The Kerouac Thelma Margaret Road-Thrill Joy Ride

Listen to Jim: 

or read on…


When I was young and knew nothing but what my imagination dreamed up, I thought it would be most amazing if one day I could muster the courage to Hit the Road, Destination Unknown.

Lying abed late at night, the moaning whistles of passing trains would feed my fantasy of hopping a freight and hobo-ing it to the Next Place Thataway.

Books such as Robinson Crusoe and Toby Tyler or Ten Weeks with a Circus made it seem possible to run away and self-survive, prove my manhood—to whom?—and come back to town a seasoned hero.

Later literature kept up the pressure: I could run wild like Kerouac and Cassady…go pell mell like Thelma and Louise…get to know mysterious people like Steinbeck and Charley, take the blue highways like Least Heat Moon.

And, true to my metaphorical destiny, I did go on the road…but solely in baby steps. To this day, a visit to Pratt City or Columbia, South Carolina or Victor, Idaho or Gardendale are equally fun and adventurous. As soon as I press the pedal, I’m off and running, seeking material for the Museum of Fond Memories, material for my blast/blog/tweet/facebook/books, material to riffle through in old age.

When she was a teen-ager, my daughter Margaret and I occasionally took to the road—off to a reunion or a visit or a flea market, racing along and loving every minute of it. Back then, Margaret, being psychically connected to me, abandoned herself to my goals—those goals being to enjoy the moment and not worry about anything else at all.

First thing Margaret and I did at the start of every journey was stop at a convenience store—any convenience store—and load up on all the junk food we weren’t allowed to eat at home. Crackling cellophane, popping cola tops, outrageous belching and lots of laughter drowned out the rest of the world. We would end each trip happy and satisfied, having tossed care to the winds if only for a few hours. There were no negatives to these adventures, if you don’t count the inevitable indigestion.

It was inexpensive therapy.

To this day, Margaret still has adventures, having been all over the place, from the top of the Tetons, to Paris, to England, to Jackson Hole, to Costa Rica, to Cuba, to Tanzania, to China, to Panama, to the Snake River. I can’t go with her, but I live every moment vicariously, traveling in mind and heart with my long-ago companion. She always reports back to me and we always laugh in memory green.

I still journey throughout the world and to corners of the universe, but I do it the best way I know…each day showing up at the Museum of Fond Memories and passing artifacts on to you and others—artifacts from the past 500 years and the far corners of the planet.

Come in and take a road trip around the shop with me

Comments are closed.