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  • Writer's pictureJennifer

Thanksgiving Thoughts, Tucumcari, Denny's Turkey Dinner

A few years ago this week we were headed east on I-40 in the direction of home. We had a Thanksgiving Eve stop planned in Tulsa and a day and a half to get there. As we approached Tucumcari, I asked Dylan if he could divert onto Route 66 so I could snap some pics and visit a curio shop, figuring we had some time to blow.

About a mile down 66 the old red Dodge started smoking. We pulled over into the parking lot of was looked to be an old service station. After a little inspection, it was determined it may be a problem with the thermostat. For the record, there aren't a lot of options for car repairs, let along a big van in Tucumcari. The town is about a mile wide and a mile long, and its a good two hour drive to Amarillo or Albuquerque. But we found a guy with a bay that could take us.

^^^^Actual picture of the curio shop in Tucumcari from last year. The shot I wanted!

The repair shop agreed with our assessment, said they could fix it, no problem, and took it in immediately. With slim options on that corner on the edge of town - an old diner and an empty Kmart - eventually we all ended up squeezing in the small waiting area trying to get comfortable. We waited. And waited. And waited. A nice young man that was in training was given the task. Hours passed.

After what seemed like an eternity in purgatory, the verdict came: what we needed was a hose, and if that hose was not available at the local auto parts store it would have to come from Amarillo. The catch was the local auto parts dealer was closed for the day. And the Thanksgiving holiday was starting. We were looking at the very real prospect of spending the holiday and possibly part of the weekend in Tucumcari.

We got a discount through the shop owner for a local hotel, which was quite nice and inexpensive but at this point I was wondering if it all wasn't a conspiracy to have us served on a platter as the main dish on local residents Thanksgiving tables. We got some Lota-Burgers (which is now one of my favorite hamburgers in the country), people drank. I considered using a couple of my AAA tows to get us as far as we could down the road as well as the prospect of eating Lota-burgers for 3 days.

The next morning we learned that the local auto repair did have the part and were able to get on our way to Tulsa quickly. It turned out to be one of those gigs that wasn't quite as exciting as had hoped. That's just the way it is sometimes.

Somewhere in Missouri on Thanksgiving Day, we stopped at the only game in town for Thanksgiving - a Denny's where I ordered a Turkey dinner. Don't ask me why as I know better than to order anything besides Moons over My Hammy (or whatever its called) or something off the budget menu. And my family has always been gracious enough to celebrate a holiday on whatever day works best. I called my parents to wish them a happy Thanksgiving and was thankful to be on the way home.

Every time we pass that Denny's or drive through Tucumcari, which happens more often than it should, I can't help but hold my breath a little and cross my fingers. But I've come to love the drive down I-40 for all that it is. It feels like home, and a place void of time as I watch the landscape change over the miles. I get lost and feel waves of overwhelming content wash over me. I start to miss New Mexico before we finish that last stretch of highway heading into Texas. I am happy, Thankful that all the good and the band in my life has led me to this place.

Happy Thanksgiving -- If you are feeling lonely or blue - you've got friends here.

Oh, the places you'll go......


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