All In A Day

a writing by Kent Reedy

You drive north from sadness on the big freeway built for just that purpose. After a couple of hours, you pull into Amarillo. One of the streets there goes up a little hill for part of a block, and you see a few little houses on that street going up the hillside. Seeing that you've come to a city that's not completely flat, you have hope that maybe this is someplace better. Then you look around some more and see that it's really not much different. But it is a hint of what is to come. You know that there are better places ahead. Maybe you stop for lunch in Amarillo, but you don't stay long, and soon you are on the road again. This time you are going west on a different freeway, Interstate 40.

Soon you cross into New Mexico, and a little while after crossing the state line you turn onto a smaller highway that angles off to the northwest. You stay on that road for what seems like a long time, until finally you come to Interstate 25, very near the little town of Las Vegas. You drive onto that freeway heading north just as the sun is starting to set. Eventually you come to Raton Pass, the mountainous divide between Colorado and New Mexico, and you easily go up over the pass and down the other side. This is late spring, probably one of the best times of the year to be crossing Raton Pass going in this direction. The land of hot summers lies behind you, and the land of cooler weather is ahead.

You continue traveling north through evening darkness, past fields and a few scattered towns, until you come to Colorado Springs. There the road becomes more brightly lit for a while, until you get past the city and into some rugged countryside to the north. You drive through a desolate landscape for maybe half an hour, or a little more, but then you see a few lights, and soon thereafter the road begins a gradual decline as it gets closer to the metropolis ahead.

You pass an exit sign saying "County Line Road", and a couple of miles after that you come to another one that says "Arapahoe Road". You take this exit and head west on Arapahoe Road. After a few miles you come to a residential area, and then the road ends at another major street, Broadway. You turn right on Broadway, and a few blocks ahead you come to a McDonalds. It is kind of late - maybe 10 or 11 pm - but the McDonalds is still open, and you pull in to get something to eat.

There is a slight breeze, and in the parking lot you can smell the scent of pine trees wafting in the air. There is flowing water nearby. This was like entering the City of Oz after a perilous journey on the Yellow Brick Road; it was like coming to the Promised Land after wandering in the desert. It was so different than the place you just left that morning that it was almost like landing on another planet. But in reality, it was Littleton, Colorado, and soon it would be summertime - the summer of 1970. It was the beginning of a new season and a new decade, and it was starting off in a much better place.

The Trip Home - 1971
Stories of Littleton
The Establishment Strikes Back

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