Not Today Anyway

Not Today Anyway

Forty-six cars ahead of the waycar
Picking up speed
Rounding the curve
At sixty-three miles per hour
The saw the yellow headlight burn.

Amongst the rattles and noise
Of sixty-eight hundred tons of rusting rolling steel
Locked in on certain death
Came the choked and startled cry of
“Oh, Jesus Christ”
From under the Engineer’s breath.

Dust swirling
As if to leap from the very road
Hand on the brake valve
A scream swelling from deep inside
As the gap narrowed
The drama began to unfold
Of three crewman, about to die.

Split seconds
Mere fractions of one day
One loud ear splitting crash in the countryside
It happened
Exactly that way.

But that was a long time ago
More than a few years back
And the scars still lie there
As a reminder just off of the tracks.

Uphill slow and down hill fast,
Tonnage first and Safety Last.
Things don’t always run smooth on the railroad
It is at times, not the safest way to move freight,
Kiss your man goodbye at the door
Before he picks up the grip and heads for the road
Tell him you love him,
Before it is too late.

***

Fly Away

Before gainful employment corrupted my life, I used to delight in long solo drives back to the Midwest to check up on the Rust Belt of America. Now I find that I am relegated to writing letters to the editor, to have them edited for content, brevity and perhaps, temporary insanity. Reading E-mails from AT&T that state: “Your telephone bill is ready, please check online at ……. “ as if I was anxiously expecting that and/or waiting in great anticipation for it. Check please!

What do you do when the dream comes around, and offers your heart a chance to move on.  With no guarantees or no safety net. Trust what you feel to take that first step.
Just close your eyes, and reach for the moment … Before it slips by.
Here is your second chance … Take it and fly.

The weight of the world, the need to survive, has made me believe that I have no rights. Out of the blue, I need someone to offer me a place of refuge. As warm as the sun … Just close your eyes and reach for the moment … Before it slips by. Here is your second chance …. Take it and fly.

The air is thin tonight, so thin that it carries a train whistle on the night air, some six miles here to the house. I can hear a local freight pulling the hill at Crossroads, threading its way thru town; her moaning whistle is cutting the night wind much like a sharp knife. Her lonely cry fills my night, as if she were here with me in my very own backyard.

Such a mournful sound, and for a moment, I wonder who it is that is riding this rattler, where are they headed. But those thoughts quickly pass, like a thief in the night, I am left again to my vices. To hold onto my distant dream. Watch it form shape and then take wings. Been awhile since I have had a rush, felt something different and unique. I feel a need to relax, take a breath, mellow out, learn how to not major in minor things.

The quiet time of the morning, late into the morning, and everyone is asleep in their beds. Tucked away, safe, insulated from the cold night air. A time for reflection, deep inner thoughts, of the things that could have been. Here I sit. Thinking about Multi-slide Million Dollar Vantares’ (Prevost Buses/Motorhomes) and getting away to the great American Highway.

Living my life in quiet desperation in the wee hours of the night. Silently yearning for the smell of fresh diesel in the morning, vividly recalling screaming down some two-lane with the window down, the whine of the rubber meeting the asphalt in the corridors of my mind. Hangin’ onto the premise of the “Good Old Days.”

That time, when youth and inexperience was not an issue, I had plenty of time on my hands, a big slurpy in the drink holder next to my seat, plenty of change in my pocket for fuel. A new road ahead of me.

As reality slowly creeps back in, I find myself secretly dreaming of one of those “good jobs.” Where you drive a $1.8 Million motorhome and deliver it to the customer and get paid for doing it. Where you make a goodly amount of money and don’t have to do a lot of work. Quick stepping down some two-lane in Florida in the wintertime. Oh well, Ceste Le’ Vive as the Canadians would say (Such Is Life).

Some men Dream … Some men Plan …. And then God smiles.

Gawd, I want to fly away! Where is the chocolate milk and the cookies, please placate my spirit, I am drowning here and I don’t know what to do. Take me away to the beach, where I meet beautiful people, who appreciate me and respect me for my feelings. A place noticeably void of barking dogs. Sirens. Road Rage, where people genuinely smile, who wave at you with all of their fingers …

Sometimes, during the middle of the day, I would be allowed to lie down for a nap, for no apparent reason. Or perhaps sneak down to the local watering hole for a much needed, albeit ill advised Margarita. Some conversation with a beautiful, well tanned, interesting woman, walk barefooted in the sand.

So long from America’s Heartland, where the Twisters make lazy circles in the sky, and the wind lifts up red dust to get in your eye, a slow paced sort of place where we don’t drive on the shoulders. Now that was refreshing …. There is Thirty-one and minutes of my life, I will never get back.

***