The Sleigh Ride

Where would we be traveling this winter? I’d asked that question a lot, even since our trip to Tibet, whose icing on the Roof of the World, was sweet enough for me, but what about now?

She’s been saving our savings for a while, but I thought about using them on something other than travel. I don’t know about her,  but the roof did tend to leak, and the car needed new tires, but those were considered extravagances to her, and not necessities.

I took a look at our alternative form of transportation, our Sleigh. It was one of those that would rival Old Saint Nicks, but was lacking in the Reindeer department. I looked high and low for such a beast, but they never seemed to visit our latitude, other than on the posters that adorned the walls of the dog house.

Rudy was your average-sized dog with average dog wants. He wasn’t satisfied without barking up a storm whenever he considered danger to be afoot, even if that meant that the TV dogs, or the non-existent cat deserved a good thrashing, just to show them who was Cock of the Walk in this neck of the woods.

My old lady was puttering about in the kitchen, when she leaned over the wood stove, getting herself all hot and bothered, but not in the way that would have made me park the old clogs outside the bedroom for a quickie on this an otherwise ordinary Wednesday! She just fanned herself with her travel brochures, in a way that made me want to be yodeling with her in the Swiss Alps, or yelling “Guten Rutsch” to the Germans in Bavaria as we skied down a high mountain slope on the First of January!

She usually called me Sly, that being short for Sylvester, which, at this time of year, made me think of champagne bottles popping and our Lederhosen rubbing together until the wee hours of that most memorable night.

Rudy barked again, showing us that we needed to make up our minds, before all of the snow melted away, thus leaving us high and dry once again. We were actually high and dry without a reindeer, or motor there of, which I kind of forgot to tell Julia, something I was known to do quite often.

“Do you remember Tibet?” she asked me as if I had gotten senile in my old age, and couldn’t, wouldn’t remember the trip that defined our whole life together. Oh, we had been together for years and years before that, but our first view of the Snow Lion Flag flying over the hotel where we stayed, made a statement that will live in our hearts and minds forever. Granted it was rather short-lived as the border guards managed to tear it into shreds, before we could take a picture with the old Instamatic, but it still wasn’t something I’d forget this side of age 70!

“Just how old are you today?” was another one of her questions. How old do I feel, or how old am I really? Hard to answer the one or other, especially with Rudy chomping at the bit for us to hit the road.

We threw our Gnu skins in the sled, where Rudy promptly settled down, with all but his nose being warmed by those Tibetan beauties. I sat on the driver’s seat and pulled out my whip, while Julia sat next to me, humming Christmas songs and munching on cookies usually marking the Buddhist festival Gaden Ngamchoe. I raised my glass filled with Raksi and said suk-bo de-thang, which everyone knows is Cheers in Tibetan!

Rudy just poked his head up during this commotion, displaying his reddened nose, but wagging tail, knowing in his heart that we were bound for yet another fabulous journey together. I swung back the whip as Julia snuggled closer to me, and envisioned us riding along the snow-covered hills of Germany, Switzerland or Tibet, depending on how strong the Raksi was this year?

Yep. I told her and Rudy. The savings just fit perfectly to this trip, said as I stepped out of the Sleigh to close the door to the house, not wanting to waste any energy while we were out on our Sleigh, traveling light in our imaginations.

“Oh, Sly”, she told me at once. “It’ll be just like our Honeymoon again. Just the 2 of us…”

Rudy barked at the number 2, knowing that he would be barking the whole time showing that any activity without him would most certainly call for constant noise outside our Yak Hair Tent.

Any activity whatsoever………

Advertisements

Tundra Popsicle

“My, oh my”
she said to me one winter’s day
“we’re out of ice cream again
too much again”

Too much ice cream
out back in the shed
temptation, desire
her sugary maple smile, too hard
too hard to resist

The day, resembling night
the stars hid their heads
when we considered making love,
but why ruin a budding friendship
with that, eh?

Needing to cool off
from my Canadian heat spell
my winter coat, my white rabbits
running about, teasing me
hiding in their holes
away from me,

A Tundra Popsicle
seemed to do the trick
rather fibrous, but tasty
with her colors, her tangled hair

best when frozen, worst when thawed

Such were my Arctic thoughts today
basking in the temperate zone
here in the Northern Climes

of someplace called Denmark…

Get Your Kickz

She wasn’t satisfied with the pace that things were moving. “Snails and tortoises would have won this race”, said while she leaned out of the mobile home, her obvious assets spilling over the geraniums, making me wishing that I were them.

I was in the shed dusting off the old Rod, getting her ready for our upcoming Road Trip. She never seemed satisfied anymore. I guess, Tibet ruined her for anything else that came afterward, even Egypt didn’t seem to faze her anymore.

“Where is Harley” she asked, while she dusted off her leather clothing, taking special care with her “Motorcycle Mama” boots. “Harley! Get your dog paws out here, now!”

Harley was probably out with his friends again, Dennis, Peter and Jack. Smokin’ in the boy’s room, most likely?

“That boy is just born to be wild, isn’t he?” she asked someone, who might have been me, but lately I wasn’t always sure.

I just sat on the old gal out in the shed. Man we had some good memories together. I was always on an ego-trip before I settled down with my old lady.  Tooling down the highway, giving my one-finger wave at the Fuzz, rolling a number and taking it easy. Just an easy rider, I was.

“Harley! I’ll tan your hide if you don’t get out here and help with the packing!”

Harley’s mother didn’t raise any dummies. He knew as well as I, that the best place to be when his name was yelled was under the mobile home, in the shade, waiting for the storm to blow over.

“Do you really think your pride and joy is going to transport the 3 of us all the way down Route 66?”

I too tried to ignore her and turned up the old phonograph as loud as the scratches would take. I still had the 1946 version, over 20 years before the Stones were stoned with their version. Nat King Cole Trio were wailing it out of my speakers, as if they were born to play that kind of music.

I danced my way into the kitchen and grabbed the old lady for a swinging number on the old dance floor. She looked at me as if I were suffering from the Tibetan Flu, or Martian Pox, but her feet started to swing along with mine anyway. We danced through the kitchen into the living room knocking over this and that, which we didn’t need anyway, dancing as if we had both lost our minds.

We moved outside almost knocking over the awning covering the patio, which might have taken the Rod with it. Harley suddenly showed up barking and yelping trying to figure out what the old folks were up to? He looked confused, but seemed to understand when he could see the smile on the old lady’s face, choosing to lay right in the path of our dancing feet, so we knew that he was a part of the family as well.

When the music stopped, we just collapsed on the divan, raising dust as if a tornado had blown us along the road.

I can’t remember such a good time, since the trip we took to Tibet, all gussied up in our tie-dyed “Save Tibet” T-shirts with the text written in Kiswahili to confuse the border guards.

“Baby, I told her looking directly into her blue eyes, I can’t wait for the 3 of us to hit the road together once again!”

And with that Harley let out a dog sigh of relief and fell into his motorcycle dog dreams …..

 

Traveling Memories – Lost

I woke up brutally to his yelling from the bathroom.

“Someone broke in during the night!” he screamed, his hands flapping in the air, as if he was trying to express his distress with semaphore. Who still knows semaphore anyway, I meant to ask him, but I didn’t think that would be of any help…

“They took all your Montréal memories away!”

Montréal? That barely rang a bell, now that he mentioned it. I could see all the maple leaf and fleur de lysée flags on my bags in the corner of the room, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I had those stitched in.

“Vof vof!” The weird sound came from the bath tub. Nervously, he pulled the curtain away, revealing a dog and two sheep sitting in the tub. “Woof!” he shouted back, while the dog tilted its head to the side… “Vof Vof!” barking back again, as if it was arguing.

“No! This is no time to eat, stupid dog!” he replied at once, and I looked at him, wondering where on Earth he could have learned Icelandic. In Tibet, of course… I suddenly remembered how he had brought his Icelandic Harry Potter to practice while I was getting my sun tan/burn lying on the sandy beach along the Zhaga Qu River, only wearing my prettiest smile.

His gaze went from the Icelandic sheepdog back to me, and I could see the disappointment in his eyes. “There’s nothing Montréalish left about you!” he murmured, with a let-me-get-you-a-one-way-ticket-to-Albania-honey tone to his voice. But I was no girl to give up our traveling together over such futile details…

“Why don’t we settle that simmering in the Blue Lagoon, my dear? I hear the warm waters work miracles!”

His eyes brightened a bit, “Blue Lagoon, uh? Come on Leifar! Come along, boy!! Nope, you leave your sheep here!” and within minutes we were driving fast and furiously on the Iceland countryside roads.

“Why Leifar, my love?” His gaze left the road for a second, rolling his eyes at me, as if I was oblivious to the obvious. “Leifar… Leftover… That’s all we have now, wouldn’t you say?”

I left him to think he was right, and in no time, he was pulling out in the Blue Lagoon’s parking.

“Let’s go skinny dippin’ Baby!” he declared, in a less than enthusiastic way.

It was a given, though, since we hadn’t packed swimsuits for our Mars escapade. “Vof vof!” barked Leifar, as we left Leftover behind, hoping to heal my Tibet sunburns and loss of interest from my one and only.

Undressing by the steamy waters, I was trying to focus on how smooth my skin would feel, after a good bathing in the turquoise natural pool, when I noticed a sparkle in his eyes… Following his gaze, I looked down my ankle and noticed something that had eluded my mind, throughout the day.

The little white and blue flag, tattooed down on my leg…

“Oooh yeah Baby… Dive in! We can always visit Reykjavik’s Police Station tomorrow to get your memories back. That should be interesting…”

But things were already getting interesting, if you ask me.


This piece is the work of Cyranny. She is my first, one and only, guest contributor with her slant on my Fantasy Travel Series. You can find a lot more of her Canadian poetry, fiction, stories about her Cat – hmm -not a dog, and humor here: https://cyranny.wordpress.com/
PS Don’t be fooled about her love for Denmark. Everyone is allowed at least one mistake in their lives about an idea they had…..

Tangerines

“Citrus Groves. That’s where we are traveling today. We are going to visit the Citrus Plantations in the San Fernando Valley.”

She loved to wave her arms in a wide sweeping motion, as if the whole world was her next destination for our Tourist Visits.

I thought the dog should hear this one, because we never would go anywhere without him.

“William Claude – Where are you?” Most likely digging a hole, or something like that, and sure enough he showed up with a bottle in his mouth.

“Pure Corn Whiskey “. That was a strange thing to find, but dogs will be dogs!

Mildred was the wife’s name, while I was called Harry Bison-a, which everyone said sounded French, but that’s what they say about everything that sounds foreign.

William Claude just staggered over to the dog dish and collapsed in the water. “Hmm”, I said. “Must be a hot day for him. I’d watch out for that water though, you just never can be sure!”.

Mildred loaded up the old truck and we hit the road for the San Fernando Valley. I had a map from the filling station, but couldn’t seem to make heads nor tails of it. I finally decided to let William Claude have a go of it, and put him on the hood of the car, our own hood ornament, pointing and such.

We drove for hours without any luck at all. I had heard that the San Fernando Valley, being famous for its citrus trees was the pride of the nation. For us though,  it was only a faint reminder that houses were more important than Tangerines.

We stopped at a small store, and bought some Popsicles made from watermelon, complete with seeds! Mildred just sighed while William Claude sniffed around looking to roll a drunk, or find two bits to buy a bottle at the local off-license store.

“You know what?” I told Mildred as we spit out the last of the watermelon seeds. “If I had a few more dollars put aside, we could have bought us, our own Tangerine Plantation”.

Mildred just looked at me and said, “That would have been a gift”, as William Claude staggered around the corner. “W.C.” yelled Mildred. “What trouble have you gotten into this time?”

W.C. just collapsed on the front seat and belched! The smell reminded me of Tangerines, but then I had them on my mind all day, then into the wee hours of the night as we drove home again.

Well, we got us a nice trip out of it all the same, but I don’t think we’ll drive all the way to Los Angeles again. Too far and too many foreign influences

“Hic” said W.C. in agreement, and passed out into his dog dreams, wearing a top hat and  twirling his cane…..

 

 

“Today”, She Said. “We are Traveling to”

A part of me wanted to put my worldly possessions in a handkerchief and tie them to a stick helping me to run away from home. When she got these ideas, then….

“I’ve always wanted to…..” – Famous last words for her. The dog and I just waited. He wanted to know what his name would be this time, while I…while I wondered if a large stone had hit me on Mars, causing my latest bout with Martian Amnesia?

I suggested a quieter trip. Perhaps to visit her mother, or a nearby shopping center in the next town. She rushed into the kitchen and fetched  a large cold compress, trying to avert the amnesia from making me the ideal husband, just on the boring, predictable side.

She started finding the necessary equipment, without telling me or the dog, where we were going. He leaned back to scratch a flea or two, while I tried my hand at tying bamboo fishing flies, in case we would be visiting the Yangtze River, or something like that where nobody knew my name, or my dogs for that matter.

“Today”, she said. “We are traveling to…..”

It didn’t really matter to me. I tried to get the truth out of her by suggesting Egypt.

“Oh. I never knew you to be a Pyramid Worshiper?”  which made me wish I hadn’t left the back door open with the encroaching windstorm, allowing the searing heat to hasten a new coat of paint on the outside door.

“Erastosthenes” I said without blinking, but couldn’t figure out if the dog should bear that name, or….

“Should I whisper that name to you when the sun has set our Egyptian Blood to boil?”

“No. Not necessarily” I said,  but it did seem to make her breathing increase and make me think of sailing down the Nile, while waiting for Cleopatra to command me to, to….

“Hau-Hau” barked Erastosthenes and ran in circles excitedly. “Hau-Hau” he continued but I couldn’t get used to him barking in Arabic, while my thoughts ran along the Nile, hopping on the first fishing boat heading towards the Delta.

“Would you fan me a bit?” she asked me, while I held my hand up to block the searing heat of the sun.

I looked out of the window, noticing how the summer rains had all but washed out my warmer thoughts of Egypt, but then. When in Rome…

“Of course, my Queen” I said,  taking a hurried sip of my Egyptian Mead, looking at the rolling dunes of her supple expanses, watching the last Camel Train disappear over the horizon.

“Anything for the Queen” I repeated while Erastothenes, looked up at the Moon, and wondered……

Globes, Maps and Apps

“Where should we go this time?” she asked, though I hesitated to answer her. She was still troubled by her peeling skin after suffering a recurring bout of Tibetan Sunburn. I told her that the altitude was tricky. Thin air and strong sunlight does not for good skin make, but telling her would only illicit a response about our being stopped at the border when the guards found a suspicious flag in the back trunk. “Free Tibet for invading foreigners!” which seemed like a pretty good line, but it did get us kicked out before seeing the ancient waters of the Zhaga Qu River, north of  Mt Everest.

Today, however, she returned to the tried and true way of selecting a trip, with her finger on a map. “Hand me your Cell dear, she asked wearing her sweetest “Just wait until later, dear” smile which I fell for time after time. She found the Map App and began to twirl  the Cell around on her finger. “Stop that” I cried and grabbed the Cell away from her. God only knows how many times, I’ve had to explain to the insurance adjuster, why the glass in my Cell phone was broken again.

Paper maps were just as difficult to use. I would have preferred them to the more modern techniques, but I could only find ones like, “Civil War in Uzbekistan in the late 20’s” or, “Chevron map of the Lower 48, including Alaska and Hawaii, but not the rest of the contiguous USA”.

Suddenly she said, “What about the Globe?”

Good Idea, I thought, and started rummaging around in the nearby closet. “Found it” I said, but it looked to be a bit worse for wear, rather discolored and all. “No matter” she said, and closed her eyes, while the Globe spun around. “There” she announced and squinted to see the name of our coming destination. “Vastitas Borealis”! That is our destination.

I was worried. Why you might ask? Well, at the bottom of the Globe it said “True-scale Globe of Mars”.

“Uh” I said while trying to keep a civil tongue in my head. “Are we really going to Mars?”

“Oooh”, she squealed. “Why not, and you can even take the dogs with you”.

“Here boys. Come to Mommy and Daddy”. The two dogs yapped and fought their way to our position.  The one was named “Fear” and the other “Terror”.

“Rather fitting, don’t you think?” she asked me while batting her eyelashes and showing me the place on her shoulder where the skin was almost done peeling. “You can rub some Martian Skin Creme on me later on, if you wish?”. More batting of the eyelashes.

The dogs took no need of us and continued to run about, the one picking fights, while the other ran for its life.

“I’ll start picking our our Mars’ Clothing”, she said. “The summer collection, ” I think?

“What about oxygen?” I asked. “Shouldn’t we need that as well?”

“Oh no. Don’t be silly. I’ll breathe into your mouth and you do the same to me. It always works underwater in Jame Bond movies” she said, with smiling indignation.

I started to feel like this Martian Day was about to be over, and looking at my Sundial, I could see that those extra 40 minutes really took their toll on me, and the 60% gravity was starting to make the car float into the air.

“Shouldn’t we….?” which encompassed a number of things, like gravity, breathing and the like, but she countered me by saying,

“It is that time of the month again, you know?”

“Oh. I had forgotten” I said. “How inconsiderate of me”.

She then locked the dogs into the other room, and said, “Shall we look for Shooting Stars, together?”

How could I refuse her? She was yet just another wonderful heavenly body to gaze upon, while taking a gander in my telescope.

Or, whatever the rest of you would call it…….

Catch a Wave, Dude

I thought, I had straightened out the shed. I really did, but I couldn’t find the Surfboard Wax.

Brian the dog just looked at me, as if to say, “Catch a wave dude, you’ll be sitting on top of the world”. I knew naming him Brian was the thing to do, with us living and grooving along the California Coast.

My old lady though wanted us to hit the road. I looked at the old VW-bus with its faded stickers, “Free Tibet, Now!”, and “Take a Tibetan Out to Lunch”, and wondered whether the old bus could make it one more time down the highway?

“I thought” she looked over the organically certified plants, when she called out of the window. “I thought we could go surfing up by Stinson this weekend?”.

Brian made his “Groovy” paw sign, and put his shades on, while I pulled out the old atlas. “That’s a narly idea, but it is over 400 miles up Highway 1 to get there” I said while smoothing out the peace symbol on my tie-dyed tee-shirt. “Think of the cost to the environment”.

She just sighed and slammed the window. Brian leaned back and took a drag from his pipe. “What a bummer! “, I thought. “A stoned-out dog and a mad old lady”. And that at the start of the Summer.

Brian seemed to say, “Chill Out, Dude” and held up his paw in a high-five way, that I just had to give him a pat on the head and a Milk-Bone treat for just being him.

I went back to my Surfboard Wax. I’ll just run over to the 7/11 and get some, before we do anything else. I jumped on the old Schwinn, and rolled on down the road to points unknown.

When I got there, I discovered the latest flavor of Slurpee had just arrived! I ran over to the pay phone and gave the old gal a ring. “Baby forget Highway 1, and high-tail it down the hill to “Oh, Thank Heaven”.

Janis and Brian arrived just as I came out of the 7/11 with 3 sparkling Slurpees. Brian ran up and began slurping, before he could choose his flavor, while Janis picked out one that was red, “A Piece of her heart, now Baby”.

We just sat there, looking into each others eyes, while our hands grew colder, and the Slurpees warmer. Life didn’t get better than this, and we forgot all about what Stinson could have meant to us – just another time.

“Then we could hitch our way up there”, she declared.

“Only” I said slowly, but surely. Only if there is room for Brian in the car”.

“Brian just leaned back and thought, Two Dogs for Every Boy….”

Travel, Travel, Travel

“I think” she said while thumbing through the usual travel folders and the like,
” I think, I’ll take Tibet, this year”said with as much certainty, and conviction
that I imagined me packing her bag, putting stickers on the sides, First Class, Post No Williams, Your Name Here.

This was a first for her. Usually she chose some other place to make her yearly nest. Like the City Park, or 10 exciting ways to live on a bootstrap budget, without worrying about eating, or sleeping.

Taking Tibet was just a bit more extreme. Is that like taking a photo, or “Take me you devil, you know you want to?”.

I thought about changing my name to Tibet, on those grounds alone. We could make love on the back of a  Gnu, or NGO, whichever presented itself first? I would call her Charlotte, or Sidney, while I, as Tibet would seem exotic and foreign to the likes of a small town girl like her.

She might even ask me to show her the fibers, twisted you know, some might call them ropes, but that would be stretching her nylon knickers a bit too far, wouldn’t you think?

I would also insist on taking a dog with us as well, but only if his name matched our own. Something like Che, instead of the more well-known Fidel. We would use the trip to tame his wild, uprising characteristics, while sharing the wealth of his solidarity with the rest of the world. He might even get his picture embellished on T-shirts and inner-city walls, striking both fear and hope in the minds and hearts of dogs of his kind, of his ilk.

I started packing the old VW-bus, while she looked at our clothing. I wasn’t really sure if we needed the mosquito nets, or our Attila the Hun cooking set, but those small details would surely be ironed out along the way.

With the dog on the front seat and me trying to crank the old engine into starting, she chanced to shed a tear, in not just one eye, but two.

“I’ll really miss the old place” she said, as if we were to be lost somewhere in the Himalayas, when our 1-engine biplane was shot down over enemy territory. “Do you think Che will forget where he grew up? His roots. His beginnings  of the revolution?”

Hard question to answer, if you asked me, which she did. I just gave her a kiss and a hug, and hit the road, while the sun was still visible over Mt Everest. “Someday” I told myself. “Someday perhaps we’ll take a drive up there as well!”

-and with that Che barked and wagged his tail, as if he had understood everything I said, before settling down in the armchair once again, surrounded by a mountain of Travel Brochures, a now sleeping wilderness guide with blondish hair, and his faithful master,  his pockets filled with dreams…..