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"I Hop Alone"

Did you know we were gone? 

We went to Tennessee for the Fear Festival, 
huddled in a motel basement while a tornado went by 
and left souvenir dents in the roof of our new car. 

The rest of our visit was great fun 
at the spur-of-the-moment family reunion. 
We met some of the younger kinfolk for the very first time. 
(I reckon that's the first time I've ever said "kinfolk", 
and I know this is my first "I reckon".) 

We had hugs, laughs, talks about old and new times, 
and played music together on the porch by candlelight. 

In Tennessee autumn, 
every mountainside is a wall of lush color, 
but in April you can see through the transparent scenery. 
It has three-dimensional depth. 

Against the bare lacy limbs of winter, 
there are rust, burgundy, and yellow leaves, 
left over from October. 
Bright spring buds, dark evergreens, 
and those delicate trees of lavender and white. 
I wonder what they are? 

We like aged weather-beaten barns. 
Maybe they are a signal from our past... 
fading proof that there ever was a past. 
We sometimes think we dreamed it all, 
but the ancient leaning buildings remember. 

We forgot to take jackets, 
so we bought one and borrowed another, 
for the sharp crisp days, 
and two blanket nights. 

We dreaded leaving, 
and said many goodbyes. 
A lot of love was going around, 
and we're hanging on to the feeling.

The first half of the homeward drive was dreamlike, 
through spring mountains, rivers, and friendly country towns. 
We talked about our three days in Celina, Tennessee, 
and the people we'll miss. 

The road south from the Florida border was comparatively dull. 
We passed an "IHOP" sign on the highway, 
and Misty sang a little song: 
"I Hop Alone. 
Because, to tell you the truth, I'm a rabbit. 
I don't mind. It's a habit. 
I Hop Alone." 

Sometimes she gets deep. 

Copyright  April 11, 2006 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. 
Reprinted by permission.


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