Painting ©2018 John Clark III
Today, I was standin' on the corner in Winslow, Arizona.
Not only that, I saw the " ... girl, my lord, in a flat bed Ford ... " that Glenn Frey of the Eagles sang about. See her?
Lots of beautiful, rugged scenery driving mostly interstate highway out of New Mexico and into Arizona. There are bits and pieces of Route 66 here and there, and it parallels I-40 for quite a ways, and when I cut through Winslow on ol' 66, I had to stop and take a look at the famous corner immortalized by the classic Eagles song, "Take It Easy," which was actually mostly written by Jackson Browne, who grudgingly handed it over to Frey, who at the time was living above him in a Los Angeles apartment. Frey finished the song and included it on his band's first album released in 1972.
After I snapped a few photos at Standin' On The Corner Park, I walked just across the street to Don and Sandra Myers' "On The Corner" T-shirt and souvenir shop and chatted them up. None of the Eagles band has ever stopped by their store, but two years ago, Jackson Browne himself walked through the door.
"He was standing right behind where you're standing now," Don said, a big grin on his face.
"It was so cool," Sandra added. "He came in with his girlfriend, bought a lot of T-shirts, and the next day he even did a little mini-concert with his whole band out in back of the La Posada Hotel. He played about 10 songs, and he told the story about how he wrote, 'Take It Easy.'
"He was headed back to California and his car broke down three times, once in Winslow. The last time it broke down was in Flagstaff, and he left it on the side of the road and never saw it again. His friends had come up behind him in a five-panel Dodge van, picked him up, heading back to L.A., and he wrote the song in the back of the van.
"He wasn't all the way done with it, and Glenn Frey kept hearing him working on the song. The Eagles were working on their first album, and Glenn Frey kept telling him, 'That's a great song. I need that song.' And he kept telling him, 'No, no.' Finally, he bugged him enough and Jackson Browne said, 'OK, you can finish it. But you have to put something in there about how the women out west drive pickup trucks, because it's so damn sexy.'
"He said Glenn Frey did the song the ultimate justice by putting in something about God, women and pickup trucks, all in one line."
Unlike many towns that thrived during the heyday of Route 66 and are now withering away or mostly extinct, downtown Winslow is coming back to life, thanks in no small part to Route 66, which passes right by the famous corner. The Myers say they get between 100 and 500 people a day -- including visitors from all over the world -- during the tourist season, which starts to die out every year in November.
"Winslow used to be the main hub of the railway in Arizona. When Route 66 came through, it put a big hurt on the railway. Then the interstate came through and killed Route 66 -- that's a story everybody knows. It really destroyed this downtown," Sandra explained.
"But in the last 15 to 20 years, Route 66 has become what is saving this town, actually. We're still a railroad town -- over 100 trains come through here a day, and 90 percent of the people are employed by the railroad. But Route 66 is revitalizing our downtown.
"Do you know how Route 66 was completed? Did you hear that story? When they started building Route 66, they ran out of money. That was around the time of Prohibition, and Al Capone needed a way to get his stuff to the west coast. He funded the finishing of Route 66. It's true."
A pretty awesome day, especially considering I also may have driven in Elvis Presley's tire tracks yesterday. I decided to spend the night at an old Route 66 landmark, the Sands Motel in Grants, New Mexico, and they gave me room 125. Well, two doors down, in Room 123, is where Elvis stayed about 50 years ago. That's what they say, and here's a photo that backs up the story.
Told ya so ...
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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