As I travel through the back roads of this country, I occasionally see these small memorials along the shoulder. They strike me as special, as they are not a ritual of tradition so much as simply a remnant of someone's emotions after a tragedy.

I will photograph these as I see them, neither searching them out nor repairing them and I will try to discern for whom they were made. I don't know why I will do this - just for good karma, I guess.

Temporary in existence, these monuments for the common man amount to roadside tears, washing away with the next winter's snow, or the grass cutter's blade. In their brief lives, they serve as a sober reminder of our own fragility and they ask us to please, pass with care.

Mayra Alanis, Age 20
Jessica Acevedo, Age 3
Felipe Reyes, Age 22

Found at a rest area on Route 83, south of Asherton, Texas
on December 26, 1998, at 2:53 p.m.

It seemed odd that these were actually in a rest area, but I guess not. The three people all had different surnames - that was odd.

Scott Dennis

Found on Route 191, out of Bisbee, Arizona
on December 20, 1998, at 1:32 p.m.

Dennis loved the Patriots and his mother loved him. Apparently, there is still uncertainty as to how the accident happened, as his mother printed up large cards, eulogizing him and asking for help in finding out the cause of the accident.

J.D. Worley, Fireman

Found on I-10 near Yuma, Arizona (mm 79)
on December 17, 1998, at 8:38 a.m.

J.D. drove his last mile here only two months ago, on October 14, 1998. Someone erected a second cross with his badge (inset) on it. The skid marks and investigative spray paint are still on the road. Chilling.


Found on Route 87A near Sedona, Arizona
on November 18, 1998, at 2:57 p.m.

A plain, simple memorial, built to last - made of welded steel.

Joseph Nutter

Found on Route 78, east of Phoenix
on November 15, 1998, at 10:06 a.m.

This man had some friends. Every one of the rocks placed here has a note written in marker pen, and the cross is full of notes. An envelope tucked into the rocks probably has a card, but I'm not about to open it to find out.

Alvin Luera

Found on Route 70 on the Arizona / New Mexico border.
on November 12, 1998, at 1:36 p.m.

The nameplate on the cross refers to Mr. Luera as "EZ Money." The plastic flowers are set in a hand-poured concrete base.

John and Vivian Wood

Found on Route 66,
near Wellston, Oklahoma
on October 28, 1998, at 10:47 a.m.

Dwight A. Martin, Sr.

Found on Route 82 and Allen Rd., Tahlequah, Oklahoma
on October 24, 1998, at 3:48 p.m.

Just when I had considered writing about how relieved I was that I didn't have to update this column for a great, long time, I rode past this cross. I guess Mr. Martin earned his cross on December 29, 1997.

Chris Hoofman, Nick Louck, Lance Brew, Jr.
Found on Route 2, near Gould, Michigan,
on September 16, 1998, at 12:18 p.m.

This one gave me the willies. The two unmarked crosses were about thirty yards away from the three decorated ones. The three young men were obviously popular in the community. Though apparently two years have passed, the grass is matted down around the site from many visitors. You can't see, but photographs and poems are taped to each of the three crosses. The brown cross has the three names, the phrase; "Together in life, together in death," and the date: June 30, 1996.

"Mr. MacPherson,"
according to the owner of the Elberta Beach Market.
Likely left here by his 15 year old daughter, Tara.

Found on M-22 south of Elberta, Michigan,
on September 10, 1998, at 10:35 a.m.

to 1999

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