The Blue Whale, Catoosa, OK

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I am guilty of sitting around in my insulated world and not tapping into the wanderlust that is deep in my soul.  I am perfectly content to sit at home under the branches of my magnolia tree and read books.  Thankfully, my husband is more proactive and so every so often we get in the car and actually go someplace.

It is seldom anywhere romantic or exotic like Europe; usually it is to the Midwest to see his family in Iowa.  We have just returned from a two thousand mile trip through six states and while it wasn’t Paris, it was just what I needed.

I love getting out and meeting people on the road, hearing their stories, and tapping back into the heart of America.  I spend far too much time on the wrong side of the computer screen.

We drove Route 66 through Oklahoma and, armed with my maps and research, we explored The Mother Road and its roadside attractions.  We located original alignments and near Sapulpa, Oklahoma even found a patch where the asphalt had worn away right down to the original Portland concrete.

Sometimes it’s the little things!

We met a couple there who were doing the same thing; they had done half of Route 66 last year and were back this year to finish it up.  “We thought we could do it in two weeks,” he explained, “but each time we stop and talk to people or look at something, well, two hours have gone by!”

Near Catoosa, Oklahoma where The Blue Whale is, we met a man on a motorcycle who was taking the Mother Road east to west on his bike with his daughter; she learned how to ride just to do the trip with him.

In Baxter Springs, Kansas, where the Rainbow Bridge is, we found the friendliest people of the entire trip.  We talked to a man over breakfast who was originally from Louisiana so we had a lot in common.

This is what is so restorative about our little summer trips to the Midwest: we meet the nicest people, hear the coolest stories, and see the neatest things.  It’s not Paris, it’s not London, it’s America.  Real America, real people, and the roots of who we all are.  The trip restored my faith in us as a country and as a people.  To read the news, we are all angry about something or injured in some way by a monument or a bias.

This isn’t really true.  We are a land of proud people who love their communities and who have the capacity to reach out and be human.  We show kindness and can welcome strangers into our cities and towns.  We take time to talk to each other and find common bonds.  We share stories and meals and we always can appreciate the simple joys and the beauty around us.

Get outside this summer, y’all!

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport. She is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation.  Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25.

Chick fil-a in New England

A new USA today survey names Chick-Fil-A as the #1 fast food restaurant in the US. As you might guess as soon as the article went up there were commentators urging people not to go there because they supposedly “hate gays”. I submit and suggest that these very loud obnoxious people like the fedoraphobic ones I covered years ago protesting Chick-fil-a at the mall in Burlington MA have a lot to do with their continued success. At the time of those protests (2012) that was the only Chick-Fil-A in Massachusetts and one of only two or three in all of New England. Today I went to the Chick-Fil-A site and asked them to show me stores within 100 miles of my home the map above is the result.

Take a bow you fedoraphobic fools.


My oldest son’s birthday is next week and as a gift he and I are going to go see John Cleese. As he occasionally takes audience questions I was thinking of asking about the assumption that a person like me who has loved Python all his life can’t be a fan of Sarah Palin and of course Donald Trump’s Presidency, but I suspect he just might be more sympathetic to someone like me after this story:

Someone asked [BBC comedy controller] Allen if that would rule out shows like Monty Python in the future. He replied, “If you’re going to assemble a team now, it’s not going to be six Oxbridge white blokes. It’s going to be a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world.” That didn’t sit well with director and Monty Python cast member Terry Gilliam. Gilliam was asked what he thought of the comments and said he wanted to henceforth be known as a black lesbian:

Speaking at a press conference at the Karlovy Vary film festival, where he was presenting his new film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Gilliam said: “It made me cry: the idea that … no longer six white Oxbridge men can make a comedy show. Now we need one of this, one of that, everybody represented… this is bullshit. I no longer want to be a white male, I don’t want to be blamed for everything wrong in the world: I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian… My name is Loretta and I’m a BLT, a black lesbian in transition.”

He added: “[Allen’s] statement made me so angry, all of us so angry. Comedy is not assembled, it’s not like putting together a boy band where you put together one of this, one of that everyone is represented.”

It will be interesting to see if he addresses this during his talk now that the shoe is metaphorically on the other foot.


Yesterday my next door neighbor’s daughter celebrated her 21st birthday, I gave her this advice: she should look at a they any guy she dates not as a potential hookup but as the a person auditioning for the role of father and role model of her children and if they don’t pass the audition, move on at once. I once said that to a girl dating my son and she said: “If it had been anyone other than you saying this I would have left at once.” I would give that same advice for a guy, as my father said: “If she’s good enough to sleep with she’s good enough to marry.”


There have been stories lately about a huge rise in STD’s among the elderly. The explanation is very simple, the same 60’s generation that tossed my dad’s advice is now retiring. It’s funny how people tend to think of old people as a group as opposed to the same individual they were when young only grown older. That’s why I’ve never understood why people find stories of old thieves or murders as weird news. If a violent person or a thief manages to grow old I see no reason why he or she would change his or her ways.


Yesterday I saw news of a flash mob in DC, maybe it because of my age when someone says “Flash Mob” all I can think of is a bunch of old guys in trenchcoats exposing themselves in unison. It’s not a pleasant thought. Of course a real “flash mob” should all be in red suits or metal helmets.


Mediate reported that Steve Bannon was berated by a person while he was at a book store this weekend. What I found interesting about the story wasn’t that this happened or that people are attacking the owner of the story for calling the cops because someone was harassing a customer, but the fact that Steve Bannon still goes to book stores instead of ordering online. There is a pleasure in actually holding a book in your hands that an online or a kindle book just doesn’t convey, plus as long as you have either sunlight or a pair of glasses, your book will not run out of power.


There was a story in the Washington Free beacon about a pair of anti-capitalist-socialist rallies in NY . Instapundit highlighted the very true statement from one of the older marchers that: “None of this is new. This is just the same old stuff they told us to chant in the sixties—and nothing changed then either.. Other than curiosity about who “they” are (I suspect it’s the foreign governments who pay for this stuff as a cheap and easy way to give grief and play the media) I think it’s worth pointing out that in a city of over 8,500,000 people getting a crowd of 8000 is not a very big deal, it’s kind of like getting a crowd of 38 in my home town of Fitchburg MA population 40,000, but the media fall for it every time, mainly because they want to .


A group of Democrat Socialists went after Mitch McConnell while he was at lunch. You might wonder why he doesn’t bother to have security get rid of these fools. I suspect the reason is the same that Trump doesn’t fire Mueller. Each time these fools do this kind of thing to him, or Sarah Sanders or Steve Bannon they help keep the GOP in general and Trump in particular in power. I still think with more Sicilians in government these threats would practically disappear.


I completed my fourth “interviews with immigrants” interview last week, it’s not gotten the reception I’d hoped but then again there is nothing to sensationalize in them. Their answers are their answers and the data is the data and the market for information for the sake of it isn’t what it used to be.


Finally by the time you’re reading this President Trump will have named his Supreme Court pick to replace Anthony Kennedy.  If he takes Barrett as I believe he will, it will be interesting to see how Collins and Murkowski vote, if he picks Ray Kethledge then I suspect it likely means he won’t need their votes this time around, of course he might pick someone else altogether but no matter who he picks I guarantee you that the media/left will declare his pick the greatest threat to American Democracy that the country has ever seen

….until the next vacancy on the Supreme Court comes up, then the person Trump picks for that one will inherit the title.