Last Thursday I woke up in Junction, Texas, and began the drive west towards Marathon, but I didn’t get far before my car started groaning. I’d logged about 3,500 miles without an oil change and was about to head out on a desolate desert highway, so I drove straight to the local auto body shop. The mechanic was a Hispanic man named Henry. He was born in Mexico but had lived in Junction since he was a boy. He and his wife had seven children and dozens of grandchildren—‘They’re scattered across Texas but all close enough that I can see ‘em,’ he told me. His oldest had died of lymphoma exactly four months ago to the day, a grim anniversary he knew offhand. One month earlier he’d had his fifth heart attack, but he was sure that he was being kept around for a reason — perhaps because he was contributing to his grandkids’ college fund through his work as a mechanic. After changing my oil he put air in my tires and filled up the windshield fluid reservoir free of charge. Before I drove off he squeezed my shoulder and told me he hoped I’d find what I was looking for. It’s been the generosity and wisdom of people like Henry that have defined my time on the road to date.