Dustbowl Memories ( A short story )

“Never felt heat like it kid..”; my grandpa would reminisce apropos of nothing. It would always be Summer and we’d be sweltering as a family out on the porch trying to catch our collective breaths and there’d be grandpa reassuring us that this ain’t so much hot today as cool.

Even though the mercury was doing its darndest to top 90. “Man, that ain’t no kind of temperature not leastways till it gets past a hundred and just stays there”. he’d always accompany this utterance with a usual expectoration of chewing tobacco effluent.

And I suppose and we’d all suppose that he was right. well, kind of. Him and his whole extended family upped sticks and trekked there way over here to California all those years ago. Because of The ( capital tee) Heat (capital aitch).The furnace that was the Dust Bowl.

By chance, or maybe as one of my Aunts contended, by some grander design, one of my many distant cousins came by to visit one day. She’d finished her journalism major up at Berkeley and had just gotten a commission to produce a series of radio documentaries on the Dustbowl, and was wondering if grandpa might be interested.

Turned out, none too surprisingly that he was and naturally that put the spring back into his step.

We taped them all, all the episodes and down the years, on big family occasions, we sit around and listen to grandpa’s voice, reminding us all. There’s one or two passages that our Cousin edited as an introduction that kind of sums up Grandpa and ” The Heat “

“Sure I recall, clear as day all the names and their faces, those times and their places,
Down at the rundown rail depot from where the last westbound left in that dry-cracked goodbye summer with me and my closest kin  on board.”
In another passage suffused with his inimitable cadences, he recalled ” Days were so hot and dry that water was our heaven
and  the wells coughed their grinding choking echo. Dust was going to be our future, had we stayed”.

“Some folks never left, they remained In those places and their times. I recall, some years later seeing in the newspaper and county archive records all the shrouded names and their faces who waved me off down by the rail depot in that dry-cracked summer when the westbound whistled its goodbye.”

And when it came to saying our farewells for another year until the next Thanksgiving or Christmas, we’d switch off grandpa’s voice and notice just how hot the tape machine had become.

 

About Louis Kasatkin

Freelance Writer,Journalist, Performance Poet and Poetry Promoter Resume / CV Senior Editor , 2014 - Member,Board of Senior Editors,”Episteme” -Online Journal of Bharat College,Mumbai Editorial Administrator ,2011 – to date At http://www.destinypoets.co.uk the internationally renowned poetry website in partnership with and centred at Destiny Christian Church, Wakefield, England Schools based Poetry Masterclasses, 2001- to date Louis has delivered his poetry masterclasses in interactive workshop format in primary and secondary schools throughout the City of Wakefield and further afield. His masterclasses have often been the pupils’ first and only opportunity for schools to work with a professional poet. Executive Producer,Wakefield Wireless Mysteries 2012 –14 Louis had the leadership role in this groundbreaking play-for-voices, a contemporary update of the world renowned Medieval Passion plays. He secured the support of Mary Creagh ,Member of Parliament for Wakefield as the project’s Patron. Performance Poetry Residencies 2010- to date with Destiny Christian Church 2001-2002 -Poet-in-Residence at Wakefield Cathedral 1999-2000 -Poet-in-Residence at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats Rugby League Football Club Poetry Group Leadership Roles 2010-to date Founder of Destiny Poets 2004-2010 -President, The Black Horse Poets of Wakefield. 2002-2007 -Founder and Convenor of The Cathedral Poets of Wakefield. Publications Poetry Anthologies ( Author ) 2004- A Very Special Collection with The Cathedral Poets 2002- Louis & friends-Wakefield Cathedral Poetry Anthology Poetry Magazines ( Editor ) 2010- to date “ The Elephant” –Destiny Poets’ published thrice annually 2004-2008 – “From The Horse’s Mouth” – The Black Horse Poets published twice yearly. 2005-2006 – “Poetry Wakefield,City & Dioceses”- The Cathedral Poets/ The Black Horse Poets A quarterly magazine for all schools within the City and Diocese of Wakefield. 2002- “ The Cathedral Poets “ – eponymously titled monthly poetry supplement to Cathedral News magazine. Freelance Journalism 1979 – 1994 Leeds Other Paper , co-operatively run alternative weekly news publication ,featuring local gig guide, investigative reporting ignored by the mainstream,etc.Louis was primarily the LOP’s Rugby league correspondent – “The Man in the Stand” – from 1983 to 1994 besides erstwhile cultural commentator and guerrilla investigative reporter starting in 1979. Academic Qualifications B.A.( Hons.) Organisation Studies 2.2 from Bradford College, 1981 – 1984 Poetry Awards & Recognition 2013 – Overseas Award for Excellence in Arts Conferred by AuthorsPress ,New Dehli 2008- Civic Reception held by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, hosted by the Lord Mayor to honour the 10th Anniversary of the Black Horse Poets. 2007- Winner of “Wakefield Poet of the Year”-The prestigious Jane Harrison MemoriaL Award at the annual Wakefield Poetry Awards. 2003- Winner of the inaugural Leeds International Peace Festival Poetry Prize (Adult section) with “Hudson River Interlude”, a commemorative poem honouring the victims of 9/11.
This entry was posted in Allegory, Dystopia, Ennui, Existential, Identity, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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