There and Back Again, Part 2

…and now, the voyage home. We met a lot of interesting people in and around Santa Fe, but what would be the fun of launching ALL of the spoilers at this juncture? My game plan is to share the stories along the way so that you don’t need to read the sometimes mundane details of our staying at home and searching the river for cans.

Upon our heading home, we scheduled to play the open mic at a favorite locale of ours, the Hotel Eklund, where two of my three oldest worked their first paying job, and four of our family members (Amy and the three oldest girls) worked for some time. The owners are wonderful people, keeping a Northeastern New Mexico landmark alive and well.

Upon getting there, we were saddened to learn that some friends of ours are dealing with leukemia in one of their children, an energetic six year old with one of the brightest smiles you can ever imagine. It definitely makes you take pause when you see someone struggling with that, and we have been happy to see that reports so far have been encouraging.

Our next stop was Enid, Oklahoma, my hometown, where I had initially intended to busk, and have been trying hard to lobby to get a playing space at the local coffeeshop (anyone with any connections in that regard would be welcome to intervene). Other obligations kept us from getting that done, though, as our intent was to make it to Independence, or near Independence, early enough to get a motel room for two nights.

Independence was, as usual, a blast. This is an amazing small town, and I would encourage anyone to visit it. On Saturday, we played the Farmer’s Market after several members of the Uppercut Boxing Club, a club run by a gentleman who has won numerous awards for his work, that offers much more than boxing; he mentors, tutors, and encourages these kids to develop their talents. It is much like a small Boys and Girls Club, only locally run. If you do run through Independence, please stop in and say hi and tell ’em Tim Joad sent you!

Saturday night featured an outdoor movie, “Moana”, which the kids enjoyed immensely. It was all put on free by the community, and included games and a Cessna cockpit for the kids to sit in and explore.

We caught “Camp Sunday” at the First Christian Church, and enjoyed fellowship with them, learning about their “Open Arms” meal on Tuesdays, which is much like the meals offered in Tahlequah. These are grassroots solutions to poverty, and encouraging signs that there are still parts of the church functioning as they should.

We headed home by an unknown route, through the towns of Oswego and Chetopa (and a short detour through Centralia, OK, though there really was nothing to see there! But at least we’ve marked it off our list.)

We made it home at a decent hour Sunday night, with enough time to hook the stove back up and prepare a good hot meal. The road is nice, but it’s also good to have a place to call home.

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