One Death – A Greyhound Bus Journal

10 08 2010

 Oh, where do I begin?           

My father had been in the hospital almost a month with what the doctors thought was abdominal cancer.  I drove to Texas in 18 hours through the greenery of Missouri and the bad lands of Oklahoma.  I cursed their tolls of $12.75.  Avoid OK at all costs if you want to have cash when you reach your terminus.  I spent the better part of 4 days with my dad before returning through Arkansas, Tennessee and KY.  My daddy asked me before I left, “I hope it was worth it.”  It was.           

I was able to adjudicate betwixt the doctors, nurses and vistors—communicating all to next-of-kin.  Between chicken tacos, carne guisada and a daily downpour of rain, I was able to spend long neglected quality and quantity time with mi padre.  I knew it would be the last.            

Driving home I spoke to my brother in CA who expressed an interest in buying my Acura for his daughter in Iowa.  This trip easily put 2300 miles on the odometer.            

Last week I received “the call” from my sister who had taken the Greyhound to be with dad at his last hours.  He had warned her she should hurry and was found by her to be in a mostly restful coma.  She called last Tuesday in the afternoon to say he had breathed his last with a slight movement of the jaw.           

So began my hurried decision to go to the memorial service.  He had decided on cremation so no big expense or funeral necessary. Something to consider for moi.  Any who, I did not want to add more miles to my car and wanting to retrace the journey my father had taken 3 years prior to call at our mother’s funeral, I choose: Greyhound.           

Just about all that could go awry did.  I got “bumped” from the first leg and we stopped in every podunk town retracing my auto journey with many detours to let off or on, one or two passengers.  The total time was nearly 32 hours.  I was initiated into road food and avoiding the knot of smokers, took most every opportunity to move and get the blood flowing.  I ate as healthy as possible, even having a southwestern chicken salad at the golden arches.          

The service was good and at the pre-service potluck I spoke to mis padron’s former employer, a Texas oil man and rancher.          

Nobody got saved at the service (maybe a seed or two was planted),  though I spoke and was led by the Spirit, explaining that good works flow from a relationship with Christ and they do not themselves save us.  They are simply the evidence of a redeemed life.  My sister read a passage from Ecclesiastes and ad-libbed quite well!  You see, I sorta know when someone is verbally communicating to beautiful effect. There was high praise for dad and he had apparently been in pain for 4 years or more, unknown to us.            

So begins my journey home.           

I sat next to a 30ish black man who kept his legs spread apart wide at exactly the same distance for 3 hours.  I spoke to him about space but he seemed indifferent. Later I was able to move to two free seats and my former seat-mate  was surely more comfortably seated next to a thin young black women who talked incessantly, to herself.             

Another darker hued male person with tats and a tank kept pressing against me on debarkation in Memphis.  My pointing this out, made not a whit of difference.  Toughness against a different other, never felt so strange. I guess the oppression of the South, never quite lifted.             

Naked Super food, a protien bar and a Coke a bit later .  My sister once said it is better to drink the real Coke with demonic sugar, than the one with Aspartame, so I did. In Louisville I walked about a mile and a half and found at the end of one parking lot in downtown a little hut called “Red’s ???” that served an awesome hot link with grilled onions, bell peppers and a delicious mustard spread.  Que Magnifique!           

Hometown came quick thereafter!  My wife and daughter came about 5 minutes after arrival, to much joy and a cold ripe peach.         

I learned many things about people and about some of my daddy’s road trips.  No, I did not get the old pickup, but I did glean some wisdom and futher appreciation for the father who loves all four of us despite ourselves and possibly, despite himself.         

God Bless you Daddy.         

Give Jesus and our mom a kiss.         

bye for now …………….

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