Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Long Road

I cannot remember which trip it was. Perhaps it was just a quick trip from our home in California to Wisconsin and back. I know it was just Kim and me before kids.

We were traveling south through Wyoming and into Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. A beautiful trip. Purposefully, we didn’t take the interstate, but rather, a state highway. We were driving a fairly new car, a station wagon.

On our way down the mountain, our brakes began to heat up. We could smell them. Fearing that we’d lose them altogether, we would pull over every now and then to rest the car and the brakes in particular. We began to doubt the wisdom of not traveling the interstate. It took us longer to reach our destination, our home.

After a long trip, don’t you just want to “get home?” It’s always nice to visit, to be around friends and family. But after a time, especially traveling by car, you just want to get home, right?

As I said, the trip took us longer than expected. We were tired and looked for a way out, a shortcut that would lead us back to the interstate. None that was easy, and none that was readily available to us. So, we continued traveling onward, and stopping every so often to give the car, the brakes, and us a rest.

The smell of brakes. The sound of metal on metal (or so it seemed). We needed to, once again, pull over and rest. And we did.

It was an overlook to a valley below. Sun-splashed. Rolling hills. The green and beige of the valley. A wheat field, I think, mixed in with the greenery of grass and trees. Breathtaking is overused, but not in this case. Kim and I stood there and took it all in. The brakes, the car, the long journey, forgotten. My words and description can’t come close to what we saw and experienced.

We relaxed. I know we smiled. I picture that scene as I write this and I find myself smiling.

The thing is, had we not taken that long way home, and had we not stopped to rest, we would have missed it. Just like it wasn’t there. The interstate was nowhere near where we were. It was happenstance that we had to rest the brakes and the car, and the fortune of stopping where and when we did.

In this world, we are encouraged to take the fast, simplest, and most direct way from point A to point B. The fast, quick way is marketed at us constantly. You have a headache? Take two of these and it’s gone.

Even the shows we watch have a resolve at the end. Kim and I watch NCIS- one of our favorite shows. In one hour, Gibbs and team catch the bad guy, and in between are four or five commercial breaks to push the good life. You want pizza? Order this and get it fast and hot. Want this car? Zero percent financing (unless your credit sucks) and you can get your car delivered to you with one phone call.

Life isn’t necessarily like an episode of NCIS where all the loose ends are gathered together and tied up or trimmed off in one hour. While we love pizza, or want a new car, or don’t want the headache to linger, sometimes it might be best to ride it out. Eat something healthy. Stick with the car you do have and not take on another payment. And, the headache will go away in time. Annoying, but with some relaxation, a bit of water, a comfy chair or couch, the headache will go away.

There is something to be said about taking a longer way to get where you want to go. Sometimes the fastest, most direct path might be expedient and necessary. But other times, to take time, to rest occasionally, to take in a view has benefits beyond the immediate is necessary and needed.

It must have been thirty years or so ago when Kim and I took that trip. I know Kim remembers that overlook and the sun-splashed valley nestled in the mountains as well as I do. How could we not? Sometimes, there are benefits that aren’t readily apparent, but come to us in time and in ways that impact us in far greater fashion after the fact then when they first appear. Sometimes, the long road is way better than the shortcut. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
My new book, Betrayed, will debut Nov. 12, 2020! It is a contemporary psychological thriller using some of the same characters from my previous work. It takes place on the Navajo Nation Reservation in northeast Arizona. I will post parts and passages on my author page on Facebook. I picked up three great advance reviews from three awesome authors:

“Adopted and bonding as a family, with histories of death, destruction and for some...abuse, these boys band together—ready to lay down their life for their new family—in order to find a missing friend before dangerous gunmen find them.

A whirlwind of adventure, relationships, protecting family, hair-raising situations, and cold betrayal.”
—Tina O’Hailey author of When Darkness Begins

“A boy goes missing in Navajo Nation, a family is killed. Onto the next adventure for three brothers, including one who grew up there, to search for him. As to be expected, danger awaits, but these are not ordinary teens. They have faced harrowing situations before, and now they will rely on the skills and experience they’ve developed to get through this one.

Once again, author Joseph Lewis has written a fast-paced psychological thriller mystery that immerses readers into a dark world few encounter.”
— Joan Livingston, author of the Isabel Long Mystery Series

“Betrayed is at once an emotional chapter in author Joseph Lewis’ continuing coming-of-age story and an intriguing thriller. Following both law enforcement and a group of teens searching for a missing boy on Native American land, Lewis’ latest also provides a unique view into Navajo culture. A layered story that explodes into a bullet-riddled climax.”
— Rick Treon, award-winning author of Deep Background and Let the Guilty Pay

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Spiral Into Darkness:
Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.

Caught in a Web:
A PenCraft Literary Award Winner!
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.

Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved.                       

Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them.                         

Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family.                                         

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out.

Photo courtesy of Vaun0815 and Unsplash

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe