Painting ©2018 John Clark III
Thought I'd be sleeping in my own bed tonight, with a pair of comfortable warm arms and soft hands holding me close, but I didn't quite make it home from El Paso, about a 550-mile drive. Fatigue started to set in and then it started getting dark and the skies opened up as I got to Junction, Texas, and so I reluctantly decided to call it a day.
A good move, I think, as it continues to pour down outside this nice little Best Western. I was slip-sliding away a few times on the highway, and that'll make your heart rate go up a little bit.
A few days ago, on my trip along Route 66 in California, I stopped at a convenience store near a place called Newberry Springs. After I gassed up the car, I went inside to use the servicios, and there was a dude sitting in a metal folding chair seriously bending the ear of the girl behind the counter. I mean, this guy was doing some talking, yo?
I saw an opportunity.
On my way out, I stopped and introduced myself, and he jumped up and grabbed my hand and shook it. I told him I was traveling Route 66 and interviewing people along the way and he looked to me like he might have some stories to tell. Would he mind answering a few questions?
Sure, he said, with a big smile on his face, you wanna buy me a beer?
No problem. I paid for my gas, bought him a cold one and we went outside and stood in the shade and off he went.
Turns out his name is Ricardo Polanco-Navarro, son of an Apache mother, Spanish father, and a descendant of Geronimo. Ricardo, 59, was born in El Centro, Calif., graduated high school in 1975 in Redlands, and a year later, he joined the Army, with high hopes of taking full advantage of all the opportunities the military can provide.
Things didn't turn out as planned. He left after two years.
"I joined, and so I decided to take my ball and go home, because they weren't fair. They used me as a scapegoat for some things, and it just wasn't good."
He went back to Redlands, angry and resentful over his treatment by the military.
He did some landscaping work, married once, and had some other relationships that resulted in three children. Now, he is living with his 78-year-old mother, helping her and helping other people when he gets the opportunity.
Life, he says, hasn't gone exactly as planned, but he relies on his faith to keep going one day at a time.
"Like in the Bible, I'm a sojourner. I'm an adventurer. You know, things could be better, but I can't wait for Jesus (to return). That's what I'm waiting for -- the rapture, you know? I just take things one day at a time. I like to try to help people whenever I can. That's what it's all about, really.
"I want people to know that Jesus is the law, and Jesus is Lord. That's the main thing. There's one commandment that really matters: Love one another. Take care of each other. If we all would just do that, everything else would take care of itself."
Can't really argue with that ....
A few reviews of John's books
The 30-Day Optimism Solution:
“Part memoir, part informative text. You get both when reading 'Depression Blues' by John H. Clark III. Mr. Clark shares his struggles with depression in an honest and real way, and as the book progresses, so does his hope. Woven into the story as jumping off points are bits of information about depression and ways to "conquer" the sadness, loneliness, and despair that comes with it.
Mr. Clark becomes more than an author in this book; he becomes a friend who understands the pain of depression and provides light. I recommend this book to anyone looking for light or to anyone who knows someone with depression and wants to learn more.”
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