29 September 2007

Going Off-Road


Going Off-Road

The childhood years, when he longs and yearns for someone
To be in authority, to steer the vessel with assurance
Loving direction and a steady hand, to keep things within their safe boundaries
To follow the lines and make sure his seat belt was fastened.

He was driving this beast at an early age
Unable to see over the steering wheel
Unschooled in map-reading or signage
Too short to reach the pedals or the gear shift.
Through fits and starts (this horse is more than he can handle)
His life was forced off-road.

Careening across the grassy hills
Bounding over bumps and gullies
Never knowing what lay around the next turn or over the horizon
The fear that grips him, the terror as he watches life whizzing by
A beast uncontrollable
Dizzying, bouncing, jostling
Horsepower galloping away with him.


When he can finally reach the pedals,
Grows tall enough to peer over the wheel,
Learns to manage this horsepower of life
He often chooses to take the beast off-road.

It’s safer to drive on the pavement, for most
But for him, going off-road is liberation
Freedom, release
No rules, no laws, no pressure
“Stay under the speed limit and within perfectly painted lines”
They always told him he was rotten at that anyway.

He can read a map just fine
He knows how to brake and pass and signal
2 yellow snakes as far as the eye can see… no passing zone
The beast, it just keeps going off-road
Sometimes he steers it, sometimes
It just does

Off-road is, after all, something he’s become familiar with
A certain predictability in its unpredictability
(One thing’s for sure, you never know what might happen)
A prescribed amount of thrill to counter-balance the staid life between the lines
Dispensing his own medication from the pharmacy of grainy-sand, free-wind, tear-‘em-up

Careening across the grassy hills
Bounding over bumps and gullies
Never knowing what lay around the next turn or over the horizon
Thrilling, exhilarating, tearing-‘em-up, crashing-‘em-down
Freedom- with a sense of loss
Horsepower- without corral or trough
The beast.


He was too young to be driving that day.
An authority, steering the vessel with assurance for so many years
Giving loving direction and a steady hand
Keeping things safe for those he loved
He always made sure our seat belt was fastened.

He taught us to drive,
We sat on his lap behind the wheel
He pushed the pedals while we ran the windshield wipers
He showed us what was under the hood, “The Beast”
All that horsepower (it was more than we could handle)

He even took us off-road a time or two
The grainy-sand, free-wind, off-road life
Oh, the memories of tearing it up!
The memories of being torn
Going off-road.

Careening across the grassy hills
Bounding over bumps and gullies
Never knowing what lay around the next turn or over the horizon.


In honor of my father-in-law, Steven Anthony Teske, taken from us when he went off-road one last time.
Sept.2, 1947- Sept. 18th, 2007
I love you. I miss you.

8 Comments:

Blogger Christianne said...

Erin, I'm so sorry for your loss of your father-in-law. I can't even imagine what that must be like for you. I love that you wrote this poem for him, and I love that you chose to share it with all of us. Thinking of you, girl, right now.

11:03 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

I'm here at the window. Throat closed. Eyes wet. Loving your words and hating the loss.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Thanks for your prayers for us. We're muddling through.
Embracing the sadness, entering the grief.
Jet lagged.
Tired.
Even a bit of a head cold.

And still, life marches on.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh please tell me this is Erin "Promo" from Pine Cove...I've been looking for you forever!!! It's "Bumper", Mendi Robertson Wittwer. If this is you, PLEASE email back...REALLY need to "talk" to you! teamwitt@att.net

I'm so sorry about your loss...know exactly how you feel...really need to talk with you...

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Valerie said...

Erin, I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Beautifully written poem story.

11:07 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Thank you for sharing your grief with us. This is a beautiful tribute.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Sorry Mendi,
I'm a different Erin. but i have heard of Pine Cove... does that count for anything?

2:11 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

Erin~
I had popped over to say HI and read this.
So sorry to hear of your loss. God be with you and strengthen you all.

12:21 AM  

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