Lost Highways, Old Men, And Gas Stations

I like the lost highways, where time has passed by, leaving its mark then moving on. A moment captured in time, then forgotten. I like the sound of gravel crunching beneath my boots and the sound of a rusty sign swinging in the wind

I like the intensity of looking into the old men’s eyes that sit in front of the old gas stations and seeing their journey written on their souls.

I see beauty in the deserted garden. The gate is broken and rusty, the paths overgrown, the pools cloudy and the fish long gone. I walk these paths and I can feel the ghost of lovers that once met here and of songs now silent.

It has been a while since I rode the lost highway. I reflect back on what I learned traveling these back roads and byways. They are life’s way of educating us and teaching us the things we need to know to prepare us for the day we leave the lost highway and make our way back to society.

Point Of View

At a young age, I hiked and hitched hiked across the south working in tobacco fields, picking cotton and in orange groves. I walked for days on a railroad track camping out at night under the stars, sometimes hiding in a freight car and going where the rails took me. I slept in bunkhouses with people and heard their stories. I learned that everyone has a story and something to teach you. I learned gratitude from people who shared with me some of the small amount of food they had.

That summer changed me forever by making me see people struggle and work all day yet at the end of the day sit around a campfire and share food, singing songs and telling their children bedtime stories. I knew I would always strive to be kind and give back to those in need. In the busy world we live in today it is a challenge to be the person I was on the lost highway but always deep within me, I hear the train rumbling down the line. I hear a child crying on a hot day in the fields and I can feel the scars on my hands from picking cotton. In the end, I am thankful for scars and my tears. Life was often hard but the things life showed me will be a part of who I am forever.


Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler
Awaken the possibilities … then unleash them. After 55 years of successful retail management, I have returned to my passion of writing. I write Poetry, Storytelling, and Short Stories. As a child, I grew up on front porch storytelling. I would sit and listen to my Dad and his brothers tell these great stories that were captivating, and I always wanted to hear more. I wanted to experience the things they talked about. I started writing at a young age and reading everything I could get my hands on. At twelve years old I started a storytelling group and several of my friends became writers or poets. At 16 I hopped box cars and worked the tobacco fields, orange groves, picked cotton, and spent many nights around a campfire listing to life stories. Someone once asked me why I wrote. It consumes an amazing amount of time and I assure you it is not going to make me rich. I write so that my children can touch and feel my words telling of the ones that came before us and the stories they told me. These are the chronicles of our family and even though they come from my childhood memories and are deeply rooted in a child’s remembrance at least they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind. I am a Columnist & Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360 and I have The Writers Café, a group on LinkedIn that features Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers, and Musicians . On Facebook I have two groups and one page; Dirt Road Storytelling, From Abandoned To Rescue Dogs And Cats, and About Life, Love And Living. As writers, it is true that we honestly do not know what we hold within us until we unleash it. When our words inspire others only then will inspiration return to the writer. I will spend my twilight years in search of the next story, the next poem, and the next image. I will take the time to enjoy my Wife, our Dogs, and Cats, and our amazing new home and I will always find the time to walk down a dirt road I truly hope is that I never have to read another book on Leadership, be on a conference call or see another plan o gram as these were the tool for what I did in life and not about who I am.

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  1. Excellent article, Larry, that is full of living life and reality. I too grew up in what today would be considered a poor condition, though we didn’t know we were poor at the time. But I watched people struggling to feed themselves, teach their children respect and right from wrong and those lessons never leave one. Thanks for bringing those days back to the forefront of my memory.

  2. Larry This is Norm . you are a good person.. You have a deep insight into the nature of people. I too like observing, talking and listening to people. … I remember in high school for a paper I was writing I worked a summer in a migrant camp.. I learned a great deal about how people just try to survive. How they bond, how they fight, how they love, how they parent. How they deal with the ‘human condition”

    I agree if you teach and they are pen to learning they will grow.. The problem is many are not given the opportunity because people walk by them and don’t see them…

    I believe in people Larry BUT the question is to they believe in themselves?

    • Great response Norm. We can’t make people believe they choose their own path. We can only share our journey

  3. Knowing our own roots is tantamount to certifying our identity. It seems to be good for us the air, the scents of the earth that generated us, the memory of the times that have seen us grow and the people who helped us to form our identity. One saves oneself if one seeks, finds oneself, and then clings to something strong that still lives inside. You go back to your roots to face yourself because as long as you try to escape the call of blood is always stronger. The return to one’s origins is the return to oneself, towards what one was, a mirror in which to look at oneself, especially when one feels lost and no longer recognizes oneself.
    Also I will never forget the world in which I was born, the one of the last years of the Second War and the reconstruction that followed. Difficult years, but full of hopes, dreams, solidarity.