I spent the better part of Saturday traveling along the scenic backroads that zig zag through the countryside and small towns of Southern Missouri. I was invited to join a group of guys who were scouting a route for the “Hotrod Hundred.” The cars included a ’32 Ford Roadster, a ’40 Ford Coupe and a ’54 Chevy.
Along the way, we followed a small piece of the original Route 66. It was along this section that we wound up at Gary’s Gay Parita. In addition to a small collection of old cars (most of which have been customized to look like police cars), Gary sells a range of Route 66 maps, t-shirts and thermometers. Once Gary was done taking care of some customers who had traveled from Chicago, it was our turn.
Gary gave us a brief history of the place and his philosophy on things. He mentioned the fact that people come from all over the world to see him. He spoke of how fortunate he was to be exposed to so many different cultures and all the things he’d learned talking to people. Then he paused and made one of the most eloquent statements I’ve ever heard.
“Just my opinion, but you take religion and politics out of it, and we’re all just good people. Take those things away and we’re all basically the same…just good people.”
So, with that, let the workweek begin. I feel a little smarter now that I’ve met Gary. Now I can only hope this story enriches your life in some way. No matter what, I can’t wait to get back over to Gary’s for another visit. I don’t expect him to remember me, but I’ll certainly never forget him.