Brighter Than A Launch Pad

…from the darkness given an hour early, where were the crows to fly at midnight, fly across the canyons from past Novembers, canyons of cold and snow, free from the searing heat at the river a mile below, cramped cars were like driving across the country in a World War Two Lugg, windows open for fresh air, blowing past like a biplane, taking a biplane ride in Copsendune, Michigan, once up in the air then out over Lake Michigan, banking a couple of times, saluting the people on the beach, a true instance of heroism in Bob’s decision to climb aboard in the first place, nothing to strap them in, father and son, that glorious August vacation, then to the waterslides, cold for August, and cloudy, only in the sixties, but there was the small amusement park with the swing ride and the tulips, gift shopping for souvenirs, little things to bring back from an American vacation, shot glasses with the local seal of approval, fudge, t-shirts, anything that could be stamped with a place name was sold for a dollar or less, less than the time it took to down some cold medicine filled with alcohol from the medicine cabinet to help a thirteen-year-old boy sleep early on a summer evening, before the sunset, so that he could rise early when his father came to pick him up in the darkness of a summer

… you could see the lights for a hundred miles at night, brighter than a launch pad, selling everything a tourist needed …

morning, then hitting the road, bag full of various reading materials, periodicals, novels, humorous books like Jay Johnstone’s baseball books or Cat High, the joke book using pictures of cats in a yearbook, the winding Pennsylvania Turnpike snaking through the Appalachian Mountains, a wilderness compared to Beacon or Muskedo, mountains ten times as high as most buildings, farms nestled in valleys, Amish farms, stopping at Tater Bin and buying the cashew brittle, all through the South you could buy rock candy, and along the southeast coast there was salt water taffy, at Run For The Hills on 95 in southern North Carolina, you could see the lights for a hundred miles at night, brighter than a launch pad, selling everything a tourist needed, billboards for miles before you actually encountered the damn place, the place in the swamps west of Thirdearlton, battleships and coffee houses, poetry readings to impress women, that’s what it was all about, the desire to impress Ingrid, who taught Bob so much, a pure woman of the South, skinny as a peppermint stick, his first introduction to Cowboy Junkies sitting on her bed at Via View, her roommate Carly…

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