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.

#travellogforatravelblog

#jerryjohnsonblog jtjohnpoet.com

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.

#jerrytjohnsonpoet_writingprojects

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…”

#travellogforatravelblog

#jerryjohnsonblog jtjohnpoet.com

Part V – Riding the Double Decker

From the Business Travel Log

Part V – Riding the Double Decker

My plane makes a long downwind track past the Whitestone bridge before making a longer arc to face the runway. I think about a long journey I took in 1995 from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow.

The plane from Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, to Moscow was not a puddle jumper. It was a huge double decker Russian airliner. It was not the most modern of airliners but it was modern enough. My translator, Sergey, and I rode in first class.

“Jerry, how are you feeling”, asked Sergey.

“This toothache is killing me”, I replied.

“When we get to Moscow we can get some good medicine for you”, said Sergey.

“Zdravstvujtye, chto-nibud’ vypit “, said the handsome lady elegantly dressed in the blue, and white uniform with the long purple velvety scarf draped around her neck.

“I know what she said Sergey. What’s on that cart she’s pushing? I see vodka. Wait, what’s in that tall brown bottle?”

Sergey looks at the cart. “That’s Cognac.”

“French?”, I respond.

“Okay, Jerry, it’s Brandy.

The young lady pops the top of the Brandy after Sergey asks for it. My toothache is pounding.

“Nyet”, I tell her, “just give me the bottle”, I say.

She understood. Her eyes met my grimace. She winced.

Her language quickly switched to English, “Sir, I hope you feel better soon.”

“Spasiba Bolshoi”, I responded.

“Pozhaluysta”, she replied, smiling.

Hearing the wheels of my aircraft lock down awakens me from my daydream of memories.

“We are on our final approach to LaGuardia, please put your seats in the upright position with seatbelts buckled and your tray tables stowed” boomed the flight attendant over the intercom.

I comply. I look out my aircraft window at beauty, I marvel at nature, my heart is thankful, my mind is at peace, my hands are steady, my feet are grounded , my emotions contemplate joy. We touch down. Spasiba Bolshoi, we arrive.

#travellogforatravelblog

#jerryjohnsonblog jtjohnpoet.com

I Remember the 1970 Knicks

After seeing the New York Knicks in the news this week:

David Fizdale fired: Knicks fire coach after 4–18 start – Sports Illustrated. I decided to write this poem:

I Remember the 1970 Knicks

it was May eighth, nineteen seventy
our little black and white television
blankly stared at my brother and i
we sat we turned staring at each other

Okay, I’ll turn it on”, i said, i stand up
i take three steps, turn on the power
i return to my seat, we stare hopefully
will it turn on this time? please turn on

we named our television ‘sometimey”
sometimes it would power up and work
unfortunately, most times it would not
and tonight was special; it had to work

it was game seven NBA championship
the Los Angeles Lakers were playing
against the New York Knickerbockers
Madison Square Garden in the city

to our surprise, wonder and glee
our little black and white TV was on
and we were on— I adjusted the hanger
a clothes hanger subbed for our antenna

my brother pulled for the Knicks
i was a Lakers fan, loved Wilt and West
my brother loved Reed, who was injured
haha, my team was destined to win

the speakers on my little tube vibrated
i was in shock at sound from the crowd
pre game Madison Square Garden rocked
my brother smiled, i waxed concerned

suddenly, out of the tunnel Reed appears
dressed to play, the cheers the crowd
my television speakers cry and dance
my brother grins, my forehead creases

tip off, Knicks ball, a hobbling Reed scores
the crowd is insane my brother jumps up
i sit, I feel sweat forming beneath my Afro
have the Lakers and i just lost our nerve

Reed leaves but he was quite symbolic
at that point i meet a man named Frazier
a few feet past half court he posts
he aims at the basket, he scores

he scores the same way over and over again i stand and scream stop him
no one in the garden hears me I’m angry
my brother, falling to the floor, is laughing

game over, Frazier thirty six points
injured Reed, most valuable player
my brother is happy, i look at him
i smiled then and i smile now as

i wish for better days for the Knicks again

#sports #knicks #jerrytjohnsonpoet