Returning Home

Epilogue – Returning Home

From the Business Travel Log

I love kids but traveling back home during the holiday season can be quite hard on your ears.

“Sit still Charlie”, says Charlie’s Daddy. Charlie sits down, looks around and then stands up and steps into the aisle. “Come on, Charlie, sit down.”

“We are dancing, dancing, dancing, people, people, dancing, dancing, people”, sings two little girls who sit right behind Charlie.

“Da, da, da, da, daaa”, sings another little girl across the aisle from the two.

“Mommy, let me have it. Mommy let me have it”, screams a little darling.

“We need to put little Dumpy away for a moment, honey. After I buckle up your seatbelt you can have him back”, says Mommy.

“No, no, no”, cries little darling, when Mommy takes the tiny stuffed elephant and throws it under the seat and reaches for the seat belts buckling up little darling.

Poor Dumpy, I think to myself as I remove my ear pods and replace them with my sleek, black, over-the-ear headphones.

I’m headed back to Newark. I traveled extensively over the last two months of November and December. This is the final leg of year 2019. I’m ready to be at home for a change. After I arrive in Newark, I’ll take a shuttle to Grand Central terminal in Manhattan then take Metro North to home.

I put my phone in airplane mode. Our pilot informed us earlier that our flight may be very bumpy due to reports of heavy turbulence along our route. Cabin service would be canceled. My seat belts are fastened. I press the play button on my headphones. I put my head back against the seat as I feel the plane back away from the gate.

I read as we taxi. I’m on an airbus 320. It has 26 rows of seats. With the exception of first class, there are 6 seats per row. The plane is packed with nearly 150 people. I’m seated in row 26. I feel the airplane turn. It won’t be long now, I think to myself. The pilot slowly releases the throttle and we begin to pick up speed. Then he pulls the throttle way back and with a roar we lift off. I feel my body being pushed by a nano sized G-force. I put away my reading materials. I close my eyes, fall asleep and I dream.

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Lamentation for A House Divided

Lamentation for A House Divided

-after Lincoln’s second inaugural address

a candidate Lincoln gained his fame
by saying a house divided cannot stand.
a Senator Sumner gained a cruel beating
by indignant outrage wielding a viscous cane.

tempers boiled —the steam rose
the earth quaked, stars faded, sunspots flared.
rage assembled, our Rubicon awaited our arrival.
our valleys sank low with depression, with angst our cities swelled.

alea iacta est, our Rubicon welcomed us
the die cast, we crossed over.
remember, Lincoln warned us of our houses being divided.
only a few listened to him only a few bothered…

“and the war came”

What’s That Lying On The Table?

My Writing Projects

Part II – What’s That Lying On The

Table?

It was late October, 1992. The weather in Columbia, South Carolina was great. It was seventy two degrees outside but I was indoors, at work and working hard.

Ten printers, three feet tall and four feet wide, roared away in the computer room. The walls, ceiling and floors of the 1000 square foot room were a glistening white. Three mainframe computers sat and hummed in the middle of the room. Four reel tape drives along with four cabinets were positioned against the left wall. Against the right wall were the printers spitting out page after page of marketing, sales, manufacturing and financial data.

With the exception of the occasional phone ring, the MIS (Management Information System) office was much quieter. The office was rectangular. Desks were placed against all four walls and a long conference table, adorned by ten chairs, sat in the middle. Ten terminals sat on the tables, four each on the two long sides of the room and two each on the two short sides.

I went from terminal to terminal typing commands but not pressing the enter button. I looked at my watch and then I looked at the clock. I looked at the visitor who sat in the office shuffling paperwork. He was an I/T manager from the head office in New York. He watched how I ran the computer operations room. When the clock reached 4:00pm, I went from terminal to terminal pressing the enter button. Each screen brightened as symbols and text rapidly scrolled across their displays.

I opened the door that led into the computer room. I pulled several tapes from the shelves and loaded the reels on the tape mounts. I left the reels in standby mode and walked back into the computer room. The manager from the New York office was standing up now. He’d been watching my every move. He continued to watch as I went to several terminals whose programming had finished. I typed commands one by one, pressing enter after typing and then the tape reels started turning.

“You ever thought about working in New York?” he asked.

“I think about it all the time”, I responded.

“How would you like to be a roadie like me, learning new applications, testing software, writing training programs and then running field deployments projects all over the country?”

“Where do I sign up?” I asked.

The manager from New York laughed, “I’ll have one my guys call you next week. It will be a phone interview.”

“Okay, I’ll be ready”, I said, my voice hardly containing my excitement.

“By the way, what’s that lying on the table over there?”, he asked.

My self published, self made, poetry chapbook titled ‘Social Conscience’ laid next to my briefcase on one of the tables. It had fallen out of my bag.

“Oh, that is my poetry chapbook”, I said.

“Your poetry chapbook? Oh, so you are a poet?” he asked.

“Yes, I am. I started writing for the public a few months ago. One of my poems was just published in a poetry journal out of Atlanta”, I answered.

“Dude. That’s cool. My I take a look?” he asked extending his hand.

I gave him the book, he started reading and I went about finishing up my work. I glanced at him from time to time and he smiled as he read.

“You can keep that one if you like it”, I

said.

“How much?”, he asked.

“Gratis”, I answered.

“Why thank you. I like what I

read so far”, he said, “This is amazing work. Do me a favor though.”

“What’s that”, I asked.

“If you get this job in New York, don’t stop writing”

“What if I don’t get the job in New York?” I asked.

“Don’t worry about that and don’t stop writing”, he answered.

“No problem. I won’t worry and I plan to continue my writing”, I said as I wrapped up my work for the day.

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Part VII – What a Wackadoodle!

Part VII – “What a Wackadoodle”

From the Business Travel Log

It’s the largest bay window I’ve ever seen. Twenty-five feet tall by fifty feet wide, mostly glass with dark cherry wood trim. It was immense in its display and oblivious to the loud patrons in the bar.

“What a wackadoodle”, blared the rotund man with the rotund face. Laughter exploded at the table of six people where he sat.

“Don’t let him drive to the plant anymore”, piped the man with the scraggly beard.

“A u-turn over a huge median with a packed car. What was he thinking? What a wackadoodle”, the rotund continues.

“I thought the bumper was going to fall off”, said scraggly beard.

“The bumper did fall off”, retorted the rotund.

“Oh I know, that was when we arrived at the plant and parked”, replied scraggly beard, “I thought it was going to just drop off after the car scraped over the curb”

Laughter bursts from the junior members of this crew who sat at the table.

Not to be outdone by the rotund and scraggly beard, two gentlemen seated at the far side of my long tall table raise their voices several octaves.

“Frank doesn’t have a long term strategy”, says the man in the gray suit, white shirt and shiny black tie.

“You needn’t inform me. I know he doesn’t have a long term strategy”, says the man in the blue shirt and burgundy suspenders, “He is in it for the short term. He wants to get his bonus and run”

Gray suit bangs his hand on the table, “That’s exactly what I been telling people but who listens to me.”

Suspenders chimes in, “yeah, I been telling folk too but no one is listening.”

I can’t help but listen as I look out the window. I think to myself, this is one loud hotel lobby bar. The last time I heard this much noise at a lobby bar was in Chicago during the MLB playoffs when the Cubs were getting their butts kicked by the Mets. That was years ago and I sat quietly then as I ate just as I sit quietly and eat now. I check my itinerary for tomorrow. My flight leaves out of Newark at six-eleven in the morning. That’s why I’m spending the night at this full service hotel right here at the airport.

This pork belly pasta dish I’m eating tastes delicious. I didn’t know that you could mix pork belly with penne pasta. The pine nuts, vinegar, oil, chopped brussel sprouts, green onion and parsley really brings out the flavor.

“Sir, can I get you something else?” asks my waiter.

“No, just the check. I got a very early flight in the morning. I’m turning in for the night.”

“I don’t blame you, I’ll be right back” says my waiter as he takes my cleaned plate.

I stare out the large bay window of the hotel. It is still and oblivious to the noise in the lobby. I’m not oblivious. I can’t help but hear: “What a wackadoodle…”

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