Westward Ho 1

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To the left was the header for August, 2013


    A native praire wildflower

    Opening Comments from Bob

About this Page: This page contains three rather lighthearted poems and a vignette.

An Update: Our move to Utah is complete. Our 100+ boxes are almost all unpacked. What a job! Since we are downsizing by 1100 square feet, we often asked, "Why did we bring this?" (Ed.: Everything is unpacked and in its place.)

Three Poems

The Free Homestead Concert

Music fills
    the mountain air.
The sun has just disappeared
    below the peaks.
August, the evenings cool–
    with a note of autumn.
Families picnic
    and children run and play.
Others lay on blankets
    or sit on folding chairs.
The vocalist sings
    of love, challenges, and victories.
The air is pure.
All is well
Comment: One of the perks of living in Midway is that our home is about two miles from The Homestead and Zermatt resorts, both highly rated and well-known in Utah. During the summer months, each Saturday evening The Homestead offers free concerts. What a treat!

An Ode to the Movers

The rain pours,
    sometimes in sheets.
John and Rick
    attempt to dash between the onslaught
    but soon are soaked.
Blankets drape the furniture
    trying to protect the finish.
Muscles are taut and curses flow
    as the monstrous dresser
    ascends the narrow, winding stairway.
Architects receive
    their call for damnation.
Three hours pass,
    and the last box comes to rest
    among the formidable maze.
The two depart,
    happy the day's work
    has ended.
The owner grateful but overwhelmed,
    already dreading the long days ahead!
Comment: The day could have hardly been worse for unloading furniture. I exclaimed several times, "I thought this was a desert climate!" Somewhere in the unloading process, Rick stated that no one ever writes a poem about movers. He went on to say that neither ice, rain, snow, or heat ever stop them–sorta like the post office claim. Anyway, you get the picture. I took on the challenge and created this poem dedicated to John and Rick, our movers.

Is it broken?

As the box is moved to the unpacking area
    and the cutting blade slices the tape,
    an ominous sound is heard.
Is it one of
    the rare crystal goblets
    or a collectable, hand-blown glass piece?
Layer after layer
    is carefully unwrapped.
Still, nothing broken!
There they are,
    small pieces of unsecured jewelry
    rolling in the box.
Smiles erupt, 
    and the next box
    is ready for opening.

Comment: One of the worries we have experienced with each of our four moves is whether our items will arrive safely intact. We have been very lucky that the three previous moves have involved only three items broken, nothing of great value. This move, the longest and most involved, has also been fortunate with only two items broken, one that was able to be fixed. I have come to the conclusion that the packing of the item is not nearly as important as the skill of the mover in loading so only minimal shifting occurs. A case in point, a very valuable but fragile hand carved model Hawaiian sailing outrigger was accidentally loaded. The box was not sealed and only one piece of paper around it. (I had planned to transport it by car since it was too delicate to ship.) In the haste and confusion I never noticed it missing. I flew out to meet the movers upon their arrival at our townhouse. When I saw the open box come off the truck, I was horrified. To my disbelief, it arrived undamaged. Relief!

Some of those in attendance at the Homestead Concert


The clutter in the living room right after the movers left.


A sculpture of Black Hawk. A fun respite is a short stop at the Black Hawk Museum on Rock Island, IL.


Replica of winter housing as displayed at the Black Hawk Museum


An interesting stop just off I-80is a visit to the Golden Spike Tower and Union Pacific's Bailey Yard in North Platte, NE. This world's largest railroad yard where east meets west handles 10,000 cars daily on 2,850 acres of land stretching 8 miles. The yard has 200 separate tracks totaling 315 miles of track. Pictured below are the Golden Spike Tower which provides a panoramic view of the yard and a small section of the switching area. Note the ubiquitous cornfield up to the tower area..


A small section of the yard

Classroom building at the University of Illinois, Urbana
Anyone who has traveled I-74 and I-80 know that it is a continuous series of farms and corn and soybean fields. Without the hard efforts of the farmers, many of us would not have to worry about diets. Pictured above is an Iowa cornfield and farm.
Arsenal Island (Moline, IL) includes the locks on the Mississippi that allow the barges to move down river. There is also a short patch of prairie wildflowers with signage regarding their many medicinal properties (One flower pictured at the start of the PJ.). However, the most moving site was the National Military Cemetery pictured above..

Vignette this Month: Where's my mouse?

After a drive of over 1700 miles to our new home in Midway, I was anxious to get my office in order. Over one hundred and twenty boxes awaited us. It was like walking a maize to move from one room to another. Anyone who has moved knows the feeling, "What have I gotten myself into!" Each box was dutifully marked as to the intended room and a general description of the contents. Focus on the word "general." Finding the computer and printers along with the power strips was a breeze. But where was the mouse? Surely, I packed it with the box marked "computer items." Alas, no such things. As I moved through what I thought were logical options, at the end of Day One I finally found the track pad. At least I could now use the computer. More days passed as box after box was unpacked but still no mouse. I joked with Jan, "Where is a cat when you need it." Then eureka! Toward the end of Day Four a long narrow box was discovered beneath a much larger box. It was in the living room though it was labeled "office." Listed among its contents was the word "mouse." Thus, after approximately eighty-four unpacked boxes, my office became fully functional. By functional, I mean electronically. It is still a mess with boxes and files that need to find their new location. I had better get back to my organizing. Perhaps by next year everything will be in its assigned place. At I least I hope so!"

If you have a guest vignette you would like to submit, please do so. Not only will I enjoy reading it, but if agreeable with you and space permitting, I will print it in a future issue. The vignette should be written in paragraph form and relate a personal story or event. Equally important, it should fit the overall tenor of this newsletter. Ideally, it should not exceed twenty lines. Please send to bob@poeticaljourneys.com.


Lovejoy's Bar & Grill(Downtown, Laramie, WY): We decided to follow the recommendation of the hotel desk clerk and drove to this downtown restaurant–near the Union Pacific rail yard. (It is a sister restaurant to a more expensive one.) We were not disappointed. Laramie is home to the University of Wyoming, and the Grill is a perfect fit for a college town. It serves excellent food and great sandwiches. There is even a hint of gourmet to this local fare. The service is typical friendly "college low-key." If you are traveling I-80 and staying the night in Laramie, this place is worth a dine. P.S. There is a nice selection of boutique beers.

Purchase one of my new Hawaiian calendars. Add some Hawaiian sunshine to each month. Click here to order.

In the Snowy Mountains of Wyoming

Above and below, additional scenes of the Snowy Mountains (It was a rainy day.)

The view that awaited us at the first rest stop in Utah.


Hotair balloons are seen almost daily in Park City, UT
A view about a mile from our home

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