February 27, 2016 – Do you believe in messages from music like I do? I woke up worried this morning (what else – money!). But instead of indulging those fears, I decided to head to Oatman again (click for website page I did for lots more pictures there), then take scenic historic Route 66 to Kingman, making a whole day of it.
I passed this marker and had thoughts like, “How sad that person apparently died in such a desolate place, probably alone.” I actually turned around and went back to take a picture of it because of the natural wildflowers nearby and the pretty scenery even in a sad context. Whoever Brock was, he was only 18 years old when he died in 1988 and such a young life cut short seemed especially sad.
I stood out there alone with my thoughts and said a little prayer for him. I remember enjoying the desert breeze blowing cool on my skin on such a warm day.
I have hundreds of MP3s on a flash drive that play in random order and when I got back in the car, I laughed out loud at what came on:
Traveling Wilburys – End of the Line (You Tube video)
Well, it’s all right, ridin’ around in the breeze,
Well, it’s all right, if you live the life you please.
…I’m just happy to be here, happy to be alive.
The phrase “It’s All Right” is one that has special meaning to me, so I sang along at the top of my lungs (grateful nobody alive could hear me). And for the icing on the cake, the next song was the Beatles “Let It Be.” Anyway, I may not be immune to worries and stress, but I AM living the life I please and I’m going to just Let It Be.
That marker in the desert reminded me of other lessons I’ve learned from graveyards and wondered the same things years ago in an article I wrote, Life Lessons From Cemeteries:
“I walk around in the still quiet, wondering about what these people’s lives were like – how they lived, how young they died – what made them leave the security of what was known about the world at that time to journey into uncharted and dangerous territory. These guys were the pioneers who blazed the roads that RVers ride on so comfortably today. That’s another thing I think most RVers have in common. We seem to be aware of the brevity of life more than most. All of us can cite examples of people who waited too long to follow their dreams.”
OK, getting to Oatman:
The street going through the entire town is only four blocks long with some of the original buildings from the gold mining days. See my website page for more pics and info.
I had lunch at the Oatman Hotel and as I was chatting with the waitress, Kim, about fulltime RVing, she thought that was so cool, she bought me a beer. I love getting free stuff, but I also left my dollar bill to add to the decor!
And how cool that they had this huge picture of one of my all-time favorite musicians above the stage (this Austin gal loves me some Willie Nelson)!
As I left the hotel to walk through the rest of town, I almost passed up this store. In general, I am usually not much of a shopper and the last thing I need to be buying is jewelry when I’m concerned about money. But with such a cute name – The Classy Ass Gift Shop – I just couldn’t resist.
When I walked in, the owner greeted me and asked where I was from. When I told her about being a solo fulltime RVer, she went right over and picked up that bracelet and said this is meant for you. I almost fell over laughing – Hitch Bitch! I can’t believe she gave this to me – love it!
Her name is Judy Love, and she fits her name so well – she positively radiates it! She does the most beautiful wire wrapped jewelry I’ve ever seen. Quality stuff from a classy ass lady for sure! I fell in love with her and her shop. And I am blown away by how blessed I am in meeting people like this.
When I posted about this encounter later on Facebook, one of my friends (appropriately named Faith) commented, “Great people are everywhere. How lucky you get to meet them!” And another friend commented how I always find the most interesting places and people.
I responded, “You’re so right, Susan, but here’s what I’ve learned about that: If you’re in the least bit open and interested in talking with people, this is the kind of thing that happens much more often than you think. Judy told me that she frequently tries to chat with people who come in the store, but they become on guard and say, “I’m just looking” – like she’s going to force them to buy something. I try to approach people thinking that I may learn something from them, so I start off asking about must-sees in the area, etc. I almost always come away from those encounters richer in spirit at least.”
Another fun encounter just from being open to it: Usually the first thing I do when researching visiting an area is to call or check online with the Chamber of Commerce. That’s how I first talked to Bob Murray and later went in to his store (Fast Fanny’s) to talk to him and his wife, Jackie, who I heard from Judy was really knowledgeable about the history of the area.
That’s when I saw the picture who I thought at first was Waylon Jennings and his wife, Jessie Colter. But the sign underneath said, “Meet Bob Murray, Waylon Jennings Tribute Artist (sometimes known as Prospector Bob, co-owner of Fast Fanny’s & Prospector Bob’s shop in Oatman, AZ”).
I would have absolutely sworn this was Waylon himself, but he called his wife, Jackie, over to verify she took this picture. I would have loved to have seen his show (Waylon Lives Here). Who would have thought I’d come across Willie and Waylon in Oatman, AZ?!
My third visit to Oatman and I finally meet a cute cowboy! I told him about my tradition of getting my picture taken with cute guys in my travels and he was my “victim” today. I’ve always been a sucker for a long-haired guitar player in cowboy boots! He turned out to be one of the cowboys that portray the gunfights in the street. Like I said on my Oatman page, I’m sorry my rooting for him didn’t do any good! 🙂
Here’s where the open heart theme really comes into play. None of these encounters would have meant anything if I had not kept my mind and heart open to them. The waitress at the restaurant bought me a beer, a wonderful lady gave me a totally cool bracelet and I got a kiss from a cute cowboy. What a glorious day – I pray that I can keep my heart open to such encounters on a regular basis!
Ripple Effects: But wait – it gets even better! When I was Googling for a graphic about open hearts, I found this one and loved the image and the blog post that went with it. I emailed the woman to ask permission to use it in this post. Here’s what I got back from her (used with her permission):
“It was by ‘accident’ that I just happened to see this email of yours now, at just the right time. I hadn’t looked at this email address in forever since I stopped blogging. I am so honored that you would like to link my post, and that you would think of writing me to ask.
I am also grateful that you made me go back to look at that post. I really miss writing, especially things that I hoped might be inspirational. I think I sorta lost my way a bit after my mother’s death. It is four and a half years now, so things are much better, thank goodness. I am steadier, but after leaving my blog for so long I was a little embarrassed to start again.
I honestly feel it was a little miracle nudge from God that you wrote me. I just might try again. Meanwhile, I took a little peek at your site. How wonderful and brave you are! You have made me want to follow my dreams once again.”
I bet those that know me know that email brought tears to my eyes, relating to so many things, including the loss of my own mama last year. We exchanged another email when I asked for permission to include some of her response, and here’s what she said then:
“It was also cool because I felt I had lost my way in my art, even though I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life, yet when I looked at Open Heart, which I had forgotten I had done, it actually looked pretty cool! “Talking” with you today has made my day! Happy travels to you, and thank you for your words that have touched my heart, and hey, that have actually made my heart more open! What miracles I’ve experienced today!”
We corresponded a bit more about the struggles and sadness that comes with losing your mom and I’ve got another friend out of this deal. Open hearts, my friends, open hearts – that’s the way!