ILLINOIS CENTRAL, FRIDAY MORNING RAIL…
GOOD MORNING AMERICA HOW ARE YOU!
This Mornings Journey to the Center of your Mind…by Steve Johnson
CHEYENNE! PLEASE PUT YOUR PANTS BACK ON…YOU’RE DRAWING A CROWD!
WHAT COULD THIS POSSIBLY HAVE TO DO WITH FITNESS?
My wife has given me explicit orders as to never again write about my college girlfriends. The challenge is I’ve never been good at taking orders. There’s also a good chance she’ll see this so I’ve already packed enough tuna, water and tee shirts to last me for a full weeks banishment to what was long ago named The Cheyenne Hilton Intergalactic Think-Tank, or another name for my office. Banishing me to my Intergalactic Think-Tank is her way of putting me in time out as over our many years marriage; as well as me constantly acting out, I’m used to her ritual. She’s also not happy about the name I’ve chosen for this small piece of heaven as every time it appears; I get the arms across the chest stare which keeps getting longer with each passing year.
This small sanctuary is not located in one of those fancy office buildings; the kind with gold embossed lettering atop big and imposing mahogany doors that reads ‘CORPORATE OFFICES OF CHEATUM & RUN’, but instead is housed in a one hundred year old brick warehouse. Walking through the original carriage doors depicts my simple needs. You’re not greeted by a receptionist sitting behind an L-Shaped desk, possibly disgruntled at the entire world as she sharply answers a non-stop ringing phone but instead by a huge wall mural depicting only a dove bearing an olive branch, along with the word IMAGINE, for which I will always be indebted to John Lennon.
After enjoying this peaceful scenario, your eyes quickly become affixed to the Captain America Motorcycle, complete with bed roll, which is housed in my living room, of course within touching distance of my reclining chair. Looking so much like the original, you’d think it just drove in from a hard days filming of Easy Rider. I guess the only things absent would be Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper but if you look closely, you may see them too looming about. There’s also no TV but instead a stereo music system piped throughout which allows me constant contact with many of my friends such as Fleetwood Mac, The Stones, James Taylor and Carole King; as well as Clapton, The Eagles, Joplin, Hendrix and the list keeps growing as the constant flow of these iconic friends never seems to stop. Oh! Let’s not forget Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane. That’s right; I said Jefferson Airplane, for without them there would be no such thing as a White Rabbit.
With the exception of the bathroom everything is entirely open, including a small kitchenette located in the south west corner. There are no cabinets but a piece of machinery from days gone by; still hanging from chains makes for a great pot rack. Next the huge pine boards in the floor lead to a set of old iron stairs which take you to the warehouse’s original loft; of which I’ve made a place to hang my hat. I’ve positioned my bed directly beneath the large skylight which allows me to look into a starlit sky; creating meditation as well as the only medication needed to put me into a full night’s deep sleep.
The weather is now warming so I’ve taken my table, chair and typewriter to the roof where I’m bringing you this morning’s journey to the center of your mind. With protein drinks now by our side; please accompany me as we not only go back in time but travel to an entirely different dimension as I bring you this incredible story of another of my crazier college roommates and why she chose to remove her pants on a beautiful summer afternoon in the middle of South Main Street. Ladies and Gentlemen, buckle up as here we go…
I’VE MET CRAZIER LADIES…I JUST CAN’T REMEMBER WHEN!
Explaining how Cheyenne and I came to be would take far more space than allowed so today we will be crunching numbers into a nutshell.
Being brought up as she was caused Cheyenne to be different as she seemed to contemplate everything she did, well before doing it. Her name came from a childhood western that many of you remember. The main character was named Cheyenne Brodie. He was the proverbial Good Guy always chasing the bad guys and was one of her dad’s favorite westerns; so being their last name was Brodie, he named her Cheyenne.
Cheyenne’s family lived in a small town in Arizona but she decided to call the University of South Carolina her college home because of the great engineering school. First meeting her; I’m not sure you would ever want to traverse any bridge she designed as it always appeared she was one wire short of a connected circuit…later to prove me entirely wrong.
If you’ve followed any of my stories you know my college stomping ground was the university’s weight room; The Blatt PE Center which is still in operation today. If I wasn’t in class or had the feed bag on at Groucho’s Deli then you would probably find me there. In high school Cheyenne was on the girls’ basketball team which gave her somewhat of an athletic body, but still thinking she had skinny legs caused her to ask if I could help in building them more shapely.
I agreed so we jumped right in. Three days each week she did the exercises that would help her in reaching her goal by doing squats, leg extensions and calf raises. We also talked about cleaning up her diet with better nutrition and the importance of good sleep, as well as meditation and keeping a clear head. She was relentless; showing up for each workout with a great attitude and six months later didn’t even look like the same person. Cheyenne’s legs had become totally muscle toned; creating a beautiful shape soon to be admired by most every male student on campus…as well as the envy of the girls. I could tell she was proud of her accomplishment and thanked me many times over but being a bit reclusive never glorified her new found beauty.
She drove a 1966 Rambler Stationwagon (prototype of today’s minivan). It was great transportation but had a glitch. The transmission wasn’t automatic but instead had a three speed gear shift on the steering column, requiring the use of a clutch. Sometimes when shifting those gears they would lock up, rendering her car from moving. One Saturday morning as she came down South Main Street the gears decided to take a sabbatical and quit shifting, leaving both Cheyenne and her car sitting in the middle of the street. I had become used to this entire scenario and knew how to climb beneath, tap on the gear box lightly with a hammer and get them back into operation.
No cell phones back then so as I walked into my part-time job at a local gym I was handed the telephone; as I heard Cheyenne’s familiar voice say “Stevie! I’m broken down on South Main Street. Can you come get me going again?” Back out the door, I was now heading towards her destination. Arriving I came upon a very large crowd consisting mainly of male students which had gathered entirely around her car. There was even a uniformed city officer which had been dispatched to disperse the still growing crowd.
My first thoughts were something not good has happened as possibly her car had been hit. Pulling my VW Bus to the side of the street I quickly jumped out as I made my way through the crowd, finally making it to the front lines. Now in view of the entire fiasco I heard one student say, “Hey man…it appears the girl beneath that car doesn’t have on any clothes. We’re just standing around waiting for her to emerge.” His thoughts weren’t without merit as I too couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Beneath her car and lying on her back was Cheyenne; or at least her bare legs, as that was all that was visible. With hammer in hand she decided to figure out which car part needed tapping, unfortunately she was banging on the muffler, causing it to also become compromised. She also didn’t realize by only exposing her legs to the public; it looked as though she was in her birthday suit.
From her position beneath her car; Cheyenne had no idea of the commotion those muscular, tanned and very shapely legs were causing. Now in a crouched position I too joined in the circus when I noticed she had removed her blue jeans. Now cringing I blurted “Cheyenne! Why did you remove your pants?” Her answer still stays in my brain today, as she said, “Oh! …they were catching on the asphalt so I just took ‘um off!” The whole thing made no since but then again, many things are above my head. I pointed to the correct spot and with a few light whacks her problem was once again solved.
Still unaware of all the commotion, Cheyenne emerged to a standing ovation from the entire gallery. All that remained of her attached clothing was a halter top and thongs. With her jeans in one hand and hammer in the other, she gave a deep, smiling and appreciative bow to her fans. I guess my part in the whole thing was similar to a backstage bodyguard at a Zeppelin concert as I hustled to get her through the crowd to safety.
Crazy things can happen when we take care of our body. You’d be amazed at what a regular training program can do for the rest of your entire life. Come by the gym and we can show you how to get started as you never know when your own gears may lock up. Just be sure not to emerge from beneath your car dressed as Cheyenne was. Remember, that was over forty years ago. Today the guys in the white suits may be waiting to take you away!
It doesn’t matter if you’re already a gym rat or have never stepped foot in a fitness center, as StrongHold Gym has a program for you. It’s up to you, as you can choose to go it alone or let one of our personal trainers show you what makes your body work better. For example, did you know just by moving your thumbs from the bottom to the top of the press down bar will help quicker in tightening the loose and flabby skin that may already be on the back of your upper arms? Do it today as you never know when you may need to wave to your own gallery!
PEACE & FITNESS TO YOU AND I’LL SEE YOU AT THE GYM!
Until we meet again next week, I’ll leave you with some of the best advice I’ve ever had. It came from a bear:
‘EAT WELL…LIVE LARGE AND ALWAYS
TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR HONEY!’
…from your friend eight miles high on life…
Copyright © 2019 Steve Johnson