Saturday, September 22, 2012

Road Trip



image by massimo venturi


Road Trip

While on a road trip to Texas, 
parked at a rest stop outside Ft. Stockton, 
along the straight concrete snake of I-10,
chewing on cold slices of Pecos cantaloupe,
we got out to stretch our legs.

My wife, who does most of the driving, 
walks for 15 minutes to shake the road kinks out,
while I find a cement bench in the shade
as refuge from the 115 degree Southwest sun.

Parked next to us was a white SUV
with one of those professional stick-on signs
on the front doors; it read

TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL
Massage and Spa
Wimberly, Texas.

An older man, perhaps in his 70’s,
with a great shock of white hair,
wearing a Hawaiian shirt and black slacks,
was struggling with the leashes for his
two small spotted dogs. He noticed
I was staring at him, so he dipped his chin,
smiling a howdy,

just as I realized that I needed to call
some of my friends in Washington State
to inform them that our trip was running long
and that I would miss an appointment 
with them the next week.

I retrieved my second wallet from my left cheek pocket,
a small leather one that holds my gas credit cards
and my little black address/phone book. I placed
the open wallet on the roof of our silver hybrid Camry,
while I struggled to figure out how to use my wife’s
new iPhone so that I could call my people.

Finished but still cranky with the heat
and my ignorance of new technology,
I slipped the address book into a shirt pocket
on my red cowboy shirt, snapping the flap
over it as I got into the vehicle while still fussing
and off down the freeway we sped.

A couple air-conditioned hours later
as we approached San Antonio,
I patted my shirt pocket
and the terrible realization that I did not have
my second wallet thumped me on top of the head.

God damn son of a bitch! 
I roared, pounding my fists
on the innocent Toyota dash.

My wife exited the freeway
as I excitedly explained that I had lost
or left my wallet, probably by leaving it
on the roof of the car back at Ft. Stockton.

I embraced full self-deprecation,
giving myself four Bozo awards,
expounding on the virtues of aging,
while also lamenting the loss
of the three crisp hundred dollar bills
in the wallet as hideout cash,
as my sweet wife pulled out
her iPad and iPhone and began
the arduous task of looking up and then contacting 
the five gas card companies
so that we could cancel those lost cards.

We had managed to cancel two of them
when the cell phone rang. 
It was my youngest daughter
who was house-sitting for us.

“I just received a strange phone call,” she said,”from a Joe Taylor who lives in  Wimberly, Texas. He said that he had found your wallet at a rest stop, then looked up your name on Google, since none of the cards had ID beyond your name, then called here to leave a message that you should call him at his office tomorrow after 9 a.m. His business is called “Touched By An Angel”.”

I just burst into copious tears of gratitude,
being a living witness to the unassailable fact
that yes, angels do walk among us.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets

Would you like to hear the author read this prose poem to you?

9 comments:

Claudia said...

haha...so great...now that was a touch by an angel indeed...cool that there are still people like him that care about others...

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

Wow, what a stroke of luck, great tale!

Brian Miller said...

wow nice guy....scary moment though...been there...well kinda...my wallet got obliterated on a ski slope, was surprised how much i found the next day but....cool connection too...his business name and he being your angel that day...

manicddaily said...

Wow - now that is unexpected! Pretty great too. k.

thecourseofourseasons.com said...

What a story - entertaining angels unaware! K

Natasha Head said...

Humanity shines in the glory of an angel...Glen...my apologies, but I can see you pounding on that poor Toyota..and I'm still smiling. Wonder if that was the mobile massage? Really appreciated the skills in your writing here...the storyteller rises...and there's no better poet than one with roots deep in the story...it's where we live our lives after all...

nephiriel said...

what a beautiful story, glad this turned out so well for you.

nicely told.

Sabio Lantz said...


This is prose -- I loved the prose. Easier to read when it is broken up as if poetry.

With the picture and mention of Fort Stockton, I was expecting a poem about the Buffalo soldiers -- maybe Joe Taylor was a re-incarnated Buffalo soldier or a Camanche.

In Japan, I had my wallet returned many times.

Mama Zen said...

What a fabulous tale!