Wednesday, May 2, 2012

On the Road, 1976

Kerry's challenge at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads is to write an On the Road poem. Well, I have taken some road trips in my time, but this one took the cake. I will look for the photo tomorrow!

Compact yellow Pinto wagon
stuffed to the gills:
on the roof rack,
an English pram 
for the ten-day-old baby,
whose bassinette was wedged 
behind the back seat.
On the back seat,
the two boys, on either side
of the St Bernard puppy
who, by the end
of the trip,
was so big he took up 
most of the seat.

Behind the wheel,
the Baby Daddy,
in over-sized leather Mexican hat,
raring to hit the road,
Mama riding shotgun,
all the way down
Highway One,
zooming past
breathtaking Oregon beaches 
she so longed to stop at,
but he was in a hurry
to get......where??
It was all right out the window,
they were passing it by.
Through Monarch butterflies
in Northern California,
driving the L.A. freeway 
at two in the morning,
looping back and
stopping over at 
San Luis Obispo,
where they lived 
out of their car for a time.

Mama spreading mustard on bread
on the hood of the car,
or rolling up deli meat
in tortillas for the boys,
dog was too big for 
their current situation
which was, basically,
trying to find 
a direction
for where to go 

Turned out
it was the road
back to Canada,
Mama looking wistfully
at all the neat little houses
they were passing
all the way up,
laundry on the line,
men washing cars
in the driveways.
"Normal life
for normal people,"
Mama said wistfully.
She had had
enough adventure;
she longed for Normal,
him looking over
at her in warning, 
her voice falling silent.

Back home, soon enough
he had moved on.
With her baby and older kids
she started life anew,
one more time,
from scratch,
and Normal
had never
felt so good.


  1. Sometimes being on the road isn't at all how we think it will be, especially if you're not given a say in it either. What a waste, to drive all that way and not even stop to smell the roses.
    Glad life moved onto other (better) roads sherry.

  2. All journeys end in a homecoming of one sort or another, no matter the circuitous route one takes to get there.

  3. Loved this! Especially the image of Baby Daddy in a big hat driving down the Oregon Coast!!!! Oh yeah.

  4. There is nothing quite like that drive back home, whatever the circumstances!

  5. you have so many specific visual details throughout. that's on the road: seeing the sights. and i suspect that has a part in why we humans love the road: we are sight creatures. certainly, we are also nomadic deep in our natures, and that's the real appeal. love how Normal becomes such a friend in the end.

  6. i have taken that drive.
    maybe i still am.

  7. This is wonderful, Sherry. Who among us has not longed for Normal? A road tale beautifully unraveled.

    de jackson

  8. Life on the road isn't always as romantic as it's made out to be. I know what you mean about just craving "normal," especially with little ones.

  9. Oh, Sherry, how dreadful. I've known men like that, in a hurry to get...where?
    Love it. Glad you survived.

  10. You're such a gifted writer, Sherry. You drew me right into your story. This is rendered so tenderly. Great job!

  11. Wow... so much. And you said you have photos of this trip. Hope you post them.

    laundry on the line,
    men washing cars
    in the driveways.
    "Normal life
    for normal people,"
    Mama said wistfully.


  12. Funny how road trips and journeys change us and our dreams. We are never the same afterwards and sometimes, we just need to find that road again, back to normal, as you say. Lovely share Sherry ~

  13. "Normal had never felt so good." Perfect ending.

    "t was all right out the window,
    they were passing it by" ... So sad.

    This is my favorite part: "Mama spreading mustard on bread
    on the hood of the car,
    or rolling up deli meat
    in tortillas for the boys" ... This reminds me of childhood road trips with my parents. But we always stopped to do the fun stuff. :)

  14. Fond memories of Highway One, Sherry. But what a scary drive!! (For me who is a flat-lander.) Love San Luis Obispo! Normal? What is that? LOL.

  15. What a joy to be on the road though you may not have it all your way. Still it was a freedom of sorts, Sherry! Great memories make for great poems, Ma'am!


  16. What a trip indeed! The growing dog kind of says it all. Highway One is a lovely trip when you aren't with someone in a hurry to get to nowhere in particular. Glad you finally found normal and got a new start. He's probably still on a road to where?

  17. It is the root of the matter. Something ornidary, something normal... something just out of reach.

  18. This is a perfect on the road "of life" poem ... felt by myself. (((hugs)))

  19. "Normal" is nice after some adventure, after a while, the longing for adventure might come again but for now, a well earned rest. Liked how puppy grows to dog is used as an indication of time spent on the road. :) Enjoyed reading this very much.


I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!