Friday, August 13, 2021


After a good time with great friends near our nation’s capital, it was time to leave Maryland.

I adjusted the seat belt and checked the mirror. I told my phone I wanted to go home. When I do that the phone will use a nice lady’s voice to prompt me with directions from outer space.

You are on the best route for your destination, the voice will say. Or, Use the right lane to take the off ramp to route five. Or, Continue for four miles.

So I was negotiating the labyrinth of highways that is Maryland/DC/Virginia, making a lane change and muttering to myself when the voice said something new.

Everything is okay.

Did I hear that right? Was Google trying to comfort me? Or is that just how it says traffic conditions are good? Last week I saw a drama on CBS where a character couldn’t feel forgiveness until he acknowledged a power greater than himself. For comedic effect he asked forgiveness from the US postal service. Perhaps Google is a power greater than me. (It is. There’s no contest.)

Another place that I asked the phone to direct me to lately was the site of Garrett’s farm where federal troops tried to capture John Wilkes Booth. I say tried because they ended up burning a barn and then shooting him to death instead. I say site because it is just a highway marker now.

Garrett put in a claim for the cost of his destroyed barn and all of the equipment inside. The claim was denied, the government saying he had been harboring a fugitive. Garrett had a hard time doing business after that because confederates thought he hadn’t done enough to shield Booth and unionists blamed him for harboring Booth. Eventually the land was controlled by the greater powers of the Army and the Department of Transportation.

There’s a divide like the confederates and unionists in our country here in 2021. We’re going to need mass injections of forgiveness to get over it. Use any higher power you feel. The professional hate-mongers will never see it coming. Forgive and proceed as if the crisis is over. If you wait for the magic, you’ll miss it.

Thank you, Google.

Everything is okay.

Hoot Brooks, July 31, 2021

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