Just as the Road To Nowhere is a time and place to relax in the present, it is also a time and place to have a blast from the past. The device I used to advance this objective, an ipod, was considerably different than the Eight Track player of my original road trips, ohhh, but the music was the same! “We are stardust and we’ve got to get ourselves, back to the garden…By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong…Can I walk beside you? I have come here to lose the smog…” And I plugged in the ipod filling the cabin of the big, black Suburban with timeless music and memories.
The rock formations in the land somewhere between the states of Nevada, Arizona, and Utah, for those who have not traveled the 15 past Las Vegas, are mind tingling beautiful—cliffs, valleys, streams, escarpments of every kind. And there is no doubt to the thinking man who sets eyes upon this terrain that the Earth itself has a soul. These massive protrusions are not monuments, but a quest by the Earth to reach out and be close to God. The struggle is so similar to our own; the Earth like the body of man anchors the soul so desiring transcendence from the physical realm back to the spiritual reality of all creation. I cry at the sight of these mighty boulders stretched by such an epic struggle…And I feel sorry for myself because of the futility of my own struggle…Surely if the soul of the mighty Earth, which can shift tectonic plates and create mountains can’t…
A stop for lunch in Cedar City, a nice little town with an abundance of Mexican food, a University, and a Wal-Mart—and up the road we continued. From Cedar City to Sandy the topography is that of an enormous, green valley, the surrounding mountains of which, are green as well, seemingly more content with their lot than those encountered earlier—there is a tranquility about them…Even the grazing cattle is happy. Yes, these cows that graze the natural grass are happy not mad.
And the conversation that transpired originating a few miles before St. George and lasting to a click past Beaver went something like this:
“I almost built a factory over there,” Mike nodded the direction of Colorado City. “But when they told me I’d have to meet with the elders I decided not to.”
I looked out the direction of the now well-known polygamist city and said nothing.
“What do you think?”
“What do I think about what?” I responded.
“Would you have done business with those people?”
“Of course I would have,” answered I, with out hesitation. “Why wouldn’t I?”
“Because they’re polygamist,” Mike explained, as if this fact should mean something to me.
“Oh…Well so were most of my favorite forefathers of biblical times. I don’t see anything wrong with polygamy, so I would definitely not have a problem doing business with polygamists.”
“But they marry their daughters off when they’re fourteen,” Mike erupted. He has two daughters.
“I don’t think they all get married that young. But who cares? My grandmother married my grandfather when she was thirteen and they were very happy.”
“That was a different time. If you had a daughter would you let here get married at fourteen?”
“Yeah, if I liked the man that she was marrying. You realize that half the fourteen-year-olds in this country are sexually active anyway—I’d rather have mine sleeping with her husband than a bunch of horny boys that are just using her up. I don’t like tattoos either by the way.”
“But they’re isolated…”
“So? You think they should all move to LA, dress like hookers and start smoking crack?”
“No, but I think they should all be getting an education.”
“And you don’t think that it’s up to parents to decide how their children should be educated? Because schools in America are doing such a great job educating children. Under the premise of this being a free country I think parents should be allowed to decide what’s best for their own kids…You know the two best presidents in this country’s history didn’t attend any kind of formal school for more than a few months.”
“So you would just leave them alone and let them keep doing their thing?”
“I would offer them any kind of help that I could. Ronald Reagan called this constructive engagement. But yes, I would let our brother and sister Americans be free to live as they see fit. If not, maybe it’s your door the government is knocking on next, telling you that you don’t live close enough to school for your children to be adequately socialized…I wouldn’t go for that either.”
Mike thought about all of this and more that I did not write.
“I could have constructively engaged with them,” he concluded.
Exit 9000 was where I recalled Richard Zinman, Richard, Turd, Zinman, RZ, living off of. And it should be noted that since the day that Ilene Rossoff introduced us on the big, red, fire engine at Camp Monticqa / Montebello Park some forty years ago Richard and I have been the best of friends. Or more simply put, I’ve been hanging out with Rich since I was four-years-old.
“Hey, I’m in Utah with Munoz. Let’s meet up for dinner,” I said into my iphone.
“Where do you want to eat?” he inquired. After forty years he’s grown quite used to me dropping in—the wife would probably prefer a little more notice, but she tolerates my spontaneity reasonably well.
And there I sat having very good Indian food in Sandy Utah with two of my best friends—28 and 40 years respectively. I hadn’t considered that Mike and Richard hadn’t seen each other in twenty-seven years—I’m glad that the Road To Nowhere crossed for these two, as they are both exceptional human beings.
It’s always difficult to say goodbye to Rich, however he has a wife, four kids, and a real job so there was no point in asking him to saddle up…But the Road To Nowhere is for everyone even if only traveling along in spirit.
California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah in a day, it was time for some sleep in Salt Lake City—really one of my favorite cities.
“Motel Six?” asked Mike.
We both rarely sleep more than four hours a night and our purpose is to be on the road so the Motel Six would do. Funny though, the light at this particular location was burnt out—if you know what I mean.
“Hey, I need to pick up some heavy equipment in Driggs Idaho if you don’t mind?” which was Mike’s way of suggesting our next stop.
“I’ve never been to Driggs…” And I thought to myself, “I like the sound of it, Driggs Idaho.”
“It’s on the back side of the Grand Tetons.” Mike knows my passion for the Tetons.
I nodded my approval. “We can be there in time for lunch.”
“We can be there in time for breakfast,” insisted my friend, clueless to what I had planned for him.
“You can’t come to Salt Lake and not have breakfast at Ruth’s Diner, my boy. We’ll be in Driggs for lunch.”