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  • Driving around the middle of the country with only an idea of a destination in mind, we began to realize we were lost. Although being 'lost and anonymous' became basically the point of the entire trip, we suddenly realized we were the real kind of lost. The kind of lost that isn't exactly fun anymore. With the new awareness of our less-than-half-full gas tank, and the seemingly endless road stretched out in front of us, we decided to admit defeat and pull into a tiny shop along side of the road.

    The look of surprise that came over the old shop owner as we walked in confirmed what we had thought. This "Rugs, Hair Products, and More" shop had gone from being someones attempt at a family business, into part of the scenery. An object of photography interest as thousands of travelers drove past without stopping in.

    "How lost are Y'all?" was the first comment from the owner.
    "Oh, is it that obvious?" "Haha! well y'all are in here aint ya?"
    "Well, truthfully we were just exploring and taking pictures, but the country roads seemed to have gotten the best of us. Would you happen to know how to get back to I70?"
    "I70?! I havent been on that there road for years! To much people for me. Gotta take things slow at age like mine. Got everything I need right here! But I think I can get ye young'ns there."

    The old man hobbled over to the counter, his over-alls buckles clanking, leading the way for the cigar smoke that trailed him. As he ruffled through dusty piles of papers and jammed drawers I couldn't help but stare at him. His red mesh Snap-On hat, wispy hair, missing teeth, the scars on his hands and arms, his sunken blue eyes half hidden by wrinkles and bushy eyebrows, everything about him captivated me. He, as his shop, has slipped into the scenery. At first glance he just seemed like any other old farmer, but I couldn't keep my curiosities for the stories he must have out of my mind long enough to listen to the directions he found in a smoke-yellowed map. The only part I caught was: " 'nd when you come to the end of the road, you'll see a big ol' landmark. You can't miss it. 'Nd if you do, it might have worse consequences for yous than just bein' a bit road-lost haha!" Confused, we just accepted the directions without asking what the landmark was. After buying cold orange sodas and shaking his rough hand, we left- on the search for our big ol' landmark.

    When we came to the end of the road, we didn't miss it.

    We sat and stared at it for a long while. What we had dismissed as rambling nonsense about the 'worse consequences' we would surly have for missing our landmark, suddenly made perfect sense.

    Perhaps this could be a lesson he learned, disguised behind one of his many wrinkles, as a story waiting to be told.
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