Highway 60

by - September 27, 2012

In lieu of 1000 words.

But, I have a few words.  That is a picture of Hwy 60 between Ponca City and Pawhuska.  Those are sun rays beaming down on the road most travelled in my lifetime, but rarely travelled anymore.  My mom recently took this picture.  She was on a stretch where she could pass cars, but thankfully there were no cars to pass, as she may have crossed more than one line trying to take this with her phone and drive at the same time.  Not a really good idea, but a really good picture especially with all the memories, music, conversations, faces and voices it brings to mind.  I just like to look at it and remember back. I also like to look at that sun peeking through the clouds lighting the road ahead and dream a little bit forward.  I know many of you have driven that same road, and maybe you would like to look at it and remember.  Even if you weren't driving down Hwy 60, you might have your own highway to remember.  Your highway may not have prairie on both sides, but the yellow and white lines are the same.  The rhythm of the pavement is probably pretty similar, your memories just as clear, and hopefully just as sweet.

It must be thousands (nope, I just got my calculator out, and it can't be thousands).  It must be hundreds of times I sat in the back seat wondering if we were there yet, as my Dad drove me, mom and Chris back and forth to Barnsdall listening to country music on KPNC, and staring out the window at oil pumps, cows, horses, ranches, ponds and clouds.  I can see it, even if I don't close my eyes:  Turning onto the highway with the Conoco refinery on the right as we cross the Arkansas River into the Osage.  Familiar houses on both sides of the road that probably had no idea I inadvertently kept track of their place over the years.  Past the road to Kaw Lake.  Under the blinking lights of the Shidler/Fairfax turn-off. (I've still never actually been to Shidler, but according to my Grandpa John it was always spittin' snow there.)  Past the little cross marking the grave of the unknown cowboy that I looked for every time.  Past the Drummond ranch, the Tolson Insurance arrow shaped sign and Bluestem Lake into Pawhuska.  Triangle Building.  The road up to up to Aunt Karla's (have they left for Grandmas yet?). Aunt Karla's church.  Boy Scout museum, then out of town.  Down past Aunt Sarah's parent's house, then turning off 60 and onto 11.  Pershing, where Grandma Bonnie was born, and the old rock school building still stands. Past the Nelagoney turn off, down around the corner with the little rock cliff.  Is the water going over Low Water Bridge? And on into Barnsdall.  I think I could drive it in my sleep. 

We drove that road in vans (both full size and mini), a station wagon, sedans, a couple of pickups, and a few old cars when they were running and could make the trip.  Looking back I realize we had a disproportionate number of tan cars.  We smelled the smoke of the ranchers burning off pasture land.  We surveyed the water as it overflowed the banks of the river and creeks, and as its been so low it was worthy of noting we could see much more sand in the river, or creek bed than we were used to seeing.  We pointed to the places where the tornadoes had obviously passed through, and waved at friends, family and even strangers we would pass because that's just kind of what you do.  Even if it's just a lift of a few fingers from the steering wheel as you pass by a car coming from where you are going.  Flashed lights during the daytime let oncoming drivers know you passed a Sheriff a little ways back and they better lay off the gas.        

The first time I got to travel out of town by myself I drove down that road.  I made it all the way to Pawhuska playing Brooks and Dunn, En Vogue and Lynard Skynard's Ballad of Curtis Lowe, with the T-tops off, before my car over heated and I ended up on the side of the road. It wasn't a perfect trip, but someone's dad helped me get water in my overheated radiator and I was back on the road with a story to tell.  I travel out of town by myself all the time now, and I continue to be taken care of no matter what road the sun is shining on ahead of me. See what I did there?  I brought it all back around to how God has always taken care of me. :)

There was a first time I road down Hwy 60, and now I feel like I know every tree and rock.   So here is the bumper sticker life lesson to glean from this little story and picture:  Every new road becomes an old familiar road once we've gone down it a time or two.  Catchy.  It's a good reminder for me as I continue to drive down new roads.  God has something in store along the way, and at the end.  "For He knows the plans he has for me."  Loosely translated:  He knows the road.  Whether it is Highway 60, or any other road we are on He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. Romans 8:28.

This morning Jesus Calling ended with this line:  "Memories of these days are richly interwoven with golden strands of My intimate Presence."  He has really good timing. Check out the golden strands of His Presence again: 

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  1. I love this, Haley. I also read that in "Jesus Calling" this morning. A friend just gave me a copy of that book this week. Thanks for sharing. See you in a bit..

    Maureen Coates

    1. I'm really looking forward to seeing you all soon! Thanks for reading, and for being so encouraging.

  2. I love to read your blog. You write so beautifully. I'm going down new roads myself and just needed this.Thank you for sharing. Love Cathey

    1. Cathey, Mom took that picture on the way to be with you all at Uncle Kendall's funeral. She told us what a beautiful day that was, and how you guys honored him in such special ways. I wish I could have been there. Love you all, and thanks for reading this blog. I love being able to share it.