Browse shared stories

  • Story Owner: Sally  Jadlow
  • Story Title: My Magnificient Mentor
  • Story Created: Friday, November 18, 2011, 7:16:00 PM
  • Chapter Author: Sally Jadlow
  • Chapter Created: Monday, February 13, 2012, 7:49:00 AM
  • updated: Monday, February 13, 2012 8:02:00 AM

In order to ward off boredom on a solo trip from Kansas City to Denver, I jotted sights that caught my eye on the steering wheel. At my destination, I turned my scribbles into a poem. I don't recommend writing on the steering wheel--but in Kansas there's not much else going on.


My Grand AM and I
off on early grey dawn journey
to a writers conference
through short rolling velvet fields
shrouded in puffs of fog
on I-70.

Topeka gas station,
fill Betsy's tank.
Expensive breakfast;
almost $2.00 a gallon.

To combat boredom,
I write this poem
in spiral notebook;
balanced on Betsy's steering wheel.

Road sign, "Denver 555 miles."
Tire marks on highway signal previous mishap.
Wooded landscape stretches into elongated hills
dotted by grazing cattle
punctuated by trees in valleys.

Desolate highway ribbon climbs higher,
sky darkens overhead.

We descend into broad valley; Fort Riley.
On through Abilene where railheads once stood
to receive bone weary cattle,
from their Texas trek,
to ride tracks in style
to Kansas City slaughter houses.

Quick pause in Salina,
take potty stop.
Under way again by nine.
We eat up highway
bite by 70-mile-per-hour bite.

Flint Hills fall behind us.
Vista gives way to miles
of longer rise and fall of
uninterrupted prairie grass,
green wheat fields.

Occasional windmill,
white wood frame church spires
poke up from increasing flatness
past limestone postholes.
I watch mile markers
decrease in number;

Pristine granaries of Russell
gleam in sunshine.
Trees grow with a northward bend
in response to stiff south wind.
Oil rigs appear as
ancient dinosaurs
who bow
in tandem rhythm
to suck earths' riches.

Road sign reads,
"Abortion kills what God created."

Past ancient limestone houses
built by hardy pioneers.
Oceans of grain
wave at intermittent
sunny skies
laced in puffy clouds.

Betsy sways in strong gusts
past Ellis,
Mr. Chrysler's boyhood home.

One hundred car coal train
winds its way
past Grove County line.

Sixty miles to Colby.
Did my father harvest grain here
during the depression?

Tumbleweeds skip across highway.
We miss another one.

We climb onto flat plateau
at Quinter Granaries.
Church spires, windmills,
nestle between round irrigated fields,
yet unplanted.

Trees grow more sparse.
I struggle
to hold Betsy's wheel straight.

Grinnell homesteads surrounded
by densely populated pine trees
planted as snow break.

Betsy collides with a tumbleweed.
We 1; tumbleweeds 212.

Fenced buffalo at Rexford.
Idle irrigation system
resembles skeleton
of giant centipede.

Sky clouds with blowing dust.
Trail of steel high-voltage wires
trail across table-like horizon.
Large tumbleweeds
play chicken with motorists.
Few trees dare to grow.

Lunch in Colby.
Buy a Colorado map,
check planned course.
"High wind warning out.
Keep a close eye in
40-60 mile-per-hour gusts,"
the Wal-Mart clerk cautions.

FM radio
gives noon livestock
and grain reports.
Time announced in both
Mountain Daylight
and Standard Daylight Time.

Plains cattle nibble at bleached,
thirsty grass,
wind whips cows' tails,
flying free
near Goodland
at mile marker 17.

Kanarado on the border empty
except for cluster of granaries,
lone windmill,
and a few empty rail cars.
Mile markers start a new count-down,
Denver 2 hours to go.

Clear skies, high winds.
Lone tractor disks endless field.
Spent tire tread from tractor-trailer,
hazard in roadway.

Signal fades on 3rd radio station
of the day.
"Denver 136 miles," sign announces.
Betsy's cruse control struggles
to keep the pace
of 80 miles an hour
as we climb still higher.

Another tractor harrowing unplanted soil.
Dilapidated motel, 405 mile marker.

Pass turquoise pick-up
with two high-powered antennas
for commutating from nowheresville.

Nothing arrives at Arriba.
Except graffiti-filled train
wobbling along railroad track,
several semis at weigh station.

Two seven-bottom plows
make quick work
of 80 acre patch.
A hundred miles from Denver.

Sign reads,
"See 6 States"
posted in front of short tower
on the crest of a hill.

Drab view devoid of houses,
save one.

At last, Limon.
Corrals made of tin roofing
used as wind-breaks
for livestock
next to high rolling hills
with planted cedars for snow-breaks.

Abandoned barn, house,
60 miles from Denver;
still climbing.

Stop, take picture
of a tumbled-down house,
mile marker 333.

Deer Trail sign says
"5,183 foot elevation."
We've climbed almost
5,000 feet in eight and a half hours.
Tumbleweeds trapped in fence.

Crest hill, mile marker 312.
First glimpse
of snow-capped mountains.
Air noticeably cooler.

Wind through snarled Denver traffic
for an hour
along red-light-clogged streets
to destination,
warm fellowship, dinner
and bed.



No members have commented yet!