Upon learning of my return to The Evening Sun, many people told me “I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you in Albuquerque.” On the contrary, I think it worked out great.
No, I did not find a writing job out there, but I did gather some lifetime experiences that I won’t forget. I traveled 2,000-plus miles side by side with my son Elijah riding shotgun. It was the most time we have spent together (alone) since the day he was born. We talked for many hours, and I was happy to have the company on such a long trip.
Along the way I stopped in Cincinnati to spend some time with my old friend Stephen Del Vecchio and his longtime partner, Jen Maiurano. Stephen is a great host, and we spent all day Saturday participating in numerous sightseeing activities. We also walked about seven miles to get to those sites including a 45-degree climb up a hill that was equal parts solid ground and mud. It was an ill-advised shortcut that left us with muddy hands, shoes, and pants.
From Cincinnati, Elijah and I trekked through several states I had not seen before and right past the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. It is a landmark that signals passage to the western half of the country, and I suppose I expected to be more awe-inspired. We stopped after the second leg of our three-day journey in Joplin, Mo., site of the horrible multiple vortex tornado in 2011. A big chunk of the town was wiped out, and the devastation resulted in the deaths of nearly two-dozen people. From what I saw, the city is bouncing back nicely, although the lady who checked us in at our hotel said there were still some spots that remain in total disrepair.