Tuesday, May 27, 2003

May 27, 2003
Back from a wild road trip. Covered many miles, saw many wonders, almost got a divorce. Just a great big, fat American Family Road Trip experience if you know what I mean and I think you do.

First off, I know it’s not easy being married to a Western history nutcase. Just ask any poor woman whose husband has a subscription to True West. During the meltdown (seven hours into the third day of marathon driving just to see one more “cool ghost town” in the Black Range of New Mexico) my wife snapped and accused me of “deceiving” her and wondered aloud if I was tricking her out into this location to buy land in this god forsaken place. I assured her it was the last thing on my mind (okay, a small lie) and asked her if this was her way of being an agreeable travelling partner ( a vow she had made in our kitchen before the trip). This didn’t go over real well, and five minutes from our destination (dinner with a couple who live in the cool ghost town) I hit the brakes and the swearing contest began. I crammed the F-word into more grammatical situations than a pack of white trash metal heads in a ‘72 Firebird.

The kids were horrified. Then it was silent for a long time. Kathy tried to crack a joke but I wasn’t buying.

The dinner went fine, but I woke up in the middle of the night and I had the divorce papers signed and I went and got that nurse Lisa (see May 13 entry) and we went to every Old West hysterical marker and museum in the entire West and every time we came out of one, she would gush and say, “Oh Boze, let’s make love and go to another museum!” And this went on for years and years (and we hadn’t even been to North Dakota yet) until one day I realized she didn’t laugh like Kathy. Actually, Lisa didn’t even get my sense of humor—she thought I was just “sick.” And ultimately in 2012 I had to go back on my knees to Kathy’s house (I lost it in the divorce) and I cried and begged and admitted I was being a big, fat baby just like a certain friend of mine who acts like this all the time and now I understand why, but it didn’t help because I was in that miserable place and there was no one to blame.

As we waved goodbye yesterday morning and drove up the winding road out of the coolest ghost town in the entire West, this is what I said:

“Some people like to get to fun destinations like the beach in San Diego and they consider the road an obstacle. They read books and play games and listen to music, anything to make the miles go by faster. Others are in love with the road. They hate to return on the same road they came over on even if it means driving farther because they want to see new country and every mile is a wonder, especially if it has history involved. And that’s what this trip is to me. But now I feel different. Since we’ve had this fight I can’t wait to get home and every lousy mile that is ahead of us is just an obstacle and I want to get past it and if I could fly I would because I just want to be home. And feeling like this, I realize that’s how you feel (not just Kathy but Deena too) because you’re not real fond of this country and it’s not fair to torture you like I’ve been doing and I’m sorry.”

Long silence. “That’s exactly how we feel,” both women said. We pulled off into a big wash and hugged. And except for a crappy Jerry’s diner in Safford we made it home tired but happy.

“We stayed together because of the kids.”
—The Widow James (mother of Jesse and Frank)

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