There are a lot of ghosts on this road. Every inch of blacktop highway a memory. Rumbling engines bring these memories to a roaring life or a quiet fading.

*          *          *          *          *

I wonder how many people try the Big Texan 72oz. steak challenge. These signs for it are practically everywhere. Starting east to west, I remember seeing one almost at the Oklahoma/Arkansas border.

It makes you wonder. How many people see that sign and think, yeah, I bet I can finish that meal and not a pay a dime?

Even on my hungriest day, I could never do it.

I bet there’s a lot of wasted food from drivers passing through thinking they can do it. I bet every . . . wait . . . I know every restaurant wastes a lot of food.

And, yet, every night, people still go to bed hungry.

If that isn’t a sign that this country has a sickness, I don’t know what is.

*          *          *          *          *

You can tell a lot about a place from the gas stations you find there. Towers of food. Walls of soda and neon-colored slushies. You can tell a lot. What that is, I don’t know. But, it says a lot.

*          *          *          *          *

Thunder can’t be heard, but lightning illuminates the dark southern sky. It is impossible to see the horizon. Everything dark.

Then, the sky flashes and rolling plains become visible.

Beautiful.

The audiobook has been disappointing, but I was kind of expecting it. Perhaps, my disdain for the author’s disparaging Lost comments are hindering my enjoyment.

You may have been disappointed in the ending of Lost, George, but at least the show finished the way it wanted to. Are you even going to finish your series?

I should have downloaded something else to listen to.

*          *          *          *          *

We pulled up to where the water meets the road.

Piles of dirt are visible, appearing as small barren red dirt mountains in the midst of the flooded cove.

There should be a road here. The goal was to build it higher and avoid the possible floods of the future.

The goal failed.

I snap a quick picture for a Facebook post and climb back into the car. My younger sister asleep in the passenger seat after her graduation. My youngest sister watching my actions.

I shut the door and look at the water along the drainage ditch.

I see the ghost of a bobber, jerking and trembling as a small sunfish nibbled at the bait. I see the ghost of my father unhooking my catch, and I gently plop it back into the water, seeing it race away amongst the weeds. I see the ghost of a worm being attached to a hook as I eagerly cast away hoping to catch another, hoping this one will be larger than my 1st grader-sized palm. Within seconds of hitting the water, the bobber runs amongst the weeds again.

With my sisters in the car, I drive away, leaving the ghost of my next catch behind me.

*          *          *          *          *

How does a house become abandoned?

As I cruise down I-40, I wonder this as I pass another collapsing building.

The wooden walls leaning, a roof having disappeared years before. From what remains of the building, it is impossible to determine if it was a house or a barn or, perhaps, something else entirely.

Tall grasses grow from within what’s left of the structure.

What happened here?

When did the people who built this give up on the building?

Why?

So much must have happened here, and yet, now, nothing but nature taking back what she once held.

The engine purrs, and the tires rumble.

The voice of Roy Dotrice continues the story of the Seven Kingdoms and the lands beyond.

Yet, the ghosts along the road still remain.

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