Vapor Trail

Vapor Trail (memory)

The Blue Angels skipped like stones across the blue sky above Cor­pus Christi bay in 1971 when I was seven and in gaped awe.
I have not thought of this for over thirty-five years until this moment. I have
not thought of the lines of flat bed trucks rolling down Saratoga Boule­vard in 1971, bro­ken heli­copters strapped on like the dragon flies we plucked the wings off in the muddy water in the ditch that crossed through Coun­try Club Estates. The war, Viet Nam, brought them, the bro­ken heli­copters, to the Naval Air Sta­tion for repair or scrap. I never knew. It was all I knew first hand of the war.

The black and white TV in the den cre­ated mem­o­ries of the war, like TV din­ners cre­ate a meal. The trucks and the matte black or green bro­ken heli­copters, how­ever, seared the dread of the war in to me. They made me a pacifist.

I have not thought of the new navy pilots prac­tic­ing touch and go land­ings at Cab­i­ness Field on Saratoga Boule­vard. I am watch­ing them (again, now) as we passed on the back way to school, down­town near the hos­pi­tal. The sun up, my dad‘s cof­fee steam­ing, the planes loop­ing through their turns over brown­ing sorghum fields alter­nat­ing with cot­ton fields, bolls bend­ing the lit­tle plants down like orna­ments on Char­lie Brown‘s Christ­mas tree. I some­times thought of them that way, the cot­ton bolls.

I have not thought of the cof­fee house my older sis­ters would go to dur­ing the war time, the hip­pie time, at Six Points in down­town Cor­pus Christi. They would go to help the heroin addicts I think. I don‘t know. They were all gone by the time I was able to prop­erly explore Six Points. The addicts remained. I remem­ber the cof­fee houses my sis­ters went to and I never went to them. I have a pic­ture of them and what hap­pened there and none of that hap­pened, what I remem­ber, but I have just thought of that and it is as real as the heli­copters to me and what it meant to me is real…being nine and my sis­ter heroes eigh­teen and nineteen.

I expe­ri­ence my life in the dream of mem­ory. The dream is all I have after this moment and this one and the for­get­ting begins now. They feel exactly the same, dreams and mem­o­ries: the wil­lowy edges, the com­pres­sion of time and the expan­sion, the vapor trails.

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4 Responses to Vapor Trail

  1. Stephen Parkhurst says:

    I also have similar memories of Corpus Christi. For a moment, this morning, I was there . Thanks for sharing Stephen.

    • stephenarcher says:

      Thanks Ricky and Stephen. I too am finding myself in those hallways, on the beach, in the breezeways of Carroll High School, turning the corner at the mall…

  2. Ricky Kidd says:

    With my ever advancing age, memories of Corpus Christi appear to be increasing. Perhaps it is because I spent a large part of my youth there, walking the halls of King High School, the untamed weather and constant breezes, old friends in familiar places, combing the beaches of North Padre Island on warm days when the water was flat, clear, and blue. Thank you for these words, reminders of old, comfortable times.

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