Hard Transit


Hard Transit

My grandfather and his two teenaged daughters
drove a wagon to Dakota to claim a homestead.
I never asked how many weeks they traveled, or the hardships that they faced.
The young don’t know what answers they will wish for until it’s too late;
so only imagination serves to describe the heat,
day after day with no water except for what they carried,
coyotes, gray wolves and the glaring sun of the treeless prairie.
My aunts were just young girls dealing with the difficulties young girls face
in the sparsest of conditions. No mother. No outhouses.
The jarring ride—grasshoppers so thick the wagons skidded off the tracks,
and that loneliness of riding into
the emptiness of a strange world.

Now, I stand impatiently at the immigration window,
then the ticket line and the security line.
I empty pockets, discard water bottle,
remove computers from their cases, take off shoes,
raise my arms for the check,
struggle up the escalator with bag and purse,
find the right gate,
negotiate the walkway to the plane,
lift the heavy carry-on and lower myself into the too-small seat.
“Plane travel isn’t what it used to be,” my neighbor says,
and we console each other about how hard it is.
“Nine hours from Guadalajara to St. Louis—
a plane change and a three-hour layover in Atlanta,”
I grumble, and he sympathizes.


This is a rewrite of a poem I wrote so long ago that even I don’t remember it! The prompt today is sympathize. 

22 thoughts on “Hard Transit

    1. lifelessons Post author

      Thanks, Patty. I have to keep reminding myself how relatively easy we have it and how easy it is to grumble about insignificant things when they are the only things you have to grumble about.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Marilyn Armstrong

    We theoretically have life easier now than when i was younger … but you know, I don’t think that’s entirely true. We certainly have more kinds of entertainment, but laundry and dishes and cooking and cleaning haven’t changed significantly, at least not around here. I have a better quality mop and pail, but my washing machine is pretty much identical the one i owned when Owen was a baby. The car may have lots of improved technology, but my driving is exactly the same as it was then.

    Dogs are dogs, shedding is shedding. And air travel really IS much worse, even if faster.

    Easier than 100 years ago? Probably. But since the 1940s? The biggest change for me is not having to pay to have film developed and using computers to write rather than a typewriter. And many people think we actually work harder because 75 years ago even lower class women sent laundry out and got help in the house. What we used to send out, we now do all ourselves. This is an interesting subject.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. momshieb

    Love this, Judy! It’s like a great parable. I don’t think that life really gets “easier” or “harder” because as one thing eases (like cooking without having to kill/raise/grow everything) , something else becomes more complex (like cooking for the family even with a full time job and a long commute.) As Marilyn says, this is a very interesting subject!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. teawithjennifer

    Each generation has their own challenges & blessings. I think many things have changed for the better, ie. In medicine, health & lifestyle in the western world, but not all have changed for the better. This generation is the most globally & digitally connected but the loneliest generation ever recorded… research has revealed.
    As others have said, very interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lifelessons Post author

      I know.. I am thankful for anitbiotics, vaccines, anesthetics and modern dentistry but worry about the amount of vilence in our games and “entertainment.” Our entire entertainment industry is turning into one big war game. And yes.. we are isolating. Me, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. koolkosherkitchen

    Of course, years ago “snow was whiter and water was wetter,” to quote a Russian satirical song, but immersed in our own discomforts, we tend to forget of those true challenges experienced by earlier generations. So true, Judy!


            1. lifelessons Post author

              My stepson is considering doing arts and crafts shows again. He’s a signmaker and I think signs with sayings on them would be a good smaller item for him ot have in his booth.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. koolkosherkitchen

              I see. Let me do some thinking and some translating.😻
              To start with, some of my grandmother’s pearls:
              “Every man is a king in his house because he is married to a queen.”
              “A man is a head. His wife is a neck. Wherever the neck turns, the head looks.”

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Author Interview – Marc Watson – “Death Dresses Poorly” (Dark Comedy/Urban Fantasy) | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

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