Hallelujah, y’all! It’s finally March! We are quickly approaching my favorite time of year. Out here where I run, I’ve already started seeing early signs of Spring. Currently, however, it’s been raining relentlessly in the Pacific Northwest. Sometimes, when the rain gets me down, I just try to recall a time in my past when the rain wouldn’t bother me, such as riding with my dad in the truck, especially somewhere across West Texas, where the west is wild, and the horizon is vast. Dad would push on through a stormy night, with the radio on, scanning various stations. With the dash lights glowing on his focused stare, the air powered wipers would slap across the glass, in their feeble attempt to contend with the driving rain. He would drive until just before sunrise, and then pull over and sleep a little before daybreak. That’s when I would usually jump up into his seat, pretend to be at the wheel and study the layout of the dashboard, trying to memorize the moment. The lightning of a West Texas storm might startle me at first, but I always felt safe because I was in the truck with my dad, and there was no place I would rather be. So, it always made something like the wind and rain seem enjoyable to me – just to be in the moment, knowing I’d miss times like that when they were gone. Dad told me, right before he passed away, that he regretted not having anything valuable to leave us when he was gone, but I assured him that he left us with experiences like these and other memories that were priceless to me. You saved me millions, dad, by giving me these little things to reflect upon, free of charge. Even something as simple as a snooze on an off-ramp!
THE OFF-RAMP SNOOZE
By Trevor Hardwick
Oh what a long long night it’s been,
The rain and the wind are relentless.
We’re parked on the off-ramp way out here,
Where the ways of the wild are repentless.
Dad pushed hard since the sun went down,
He mused that the nightfall could chase ya.
The last stop I’d seen was in Abiline,
I dozed off somewhere near Lamesa.
I rested my head on the shoulder strap,
My eyeballs were burning and weary.
The engine and tires just sang their song,
A mixture of soothing and eerie.
The dash lights glow on my old man’s face,
The CB was white-noise and static.
The wipers were slappin a random pace,
The lightning was blue and erratic.
I fall asleep not because I’m bored,
There’s nothing I’d rather be doing.
I’m just a young boy beside my dad,
In awe of the dream I’m pursuing.
But here on the off-ramp I’m wide awake,
Dad needed sleep ‘fore the morning.
His TV is on but he’s sound asleep,
And I’m in his seat while he’s snoring.
The rain streaks down the window pane,
The chicken lights glow on the pavement.
The truck shakes as other rigs fly on by,
Chasing their chosen enslavement.
Daybreak will come and the rain will cease,
And just as the sun will be risin.
I’ll get a glimpse of a brand-new day,
And we’ll chase a whole new horizon.