Wherever the Road Leads

I Don’t Think Hank Done It This Way

Coming to a KOA Near You!

Maybe I should blame the sixties’ TV show “Route 66” whose characters had moved on to a new location each episode, driving a Corvette. “Along Came Bronson” used a motorcycle to travel, but travel he did, and enthralled I was, as a teenager.

Georgia has served me well. I like the climate and the people, though there are a few too many northerners like me for my liking. Georgia got me out of Chicago, second only to NYC as the worst city in the nation in which to live, drive or talk to people. But at least Chicago gave me a place to come home to each night, instead of life in a hotel room and a rental car in exotic places like (famous for rocks and trees and snow) Maine in the winter. Or the summer, for that matter.

I loved Huntsville, Alabama, am still a Crimson Tide fan and had hoped to retire there until a liberal Congress butchered the housing market. In Tillsonburg, Ontario, I got my life straightened out and became a son again. St. Catharines was, in hindsight, a mistake. I have many fond memories of Burlington, Ontario and keep in touch with an old friend and former flame.

I enjoyed the various parts of Toronto that I lived in, the suburbs, high school and Mariella Bertelli, the gin joints along The Danforth, the hundred-year-old homes and the subway at Dufferin & Bloor, and Little Italy Pizza.

In some ways I envy hearing about the lives of those who never left Ottawa, got a government job and took an early retirement at age 55 or so, now living a lot more comfortably than I will be but have had the same view all their lives.

Selling sawmill equipment, I’m glad I got to return to Timmins and my first memories as a child, to North Bay and Sudbury and the bitter cold winters, getting into trouble with my best-old-ex-friend, David, during my teenaged years.

Though not important enough to remain in, they are all an important part of my past. Now, it’s time to add Bethlehem, Georgia to the list.

I’m an old man now, 62, which bequeaths certain benefits. Firstly, I no longer have to hold back when I speak, I’ll say what I want. But even better than that, I become eligible for certain government benefits, enough to keep me quite comfortable without having to punch a time clock, as long as I can maintain my poverty-line existence.

I have worked in warehousing and distribution for the past ten years. It has become a younger man’s game. Competition in a shrinking economy has forced companies to demand more and more with less and less.

At the same time, managers face double jeopardy by trying to get better production out of a different breed of hourly worker. When I first started at a manufacturing facility in the South twenty years ago, the hourly work force was about a fifty/fifty mix of Black/White employees. Before long, it migrated to 75% Black. Now, the mix is 45/45/10… 45% Black, 45% Mexican and ten percent White.

The work ethic has changed over the past twenty years. Personal initiative – looking around and seeing what needs to be done – has all but gone. Replacing it is, “what’s in it for me?”, “it’s not in my job description.” and “why should I?”. It has worsened radically during these Obama years as it became too easy to call a manager – typically among the few white faces in the building – a “racist” and march off to Human Resources with the claim, each time an entitled person did not like what he was being asked to do.

This country is in a mess. Racial division hasn’t been this bad since the “I have a dream” speech. But I am going to leave it to those who voted for this lifestyle, to fix it. The input, ethics and standards of us old codgers is, apparently, no longer required.

So, I will allow the taxes of the younger generation – the ones who work, that is – to direct deposit a monthly stipend to my bank account and my involvement will cease. I’m half way there, after giving up Cable TV.

A few weeks ago my neighbor rumbled by, his Dodge pick up sounding even more throaty than usual. I looked up to see that he was pulling a 30′ travel trailer. An idea started small but is building and getting organized. If I’m not going to stay in Georgia, where will I go?

Well, I already own a truck. I could find something to pull and live in. With a laptop computer, electronic statements from the bank and credit card company, online banking, direct deposit, a cell phone whose bill goes directly to my American Express card and many RV Parks with free Wi-Fi, who needs a “bricks and sticks” residence?

I don’t know what I’m after but I’ll know what I’m looking for when I get there.

“Gordon and Tupelo” (my orange tabby cat). It will be “Route 66”, “Along Came Bronson” plus “Harry and Tonto” all rolled into one, with Johnny Cash singing background music…

“I’ve been to been to Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota, Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa, Oklahoma, Tampa, Panama, Mattawa, La Paloma, Bangor, Baltimore, Salvador, Amarillo, Tocopilla, Barranquilla, and Padilla…”

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