Well, folks. The years have flown by. Remember back when? Back when every day presented a possibility for adventure? In those days, myself and my dog used to use weekends to explore as much of the state as possible. I drove a Volkswagen van equipped with anything one needed — a bed, a weensy fridge, a weensier stove and a radio. If you want to hear how it was in my younger days when I thought the world my oyster, put your feet up, and crack a beer while I confess to a remembrance from wayyyy back when.
As the years I’ve squandered, I’ve sometimes pondered,
Adventures that happened long since,
Like the odd romance that occurred by chance
‘Tween me and a Prairie Prince.
Now I was young, a little high-strung
And I loved to travel back roads;
At 27, to me it was heaven
To learn what a trail might disclose
It was afternoon, I was humming a tune
As I drove my Volkswagen van
Along the Highline, the road was pond-slime
For rain had lashed the land.
As my way grew stickier, my driving got trickier,
In mud I finally mired.
In a gooey track, I couldn’t turn back,
A rescue I required.
So, I said to my dog, “We’re in A BOG,
We’ll have to strike out walking.”
And with that plan, we jumped from the van
Into goop as thick as caulking.
My dog despaired, gunk gobbed on her hair,
Mosquitoes rode her nose’
While I struck and swatted, a person besotted
Those stingers bit through my clothes.
This miserable Hell went on for a spell,
Then up in the distance, I spotted
A blessed new factor — a Prince on a tractor!
Gratefully onward I trotted
From high on his perch, he watched me lurch
As gasping, I staggered near,
His expression was dour and I wasn’t sure
I’d find a welcome here.
From under his hat that was black as a bat
There straggled carroty hair
A tacky plaid shirt, plumb crusty with dirt,
Enhanced his savoire faire
Though I felt near death, I caught my breath
And said in a dignified way,
“I’m stuck in the sludge, my van won’t budge,
Can you help me? What do you say?’
He chewed on a weed thinking over my need,
And squinted as he opined,
“What gits in the muck c’n sure be unstuck;
Just crawl up and hang on behind.”
On the toolbar I climbed with a grateful mind,
And discovered to my distress;
The Prince was quite portly, and I found that shortly,
His back I was forced to press.
Now, how does one hold without being bold
When cuddling a stranger’s expanse?
One hand on his collar — he didn’t holler,
As I grabbed the waist of his pants.
And off through the mud, Prince and I chugged
(I thought I’d lose a kidney);
My dignity gone as the thumping went on,
I clung with all that was in me.
Prince got me unstuck with a log chain and luck,
And dragged my van to his ranch;
When I asked, could I pay for my rescue that day?
He said with a grin, “Not a chance!”
So, I gave it a think, then asked, “Have a drink
Of vodka I brought from town?”
He wallered his hat, and said as he spat,
“Ain’t never turned one down!”
He invited me in and said he had been
A bachelor for 60 odd years;
He mentioned he’d fix us up with some mixes,
But all he had were root beers.
The kitchen was quaint, the walls peeling paint,
A pump handle stood on the sink;
A dishtowel as gray as fog in a bay;
(You knew it would also stink).
I held back a shudder as I viewed the clutter
That littered the kitchen table.
Dishes and saucepans and half-emptied bean cans
And things you might find in a stable.
We shoved a spot bare; Prince set out a pair
Of jars that had once held jelly.
As we each sipped a toddy, Prince became jolly,
And rubbed his Santa Claus belly.
He patted my arm and spoke of his farm,
And bragged on his Pinto pony.
“You want, you c’n ride,” Prince said with pride,
“He’s papered, he ain’t no phony.”
For a couple of hours, we drank root beer sours
While discussing his bachelor life
How he’d stayed on the ranch, no chance for romance
Always wishing he had a wife.
To distract from such gloom, I looked round the room;
(The Prince owned lots of antiques).
With a smile on my face, I asked, “Show me your place?”
And dimples appeared in his cheeks.
We were each a bit soused as we toured ‘round the house
While I viewed his oak tables and chairs
And a nickel-trimmed stove and then, by Jove,
I spotted something rare.
There in the boudoir, like a shining gold star
Stood a bedstead of polished brass;
Prince acted shy and I pitied the guy,
Till I felt his hand on my — arm.
Though quite surprised, still I surmised
He didn’t mean to impose;
He looked so worried, I didn’t feel hurried
Till Prince sidled up real close.
I suffered a shock from a rude hammerlock
As a kiss he tried to wangle;
Like two bears we wrassled, we danced as we hassled,
And crashed on the bed in a tangle.
The mattress of feather was softer than heather,
I sank like a stone in a well;
With a breast-stroking motion, I swam cross this ocean,
Then off the far side I fell.
Indignant, I rose to see Prince on his nose,
His rump in the air a wiggling’
His overall strap dangled loose near his lap;
I dissolved into helpless giggling.
He knelt in the bed, his face blooming red,
From his eyes I saw tears squirt;
A droll little imp, his hands hung limp,
Like a puppy whose forepaw is hurt.
With a pitiful moan and an awful groan
The Prince he whimpered low
“Oh, if only I’d met you when I could still court you
Thirrrrrrrrty years ago!!”
The sight was so funny I flopped on my tummy,
Which put me head to head
With this butterball farmer — this pudgy charmer —
Deep in his featherbed.
Then a knock at the door shocked us both to the core,
The Prince went plumb berserk;
He scrambled around, got his feet on the ground,
And left the room with a jerk.
‘Twas only his neighbor, asking a favor,
I could hear their rumbling voices.
By now, I was sober, this game was over;
So, what, I thought, were my choices?
Out the door I peeked, to the bathroom I sneaked,
And tried to pry open the window;
But I had no luck, paint had it stuck,
And I was a goner in limbo.
I stared in the mirror and back at me peered
A woman clearly insane;
And then a great notion I put into motion
Inside my panicky brain.
My hair was on end, but I stirred it again
On my blouse, unfastened three buttons.
With hands on my hips and a smirk on my lips,
To the kitchen I went a-struttin’.
As I swept past Prince, I saw him wince;
His face nearly burst into flame;
The neighbor gawked, choked and coughed;
He couldn’t have said his own name.
At the doorjamb I posed and slowly closed,
Those buttons one by one;
Blew Prince a kiss — and I didn’t miss!
Then bolted outside on the run.
I gathered my dog and all agog
I spurred my van into space;
I never looked back, just made a fast track
Away from Prince’s place.
I’ve often pondered, as the years I’ve squandered,
If I had lingered to dally,
Would I own a farm, a tractor and barn?
Plus, a Pinto horse in the tally?
Though Time has fled by, I recall with a sigh
Adventures of my youth,
Though I was young and a little unstrung,
This story, I swear, is the truth! ❖