Highway 80 west stories. Chapter seven. Good conversation.

Highway 80 west stories. Chapter seven. Good conversation.

A Chapter by Coyote Poetry


Ancient people can teach us how to live.


                      Highway 80 west stories. Part eight.  Conversation with new friends.

The Westerner country was getting full now. We return to our table. A older couple was sitting at the table. The man asked. “Is it alright if we join you? We don’t like the bar. We like being near the dance floor. Me and wife like to be able to dance at will and we are good company.”  I told them. “No problem. We could use another opinion and conversation tonight. I’m Johnnie and this is Lana.”  The old man with the big smile said. “My name is Jack and this is Cathy, my beautiful wife.” He reached out his hand and gave me a good country handshake. His wife gave me the same. He shook Lana hand and asked. “What are you two northerners doing in Salt Lake city. You look like a two people very content and happy. I like that. Hard to find someone who can make you laugh and cry in the same second. My dear wife is the champ.”

Cathy told us. “Take a lot of whiskey to make this man beautiful. He ain’t so bad for a man who survived me for almost 30 years. He can’t hear good and is forgetful. Allowed our marriage to be alright. I like the suntan and haircut Soldier. When I met Jack. He had your haircut like yours and a bad attitude. He came home from Vietnam with a bullet in his back and was a powerful asshole. V.A took the bullet out but he kept the bad attitude.”  Jack kissed his wife and said. “The woman saved me often. I had a gun to my head and she gave me reasons to live. Don’t let her fool you. She is sweeter than sweet Maine honey. She was a maid at the cheap motel and walked in when I had a gun to my head. She slapped me silly and I fell in love instantly”

I took her hand and told her. “Old soldiers need woman like you. It is a honor to meet you both. Me and Lana are going to Reno. I’m station at Fort Ord, California. Just left the war and Lana is going to see her sister.”  Cathy asked. “Are you getting marry? I see no rings. Reno is a good town. Me and Jack got marry in 1967 in Reno. 50 dollars and a 500 mile road trip. Love come rarely. Few people fall together needing the same things rarely.”

Jack said. “Enough personal talk. Playing some Willie Nelson right now. Time for us dancers to dance. Too much talk killed the good night. I have forgot the war and today I’m thankful to be alive. All I got to say is. We must live for the people who can’t. Tonight time to drink and dance. Cathy can be the best woman tomorrow at the wedding. Let’s get dancing.”

Me and Lana are doing the Texas two-step. She whispered to me. “I’m having fun. Jack and Cathy are good people. What Jack said was right. We must overcome the bad things and live for the people who can’t. My father wouldn’t want me to be sad. He would tell me. Shape-up and be strong. I’m lucky. I found my Johnnie and we are going to Reno on Highway 80. It is time to have some fun.” I gave her a kiss and twirl her in a circles, bringing her near and told her. “We are going to be alright.”

Jack asked me where did I serve? I told him. “I’m prior service. I rejoined to go to war. I was board with life. I joined to go to war.” He smiled and said. “I knew men like you. You joined the war to escape. Men who wanted to die. Never were killed. Bullets goes into young soldiers who want to live. The irony of war. Crazy folks don’t get killed. That is why I’m still alive. I’m glad you made it son. Us Veterans must live to tell the tale of bad times and good men.” He saw in my eyes. I had little to live for. Lana had given me reason and purpose for now. I asked him. “How did you know I was on a suicide mission? I reached a dead-end. Sometime options are limited. War give men reasons and purpose.” Jack told me. “Enough talk about the bad days. A wise man leave the trash behind him. Tonight we have beautiful ladies and tomorrow is a new day. You can’t live for dead people and bad deeds and actions. We must live for the dance and drink.”

We stayed with Jack and Cathy till closing time. We made a play-date for tomorrow. We would see the Mormon Tabernacle and the Family History library. We stopped at the 7-ll. Lana bought some cheap candles and a bottle of sweet fruity wine. We got to the hotel. Lana said she needed a bath and to wash her hair. She hated the cigarette smoke in her skin and hair. She left the bathroom door open. I watched her till I couldn’t no-more. I went to the tub. I sat on the floor and looked at her young and beautiful body, than I poured warm  water on her hair. I gently washed her hair. She told me. “No-one had treated me like you do. Thank you Johnnie.”



© 2014 Coyote Poetry