When I’m on a vacation, be it a month-long backpacking trip or weekend jaunt, each day I plan to leave a section of Walt Whitman’s Song of the Open Road somewhere along the way. I might leave it in a B&B guestbook, tuck a note behind a hotel painting or write it on a dollar bill I spend at a hot dog stand. In any case, I’ll be tracking where I leave the poem here. I call it The Open Road Project.
I left the eleventh section of the poem tucked into the ice cream menu at Ellis Soda Shoppe in Abingdon, Virginia. I was traveling with my beau Shawn and dear friend Lila and we stopped to fortify ourselves with sandwiches and sundaes before heading to Hungry Mother State Park for a weekend of camping. Lila called her fabulous niece and wonderful nephew and they joined us for a snack. If you ever find yourself passing through Abingdon (and I recommend you do), stop by Ellis for their French Onion soup and cookies and cream milkshake.
You porches and entrances! you copings and iron guards! You windows whose transparent shells might expose so much! You doors and ascending steps! you arches!