Route 66

I had a crush on George Maharis so I was thrilled
When the crew from Route 66 drove up to the gate of our ranch in Montana
And promised my dad one dollar if he’d let them film by our lake.
I wasn’t sure if our ranch was even on Route 66.
They filmed at night.
They built a cabin to burn it down.
They pumped water from the lake to make it rain.
George Maharis patted me on the head
And I understood indignity as only a ten year old can.
They never paid the dollar.
They didn’t use the footage.
They left us with five under-exposed black and white photos,
The charred hulk of a grey stone chimney,
And our name in the closing credits.
We were famous in a small way.
The chimney stood for long years after we left Montana,
Until our ranch became a state park
And they tore it down, along with most of our buildings,
In ignorance of the kitschy significance of the thing.
I now live next to Route 66 a stone’s throw from Hollywood,
Where George Maharis never warranted a “What Ever Happened To…?”
He was replaced in my affections a dozen times at least,
But I still remember him each time I pass a sign that says “Historic Route 66.”
Tish Eastman
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