From the Middle 1920′s till the Interstates were paved,
Two legends served our nation, “Sixty Six” and Burma-Shave!
The Mother Road would carry us through valleys, mountains, plains,
While poem signs of Burma-Shave would keep us entertained!
She started at Lake Michigan where the Windy City reigns.
She wound her way across the land through deserts, mountains, plains.
In honor of her poignant role her title was bestowed.
She’s destined to for ever be our nation’s Mother Road.
Like the Model T’s and Model A’s she bore the pain and tears,
Of starving masses seeking hope in Great Depression years.
And when we entered World War II in 1941,
She joined our march to victory until the peace was won.
From Model T’s and Model A’s to the Diesel’s haunting cry,
She witnessed changes in our land as years went passing by.
The march of progress often seems a cruel and heartless force.
As the modern era doomed her with out pity or remorse.
She wound her way across the land through the deserts, mountains, plains.
She saw the crystal mountain air, the smoke from passing trains.
She proudly wears the title that our nation has bestowed.
Ol’ Route 66 will ever be our nation’s Mother Road.
The big roads of the modern age may speed us to and fro,
But we’ve lost touch with ways of life we cherished long ago.
As the front porch of our nation she earned immortal fame.
With her slower pace she gave us time to learn our neighbor’s name.
The flat land fields of Illinois where farmers plow and till,
Through Missouri’s Ozark mountains, crystal streams and private stills.
Then the south east tip of Kansas, though Galena, Baxter Springs.
Through the Indian Nation state where mocking birds still sing.
The panhandle of the Lone Star State and then New Mexico.
The land of red rock mountains and home of the Navajo.
Then Arizona westward where the cactus towers high.
And to sunny California where the mountains reach the sky.
New technology has changed our lives but we have paid a toll.
The faster that we try to go the more we lose control.
There’s lot of things in this old world the Interstates can’t fix,
Like another trip down “memry lane” on U. S. 66!
The heartbreak of the Great Depression she could tell it best.
The quiet desperation of “Okies” headin’ west.
As she wound her way across the land she knew the sights and sounds.
Of famous cities on the plains and quiet desert towns.
She carried goods of war and peace and brought the soldier home.
She knew the lonesome vagabond and hobo on the roam.
She heard the mournful Diesel cry, the hum of Cadillacs,
She carried us to distant ports and then she brought us back.
She heard the rolling thunder of the motorcycles too,
As the Indians and the Harleys toured her panoramic view!
These two wheeled “bolts of lightning” had spirit and it showed,
With the mavericks in their saddles they brought drama to the road!
From the Great Depression era to the Hell of ALL OUT WAR,
State by state she dramatized what we were fighting for!
The tourist traveled on her way, the honeymooner too.
But her curtain was descending as the population grew.
Though Interstates assumed her role she will forever be,
The Mother Road, ol “66″ will live in mem-o-ry!
Precious miles of her survive embracing yesteryear,
I hope they live forever, may they never disappear.
In cities, towns and villages and out across the land.
Her history exemplifies a Spirit great and Grand!
In cities and the little towns her spirit lingers nigh,
She stands a poignant vigil as the four lane passes by,
Through Indian Reservations and crowded city streets.
Through mountain snows, thunderstorms and desert’s searing heat.
She crisscrossed class and culture while en route to lasting fame.
Her legend is a legacy the Interstates can’t tame.
Through all four seasons of the year she saw folks come and go,
She wound her way to glory through the rain, the sun and snow.
The memry of Ol’ 66 will ever haunt my mind.
She’s like a lover from the past that I can’t leave behind.
She knew the rich and famous, the poor and destitute,
She knew socialites and presidents and men in cowboy boots.
She knew tragedy and triumph, she witnessed tears and joy.
The happiness of newly weds, the lonesome soldier boy.
She lived from horse and buggy days and to the automobile.
She has seen the “hero cop” and drunk behind the wheel.
She wound her way across the land and over hill and dale,
She crossed the routes of Santa Fe and Jesse Chisolm trails.
She heard the sound of the Western Bound and watched her “ball the jack”,
The mighty rush of the engine as it thundered down the track.
Her lifetime spanned the era from the age of coal and steam
To the dawning of the Interstates where four lanes reign supreme.
The Great Depression saw her bear the burdens of the poor,
Who rode her from the “Dust Bowl” to the Great Pacific shore.
As a young Marine I traveled her when I was on the roam,
I pondered what the future held and would she bring me home?
Although she’s just a memory she preys upon my mind,
She’s like a lover from the past that I can’t leave behind.
In the hearts of many millions she still lingers like a ghost,
From her birth place in Chicago to California’s coast.
The four lanes are the modern way we’re forced to “hustle freight.
In 18 wheelers we now roam the 4 lane Interstates!
If my prayers could be answered this is how I’d get my kicks,
I’d point this Eighteen Wheeler down old ‘ U. S. 66!
Now I ride these 18 wheels across the U.S.A.
Seattle down to Tampa then to San Francisco Bay.
From “Dago” up to Montreal, then back to Wichita.
Then back up north to Calgary where winter’s cold and raw.
From San Antone to Barstow, Kansas City and St. Paul,
Chicago east to Buffalo and back to Montreal.
Then back down south to Spartanburg, across to New Orleans.
Then back up to The Gateway and northward to McLean.
But as I roam the Interstates and haul my heavy load,
In dreams this 18 wheeler’s rollin’ down the Mother Road.
As sweet nostalgia takes me back the ages disappear,
Transported to the era of a “magic yesteryear”.
The pride and joy of Illinois, the state where she was born.
Her passing is a tragedy that Lincoln Lander’s mourn.
But her poignant past is honored as befitting of a “Queen”,
Inside the Dixie Trucker’s Home located at McLean.
Memento, signs and pictures of her past adorn the wall.
As I pause awhile to reminisce I hear her haunting call.
Oh her name will stand eternal as a symbol of the free.
From her birth place in Chicago to the Great Pacific Sea.
Though her era’s in the past she will for ever stand,
The Mother Road Ol’ 66, The Legend of our Land!
When I get my “final dispatch” then I’m gonna get my kicks,
I’ll route my trip to Heaven UP OLE U. S. 66.
Ivan L Fail, Sparta, Missouri © 2011
1950′S ERA MARINE
RETIRED FEDERAL CORRECIONAL OFFICER
RETIRED OTR TRUCKER
FED UP MEMBER OF THE DISENFRANCHISED MAJORITY ELECTORATE!
Submitted to the Federal Observer for publication by the author.