On the road with Charlie again: Seeking Tex’s mate

June 2023, headed from Arizona to South Bend, I encountered the stoic, inanimate, inorganic Texan and wrote about him for moorandmore. Sequel follows.

Nine months, a full gestational period has passed, and I still have mildly uncomfortable dreams, not a nightmare, about Tex. As a widowed person, I, too, am wounded, restless, with solo chance of escaping singularity.  So in my crosshairs, the mission is to find Tex a car and a woman of equal size, beauty, height, body temperature, feminine allure, alive or not.  And still 1,000 miles from my home.

First a car, a 1956 Mercury coupe with pedigree, patina, personality, and a title : 

However, a poor pour choice….Tex wouldn’t fit in with his date, a six pack, wine, dixie cups, popcorn in a paper sack, and his 10-foot bowed legs.  Same result with neither a rusty Hudson, guarded by barbwire, split rear window, or not:

Nor anything from the VW beetle graveyard…..neither John, Paul, Ringo, nor George would have driven around Liverpool while whistling :

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes

There beneath the blue suburban skies

Approaching Mullinville, Kansas, barely inhabited with less than 200 residents, I had visited with M.T. Liggett years before his passing in 2017.  Raw, outspoken, an iconoclastic sculptor of discarded metals, his political parody on the prairie, a legacy, the screeching whirligigs respond to the westerly winds. Eliminates ear wax, prompts an urgency to urinate, and erases road burn fogginess…½ mile stroll, alone, shared with my dog, a national treasure.

Once in Chase County, Kansas, the landscape becomes surreal, which is peculiar, as it appears almost a blank page. The deep map described by W.L.H. Moon’s, “PrairyErth” epic novel, beyond scholarship, changed that forever.  Nearing desolate Bazaar, Kansas, the tragic crash in 1931 of a Fokker F-10 killing all 8 aboard.  Among them, a 43-year-old native Norwegian, a Notre Dame football coach.

Tracing northeasterly, the RR line of the Atchison, Topeka, & the Santa Fe, I’m reminded of the Andrews Sisters song, circa WWII, my mother and her two sisters singing along.  With their husbands in the war, the wives found solace in harmonizing. Which drowned out the bratty kids at home.

Destination today, the Atchison, Kansas childhood home of aviatrix (and best selling writer) Amelia Earhart. She perished on July 2, 1937, when her Lockheed 10-E Electra, disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.  Now 39 years old forever.

She was charismatic, stunningly beautiful, statuesque, youthful…a perfect fairy tale match for Tex, although the latter was stoic, aging, unpolished, yet he, too, was a statue.  Matchmaking is not an easy task. Takes leeway.

No woman should be this gorgeous :

Leaving the land of Oz, Toto, Dorothy and Frank Baum’s Mullinville tinman, headed east through Missouri and St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, the drive across southern Illinois is a blank slate of cornfields punctuated by grain elevators.  Boring would be an upgrade except for seed salesmen and John Deere dealerships. 

Opting to add an extra travel day, primarily to refuse metropolitan Chicago by a 150-mile circle, I drift slowly on U.S. 24 and down into southern Indiana.  The towns resemble postcards dated by a 3 cent stamp. County seats have a WalMart; the lesser burgs, a dollar store, Pizza Hut and a do-it-yourself car wash. 

The largest building within radius of 30 miles is surrounded by agriculture … the consolidated school system in the boonies. Same size parking lot as the big box, plus a jumbotron on the front lawn and 60 yellow buses made by the Blue Bird Corporation.  And a high school stadium.

Nearing the last leg, I’ve become despondent,  What should end as a love story chapter, a romance, if you please, of two legends had eluded me.  On the approach to downtown Logansport, Indiana, CiCi and I stopped for an around-the-block walk and an ice cream cone and then, on a one way street, as if guided by a ouija board or magic metal detector.

Happily ever after, perhaps an exchange of flint stones to spark the fire:

Commissioned 2012, 14 feet tall and made of steel, the statue was designed by local artisan Jim Galbreath.