Where Did That Baby Come From?
Driving through Colorado, several miles south of Las Animas, I spotted a nicely dressed man walking on the shoulder of Highway 350. He was pushing a baby stroller . There was nothing protruding from the bright yellow stroller that would indicate that the stroller might contain a homeless person’s possessions.
The stroller was a three wheel, newer type. The sunroof was up as protection from a late morning sun. The man was walking facing traffic, and by all appearances had an infant out for a morning walk. However, I was unable to see a baby in the stroller as I drove past.
Here is the mystery: for the next several miles, there were no homes in sight. No disabled car beside the highway. It was seven miles to the edge of the next town on the wide open prairie landscape. It was as though the walker and the carriage had suddenly dropped out of the sky.
I eventually guessed that the man was headed back to Las Animas after a long walk out of town earlier that morning. Still, it was an unsolved puzzle. Just where did that man and his baby come from? It is the same question I may have asked my mother seventy-two years ago when my first sibling arrived on the scene.
“Where did that baby come from!”
Willie Nelson wrote and sang his famous “on the road” song about music tours. I have heard it played many times as I, too, was on the road.
I love driving on the open road, particularly on backroads and the older two-lane state roads. So I shun air flights as much as possible when traveling in the United States to visit my scattered relatives. Interstate highways don’t stimulate my Milepost Muse like the state and county roads do.
On the “I-number” highways, the scenery always appears the same for long stretches. Mile after mile of mostly distant scenery interspersed with repetitive franchise signs at exits. The muse tends to sleep and I fight the same temptation. I use the interstate roads only to make up time after dalliances on slower, more stimulating cut-across routes.
As you can imagine, I take a bit longer to reach my destination than most of my fellow automobile travelers. Still, my Muse gets revved up; stimulated by weirdly painted houses or barns, collections of rusted old cars, out of the way museums and local lore, small town cafes called Mom’s or Jerry’s Place, horses and cows with their necks strung through fencing, where I suppose they believe the grass truly is greener. Locales for stories, names for characters, scenes for a poem, history for an article, passing by in a continuous stimulation stream.
Almost no lengthy trip fails to generate a few ideas for articles, a poem, a short story, or even one of my crude attempts at watercolor painting. So, like Willie Nelson, I love being on the road again.
And so does the Milepost Muse who always takes home some new writing content.