Big Sur, California. Chapter one and two
Big Sur, California. Highway 80.
Big Sur, California. Highway 80.
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, 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 came to me and he said his name is Charley. He was a large country man with full beard and cowboy hat. He took my hand. He told me. Welcome home Soldier. I hope you enjoy the songs tonight? I told him, my name is John and 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 again and he went back to setting up for 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?
Big Sur, California. Highway 80
A Chapter by Coyote Poetry
Big Sur, California.
Chapter two. Highway 80
I was surrounded by four beautiful Iowa girls and I was glad I picked Iowa city for New Year eve. Alana introduced Debbie, she had red hair and blue eyes, she reached out her hand. I took her hand and I told her my name is John. Alana introduced Diana, long free flowing brown hair and coffee brown eyes . She reached out her hand and she asked me. Thank you for your service and why are you alone on New Year eve, soldier? This is too sad. I smiled and I held her hand. I told her, longest and saddest story needing to be forgotten. The Army gave me 45 days leave and I am going to Fort Ord, California, sign in date, January five. I decided I needed six days to get to Fort Ord. I picked five cities to visit and I am blessed to be here with you. I released her hand and she smiled. Donna came forward and she hugged me. She told me. I am glad you are with us to celebrate the New Year with new friends. I looked at the four girls and I asked. I hope you invited some friends. One soldiers can’t make four ladies happy on New Year eve.
Diane with a wicked smile. You are wise dear soldier. Three young men will be here soon but one of us need a dance pardner and I hope you don’t mine being Alana date tonight? It was 10.30 pm and Charley announced from the stage. In fifteen, time for some dancing and Happy New Year Iowa city. Bob came to us. He gave us some hats and some glasses for the midnight toast. I asked the ladies, what do you need to drink? I liked these girls, they ordered whiskey and a beer. I loved the mid American girls. Strong, educated and love to have fun. I looked at Alana and I told her. Would be my honor to have you as my dance pardner. She laughed at me and she told Donna. Like he had choice. Here is Iowa city, us women control the world. The four women laughed and three young men came toward us. I stood-up and Alana introduced Stan and I shook his hand. He was tall, wore glasses and he looked smart. He told me. Glad to meet you and Happy New year. Here in Iowa city. We like the good songs and we have the prettiest girls in the USA. I told him, I agree and thank you for allowing me to join your New Year night with you. Our pleasure new friend. He yelled at Bob. Keep the whiskey coming and ensure the band had some drinks. Bob gave him the finger, smiled and he said okay. I liked Stan already. Alana introduced Paul. He was a big boy. Long hair and laughing blue eyes. He took my hand and he told me. Tonight we raise hell and don’t worry about tomorrow. A new Year, war over and good song and pretty women. This is enough. I told him. You are right my new friend. I liked him too. He was a wild man. Alana introduced Steve. Blond hair and calm face. He shook my hand and he told me. My brother is active at Fort Hood, Texas. I am glad you are with us. I hope my brother is having some fun in Texas. I told him. Is is marry or single? He told me. He is single. I told him, Austin, Texas, best party in the USA. I believe your brother is doing well. He smiled and he said. I hope so. The whiskey and the beer was brought to them by Bob.
Donna joined Stan, Debbie joined Paul and Diane joined Steve. Alana sat next to me, she hugged me and she took my hand and she asked. Are you having some fun? I told her. Thank you Alana for allowing me to be with you on New Year eve. I am having a lot of fun. Stan raised up the whiskey to the sky and we followed his example. He toast to new friends, whiskey, pretty women and more beer. We all agreed and touched glasses. The music started and everybody at the table roamed to the dance floor. Charley broke into a song. He told the people in the bar. We have a returning soldier and he loved Hank. This song is for him. “Family tradition”. I asked Alana, ready to dance with a Michigan boy? She smiled and she asked. Are Michigan boys dangerous? I told her, no warrants for my arrest today and I am only dangerous to whiskey bottles. She smiled and she whispered. Okay, maybe I will be okay and let’s talk less and dance more.
We went to dance floor and she held me close on the dance floor. She was a mid-west gal, brave, tough and wasn’t afraid of life. I asked her. Where is your date Alana? She told me. I don’t have one. One child, divorced and didn’t want a date. But your sorry and lonely face made me feel less sad and I decided. Tonight I would have some fun. I kissed her neck and I told her. Thank you kind lady for being with loneliness man in Iowa city. I liked her. Her eyes held sadness and she was trying to be okay. She laughed and she whispered. Maybe I was the loneliness gal in Iowa city. I told her, not tonight. You have good friends near, a brave soldiers and the Irish whiskey is strong. The song is wonderful and tonight. We can begin a new year with some laughter and some joy. She put her head into my chest and she looked-up. She whispered, you make me laugh, I haven’t laugh in a while. We went back to the table, drank more whiskey. I argue with Paul about college football. In the end he was right. Michigan college football team couldn’t win a bowl game. Our table was loud and I felt good to be with new friends welcoming the New Year. I liked talking to Diane. She asked me many questions. Her eyes were wild and untamed. She told me, I am going to the University to be a doctor. I want to save life, not take life. She asked me. Why, a soldier. I see in your face. Kindness. I told her. I have a thousand reasons to be who I am now. Dead brothers, bad decisions and lousy choices in woman. We become who we suppose to be. Her eyes turn sad and she told me. If you seek death, death will find you. I told her, death didn’t want me and I am glad to have met you, Diana. She laughed and she told Bob. More whiskey and where is the champagne Bobbie? Almost 12 pm.
At 11.55 pm Steve toasts to more whiskey, more vacations and less assholes. We touched glasses and Charley announced. Slow song a-coming. Drink your drink and get dancing. I asked Alana. Can I have the dance after the the midnight hour pretty lady? She smiled and she said. Of course. At Midnight, everyone in the bar, including the band and Bob. We drank to the New Year. Everyone kissed and I saw the eyes of Alana, sadness. I reached over to give her, a small kiss and she pulled me close and she gave me a warm and sweet kiss. I told her thank you and she whispered. Thank you for befriended me.
We danced to the first song of the New Year and her body rested against me. I told her, I am glad to have you as company and maybe we can write, if you want. I will write of my great California adventures. She kissed me and she told me. I would like this. She kissed me and we held silence.