Monday, July 23, 2012
Song of the Open Road
And this is my stepson David, who is also 22 this summer.
What is it about young men and summer that makes them want to hit the road? Long before Jack Kerouac ever took to the highways, a young man named E.B. White drove with his friend Howard Cushman from Ithaca, New York, to Seattle, Washington. This trip was undertaken in a Model T long before there were paved highways in many parts of the country. White captured his trip in his letters home (which are collected in The Letters of E.B. White) and in his essay, "The Years of Wonder." He and Cushman were 23 at the time.
When E.B. White became a father, he wrote a poem, "Apostrophe to a Pram Rider," on the subject of travel:
Someday when I'm out of sight,
Travel far but travel light!
Raise the sail your old man furled,
Hang your hat upon the world! ...
Joe, my tangible creation,
Happy in perambulation,
Work no harder than you have to. Do you get me?
So to my far flung sons, measuring their days in miles and destinations, travel far and travel light!