Who is the "real" Picker?

Turns out when I got to the ”Pickers” house he only had one of the signs as the other one had never been delivered to him as promised, YIKES! Months of planning and promises and it wasn't going together! I made my panic texts to the guy from Hannibal Missouri who was suppose to have dropped it off at the Dixie meet so it would be there for me but someone had dropped the ball and it didn't happen.

I stopped and got the one sign but Rusty Carpenter just left it on the front porch as he had to go to a daughters ball game and couldn’t meet me. Sad as he’s a famous guy in the hobby and I wanted to meet him. He had a big Sinclair sign I wanted to buy but had other people waiting along the route and couldn’t be late. We got the sign and headed for the next stop in Orrick, Mo.

Orric is in the middle of nowhere on dirt/gravel roads to pick up a rare COOP sign pole I had found on eBay months before. I had saved a special place on the trailer rack to load it as I knew it might be tricky getting it loaded. We finally met the seller and he had a little tractor and we got it loaded right on the gravel road with no problems whew, and headed off to Counsil Bluffs Iowa.

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How long does it take to count 20 Pills?

Upon getting to the pharmacy we found that we only had the RX for the nausea and not the one for pain? I had the pharmacy call the hospital in Amarillo to see what had happened but of course no one knew anything and the Dr I saw was now off and wouldn’t be back until 9pm.

Nice I thought! I tried everything I could think of but it is very tricky with class 2 pain pills so no luck! Finally after another couple of hours driving I noticed a small piece of paper in the center console of the truck and check it out. Oops again… It was the lost prescription that mom had put there and forgot. We stopped again and got it filled just in case! It took forever to fill but we had no choice except to wait. Finally I lost my patience and went up to the counter and asked how long does it take to count out 20 pills? She checked and the prescription had been waiting but no one called our name. Par!

Just Another Sign or Two...

We headed for Lubbock to see my collector friend Rusty Cook that has a huge and incredible collection of signs on poles as well as a huge Events Center (Cooks Garage) and auto restoration shop etc etc. He’s a very creative and ambitious guy as well as a very nice guy. They serve delicious food at his place but since I couldn’t eat I had to pass on the food this time. We then headed off to a little town called Cisco which is down by Fr Worth where I had bought a sign off of Facebook a while back. We loaded that up and headed to Waxahachie where the big load awaited us.

We stayed the night in Waxahachie and began loading at about 8:30 am the next morning. Fortunately Scott Green has helpers that made the job of loading the 30 plus signs pretty easy for me. All I had to do was show them which signs went where. I put all the big 6 foot round signs in the truck rack and the ovals on the trailer in a special rack I had designed for this trip to carry the big load I had bought. Yes I bought another sign or two from Scott while I was there, but I also rejected an Amoco I had bought as it was smaller than I had thought it was.

Diet Pepsi it is!

Lots of Diet Pepsi and nothing else for days on end. I was also prescribed some pills for nausea and for pain. We were released from the hospital at 6am after they gave me another dose of pain meds and made me promise not to drive. I didn’t bother to tell them that mom couldn’t drive the truck and trailer so I just quietly drove back to the hotel where we both went to bed.

When I woke up I went to meet my first sign collector to pick up the two signs I had waiting for me that I had purchased when I was in Hawaii several months earlier on Facebook. While there I found a couple of more signs he had and bought them too.

I was feeling much better by then and loaded the four signs on the truck in my special sign rack and went back to the hotel to get mom and get back on the road. We had signs awaiting….

more signs awaiting DX Sign

What...5 Days of clear liquids????

The drive to Amarillo takes us thru Price, Greenriver, Moab and Monticello before turning off to go to Cortez and Shiprock. All very pretty driving even though most of it is two lane roads. Very hard to find anything decent to eat along that route so we ate ordinary Mexican food in Farmington where we found an easy place to park our big truck and trailer in the lot.

Finally we arrived in Amarillo at a pretty early hour and got a nice Motel room. Unfortunately I had been suffering from a dull stomach ache for the previous couple of days that I expected to subside with time but it didn’t subside at all. In fact it got so intense that a about 11pm I finally figured out this could be something very serious and needed to get some attention. We got up and headed to the ER which I have only done once before in my 78 years and that was when I had appendicitis about 30 years earlier. So we looked up the local hospitals in Amarillo and headed to the BSA ER where I got immediate attention but only got sent to a room and go no help for the pain which continued to increase with time.

Finally after and hour of waiting a Doctor finally came in and had the nurse add some morphine in the IV drip which soon gave some relief. Of course they took blood and urine and after an exam the Doctor pronounced the diagnosis of Pancreatitis….. WHAT?

Where did that come from? We made the assumption that it must have been a reaction to all of the health supplements that I am taking to prevent Alzheimer’s. Who knows? In any event the therapy was zero food for 5 days and only clear liquids!!!

A Hobby of Hope....

Some of you may be wondering who on earth is the obsessed person that has such a passion for Petroliana sign collecting? Well honestly I have wondered the same thing….and it is my dad. Sparky Sparks is his name, or at least what he goes by. He has a passion like no one I have ever know. He has GRIT and perseverance, he finds work fun and hobbies are only useful if they have a future purpose. We his 8 children wonder, “WHAT IS THE PURPOSE” of collecting sign after sign after sign, driving all around the country at 78 years old?

Our mom, Jeannie, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago hasn’t slowed this passion but instead just pushes the passion of hours on end spent together traveling, making memories and collecting signs. Does she love it like he does? No, but she loves him and his addiction to this “Hobby of Hope” I will call it. Hope in what?

Hope in a love of life, making memories, persevering, staying young, making connections, and cultivating new friendships along the way. A hope of, surviving hard things and doing it together as a couple who loves eachother and spends just about every moment together on the road or off.

This blog is written by me, his daughter, Tiffany, and by him sharing their adventures about his Hobby of Hope.