Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


My photo
Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Banff, Bob Dylan, Minnesota, and the Mazda

I've been reading Eugene McCarthy's book of poems--and  couple of essays--called Minnesota, and thinking about the Gopher State.  The only state moniker that memorializes a rodent, I think. I notice lately MN has been trying to rebrand as The North Star State. As a Canadian, that doesn't wash with me. And the North Stars were an NHL team based in the Twin Cities--but they folded the tent twenty years ago. However...I own one very fond memory of Minnesota. In the olden days, just around the time that little Laura Ingalls Wilder was homesteading out on that little house on the prairie, not long after the Sioux wars, and probably around the time of the Great Northfield Minnesota raid, I used to drive across that godforsaken country called Minnesotio a couple of times a year. I was commuting between Maine and Alberta. Thirty years ago this week somewhere around the NW corner of Lake Superior my car, a 1976 Mazda 808 station wagon, started bucking and snorting and generally misbehaving. It was -30 degrees F but I figured the problem wasn't cold per se, but issues with the carburetor. I spent the night more or less sleeping in the back of the car in a shut-down-for-the year State Park somewhere south of International Falls. Next morning limped it into good old Duluth, which is (almost) Bob Dylan's home town. Went to the Mazda dealership where they immediately went to work on the car. They rebuilt the carb,  did a complete tune-up and handed me a bill for...$125.  I think I had about a hundred bucks on me and most of it in Canadian money. Credit cards--not. I asked if they would take a check. Sure, no problem! How about a Canadian check? Sure, no problem. Me: Want to see my driver's license? Them: Nah, what for? Still hard for me to believe, but they took the check (cheque, in Canada) from a scruffy Canadian hippie, drawn on the Bank of Montreal branch in Banff, Alberta, no questions asked. 

The Bobster, from "Something There Is About You
"Thought I'd shaken the wonder and the phantoms of my youth
Rainy days on the Great Lakes, walking the hills of old Duluth
There was me and Danny Lopez, cold eyes, black night and then there was Ruth
Something there is about you that brings back a long forgotten truth."

1985 PB photo ©2013 JW Burleson

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