Belch Gulch


Belch Gulch
Creative Non-Fiction

“There’s grandpa comin’ up the hill; ya got your stuff ready?”

Carole and I grabbed our crumply paper bags, stuffed with jeans, tee shirts, toothbrushes—the bare minimum. It wasn’t as though we were going on a spa vacation.

We ran down, hopped on the running board of his ’52 red Ford pick-up and hitched a ride back up the hill to say good-bye to our Moms and pick up the food they had ready for us, then grandpa would give us a boost into the bed of his truck. We’d nest alongside his ’22 rifle and sleeping bags, a couple of bags of cement and a somewhat tattered hammock. Once we settled in, Grandpa would shift the gears and we’d rattle off—northwards toward the Grapevine—the old two-lane one, that is.

The wind would whistle and we’d stick our heads out so as to get the full blast, hair flying wild-like, in defiance of every safety precaution now regulated by overly anxious, tight-assed politicians hoping to prove their worth to their constituents.

After getting over the pass we’d head east to Highway 40-something and follow the twisting, narrow road along the rocky precipice snaking along the course of the Kern River. We’d lurch from side-to-side back there—holding tight to the gun to keep it secure and embracing the cargo, perhaps to feel that way ourselves. We’d plan the weekend—intervals of hard work, building the cabin on the land with the abandoned gold mine that Grandpa had laid claim to, hiking up the mountain behind him to build that pipeline for water that he, a retired civil engineer, had designed. But, especially, target practice—taking out empty beer cans he’d collect from the neighbors throughout the week.

Then Sunday afternoon, exhausted but happy, we’d head back down Belch Gulch, wishing we could avoid the week ahead—the drudgery of another kind of learning—one, perhaps, more suited to the lives we yet had to live.

Shannon, at dVerse Poetics, invites us to share the rhythm of the road this week. This isn’t poetry per se, but the prompt took me back to my growing up years when my girlfriend Carole and I would go with my Grandfather to the cabin he was building in California gold country.

10 thoughts on “Belch Gulch

  1. rmprmp says:

    There are many different types of learning out there and while some may seem less pertinent to our future lives, they still provide much in the making of who we are and how we see the world. This was an interesting trek for sure.


  2. What a delightful memory Victoria, thank you for sharing.


  3. grapeling says:

    you brought us in, held us there in the truck – and gave us that same sense of fullness tinged with melancholy for the week ahead. ~


  4. shanyns says:

    This is poetic in the sharing and your words, and images. I love this. Reminds me of trips with my own Grandpa. Welcome and well done addition to Poetics my friend.


  5. brian miller says:

    ha. what an adventure eh? i remember riding in the back of a few trucks in my day…and falling out of one as well..ha….somehow we survived…but to feel that wind in your hair…oh yea


  6. Abhra Pal says:

    Very unique post Victoria, all this time, I don’t remember reading a prose poem from you. I have always been your fan. Needless to say I like the liveliness and freshness you weave through your magical words here.


  7. I like the trip back in time that you shared with us.


  8. What a wonderful story.. And poetry-prose .. It works for me…


  9. It’s poetry enough for me: I was with you in that truck, enjoying a companionable interlude in idyllic surroundings.


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