Lemme sleep on it…I’ll give ya an answer in the morning…

Decisions… dear bloggg, we have definitely had this conversation before. Not necessarily little meaningless decisions, nor always delicately-balanced fencepost ones that could fall one way or another at the whim of a gentle neural breeze. Sometimes they’re downright entangled, pulled simultaneously in several directions with such force that you’re almost afraid to touch them, that the slightest disturbance will send things ripping apart. This would take too long to explain, even to myself, so I won’t. I thought I had that one licked, well-researched and set in stone, then some stuff happened, and when it came up again I kind of had to start over from scratch, grinding into the wee hours of the night. I don’t really remember it..I never remember exactly what it was I was thinking just before I fall asleep, even if it seemed really important at the time, and I told myself that whatever happens, I should remember this.

* * *

On the way to the cabin for my new years eve party, at the Lorenzo Rd. exit on I55, I passed by the River Restaurant, the truck stop our family had stopped at on the way for as long as I could remember. At one time, this offramp–seemingly laid out in a time when the speed limit was 55 and cars weren’t really meant to go much faster–consisted of a surprise 3-way intersection a couple hundred feet around a sharp blind curve. If you weren’t expecting it, you would have slid more or less right into the restaurant’s parking lot, that’s how close to the main road it was. A couple years ago someone got the idea to drastically redesign the ramps at this exit and reroute Lorenzo Rd. to accommodate this grand design, with the side effect that the restaurant, once convenient spitting distance from the hard road, was now off down a potholed stretch of gravel and mostly hidden behind a Clark station. Even though the actual change was only a few hundred feet, my dad remarked, as if common knowledge, that this small inconvenience would spell its slow but certain demise. I don’t remember us ever stopping there again, and indeed, as our group pulled into the Clark station for gas, the restaurant parking lot was all but deserted. Silly humans…so nonsensical, and yet thoroughly predictable.

One of my more vivid memories of the place, besides the meager but oddly irresistible salad bar and downright respectable fried catfish, is of being a young boy and watching a pair of locals walk in and buy a fistful of scratch-n-win lottery tickets. They stood at the counter and scratched away, only to be disappointed time and again. When the last of the tickets had been scratched, they bought more. Scratch, lose, scratch, lose, scratch. I had a fuzzy notion of how the lottery system worked, but I had to ask, “Dad…why do they keep doing it if they know they’re just going to lose again?” He told me what the jackpot was, and my eyes just about came out of my head. I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was a helluva lot in kid dollars. He went on to kind of explain/rant about gambling, about the potential payoff being so great that in some cases people won’t care how many times they lose; as long as they have the chance to play again, they will. If you could have one unbelievably lucky strike and be set for the rest of your life, wouldn’t you want to give it a try? What would you risk for that shot?

I’m not sure I really understood at the time, but I think I’m starting to.






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