The Common Good

Ode on a Summer Road Trip

Photos of the "happy fools": Grant, her husband, David, and brother-in-law, Brian (with the guitar). Via of the author

Car Trouble in Indiana
By Jennifer Grant

We’re happy fools, penniless as the corn
And just as content to watch the trucks barrel by.

The fan belt is jet black and frayed.
It’s chewed licorice.
And we might have to wait here all day.

My little brother's got the two things he needs:
A pack of Black Jack chewing gum
And his guitar.
He points at a billboard ‘cross the highway
And says if we had a dollar twenty-nine
And we were two miles up, we'd be knee-deep in hamburgers.

I wave and truckers pull their horns, shouting hellos
Like we’re always here
Sitting on the hill and chewing on the grass.

We laugh at clumsy Winnebagos,
And sing our favorite songs.
A Bar bar bar bar Barbar Ann
Bar bar bar bar Barbar Ann
Oh Barbara Ann take my hand
Barbara Ann
You got me rockin' and a rollin'
Rockin' and a reelin' Barbara Ann
Bar bar bar bar Barbar Ann

The farmer tells us the garage will bring a new belt
Before too long.
She gives us three slices of
Apple pie on one white paper plate and
Turns and disappears into the corn.

The round yolk of a sun is going down
and cars’ headlights flash.
Still, we sit, content as the corn,
Licking our fingers and
Watching it all go by.


Jennifer Grant is the author of two books, Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter and MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family. Find her online at jennifergrant.com or follow her on Twitter @JenniferCGrant.

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