Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

Sketch 9: The Unbroken Circle (’76)

Our poem this month, The Unbroken Circle (’76), describes an experience I had during the Bicentennial year. It was late June, and we  were on our way to Yellowstone National Park and had arrived in the city of Cody in the state of Wyoming, a place not known so much for its progressive ideas as for its conservativeness. I mean the last time they voted for a Democrat for president was 1964.  I’m not a big fan of the Democrats or anything although they did have the only candidate in my lifetime on a major ticket I’d have unconditionally supported (George McGovern), who as fate would have it went down to unbelievable electoral defeat, and Tricky Dick was reelected:


It’s just the Republicans have gone so far right they’re well off the page and into the margins.

Anyway, we were picked up by a guy who I swear bore an uncanny resemblance to:


He told us of a concert and invited us to a party in the middle of nowhere where we were surrounded by young people whose appearance cast serious doubt on the notion they had campaigned four year earlier for Dick Nixon.  My problem at first was simple: how to open up a can of Coors.  Before you’re too hard on me, consider Wikipedia’s entry on the contraption:

“In the 1970s, Coors invented the pollution-free push tab can. However, consumers disliked the top and it was discontinued soon afterward.”

It sounds to me like a noble but doomed experiment – a little like introducing the metric system in the U.S.

For a few hours we soaked in the sun and the wide expanse of space. Then we went to see The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

We had a great time. The music was inspiring, and their encore was a stirring rendition of this song:

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4 thoughts on “Sketch 9: The Unbroken Circle (’76)

  1. Okay, first of all, this is unfathomably cool: For a few hours we soaked in the sun and the wide expanse of space. Then we went to see The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

    I thank God Almighty that I never lived in a time when Coors was considered good beer. I kid–I have experienced the magical transubstantiation that occurs at special times and in special places where crap beer becomes, however briefly, the nectar of the Gods..

    Your thoughts on politics echo mine in that, in my adult lifetime, there has never been a candidate I could completely get behind. As you know, I’m somewhat “liberal” (I don’t care for those distinctions, but what else do we have?), but I find most “liberal” politicians to be every bit as distasteful as the hard core conservatives. In some case, I find them more distasteful, because at least the conservatives are honest about what they are.

    I’d be warmer to the Republican party if they got out of the God business. As I think you know, I’m a believer, but my God doesn’t need a group of halfwits legislating for Him.


    • We had a great time. I know Montana is known as Big Sky Country, but it describes Wyoming as well.
      I don’t know what I ever saw in Coors. But the same could be said for Colt 45, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Milwaukee’s Best. Apparently it was only later that I developed taste buds.
      My basic complaint in politics is that things have moved so far to the right. Even Obama, who is pronounced by the nut jobs as a Socialist, would have probably been a moderate Republican a few decades back.


  2. Nailing some great albums, Tom!!


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