Tuesday, May 17, 2011

He was a World Champion Hitchhiker

Back in the 50's all the guys hitchhiked. At least that is what my parents told me. When my dad joined the Navy at 17 (he lied about his age) they sent him to Brunswick, Ga. He hitchhiked home EVERY weekend to see my mom. That is at least a 400 mile trip on the old roads to West Virginia from Georgia. They didn't have I-95 back then. He said he was only in danger of being considered AWOL one time, but even then he pulled up to the base at the last second so he wasn't in any trouble.

My dad never passed up a hitchhiker. I can't tell you the times we would have to squeeze together in the back seat (there were 3 kids) to make room for a hitchhiker. If there were more than one then my mom was forced to do a little scootin' herself. Daddy would ask where they were going and regale them with tales of his hitchhiking days. Many times if they were down on their luck they would leave with my dad's pack of cigs and a few dollars in their pocket that they didn't have when they got into the car.

One time when I was working at P.R.I.D.E. one of the welfare workers came into my office to see me. He said, "I saw your dad this weekend," with a big smile on his face.

"Oh, you did, where at?" I thought maybe daddy had hired him to drive a car to an auction for him or something.

"We went to Vegas," he laughed when he said it.

"Vegas!" I didn't know he was going to Vegas this weekend.

"He didn't either," Bob said. He picked me up hitchhicking and we were talking. When he asked me where I was going I told him, "I don't care, I just want to get the hell out of this place!" So, your dad said, "Would ya like to go to Vegas with me?"

"That sounds like daddy," I said. "Did you have a good time in Vegas?"

"Well, I didn't actually make it to Vegas. I got out somewhere in Kansas. I told your dad I changed my mind so he stopped at a truckstop and bought me dinner and gave me $20 bucks and he took off for Vegas and I came home. You know, your dad's a nice man."

"Yeah, I've heard that." I said.

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