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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

More Fast Cars, Some Good Food, and Plenty of Jesus: American Travels
Monday, November 20, 2023 @ 7:28 PM

I am  still in Oklahoma for a couple of weeks to come, staying with my son who runs the local water  company. He is fond of fast cars, when he has the chance, and we have just been for the Porsche Weekend in Arkansas, with a side trip to Missouri. 

We drove there - three of us - in three separate vehicles: an old red souped-up Corvette (me), a 2023 Corvette, and my son's Dodge Hell-Cat (fast on the straights, terrifying on the corners). There we found some five-hundred Porsches at the hotel in the small resort of Eureka Springs, on view together with their proud owners. Later, they would drive slowly and noisily through the streets in caterpillar style. One of the cars exhibited at the fayre and for sale was a Porsche GT4: I had driven it up there last year in another adventure. 

We carried on, that second day, to a peculiar resort in Missouri (me now driving the modern black Corvette with its elderly owner beside me, a splendid character who once invented a system to clean oil from impurities and has not drawn a sober breath from that day forward). Our destination was a place called Top of the Rock, a large and peculiar castle high in the Ozark Mountains. There's a golf course apparently, but we had parked and were bussed straight to a massive building which is built in huge rough-stone blocks. Inside there are terraces, several restaurants, a whisky bar, a museum and other wonders too. After refreshing ourselves - we are now eight - with a scotch or two, we went to a private room for our dinner.  

And so we come to food in America. Or at least, in the Mid-West. It's usually very good, huge and generous proportions, talkative waitpersons (ours was called Dan), although it ain't cheap no more like it used to be. Plus that tip, now twenty or even twenty-five percent.

I've always eaten well over in America, and will need to go on my regular crash diet when I get home again to Spain. 

The next morning, now once again in Eureka Springs, we decided to walk down the road from the motel to an eatery about two blocks away for breakfast in a nod to the Stop Oil people. The idea of sidewalks and even bicycle lanes here are still in the future: in most of America, everyone drives. 

Our drinking friend wanted to break his fast with a Bloody Mary with a bit of bacon sticking out of it (this is America folks, they've never heard of celery), while I ordered something rather more modest, along with several cups of cawfee. 

At the next table, a lone diner was seated with his back to us. Here and there, a staff-member would sit with him for a minute or two in conversation. I learned that he was travelling around the country on foot, carrying an eight-foot tall wooden cross. As he left, I went outside to speak with him. He called me 'Brother' and told me that he left his job and gave away his house and car almost four years before. Since then, he has walked across fourteen states with his cross and the clothes he stands up in (refreshed here and there by admirers). He looked good for another twenty states or so.

And talking of the Lord's Work, a few nights later, back in Oklahoma, I was invited around to an old Cherokee's house for an evening of Inspirational Songs (two guitars, a drum box and a pair of singers - it reminded me in that respect of a flamenco evening back home). My daughter in law is a member of this admirable tribe. We thus joined in with some of the neighbours, singing for an hour or so - songs in both English and Cherokee, making me - and I'm sure about this - to be the only Englishman to be ever serenaded in that language. 

And let's end where we began: Driving fast cars around the countryside. I even got stopped the other day and interviewed by the local TV as, er, 'President of the Tulsa Porsche Club' (standing in temporarily for my son, who is camera-shy), valiently explaining why we were all driving domestic muscle-cars that day ('Porsche-owners have to work all week to pay for them' I explained). 

As above- there are two more weeks of adventures to go...   


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