Dowd’s Catfish is where we stopped to eat. I was craving some catfish and I figured with a name like that, they better have catfish. So, inside we went.

I looked around for a sign that said, “The catfish you ate today slept in the river last night”, and while I didn’t find one, there was plenty around to let you know this was a fresh-catch restaurant.

Visitors to Dowd's Catfish
Visitors to Dowd’s

Charly and I were seated and we started looking at the menu. Both of us were quite hungry. I went for the blackened catfish, but Charly went for the mundane. (Obviously, she’s not a catfish fan.)

Dowd’s Catfish Tasty

Tasty is the best to describe blackened Dowd’s catfish. Charly leaned over and began the conversation. It felt like I was being interviewed, but I went along.

She started with, “What made you decide to drive all of Route 66?”

“I love nostalgia. I love the trip down memory lane. Route 66 reminds me of an era I’m old enough to remember, but not so old that I’ve forgot,” I answered.

Then came the real questions and objective for asking, “Why me? Why did you want me to come along?”

“I’m glad you asked.” I continued, “I knew you’d be adventurous, fun to be around, fun to photograph, and I enjoy being around you.”

“Really?” she asked with doubt in her tone.

“Really,” I answered.

“No, I mean, you really enjoy being around me?” she said exposing a lack of confidence.

“Of course,” I said as if anyone could doubt that, “you’re a fun person to be around.”

“I miss the days of being ‘Dad’. And, while you sometimes think I act like I’m your ‘Dad’, I don’t think of you as my daughter, but as a younger friend.” I began to explain, “it’s more of a discovery thing.”

“Huh?” she looked confused.

“I enjoy watching you discover this stuff for the first time,” I said. “Had I brought an old friend we both would have been like, ‘Been there. Done that.’ But with you, it’s like… YOU REALLY USED ONE OF THESE? Or, YOU REALLY REMEMBER WHEN…”

“Oh, I think I understand,” she said.

I realized then that history is sometimes lost on youth, and even more so with today’s technology. While one would think it is just the opposite, instant information has robbed them of true hands-on discovery.

Teaching Moment

“It’s like this, Charly,” I explained, “when I go to Israel, I don’t just look at stuff. I read everything I can get my hands on before the trip, and take stuff to read while I’m on the trip. Then, while I’m there, I try to close my eyes and imagine what it was like 2000 years ago when Christ walked those roads.”

Continuing, I said, “Route 66 is even more personal. While there are sections of road I haven’t been on before this trip, there are little things here and there that remind me of similar items and locations during my childhood. My imagination is less involved and my memories and the emotions tied to those memories are involved. I find it fun sharing those things with you.”

Charly sat quietly for a while and just stared at my face.

Interviewed by Charly
Interviewed by Charly

If it were a movie, this would be the part where two lips would meet, but that would be totally inappropriate in this case. I felt a little awkward and uneasy wishing she would say something.

Finally, she broke her silence and said, “Thank you for inviting me. I’m learning a lot and having fun.”

I still felt a little uneasy given how she was still looking at me, and not knowing what to say to quell my uneasiness, she spoke up again.

“You know, I kid you about your acting like my dad, but you’re like the dad I never had. Thank you for never taking advantage of me and respecting me,” she said with tear filled eyes.

Taken Back

I was taken back. The rest of the trip is going to be different. Not so much different for me (because I know where my boundaries are drawn), but for Charly.

Red Corvair After Dowd’s Catfish

Shortly after eating we saw a red Corvair. I just had to stop.

“Charly, my first car was a Corvair van called the Greenbriar. A few years later I traded it for a red Corvair Monza, like this one, only mine was a station wagon,” I said.

“So, this is what you were talking about at the restaurant — about memories,” she said having an epiphany.

“Exactly!” I smiled.

Red Corvair Monza
Red Corvair Monza

“They were great cars and I’ll never forgive Ralph Nader,” I said.

“Who?” Charly asked.

“Ralph Nader. He erroneously wrote in a book that they were unsafe cars. He was later proven wrong, but it was too late. General Motors stopped making them and created the Camaro.”

“Camaro’s are cool cars,” she said mater-of-factly.

“Yes, and do you see the resemblance?” I asked.

“Yeah, I can see that,” she said and then asked, “What made the Corvair so great?”

“Rear engine, built for speed and gas economy, and built to compete against cars like the Porsche,” I explained.

“Were they fast?” as if I didn’t see that question coming.

“For their weight to horsepower ratio, yes,” I smugly answered.

I finished drooling over the car and off we went.

Munger Moss

The Munger Moss Motel is quite iconic. It’s one of the better maintained iconic sights on Historic Route 66. We just stopped briefly to grab a picture of the mileage sign.

Munger Moss Motel
Munger Moss Motel

Biggest Gift Shop

This place claims to be the World’s Largest Gift Shop. Well, I don’t know about that, but they did have quite a collection of Cotton Candy. (I only thought it had one flavor – sugar.)

Cotton Candy
Cotton Candy

“Hey, you can’t eat that! You haven’t paid for it,” I said before I realized I’m sounding like a ‘dad’.

Charly giggles, “I’ll pay for it, I just want some NOW.”

Onward and westward as this day winds to an end.

Hmmm… One final note for the day — Charly wore the same outfit all day. That’s a first. That should keep the laundry bill down this week.