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The early morning drive,
well, the early morning start,
started with us piling ourselves
onto floorboard,
floorboard and seat,
piling with blanket, pillow and bucket
(the bucket, in case my stomach rebelled)
We three, well four, if you count me,
are riding, our cousins, to see.

We don’t have much on the plate.
But it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter our state.
We’re taking a trip, riding on floorboard and seat.
Riding and reading, if our stomach allows.
Riding and drawing, if our pencil stays proud.
Riding and pushing, if our brothers do crowd.
We’re taking a trip, riding ‘round Shasta, quiet and loud.

The miles pass in seventies best,
they’re draped in greens and grays,
and then they are kissed;
they pass with silent rumbling sound,
under our feet, to our left and our west,
while number two clowns, number four frowns,
number one sits with with his eyes to the ground.
and I spread ‘cross the car’s center mound.

We try to play “license plate state.”
There is some “prize” to win if fifty we find,
or for the brother who makes it fastest to zed,
Oh, travel, rumble and sled.
Sightings of Shasta loom right ahead,
that great ice-headed mountain’s rising ahead.

And Grandpa sings “How Great”
as candied peanuts and “Lemonheads” 1
are shared from Grandma’s small plate.
Strong voice and hospitality great,
are shown while moving ‘round Shasta’s great peak,
shown while we nudge to gain room in our little grand place.
We’re with parents-grand; we’re safe in our space.

© rl busséll 2018 – All rights reserved.

  1. A Lemonhead is an American brand of candy, first introduced in 1962, produced by the Ferrara Candy Company. ↩︎

Image from:

unsplash-logoJeff Finley

9 comments on “We’re Safe in Our Space

  1. Les Bussell says:

    Oh how the memories rush in and by as I breezed these words, thank you.
    I think anyone who ever piled into an auto for a family trip can identify with this poem. Thank you


    1. rlbussell says:

      You’re so welcome. The same happened to me while I wrote.


  2. Wendy says:

    I have my own vivid memories as a kid in a station wagon. The 4-seater kind, meaning the 2 seats that popped up from over the wheel wells. It was grand even though we never got to go farther than my aunts house in Fremont. 30 minutes away seemed like an eternity when you’re 6.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. rlbussell says:

      Station wagons are time machines.


  3. Jess says:

    Love this! Made me remember all the family trips I took with my sisters and I piled in the backseat with a dog behind us as we drove for hours on “never ending roads.” Beautiful and fun! Great writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. rlbussell says:

      Thank you so much. So glad that it helped you to remember good times. Thank you for spending time reading and your kindness.


  4. Made me remember all the family trips I took with my sisters and I piled in the backseat and a dog behind us as we traveled for hours down “never-ending roads.” So fun and beautiful. Great writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This reminds me of our drives in the station wagon from Key West, FL, to Memphis, TN. Twenty-two hours of driving for Dad and Mom while we girls colored, sang songs, played Travel Bingo, and the license plate game. Great poem! I especially like the line, “Riding and drawing, if our pencil stays proud.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. rlbussell says:

      Thank you. I like that line too and “they pass with silent rumbling sound” — I like the seeming contradiction.

      Liked by 1 person

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