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May 22, 2020
A Time to Reflect...
Most of April, 2019 for me was spent on the road and not just any road, but the Mother Road (Route 66). In his epic classic American novel of the depression, John Steinbeck called Route 66 the Mother Road. It was the main artery of traffic from Chicago and the Midwest to California. From its inception in 1926 to its decommissioning in 1985 it became embedded in our culture with song and art and movies.
Since its decommissioning, Route 66 has become not just a road but a destination itself. Today masses of people travel from all over America and the world, to Chicago to travel Route 66. Many of the iconic places that made the highway so famous are still there and many have been added to celebrate the history and culture of Route 66.
Bob Mullen created one such place, his Gasoline Alley. It was one of my favorite spots on Route 66.
I am Bob Mullen of Bob's Gasoline Alley, Cuba Mo.
I Regret I did not start Collecting Memoriable 20 years Earlier.
Before I die I would like to travel the entire Route 66 mother Road.
Iphone photo of inside the Gasoline Alley
Bob passed away earlier this month very unexpectedly. I have 1500+ portraits of people. Some I know very well. 5 people who I photographed in the style of Bob above have passed away since I photographed them. Some of the people I photography very flippantly answered those questions. Some people came to the photo shoot with their answers written out. I give people several sheets of paper to answer one after watching people tear up there answers over and over.
Bob regretted not starting to collect things for his Gasoline alley much earlier. How many of us put off doing those things we enjoy. We are waiting till retirement or we have money? I know to many people who are putting off things for some day. Only for many, some day will never come. Bob was 62. I I know one goal he had that was left undone: "Before I die I would like to travel the entire Route 66 mother Road."
As I have done this book, I have allowed those questions to change my life. I reflect daily on who I want to be and try to live into those shoes.
I try hard to live in such a way as not to have regrets.
But more than any thing, I want to do those things that are important to me. So I traveled Route 66 and took thousands of photos to document it and now am writing a book.
While I have been home with the pandemic, 4 friends have died, yes 2 from the virus. It causes me to pause and really reflect on those questions, am I who I want to be, am I living authentic to my values? Is there any thing I regret that I need to fix? What do I want to accomplish in my life, what is important for me to leave behind?
I hope you are safe right now, I hope you are healthy as are those you love. And I hope we can use this time to become better than we were when all this mess started. Losing my friends made me so grateful for those who are in my life today and who I love that are still here.
Route 66 has become more than a road for me, it has become a metaphor of life and as the road rolls forward lets live in such a way that each mile is enjoyable.
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