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.
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….
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!!!
For many months I have been preparing to make the long trip to Texas, Oklahoma, Joplin Missouri, Kansas City, Council Bluffs to pick up the signs that I had been buying all over the Country but that would be held by friends in those locations until I cold get there to load them up. Just like a little kid at Christmas I can’t sleep as I think about finally getting started on my trip. Finally Sept 4th came and I had planned on leaving at about 6am so we could make the trip to Amarillo that is about a 13 hour trip if all goes well.
As expected I awoke at 4 am in anticipation and we were ready and out the door by 5am. I had filled my little trusty fanny pack with cash just in case we found some unanticipated signs along the trip and remembered putting it on my little suitcase in the closet. As we drove up Spanish Fork Canyon I checked to see if I had the fanny pack with the cash and found that it was no where to be seen. I stopped and checked everywhere including digging through my suitcase! NO fanny pack! I wasn’t panicked as we had left early so we just returned home about 20 min away and went in and checked the closet where I had last seen it. NO fanny pack!I checked everywhere! I rechecked the truck, my suitcase and everything I could think of. Last of all I checked moms suitcase. THERE IT WAS! She had forgotten that she threw it in… OOPS We get a lot of those oops moments these days but were grateful to find it and we’re back on the road again laughing at each other for our old age disabilities.
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.