Big Sur, California. Highway 80.
Big Sur, California. Highway 80.
(My new story had begin. I hope it become worthwhile.)
A Chapter by Coyote Poetry
I arrived in the California in early January of 1992. I returned from the war with the Army sending me to Fort Ord, California.
Big Sur, California. Highway 80.
I left my Michigan girl Jennifer on New Year day morning. She was a love, that I had found three times in my short life and each time. We left with less concern for each other. She was a beautiful woman who turn cold and she loved being alone. I was a welcome friend who would visit and not stay too long. I believed she liked this too much. I remembered she held me tightly and we made no promises. I was glad to had found her at the Ann Arbor mall when I was on leave and she invited me back to her home. She was happy I survived the war and I spend a month with her and her child Tiffany. She walked me to my old dodge truck and she kissed me goodbye. As I drove away, I knew. I would not see her again in Michigan. Her world was solid and organized. She was going to be a nurse and I was seeking the good death. She saw in my eyes and she knew. Organized John was gone and the new John, owned nothing and wanting everything.
I had six days to get to Fort Ord, California and 2500 miles and I planned five stops on highway 80. Iowa city, Lincoln, Cheyenne, Salt Lake city and Reno. I found highway 80, the Winter was hitting the northern states. My dodge truck drove the snowy roads with ease and no problems. I knew, the journey wouldn’t be pretty. Northwest USA was feeling the kiss of Winter. I played Jim Morrison and Alan Parson project songs loud, trying to stay awake. One of goals was to drink one beer in every state I touched with my feet. I drank a lot of coffee and I ate unhealthy snacks to stay alert. The first day was easy, after 12 months on the border of Iraq. Stuck in one place with nothing to do. The visions of new cities and the opportunity to buy lays chips and American candy. Was a great pleasure. I arrived in Iowa city near six pm. The Army forgot to pay me for 12 months and I had 5,000 dollars in traveler checks, money to waste. I found a good hotel with a bar and a swimming pool. The Winter days ensured, I wasn’t going to be a tourist. I wanted Long Island ice teas and steak. I had some books and my journal. I wanted to drink, write and relax. The check-in lady was very kind to me. My high and tight haircut, my suntanned face and hands didn’t hide the fact I was a soldier. She told me my name is Donna, soldier. I will give you the military discount and if you need anything. Please ask and thank you for what you did for us. I told her, thank you for your kindness and I appreciate the discount. She smiled and she told me. My brother is in the Air Force and he will be coming home soon. I reached out my hand and she took my hand. I told her. The war is over and I hope our world is better. She smiled and she whispered. Me too honey. Please enjoy Iowa city and if you have time. Live music in the bar tonight. I told her, thank you Donna. I look forward to some music and thank you.
The room was very nice. I always stay at the Holiday Inns. Always a bar, a pool and very good service. I took a hot shower and I stood naked in front of the mirror. Iraq gave me the farmer’s tan. Face, neck and hands. Golden brown and my body looking ghostly white. I laughed at my body. I was 160 pounds and the Army ensured. Arms and legs were strong. I called Jennifer and she was at her father’s house. We talks for a hour and her parent joined her in a song for me. She told me she missed me and she loved me. Her words were weak and I told her. Thank you dear Jennifer. I have loved you for 10 years. We said our goodbye and I found my bathing suit. I went to the pool, found a towel. I was carrying a Salinger and Hemingway book. I had a fresh pen and my journal. I sat in a private section of the pool. A few families were staying at the hotel. I watched them enjoy the pool and having some fun. The hotel had a pool corner bar, set-up. I decided to swim 10 laps and drink a cold beer. While I was swimming, two girls and one boy of 12 and under. They came to me. One of the boys asked. Are you a soldier? I told I am. They smiled and they asked me. You like being a soldier? I laughed and I told them. Being a soldier is a good life, also a hard life. They swam away from me laughing and talking.
I went to the mini-bar. A pretty gal of 25 years with hazel eyes, robust body and beautiful smile. She asked, what your killer tonight soldier? I am Alana and Donna told me, a handsome soldier was staying at the hotel. I told her, the coldest beer you can give me and you are very kind dear Alana. She smiled and she dug deeply into a bucket of iced beer. She brought out a can of beer and she poured the beer into a glass. I brought the beer to my lips and I drank a sip, the beer so cold and tasty. I told her. This is amazing and I tried to give her a five dollar bill. She wouldn’t take the money and she took my hands and she told me. The hotel management told us. No payment for beer for the returning soldiers. We appreciate the soldier in Iowa city. I put the five dollar bill in her tip cup and I told her. Thank you Alana. She smiled and she asked. You like country music? Can you Texas two-step? I told her. I love country music and I have Texas two-step in my lifetime. She smiled and she told me. This is good, me, Donna and some friends will be at the bar tonight. Maybe I can show you how the girls in Iowa city can dance. I smiled and I told her. I look forward to this Alana.
I left the pool and I got dressed. I was very hungry. I went to the bar/restaurant and I sat down. The bartender was a old timer and he came to me and he told me. Happy New year and I am Bob and he reached out his hand. I shook his hand and he told me. I am a Korea war Veteran and Irish man, glad to meet you and what do you need. I told him, Happy New Year and my name is John, good to meet you. I need a large tender bloody steak and a Long Island ice tea. He smiled and he told me. Prime rib rare and bloody for you and a salad. Would this be good for you Johnnie? I told him, I would be very graceful. He slapped my back hard, laughed and he walked away. He brought my drink to me and he sat down. He watched my face for a minute and he told me. I am glad you made it home and I am proud of the kids fighting for us. If you need anything, someone to discuss something. Please join old Bob at the bar after you digest the steak. I told him, thank you Bob and I will.
The steak was so good, tender and almost a pound. I ate slowly and I enjoyed every taste. The band showed-up as I ate the last bite of the steak. Bob told the leader of the band about me. He was a large country man and he took my hand. He told me. Welcome home Soldier. I hope you enjoy the song tonight? I told him, I look forward to the songs. He asked me. Who is your favorite singer? I told him Hank William Jr. He smiled and he told me. I love Hank too. You have some fun tonight and I am glad you are home safe and sound. He shook my hand and he went back to setting up the set.
I took my plates to the bar and I gave them to Bob. He smiled and he thanks me. I ordered another Long Island ice tea and he told me. Don’t drink too much. I heard the ladies talking in the break room. The expect a soldier to dance tonight. Oldest wisdom I know, never disappoint a pretty lady. I smiled and I agreed.
I turned around and I saw four beautiful ladies walking toward me. The wore their jeans tightly and their silky blouses. I was amazed and I smiled at them. Alana came to me, kissed my face-cheeks and she laughed and she told her friend. We made a soldier lose his voice. We must be pretty. I told her and the three women. More than beautiful, maybe goddesses to my eyes. Can I buy you ladies a New year drink?