while looking off into the distance
many roads lead to me
the curious may travel to catch a glimpse
and revel in my history
they’ll never quite understand what i’ve seen
a smell, a sound or a ghost
pins us back in time
a duality in the timeline
one foot in reality
the other in the past
echoes of the familiar
trap us quite robustly
forcing a face-to-face
as harsh realities present
a reckoning of our actions
will we learn
or are we doomed
to repeat the recollections
over and over
in our unsatisfying dreams
March 30, 3025 – Elmira, NY – 11 months before the event
“Anika, would you like to meet at The Shingle for a bite to eat when you get done with your studies?” asked Cedric, hoping she would be okay with food from the dive he liked to frequent.
“Yeah, that sounds like a great idea! It’s been a while since I ate there,” Anika lit up enthusiastically, looking forward to something different. The packaged meals at home were getting a little boring. “Way too long!”
“Oh, I didn’t know you’ve been there before. So you like Shingle’s food?”
“There’s a lot you don’t know about me yet,” she said with a smile. “Yes, I like that place very much! I don’t have the time to cook, what with my studies and job. Dinner there will be a real treat!” responding genuinely excited.
“Well, I’m glad to know that you like it there. It is one of my favorite places to go.” Cedric was looking forward to their first date.
“Great, then I’ll see you there around 6ish?”
“Yeah, that’s perfect! See you then,” Cedric said with a big smile. Anika felt a sweet thrill start in the pit of her stomach, then pulsing throughout her body. She had a hunch; this was the beginning of something special.
The Shingle, housed in a small dilapidated bluish-grey building, attracted many customers even though it looked ancient and run down. The City of Elmira also boasted about this hole in the wall as a Must See! Establishment on their web page. Business was good, and it would be a long time coming before they closed its doors. It had been in the family since 1947, prospering throughout because of their ideas and their work ethic. Their staying power was also a testament to the quality of their food and service. The building’s nostalgic feel was the biggest draw for the clientele but also because it was an oddity that stood out in today’s world. The younger generation, especially, wanted to partake of something that was just slightly different, as has always been the case throughout history. It was their way of making something their own, so naturally, it became a hot spot for the younger crowd.
The reason it was called The Shingle was for its favorite item on the menu, a comfort food known as “Shit on a Shingle.” They couldn’t name the restaurant that so it was just known as The Shingle. But everyone knew what it stood for. The dish’s origin dated back to the early 1900s, with slight modifications over the years from what was listed in the Manual of Army Cooks from 1910. The Shingle owners served many variations on the original recipe, trying to customize it to the customer’s taste buds. Like Burger King’s original slogan in 1953, the owners of The Shingle were big fans of allowing their customers to “have it their way.” The formula had worked for over 1000 years and was likely to sustain them for even longer. Some things just shouldn’t change.
TO BE CONTINUED ON THURSDAY…
There once was a man named Tutt,
who got shot and fell on his butt.
All because of a pocket-watch he stole,
Wild Bill’s bullet caused the new hole.
“Boys, I am killed.” Dying, his mouth shut.
“Whites saw Indians as obstacles to settlement, not rightful proprietors. Whites possessed presumptive rights because they represented a superior civilization. Indians were merely “savages”, incapable of putting the land to its highest possible use.” “Feel-good morality tales, in which the good guys can do no wrong and the bad guys can do no right, are far from harmless. They feed the notion that one side, inspired by righteousness, possesses the right to kill. They fuel the destructive cycle of revenge, for the villainous acts committed by the bad guys must be avenged. The emotions stirred in stories such as The Patriot are elemental but base: we want the enemy to go down. Justice is achieved through killing.”
Ray Raphael, author of Founding Myths – Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past
This thought-process explains why the military defense gets over half of the US budget. The mindset of the powerful is and has always been one of conquest. They expect everyone to feel the same and fall in line. Those who whitewash history know this. It’s precisely why our children don’t learn the reality of this country’s past as teachers shovel feel-good stories about patriotism. The United States tries to deflect on every level all the shit they have done.
death gifted me a new hierarchical level
a transition of status
especially in my family
accidental or age-related
expiring and passing the torch
a normal consequence of living
most times it’s hard
in my case, a good thing
finally having autonomy
the benefit of losing people
who held me back for years
death seems a good thing
resentments let go of
the chaos and drama over
by dying they
helped heal my old wounds
A stranger turned ally, so fortunate for me
We forged a great friendship, a real family
Our lives navigating twists and turns
Left feeling at a loss, and with concerns
We struggled on, determined to remain alive
Oh, mentor and side-kick, you helped me thrive
Our strong bond, even stretched thin, wouldn’t break
Deep loyalty and care, we were never fake
Here we are hitting our peak, best friend
Our hearts bound together until the very end
Opening the lid to the past.
Joy, tears, and laughter escape.
Youthful feelings rushing back expectedly.
Playing in the past like it was yesterday.
Staying there is tempting,
in the good ‘ole days.
But were they really?
Boxed memories are nearly all good.
Who saves the crap?
Those moments slowly come back too.
Time to close the lid.
Back to reality.