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Tom Mix Memorial -- Photo by Pat Bean

“I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: ‘Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.’ I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have.” – Harry S. Truman

Cowboy Memorial

While driving a lonely stretch of Highway 79 in Arizona awhile back, I came upon this Tom Mix Memorial. Mix, just for all you youngsters out there who may never have heard the name, made over 325 movies between 1910 and 1935. All but nine of them silent films.

While this cowboy was a bit before even my time, I did see a few of his last movies when they played as Saturday matinees at the Lisbon Theater in Dallas. Looking at the memorial I could almost smell the popcorn and feel the rough-cushion of the seats in that old theater.

Landscape near where Tom Mix crashed his vehicle and died of a broken neck in 1940. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I wonder if it’s still there, on Lancaster Avenue in South Oak Cliff. I couldn’t find it on the Internet, but I did come across a site for Lisbon Elementary, which I attended in the first grade.

Mix died in 1940, very near this memorial, which it was evident had seen better days.

Traveling is a two-part journey. First there’s the joy of seeing new sights and learning new things, and then comes the connections that take one back to other times and other places.

It takes both things to satisfy my wanderlust.

Bean’s Pat: Things I love http://tinyurl.com/87gobqe I have Portuguese in my genes, but I would love this blog even if I didn’t.

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A memorial to Tom Mix can be seen off Highway 79 in Arizona. Mix was a silent movie cowboy. He died in an auto accident near this memorial. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca, pray that the road is long, full of adventure, full of knowledge.” — Constantine Peter Cavafy

 Travels With Maggie

I should have a sign on the back of my RV that reads: I stop at roadside markers. Such frequent halts let me fully appreciate the landscape around me, give me an opportunity to take some photos, and time to listen and look for birds. It’s all about enjoying the journey as much as the destination.

The truth is, I’ve often enjoyed the journey more than the destination. But not all people think of a trip in the same way.

Twenty or so years ago, I drove cross-country with my oldest son, a career military man, and his wife. They were on their way to a new base where he had been transferred. My son’s only goal for the trip was the destination. Even pee stops were rationed.

His wife still laughs about the time I finally hit him on the head when he passed two service stations after I had told him that I needed a restroom break.

Echo Amphitheater is located off Highway 84 in New Mexico. No way would I have passed by without stopping for a closer look at this scenic beauty. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The next long trip I took with that same son was in 2004, when he drove back with me in my new RV from Texas to Utah. It took a week, with short stops at road markers all along the way and longer visits to places like Carlsbad Caverns and Monument Valley, to reach our destination.

 That trip must have opened his eyes. I say so because he recently thanked me for helping him learn to enjoy each moment of a journey instead of always focusing on the destination ahead.

It’s one of the nicest compliments I’ve every received.

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