The day I left Indiana was the day I left Indiana for he first time. I headed to New Mexico to become a cowboy. And, when I left Indiana, I left to leave all the mistakes I’d made, like yelling at my mother when I was drunk, and asking a girl named Penny to marry me. I drove through the Hoosier forest and listened to the news on an AM dial and wondered if I was doing the right thing. The Pacers, my childhood basketball team, had traded a young black kid for Chris Mullins, a recovering alcoholic. Mullins. I like that name. I cut across the back roads, the state roads, into Illinois, and Missouri, while the sun came up. I stopped for lunch in Springfield, MO, near the Oklahoma boarder for gas, cold chop suey, and a Michelob by a roadside attraction. The attraction was a wannabe Roy Rogers museum. The man was a personal favorite when I was young. An arsonist burned down the west wing, including all of Roy Rogers’ wigs. But I got to see a framed photo of Rogers’ thoroughbred racehorse named Triggairo. That was wonderful. That was the best part of the day. At lunch, I asked my Chinese waitress if a drunk could stop drinking, but she just smiled and gave me the check, $5.98 plus tax. I gave her seven, told her to keep the change, and drove into the open plains with the Michelob between my legs. It was the third beer I had that morning. I called my mom in Shamrock, then Penny in Amarillo. Mom wouldn’t pick up, but Penny did. I told her where I was, what I was doing, who I was gonna be. I asked her to call me “Mullins” from now on. Her voice shook as she wished me luck. But, she wouldn’t say my name, my new name. Nor would she say she loved me. Penny told me to stay dry in the desert, and to watch my temper, and the she said “so long.” All I wanted to hear her say was my name, my new name.