Cruisin' the Drag
This poem was inspired by a FB group I belong to as we reminisced about cruising back in the day. The places mentioned were real places in San Angelo, Texas where I grew up, although most of them no longer exist as the original business. In any case, the experience and the stereotypical characters will be familiar to anyone of that era. The poem pokes gentle satire at the days of the early 60's and the style is a parody of Kipling's style and rhyme scheme. Hope you enjoy.
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Cruisin' the Drag
Sipping cherry limeade, driving in the car parade,
we're cruising in the Lone Star state.
Didn't want a bucket seat; the thing it couldn't beat,
was sitting up close to your date.
One hand on the wheel of daddy’s Oldsmobile,
my arm around my brown-eyed girl,
feeling pretty sporty, radio on Top Forty,
I was cooler than the Duke of Earl.
The lady of the cruise had her penny loafer shoes;
her bobby socks were turned down twice.
With a little eyeliner, she couldn't be much finer,
too much and it wouldn't be nice.
There’d be no wild oats under those petticoats;
she’d never go all the way...
just a perfect flip-up 'do and cute look number two
practiced in the mirror all day.
Hear those tires squeal when I make the rubber peel
for the fly-boys waiting on the bus,
to take them to the base where they don't feel out of place,
not cruising like the rest of us.
I was the drag's head honcho as we pulled across the Concho
and we saw the lights along the riverside.
We'd had quite a lark there at Neff's amusement park,
playing Putt-Putt and going on a ride.
The cheerleader squad rode a killer hot rod
with a spinner on every rim,
a perfect tuck and pleat on every single seat,
courtesy of Wanda's Auto Trim.
Candy apple red, it would really knock you dead;
it was a drop-top Pontiac.
One was there to steer and three were in the rear
posing up on the back.
Those football beauty queens in their skin-tight Levi jeans
were followed by their biggest fan.
Checking out those lasses in his Buddy Holly glasses
was the nerdy little Aqua Velva man.
In his stainless steel braces he grinned up at their faces;
they iced him with a haughty air.
He never would forget it; they would later on regret it
when he became a multi-millionaire.
A four girl bevy in a big finned Chevy
were riding west on Sherwood Way,
four guys right behind in a pick-up state of mind,
all ready to make their play.
Thought they were the smartest cruising pick-up artists,
but those gals were pretty astute.
When they stopped and the guys started telling all their lies,
the chicks started putting on the cute.
We turned the car around and headed back downtown,
cruising down the boulevard.
Stay cool daddio, bear right at El Patio,
and take it down Beauregard.
There were lots of pleated skirts and those button-down shirts.
The flattops were everywhere galore.
From a Lincoln Continental, we heard an instrumental,
Mister Acker Bilk's “Stranger on the Shore”.
We slowly pulled through BJ’s, listening to the deejay’s
announcement of the next hit song.
Leaning on their doors with their Brylcreem pompadours,
two hoods were playing Mr. Wrong.
Completing their disguise, they slouched with narrowed eyes
and did their best at looking mean.
With a twist of his pelvis, one was doing Elvis.
The other did a fine James Dean.
Like a sweet potato vine, the bride of Frankenstein
was entwined around the Marlboro man.
With the passion of their make out, they should have gotten takeout
and opted for a bigger floor plan.
With her black beehive hair and his fancy western wear,
they were putting on quite an awesome scene.
I had to give a chuckle at his huge silver buckle,
but those M.L. Leddy boots looked mighty keen.
I pulled the Olds on through, and we bid BJ’s adieu,
and I put us back onto the street.
With those four whitewall tires, we made for McIntire's
to get ourselves a bite to eat.
We stopped for some fuel, over near the school,
in those days they came right out to you.
Best place on Earth, ‘cause with a dollar’s worth,
they’d check your oil and clean your window too.
The drive-in, painted green, was quite the social scene
with people mingling car to car.
Everyone was caring; the drinks were all for sharing,
(especially when in a mason jar).
She ate a big banana split, and then left me for a bit
to comfort an old friend not feeling right.
A moment more to linger with that final steak finger,
then I took her home and called that one a night.
That was many years ago, but some things you don’t outgrow,
and I think back to when I was a teen.
When doors were left unlocked, and children safely flocked,
unchaperoned at night on Halloween.
And sometimes at night, when the stars are big and bright,
and I’m deep in a Texas state of mind,
I think of that lass who was in my high school class,
And I wonder if she thinks of me in kind.
August 10, 2012