The Great American Road Trip: Part Three. What Will We Know Tomorrow?

Posted: April 8, 2022 in Memoirs/A Teacher's Life
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This piece is adapted from a manuscript I wrote about my teaching career and travels around the world. ‘A Teacher’s Life’ is the working title (Feel free to offer title suggestions). On this blog I will add a few other excerpts about different topics. In time I hope to find an agent and get this properly published as a book. Feedback, suggestions, assistance are all welcome. Enjoy.

Leaving the rez again, I went back to Sioux Falls to re-visit my friend and Native American Rap artist Gabriel Night Shield. We went out for pizza and talked about my visit to the Rosebud Reservation, where I used to work years ago. I mentioned how the reservation, or rez as they say, looked a little better these days.

Then we reminisced about the time someone made a whole website dedicated to hating on Gabe. Night Shield, as I said, is his last name. One day, years ago when I lived on the rez, Gabe was surfing the web and found someone made a website called Bight Shield. At the time we both thought it was hilarious. Whoever made this basically copied the website Gabe made on Angelfire and wrote a bunch of stuff on it to mock him. There were pictures of Gabe with dicks drawn around him and fake interviews where he talked about how much he sucks. Gabe must have been doing something right for someone to go this far out of their way to make fun of him, and this was before he even released any albums; before he even did anything. Over pizza I asked if he ever discovered the identity of the mysterious Bight Shield. 

“Yeah, I did his girl!” We both cracked up and high fived each other as he told me how one time he nailed some random chic, and afterwards she revealed that her ex-man was this Bight Shield clown. Revenge fucking at its finest.

That evening Gabe had a get together with some people he worked with. There I met John, a fellow comic book fan and YouTuber via his show called A Comic Book Look. Naturally we hit it off, and months later he interviewed me on his show about my books. 

On my last night in Sioux Falls, Gabe opened for Cappadonna of the Wu Tang Clan. It was awesome for him to meet and perform in the same show as someone he looked up to as a kid, before he even thought about being a rapper. That was a good time and a nice last night in Sioux Falls.

From there I headed back to my home state of Pennsylvania. Before going home, I stopped to see friends in Penn State, Bloomsburg, and the Lehigh Valley where I briefly lived after teaching on the rez. Before actually heading home I wanted to go to the New Jersey beach. On this trip I had seen the Pacific Ocean in California and wanted to see the Pacific and Atlantic in the same trip. I decided to go to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, the first place I ever saw the ocean. Once I got there, I was thinking about all the places I’d been since that first summer I walked those sands as a teenager. I thought about how I went to college and made lots of friends and had a nice girlfriend, and how I went to teach in South Dakota and then lived in Bethlehem. Then I remembered going to Korea, Japan, Australia, India, China, and all these other places, and how I’d finally done this road trip that I wanted to do years ago. I recalled that day in Venice when I looked out over the Pacific, on the other side of Korea, and now I was looking at the Atlantic. I finally got back to South Dakota, partied with Gabe, read poems in Rapid City and finally saw the West Coast.

The Atlantic Ocean,
so I saw both oceans
on my trip.

It’s interesting how in the midst of accomplishing your goals you can still be afraid. When starting this trip, I almost didn’t go all the way across the country. There’s always that fear in the back of our minds that tries to stop us from doing stuff. Sometimes the things we are afraid of are the things we must do.

In conclusion, the road trip was a success, and was one of the best things I ever did in my life. While most of it was fun, being around South Dakota was a lot for me to take in. In a way I was seeking some kind of forgiveness and redemption, and really didn’t find it at all. Months later, I was in my bedroom looking through a bunch of old letters and pictures of old friends. It was then I realized that we must forgive ourselves for not knowing what we didn’t know. For what will we know tomorrow? If there’s any lesson to be taken from this trip, maybe that’s it.

Props to my car for making the whole trip.

To purchase my full account of this trip, click here.


Just over a year later, I did in fact go back to the rez. In the summer of 2013, I got my old job back at Saint Francis Indian School. Once I got back, I was like a machine, I completely threw myself into my job. I was on the path to redemption. To read this story, you’ll have to buy my book when it comes out haha. Peace out.

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