Mountain Men, Merle Haggard, and Bathrooms

Traveler’s Tip #345 
Passing through Southern Idaho? You might check-in to the Declo Hotel. Although I have the feeling the shadows that linger there are pretty fresh. And it’s a known fact some have heavier footsteps than others… 
  

Greetings travelers. I’m coming to you live from Starbucks in Reno while our truck is undergoing an operation at the shop on the corner. Praying the mechanic has nimble fingers—we’re playing in Lodi tonight and it’s a bit of a drive. Warning—I’m hopped up on a quad-shot Americano which brings my two-fingered typing speed close to a blistering 25 wpm so hold on to your hats, don’t want them to blow off. 
  
Been in Montana the last couple weekends. It’s been a rural, dirt-road sort of trip, Haggard and Hank the soundtrack in my head. My son and I walked a ghost town Sunday afternoon, although most of the ghosts seemed to have packed and hit the road. Maybe headed for Seattle, or Los Angeles, or someplace else with a Home Depot and a Chili’s—after all, it’s 2016. For what it’s worth, we did hear a one-man band with an umbrella strapped to his head and a kick drum on his back play a passable Secret Agent Man.   
  
Back roads America. The weeds are growing out there, closing in on the small town days and old ways. Still, it makes me smile that—far away from the maddening noise of suburban normality—there are tough and tender people, lined faces and hard hands, that have each other’s back and look you in the eye. They read scripture at the public high school graduation, and send the senior class of nine proud graduates out into the world with solid ground beneath their feet. Out there—cross my heart—mountain men still come down out of the hills once a year, packing everything they own on horses and mules. Librarians and yogurt shop owners smile, keep cans of air freshener handy, and never complain. 
  
Turn me loose, set me free 
Somewhere in the middle of Montana 
                                                       -Merle Haggard (Big City)   
 
  
Something tells me mountain men are never confused about which bathroom to use. I doubt Merle was either. 
  
And on we go, down the road, my son and I. Three weeks and lots more towns before we see our loved ones again. But it’s good. And we have the privilege of taking music and the infinite love of Jesus to so many people who have forgotten His name. The reunions are happy. 
  
The radio is broken. Sorry Glenn Beck, NPR, and Garrison Keillor. In the silence I’m reminded (again) that God is driving and He isn’t stressed. Not even about truck repairs, bills, or bathrooms. 
  
So be encouraged, pilgrims, there is a place, if you care to find it, where you can go to church on Sunday morning, and still get the Cowboy Special at Trixi’s Bar even though it’s after noon and they’ve stopped serving breakfast. 
  
Life is good. 
  
Fair winds, 
  
Buck 

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