“I know someplace you have to see before you leave the U.S,” my friend Ken told me as he zoomed off the highway at Lowell, Massachussets. I had thought we were going to dinner with his friends but the snow was causing problems and they’d called us midway there to say we should turn back. The truth was, I didn’t have a ticket out of the USA yet, but Ken and I both knew I was leaving. I thought maybe we were going to a restaurant.
Nope. Ken took us into Lowells tiny cemetary off Lincoln avenue and we tramped around in the snow looking for the flat marker that said Jack Kerouac. We were brushing snow off markers and Ken was sure that we were in the right area, but the bitter cold and the snow made it too difficult.
We smoked a bit and when Ken went back to the car, I put a small prayer out there to the patron saint of beatniks. “Jack, please. I don’t want to be a prick like you ended up.”