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EXIT 159

There was a place where

If you turned there

You’d be sure

To have some fun

Take exit 159

To the first

Gravel road

That you find

About two miles down

It’s the greatest

Hometown

Where my grandparents lived

Turn up the lane

The road has no name

But their house was big

And white

A field of corn

Sits just to its left

Sometimes

We’d run through it at night

Park in the drive

At the back of the house

Sometime ago

You’d be greeted by Scout

From the back porch

Is a view to remember

Spring, summer or fall

And even December

Across the green lawn

I would stand there and stare

I’m pretty sure Peter the Rabbit

Lived there

Maybe in the flower bed

That always grew tall

Cornfield as it’s landscape

Strewn with many’a golf ball

In the summer when we’d visit

There were many things to do

Mowing lawns and fish fry’s

(I liked to mow, it’s true!)

I’d always wear my hat

And I’d “always” drive real slow

But I couldn’t seem to avoid

Her blankets and her clothes

Upon the line they’d hang

Drying in the wind

I was sure to mow them down

The clothesline I would bend

Just one root beer float

And all was good

But if it got TOO hot

We’d go swimming, yes we would

There was a pool in town

A good one indeed

It had a high dive

That stood TWENTY FEET !

Once we cooled off

My sister, cousins and I

You might find us jumping

On our inner tube, real high

It was better with four

Most of the time

Unless we played SORRY

(My color was lime)

We’d fight about rules

And the game would fly

One another we’d bid

A not-so-nice goodbye

I might possibly retreat

To that space all my own

Behind the davenport I’d hide

With my afghan she had sewn

The four of us

Would never stay mad

Many games to play

We’d over reacted just a tad

How ‘bout Go Fish, UNO

Or Old Maid?

We all played Cribbage too

With some occasional aid

Sometimes I’d go alone

To this town I hold so dear

We’d meet at Happy Chef

All times of the year

Once when I went with them

During a Thanksgiving holiday

We forgot to load my luggage

And we dragged it most the way

Now, my gramma and I

Enjoyed a special bond

We had many rituals

Those memories are fond

We’d have breakfast every morning

Around 7 am

I always had my coffee,

Sugar, cream and then

My oatmeal I’d prepare

With a tablespoon of sugar

Poring on some cream

Before it turned to rubber

With some bread turned to toast

Our breakfast was complete

Cut up in little squares

With current jelly as a treat

It was only eight o’clock

And time to get busy

Many things to do

Like, the garden, to pick veggies

Or maybe head upstairs

Just to take a look

In the junk room there were treasures

In every cranny, every nook

I’d hunt and hunt

Until I would find

That very important thing

To occupy my time

I could “play office”

For hours on end

Or count things in the curio

On weather, it’d depend

(But rain or shine

It really didn’t matter

When Clara down the hill

Would come up for her water)

At the strike of noon

You might hear a sound

The siren would go off

All the way in town

When she called me for supper

I was deep in the make-up drawer

But off to the kitchen I’d go

With it’s rainbow speckled, linoleum floor

You never knew what she’d make

But she was a good cook

Her recipes were from heart

Not from a book

Everyone would fight

Over her potato salad

With it’s onions galore

It definitely never lasted

I do feel lucky indeed

That I never had to eat

Her “Iowa River Shhikan”

(That was actually turtle meat)

She’d always save the scraps

From every single meal

For Molly or for Thor

Who thought THAT was a deal

If there was anything left

That couldn’t be consumed

It was separated into groups

Three trash cans in that room!

One for the compost

And one for paper

The compost we’d take out

The paper we’d burn later

Even in the winter

I spent most my time outside

I liked to build forts

Out of the snow piled high

We’d check in the barn

If we wanted to sled

Grandpa kept ‘em in the loft

So up the stairs we’d head

Now if it were summer

And the corn was real tall

We’d run through the field

Hide and seek was a ball

I remember very well

When my grandpa pulled up

Around 1979

In his brand new Ford truck

He’d sometimes take us to

The stockyards that he owned

He gave us pennies for the peanuts

But soon we’d want to go home

If I wanted to see pigs

We’d give Adrian a call

He always have some piglets

Either spring or fall

The first week in August

The town would prepare

For it’s annual Corn Days

For people livin’ round there

After the parade

We’d head to the park

We’d eat corn and pork burgers

And play bingo till dark

On those regular nights

My grandpa would ask

If we’d like to join him

For his dog walking task

About many things

My grandpa was so funny

Like “a phone call on his nickel”

He pretended to be tight with money

For years my gramps would call me

On the telephone he’d say

“HELLO!  It’s your boyfriend Jason.”

(Whom I’d had a crush on in third grade!!)

Evenings before bed

Were a favorite time

Grandma’s rituals

Became habits of mine

A day might end

Like most others before it

Maybe a trip to the basement

For a shower, who’s for it?

With our thongs in hand

We headed down

That mildew smell

Would overwhelm

It wasn’t much to see

As you’d stand there

Surrounded by junk

Naked and bare

Soon the sun went down

And the fireflies lit up

The bug zapper’d go off

And for bed we’d head up…

But NOT before our  prune juice

Every night that we’d drink

Then fill our water bottles

With hot water from the sink

When our heads hit the pillow

We would lay there and chat

I was scared of the dark

And my gramma knew that

She had all the tricks

To help me fall asleep

Sometimes she would sing

Till my breathing was deep

I feel blessed to have known

This place that was mine

My grandparents town

Exit 159

Ann Coble

2003

I wrote “EXIT 159” as my tribute to my grandparents,  Bus & Pearl McAdams. 
The morning that I learned of my Grandmother’s passing, I immediately began writing down all of the fondest memories
I had of her and my Grandfather, for fear of forgetting them.  Then I decided to bring them together in a poem. 
I am now sending the “final” version to you, because they were probably some of the longest members of your community. 
When my friends read “EXIT 159”, it conjured memories of their childhood as well, so I thought ya’ll might enjoy it.

Thank you,

Ann (McAdams) Coble

“Youngest” Granddaughter of Bus & Pearl McAdams

Daughter of Fred & Vivian McAdams


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This page was last updated on 16 July 2012 at 3:56 pm

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