Still on the Road / by Bill Frakes


Strange flight tonight.

Leaving Nebraska for likely the last time in 2016 — (yikes, “Leaving Nebraska” sounds rather like a poem about death).

In any case, my work demands that I have always had to spend huge chunks of time away from this good land where I was born. Although I know I'll certainly be back, getting on a plane headed out always makes me melancholy. The wide open spaces and wide open, heartfelt people are a mainstay of so much of my favorite images.

It wasn't a bad night for flying. Good music, great literature, smooth skies. Ready to devote myself to 10 days of writing and editing before the skies beckon again.

I'm listening to Ben Folds, a recommendation from NPR. I've been a fan for years, but watching a Tiny Desk concert — what a treasure those are — caused me to put Folds high on my music rotation. Plus, I really like his initials.

While traveling today, I've been devouring Sherman Alexie's fine book, "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.”

I had spent a good chunk of the early part of today in Lincoln, reading about Standing Rock and DAPL. So the conversations in this book are especially moving and not a little surreal.

When I settled into my North Florida bound flight from Atlanta, I was in a fine mood until one of the other passengers studied the Stetson I was wearing and said snidely, "is the Urban Cowboy look still a thing?"

I resisted the temptation to comment on his ridiculous suspenders and presumptuous bow tie. Instead, I simply smiled and adjusted the collar of the shirt that I had bought, along with everything else I'm wearing at Young's in Valentine.

He grimaced and asked plaintively where I was from would require such headwear on any day save Halloween.

My personal heaven actually.