I have always had a therapeutic relationship with poetry and song lyrics. Writing free verse poetry helps me work through loneliness, worries, and tell my story creatively. My thoughts were always being written on paper, even as far back as when I just began to write. When I was in High School, writing seemed to help me better relate to the world and people around me. I had a stressful home life, and mostly kept to myself. I felt writing was a way to share a little about me with others. I read poems to friends, sang songs with lyrics I’d written, and was a self-taught guitar player.
My senior year in high school, a special teacher who taught business and typing, recognized that I had a passion for writing poetry. I sat in his class typing my poems while I was supposed to be typing a sentence over and over for a time and accuracy test. It was something like, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.”
Noticing that I was not following the assignment, he told me I needed to do the time test to pass the class. I replied, “I took this class to learn how to type and I can type now.” I wasn’t as concerned about the grade. I was typing about 35 words per minute, which I thought was pretty good for a recent beginner. Rather than flunk me, he went to the school board to get permission to pass me if I could type the required words per minute, even though I was not typing the prescribed lessons. They gave him the permission, and he made a template and had the whole class type my poems. I didn’t know it, but he had a plan in mind, and gave me a priceless addition to my education. My classmates typed inside the borders of the template so it would all be in a uniform fashion. I remember feeling as though this teacher was the first person to give me a chance to be creative and pursue my personal interests, and it helped that the class seemed to enjoy reading and retyping my work.
The teacher and I discussed the possibility of having this collection turned into Continue reading
Soft pine carpet
Where birds silently land
And gentle rain disappears
My love beside me
Beneath a towering canopy
Of green shade
A place of heavenly rest
Of warm hope for future dreams
The brook speaks in a calming voice
The trail we crossed
Stopped here so our minds could wander
Love within and beauty in view
This place of spaciousness
Contains the things to give me passage
To look beyond this day
And turn memories into smiles of contentment
And wishes into tomorrow’s happiness
© Rick Wyman
Stepping on river rocks and ice,
Shadows of trout race by.
Snowbanks rise steeply.
Memories unfreeze my youth,
As warm thoughts of then,
Come back to me.
Eyes closed and vivid sounds trickle,
Boots slipped between snow mounded stones,
Where I searched for calm between the banks.
Freezing air awakened a need to go home,
Though I wish I could stay here listening.
February kept a promise,
Between the lighted window of home,
And time alone on the stream.
© Rick Wyman
As a teenager, I was often trading cars or trying to “upgrade” the one I was currently driving. I had a 1960 Chevy impala that my Uncle Dave gave me for free. I remember it had wide “bat wing” tail fins. All I had to do was put a new transmission in it, as he had an automatic transmission and it had gone south, never to work again. A few friends and I towed the car to my house. I could keep a car running if I had to, but I had friends who knew much more than me on the subject, so when I got in over my head it was always a good bet to call one or more of them. It was a dream of mine to change it over to a standard. I believe it cost me about 50 dollars total to change it over. This included purchasing a defunct 1962 Chevy which we towed home with a chain right up route 103 in Chester, Vermont. I sat in the driver’s seat while the driveshaft banged on both the pavement and the underside of the car floor. The noise was deafening inside the car, and we finally figured out a way to wire it so it wouldn’t hit the pavement, just the floor. Amazingly, we never got picked up by the police. The whole junk car cost me $15.00 and I used the transmission for my ‘60 Chevy. The guys that were helping me change it over were great and enthusiastic. As long as I agreed to keep buying the beer, they agreed to keep putting parts on the Chevy. I think the whole labor thing cost me about 3 or 4 cases. The neighbor let us use his garage to do the work, which was a nice gesture, as it was warm and dry.
One night, while we were working on the car, one of the guys decided we needed a case of beer and some chips. It was just about eight minutes before the store closing time, but he decided to try to make it. He raced the whole eight miles from my house to town, some of which was dirt road, to get there before the doors were locked. Evidently they were successful because they returned in one piece and with the beer.
We were able to hoist the motor out and put in the standard transmission. It all fit, but we still had to search and scavenge for a few parts, including a shifting lever from the floor. I found one in a near-by town and we went to see if it would fit and work with what we had. I of course relied on the experienced guys to offer the opinion on how it would all mesh for the best results. I paid for the shifter and parts and got ready to take it back to put in the 1960 Chevy. Just as we were getting ready to take our seats in the car, a train pulled up and slowed at the railroad crossing where it crossed the paved street. One of the guys yelled out. “Hey, Wyman! Do you think you can catch that train and jump on the caboose?”
It sounded like a fun challenge to me, and I was never one to turn down a Continue reading
Casual trail in the snow,
Cross country skier had been there though.
Deep mountainside woods,
A place I’d been before.
Travelers on skis or foot,
Seeking distance to feel
No door to close,
No window shade.
The more I walk,
The more my worries fade.
The snow is colder here,
Left untouched by the sun,
Not a wrinkle for the wind to smooth.
Deep breaths massage my chest
While passing silent sentences,
My thoughts layer upon my memory.
I will recall them to be laid upon paper,
That my eyes may give an opening for retrieval,
My pen renewed my calm.
Rick Wyman, 3/20/17 6:41 p.m. Spring Equinox
A lot of people I knew in high school, and some I didn’t, made a reputation good or bad at Barney’s Garage. The place was just across the street from Chester High, the school I attended, my first year being 1967. It was a real garage and a real place of business. The man was as nice as could be and rarely ever complained about the patronage of students that frequented or spontaneously showed up there. The parents of a lot of the students were his customers for gas or minor work on their cars. Some of the older students themselves were customers and I believe one of his children was a student at the school too.
Sometimes the students would loiter out in back of the garage to have a place to smoke or just hang around talking. Often the students would go there for answers to challenges by one of their adversaries. You’d often hear someone shout out in the halls of the school, “I’ll meet you behind Barney’s Garage at lunch time.” But more often it was, “We’ll settle this behind Barney’s Garage after school tonight!” No matter what the adversaries looked like, there was always something to watch happening there. My reason for going to Barney’s was usually to buy a bag of chips or soda and candy bar out of the vending machines.
One day while I was standing there, two cousins with an age difference of a few years, and 50 to 75 pounds difference in weight, arguing and daring each other to do stupid things. They were trying to prove who was the bravest, or perhaps the results were to prove who was most foolish. I tried to talk the younger one out of taking one dare in particular of a most disgusting and what I’d call dangerous nature. He was dared to Continue reading
While riding in my car, I began listening to an interview on NPR, with Rob and Nick Reiner about their new movie, “Being Charlie”, a rehab story. The conversations with people who called in about their experiences with drugs and alcohol, reminded me that I had also once felt the need to experiment. Neither gave me any true feelings of satisfaction. I found that the negativity of substance abuse didn’t leave much room for comfort or reality blending. I did however, at an early age, find writing was a great relief for my Continue reading