Monday, August 03, 2015

Our Guest Blogger ... James Woods

And today we have a guest blogger!  My big brudder (aka: brother) James Michael Woods.  I'm grateful he didn't kill me when we were kids and he had the opportunity.  James has his own blog and this was a part of the product recently...

It’s not easy being eleven years old
And confined to the Impala’s backseat
For twelve
Stiflingly hot hours
With the windows down
And August’s thunder of rushing air
So loud
The AM radio could not be heard
And my nine year old brother
Protesting (accurately)
That I had wantonly
Crossed the invisible line
We had established as the DMZ
Between us on the
Sweltering black vinyl seat.

Dad did not believe in potty breaks
So we drank little
As we counted mile markers
Down US 66
And read Burma Shave signs...
If Hugging on Highways
Is Your Sport
Trade In Your Car
For A Davenport!

Deep into the night
Dad searched for a bargain motel.
They always looked beautiful
Washed in red and blue neon lights
Affixed where gutters should have been.
The cabins typically were walled
In knotty pine
The in-window air conditioners rumbling
Like an idling diesel.
The beds were sometimes equipped with
Magic Fingers
That shook the mattress
For ten minutes
The way a wet dog shakes itself.
Fifteen bucks for the room
And a dime for the vibrating bed.

The black and white TV’s
With "rabbit ears"
Received a station or two
But often had to be smacked on the side
To stop the picture from rolling.
But that didn’t matter.
We were on vacation!
Mom and dad tantalized us
With promises of stopping the next day at
The Ozark Mule Trading Post
Where, if we were good
Could buy a pecan log candy bar (my choice)
Or a box of malted milk balls (my brother's choice)!

The new DMZ was now drawn down
The center of our bed
But that was okay
Because sleeping brothers cross that line
All night long.

Those days live only in memory.

I’ve stayed at expensive hotels
Ate wonderful dinners
And haven’t desired a pecan log
For fifty five years.
The Ozark Mule is in ruins
As well those bargain motels.
Movies can be had on any Smart Phone
And today's kids don’t know
What an AM radio is
Much less "rabbit ears"
And rolling pictures.

My brother and I love one another
And the idea of any DMZ
Between us is laughable.
I spoke with him last night.
(Actually, texting has supplanted voice.)
But we are loyal citizens of the backseat
Where memories of oppressive heat
Fading AM signals
Cheap motels
And too-few potty breaks
Have served to make aging brothers
Become young once more.

I would do every bit of
Those rattling road trips
Over again
With one exception…
There is never to be another
No-man’s land
Between Ron’s half of the Impala
And mine

James, you are far more gifted at writing than I ever dreamed of being.  Thanks for the memories!


The Dashboard Poet said...

If I am better (and I'm not) it' just 'cuz while you were dating your beautiful one-day bride, I was busy trying to write term papers for a cruel Old Testament professor, who never met a dangling participle he ever liked! (Thanks, Dr. Pratt!). It's an honor to be your Guest Blogger. I owe you some Malted Milk Balls.