Lost in the Farmyard

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Dad – how you loved to ride into the country
on dirt roads – most posted, “Keep Out.”
Those words never bothered you, ignoring them.

One Sunday, different then others – we packed
a straw basket, beer would float on melted ice –
me, sitting on the back seat sucking a Malted
Milk ball – your old navy blanket squared
perfectly, place on the ledge near the back
window of your Studebaker: The blanket
served as our table beneath a tree in a forest.

Dad – you drove deeper into the woods –
deeper – deeper – and you laughed, loving
to be lost. My head, hidden by the front
seat of our car and barely seeing out the
window – my nose rubbing soft velvet
upholstery near a push out window – afraid of
black bears, or animals living in the woods.

It was when you turned right and our old
car began to rock back and forth – back and
forth –as running boards began to touch
mud. My body began twisting, turning,
tilting left to right.

Those big tires were sinking deeper –
deeper into mud – then you happily said,
“This is a perfect spot.” Dad stepped on
the running board, reached over my head,
grabbed the navy blanket – then beer cans
punctured, baskets opened – Mother’s voice
telling you, “Frank these aren’t weeds
they are farmer’s oats!”

You laughed – Dad, I remember your grin
as you were sprawled out on the blanket,
and Mother kept telling you, “These aren’t
weeds Frank, they are farmer’s oats!”
All of us now sitting on weeds, on a blanket
and Mother she kept telling you, kept
warning you – as I glanced at the weeds
the tires of our Studebaker flattened.

In the distance – far into the wilderness –
Mom saw the farmer on his porch – shots
echoed into the air, and Dad thought
someone was killing bear! I saw the farmer
his rifle tucked beneath his arm, and
Mom’s voice, “I told you Frank these
weeds are oats!”

Dad stood, grabbed all the stuff laid neatly,
on the blanket, on crushed weeds – when
I spoke out, “Forget the blanket, beer, let’s
get out of here.”

Dad rocked our old car back and forth,
back and forth, those damn old tires stuck
in mud. I gripped a fabric covered handle
attached to the front seat – in the distance
the farmer yelled, “You’re on my oats,”
gunshots filled the air – Dad he rocked
those tires, made’em spit mud – the navy
blanket no longer neat – tossed over my
head in the back seat.

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