Saturday, July 14, 2007


Provocative title, don't ya think?

Thursday, the 12 th, I left the St. Louis Metro Area and drove south down IH 55 to Memphis. It was dark by the time I reached Memphis, but I pressed on south through Mississippi. I saw the turn off for the Natchez Trace Highway, but since it was dark I decided it would be a waste of time.

Just think, a trip out of the St. Louis Metro area a hundred years ago would have taken several days or more. But think about 1830, it likely would have been barge only. Now, I was racing down the highway at 70 miles each and every hour. Another fifty years and it may likely take only minutes (if we're still around as a human race) to make the same trip -- where does it end?

I looked at the foliage and trees on the sides of IH 55 when the fading light allowed it and wondered how long it would take to cut a road through the tangle of vines, roots and trees. And then, there were the attacks of hostiles. Of course, one man's friend might have been another's hostile. Are maybe it was one hostile against another.

Anyhow, I arrived at Jackson at 1:30 am Friday morning. It never ceases to amaze me to pull into a motel where parking is marginal and wake up to find you're the only car left there. After breakfast at the waffle house, near downtown Jackson (I stayed at the Red Roof Inn -- where else would an Indian stay?), I crossed the Pearl River toward IH 12 and a short trip to Baton Rouge (Red Stick) to pick up IH 10.

At Baton Rouge sits a Destroyer Escort that is dear to me. It's tied up on the East side of the river and years ago, I had stopped to tour this ship, and I had close to an out of body event. In short, I had entered the after steering part of the ship, below the fantail and had a bone chilling flashback -- I had suddenly been carried 40 years back to a Destroyer known as DD 763, The USS William C Lawe -- the "Willy C."

At the time, I was headed to a ships reunion in Charleston, S.C. The Willy C. had been decomissioned years early and resided in the James River. It was being stripped. And I discovered the After Steering Gear had been retrieved from her and sent to the USS Kidd in Baton Rouge -- what a shock. Many times, I had stood a watch in that area and my bunk was but feet away.

After Baton Rouge, I blew through Lake Charles and saw an off ramp for a street named Ryan St. (my relations). You really run through Lake Charles before you know it, but I'll be back to see some folks there -- the Rigmaiden's are relatives as well. At Sulphur I stopped at the "Boiling Point" and ate dinner with a couple named Vincent from the area (more relations), and the crabs and gumbo were fantastic -- it was all you could eat night.

I arrived in Houston at 9 pm Friday night and will operate out of Houston and San Antonio for the next three weeks which includes trips to Starks, Lake Charles, De Quincy, Vinton and in general, all over. I'll be driving a brand new, bright red Chevy Tahoe, with Texas Tags -- Ya'll hear. Wave at me when I stop for a hamburger in Starks.

Bet Yo Momma!
Gary J. Gabehart, Mishiho (Mish-eh-ho)

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