have anything to offer? How many people do we see every day but more or less ignore because we think we have nothing in common with them, no reason to talk to them, nothing to learn from them? How many blessings do we overlook because we just aren’t paying attention? How many times do we get so busy wishing and hoping and dreaming and praying for bigger-better-faster-more that we overlook the beauty and richness that’s all around, just waiting to bless us?
I love the sentiment in this little e-card about the best way to express gratitude. (Music starts as soon as you click “play,” so be sure and turn down the speakers if it’s likely to bother anybody. The music is nice but isn’t really necessary for you to be able to understand the message.)
Go find something or someone to appreciate this weekend.