Tuesday, March 18, 2008


He was smoking beef ribs on the tailgate of his new, white Ford pickup truck. He was there when we left in search of dinner. And he was there when we got back.

I go by Chuck, he said, as we introduced ourselves. He was turning his ribs just a few more times. They were almost ready.

We stood there for a while talking about things. He told us how he had fashioned his smoker from a propane tank using a welding torch to cut it in half[*]. He was particularly proud of the little chimney he had added to the side.

And he told us about his job pulling windmill towers to the top of the mesas on the south side of the Interstate just east of town.

I drive a big KW, he said, and the thing is, I get a whole day's pay and only put 10-15 miles on it each day.

He though it was funny to be able to work a whole day and cover so little distance.

Trudy offered him a cold Corona Lite. He said no thanks and turned his ribs again and said, Just about ready.

In the hotel parking lot.
Fort Stockton, Texas

[*] Washing it out with soapy water first, of course.

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A Morning Departure in Our Usual Way

The night before we left for Big Bend, Ben asked if our morning departure would be late in the morning as is our usual way. I chuckled and said, No, we're packing everything tonite.

But there were two work things I needed to finish before I could pack my stuff, and of course it took forever to finish them. Near midnight, I was still not packed. Ben's suitcase, however, was sitting by the door in the living room ready for that early morning departure.

Early morning came.

I still needed to pack. We needed to finish packing our food. And eight days worth of stuff needed to be crammed into the car (which turned out to be quite a feat even though we were staying at the lodge and wouldn't be camping).

Early morning went.

We left just after noon — a morning departure in our usual way.

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