Author Archive | John Otterbacher

Orlando Pic

ORLANDO

“I have learned to look at the world in all of its darkness…and still love it.”                             Beethoven, on his deathbed.       I get to choose.  

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Hemingway Pic ALL

HEMINGWAY

I did not intend to go to Ketchum. I head north instead, illusions of outrunning the weather. I’d spent long hours at his house in Key West, drawn what I could.   Enough.   And then a small sign, white on green, at an intersection north of Pocatello. Simply “Ketchum”.   “How far?” I ask […]

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Journey Pic

JOURNEY

I made my first journey at three. If my mother was to be believed, I waddled out of the backyard and down the street to the bus stop. I leveraged myself up onto the first step of the Michigan Street bus. The bus driver bolted out of his seat, head swiveling, looking for a pursuer. […]

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Fool motorcycle PIC

FOOL

I throttle down the shoreline road to town in a brisk March breeze, close attention in the curves where the snow melt can freeze. I park my cycle outside a favorite lakeside restaurant. I shake off the chill so vigorously that I stumble through the doorway. The lunchtime crowd is long gone. The bored waitstaff greet me […]

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Again pic 1

AGAIN

  I park my motorcycle for good when our son John Ryan is seven. Throw a blanket over it in the back of the garage. I entertain the delusion that parking it will protect him from the temptation to take up cycling. Fat chance. By seventeen John Ryan has not one but two motorcycles of […]

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RIDE picture

RIDE

In my late twenties I took a second foray into solitude. Fully aware that I might run for the legislature the following year, I longed for some time alone. That and the physical extension a long ride on a small motorcycle would certainly entail. For two months I made my way – on back roads mostly […]

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Arizona Washout Picture

ARIZONA WASHOUT

Around the bend a high riding four-wheeler, passenger waving frantically as they pass, too late now, gravel into gulley, nowhere to turn around, into a washout, sides funneling down into a tire-wide tracklet, rock ahead, up onto the wall to miss it and over, upside down into an adjacent arroyo, cycle on top and gear, heft […]

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STORM

No longer disguised by darkness, the storm shrieks in the shrouds and around us, whipping the Atlantic into unforgiving turmoil. “Another five knots,” Barbara squints up from the wind indicator. When I say nothing,“What can I get you?” “I’m fine. Are the kids okay?” “They’re just stirring. Got a good night’s sleep.” “Like us,” a weary smile. We […]

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HEART

My father’s world bursts into flames, larger and larger doses of medicine in a losing battle with Parkinsons. His hand flutters up from rest in his lap, gesturing in alarm at the eruption of flames on the rug in front of the TV across the living room. “Do you see that?”, turning to me in […]

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