When I was a kid, I loved old movies. Abbott and Costello. Martin and Lewis. Hope and Crosby. Mishaps and wrong turns. Laughter and travel. Or maybe it was the whole buddy thing. Bonding over a shared experience. Whatever it was, I always felt like I had escaped something from own life and had a glimpse of something to which I wanted to return.
It wasn’t exactly Martin and Lewis but it felt close.
First leg of our cross country jaunt and almost over.
He secured the final hitch, warning over his shoulder
Remember, you can’t back this baby up. Always
pull through. He patted the Uhaul’s side, handed
the keys to you. We huddled over the map, paper
those days and turn-by-turn, and plotted our start.
Tired from steering the freighter-weight truck, you
aimed for the closet space, forgetting the car
hitched behind until almost too late.
That night we both shivered at the near miss.
I became captain of our ship because my yelp
Don’t! made the near miss a reality. From there
we drove almost without mishap, telling each other
stories of other almost-was and never-had beens,
thank God. We saw this country from marsh to flat,
open lands to crops to open again. At times only we
held the road, sign after sign touting giant rodents
and other unnatural wonders. I hadn’t signed on
for such things but was glad I’d shared them with you.