Looking Back

This blog features poems by a native New Englander and octogenarian, as he looks back on the stomping grounds of his youth -- Chaffee's Woods, Kent Heights, Beach Pond, Escoheag, Wood River -- and his army days in Europe towards the end of WWII.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Our Travels (Jon)

Now Jon, who was my younger son
Loved his tennis as much as Jeff
I could not seem to interest them
In baseball, that I always played
From a kid thru army days.
But Jon, who is his high school days
Always liked to go off with me
Where e’er I went he would go too.

We made a trip, as I recall,
Way up to Nova Scotia’s shores
And stayed with some good friends of ours
To visit, and to look around
At properties that were for sale
To see if we could find a place
To stay at our vacation time
But this trip was of no avail.

And then when Jon had finished up
His schooling at Wachusett High
He did apply to BYU
And in his second year we chose
To drive to school, and then to make
The western loop e’er school began
And so we left, and took along
His girlfriend Chris, who would return.

We traveled westward that first day
And slept that night in Illinois
We stopped for meals and cooked ourselves
And reached Wyoming for the night
Then traveled southward where the map
Showed a road, but was mostly track
At last we came out on the road
That led to Vernal in Utah.

And here we backtracked just a way
To watch the workers chip away
Around the dinosaurs’ old bones
In Dinosaur National Park.
From here we traveled south and west
That led to Moab where we stayed
Then up the mountains the next day
To visit Arches Monument.

From there we traveled west and south
And stayed that night in a small town
The name of which escapes me now.
But off we went the next morning
Up Red Canyon and then to Bryce
Which is a fascinating place
Of windswept towers, red and white,
Standing like ancient sentinels.

From here we traveled on down south
And reached Grand Canyon after dark
We could not find a place to stay
So slept outdoors in sleeping bags
And with the morning’s early light
We watched the changes that took place
Across the canyon and within
We stood in awe at Angel Point.

We then went south thru Las Vegas
Not to stop, but just to see the
Brilliant lights of the gambling halls
That lighted all even in day
And when we felt we’d seen enough
We drove up to the Boulder Dam
Whose giant generators spin
To send its power to the coast.

And so we headed off again
Westward thru old Death Valley
To where it got so very hot
One hundred twenty in the shade
We passed thru there as best we could
Then needed water for the car
And were grateful for the soul who
Gave out water to those in need.

When we had cooled the car enough
We headed north to Ursula
And this is where we spent the night
And after eating some breakfast
We left there for Yosemite
This was a place we could not miss
So spent our time in roaming ‘round
To see the sights that do abound.

We looked up at the giant cliff
Known only as El Capitan
And then we watched the giant falls
That must have dropped a thousand feet
Before it ever struck the rocks
And this is what we’d come to see
So sat there for the longest while
Just watching as the water fell.

Reluctantly, we left this spot
But had to go if we were to
Get through Sequoia National Park
Before we got to Livermore.
In Sequoia we did see the
Biggest trees that had ever lived
We filled the trunk with giant cones
Then later found ‘twas not allowed.

We stayed the night in Livermore
And called the Hinkley’s that we’d be
In Sunnyvale early next day
And got directions to their house.
We reached their home ‘fore ten o’clock
And met my daughter Jennifer
Who’d stayed with them for a few weeks
To tend the Bishop’s three children.

We stayed there only for two days
And while there we saw the sights
Of San Francisco’s Golden Gate
And the prison at Alcatraz
The trolley also we did ride
And had lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf
Not just because the food was good
But so we’d say we’d eaten there.

We left next morning early on
Leaving Jenn until summer’s end
We crossed the bay on Tower Bridge
And headed up toward Oregon.
Jon was driving while I relaxed
But soon was going much too fast
And so missed the Highway Patrol
And got a speeding citation.

But we continued on our way
And by three that afternoon
Had nearly reached the Crater Lake
And so we detoured just a bit
To see this lake that is renowned
For having depths the likes of which
Are rarely seen in other lakes
We stayed a while, then went our way.

We crossed into Washington State
At Ellensburg and it was late
We took Route Ninety heading east
And soon we entered Moses Lake
We found the road that led to Jean’s
And woke them up well after dark
Not knowing when we would arrive
They didn’t wait up but went to bed.

We stayed at Jean’s in Moses Lake
At least three days and maybe more
We saw the farm, met Max’s kin
We played with Erin and with Gill
But finally we had to leave
And so we headed east again
Thru Montana’s towering peaks
To reach Yellowstone’s North Gate.

We stayed the night in Gardiner
In a log cabin did we sleep
And woke up early in the morn
To hear the bugling of the elk
There was a herd of elk nearby
Protected by a high wire fence
And they were kept just for their meat
A private herd that all could see.

We ate at a nearby diner
Then left there for the park’s North Gate
And once we entered, we made the loop
That circles thru the entire park
So we could see the moose and deer,
The elk, the bear, the buffalo
We saw the geyser and hot holes
And will remember Old Faithful.

But back to school and back to work
Both Jon and Chris and I had dates
He to Provo to start his year
Chris to Mt. Holyoke back home
And I back to my work again
And so we headed south once more
Past the lake at Yellowstone
Next the Tetons and Jackson’s Hole.

We traveled south on Eighty-nine
And kept on going past Bear Lake
Then came into the Cache Valley
Where the church kept its films and fiches
We went on by, then thru Ogden
And saw the temple on the way
Then to the City of Salt Lake
To hear the singing of the choir.

We got good seats and heard them sing
For they did practice Thursday nights
For the Sunday presentation
Of “Music and the Spoken Word.”
And after we had heard them sing
We headed south to Provo where
Jon would go back to BYU
And Chris and I would head for home.

We stayed that night at Royal Inn
I was tired from driving so ate
Two tacos, then went right to bed
While Jon and Chris on their last night
Went out to eat, then roamed around
The campus where he’d go to school
He showed to Chris all of the sights
That people see who visit there.

When morning came we said goodbye
Both Chris and I had just two days
Before she was due back in school
And I had to get back to work.
So Jon and Chris said their goodbyes,
Then we took turns and drove straight thru,
Never stopping except for gas
And reached our homes on Sunday night.

There is much more that could be said
But from that time on Jon and I
Did not go on long trips again
He came back east to finish school
And earned his way, two years at Clark
We helped him out in many ways
I drew his plans, helped build his house
But after that he went his way.

No comments:

Post a Comment