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MUSTANG - Episode 2: Getting the Car


Rob was entering Red Rock headed to Sedona. These are the parts he saw in all those cowboy movies in his Robbie days. Tall, red monuments rose out of the sandy desert floor. The cowboy connection was not lost on Rob. This was his cowboy adventure.

No, that was minimizing it too much. Not a cowboy, he was on a not-so-frivolous quest. Although, he was not sure what it was. Was he running from or going to? Not sure yet of the term on which to settle. “Running from” was too cowardly. It did not take much effort to leave. “Going to” was not right. Going to what?

The Mustang was new to Rob. He picked it up soon after he landed in Phoenix. It was April. Not yet hot, but definitely warmer than DC when he left. Rob liked the air: clean and dry. He liked the space: wide and open. It was a clean slate.

The area around Phoenix is country pristine. Too sterile, in fact, for a city, people, grass, golf, and all the other things that can live off the land back east. Yet, here they all were. Phoenix sits in clean-slate country, nothing but a blank canvas. Even the city itself started twice from a clean slate, first from nothing and then from its own ashes, hence its name. What place better for fresh starts?

Rob talked to the Mustang owner a month ago. Cecil Smith was a second-generation used-car mechanic in Phoenix. In a town where, in past generations, used cars were valuable, Cecil Smith and Cecil Smith Junior made a good living.

Used cars out here, removed from eastern snow, salt, and potholes, stayed new longer. It hardly even rained. Cecil Senior and Junior were masters of preservation in a land of the well preserved. Or, at least that is what it said in the car magazine Rob read.

Car magazine Rob read? Even Rob considered the significance. Rob had not touched a copy of Road and Track or the like since college. US News and World Report and the Economist filled his more recent reading.

Why did he buy that copy on the way to work? Why did page 24 contain that article on the Cecils? Why did that photo appear of the fire engine red Mustang?

Maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe the underlying desire to change sparks the one, small change that may have cascading effects. Maybe, in each man’s life, he seeks it. Maybe.

Rob’s life had plenty of reasons for change. A small linchpin, pulled, was all that was needed.


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