Running with Meaning

           Clyde Baxter

Clyde Baxter

 He sprinted to the next line of railroad tracks. By now home lay miles behind him.

Clyde Baxter had reached the Texas Panhandle on his westward venture. There was no going back to Oklahoma. Nor of staying in the dust-plagued panhandle. Croplands were desperate for rain. A new term was even coined.  The assault was, indeed, transforming the plains into a dust bowl.

Increasing his speed along a moving string of box cars, he selected one and leapt aboard.

A handkerchief shielded his eyes somewhat from a blowing grime. A few more days of riding the rails and (he hoped) he could reach San Francisco Bay.

His body craved food but he hungered to find work even more. He resolved to press on, hoping to avoid the bulls (railroad police) along the way.

Clyde Baxter’s surname was Lout – the man whom I would later on call Daddy. Both his parents died before his seventh birthday.  Deprived in this way of parental care, it could be said he had a limp of sorts, disadvantages in life. Still he pushed ahead. He believed better fortunes were coming. He had something he hoped to really commit himself to. Rather someone.

How would she make her way safely to California – this trim Oklahoma girl – assuming  he could find work? He steadied himself and looked to the west again.

Resolve. It is a quality we see in those whose will is anchored in purpose, in meaning. Where meaning falters, resolve often weakens.  But meaning for Clyde, well, it meant something.

Further lessons about worthwhile things lay ahead for him. Some pleasurable, some in the middle of pain.

Our dad was one who instructed his children but seldom lectured. It’s said that some things are better caught than taught. He modeled qualities whose worth we could only later really appreciate.

This carries, for me, an immeasurable  meaning.

©2015 Jerry Lout





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