On the Road: Bismarck, North Dakota – August 8th, 2017


Sultan Sam and his imaginary companion, Wayne.

I’m awake, sitting in among snoring passengers, though one writes song lyrics, on a bus, in the early morning hours in North Dakota.



As I ride through the darkness on a bus through North Dakota, my mind drifts off to this same trip over 30something years ago.

I was maybe 12 our first time.

My mom and I went off on adventures to see her family in Minnesota.

Bismarck should be seen at night.

It’s the only way I’ve seen it, 3:30 in the morning, half opened eyes, squinting into the darkness.

Though one year, my pop drove us, middle of the hottest summer ever, no air conditioning except for opened windows drafting in hot air, cold Dr. Peppers not even cooling us down.

We’d always stumble off the bus in Alexandria, Minnesota to the greets of my hard-nose Lutheran aunt.

“Drunk again I see!” She laughed as we tried to find our sea legs, failing miserably.

Anyone who has spent time on a bus trip knows, you won’t find them for days.

Possibly weeks.

Maybe ever.

Mostly good memories of those trips, the lake at the town where my aunt lives always held adventure.

I met a girl there.

She was from Boise, Idaho.

Renee Robertson.

Blonde hair, green emerald eyes that hypnotized me that entire summer.

We’d sit and talk, about nothing at all mostly.

I’d buy her ice cream at The Dairy Queen.

She kissed me.

She kissed me, not some small peck on the cheek, but squarely on the lips.

And not some quick smooch but a full on, open mouth, tongues playing together in some forbidden dance.

She wasn’t my first kiss but for some reason, right now, she is clear in my memory.

July 1985 – Renee Robertson kissed me, on a hot summer day in Minnesota.

I could cheapen this memory by telling you, dear Penthouse magazine, how her hand fell lightly on my lap, arousing me, which she did.

As I travel across North Dakota, the breaking of dawn soon to come, I wonder what became of Renee.

I made trips back to that place after that summer but never saw her again.

Just a summer fling to be recalled I guess some over 30 years later.

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