Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ruthie On The Road, Update

A State patrolman stopped his cruiser and told me that I couldn't hitchhike where I was standing.

Then he drove me to a secondary highway that led down into darkness, dropped me off and quickly sped away.

I stood there for a moment and surveyed the sky. Lightening flashed in the distance and a sudden breeze ruffled my hair.

"Some thing's up," I thought.

A man finally drove by me and then braked to a stop.

"What are you doing out here?" asked the man, after he rolled his car back to me.

"Ask Officer Dudley Do-Wrong," I replied and opened the car door.

"Well, I can take you to a better spot," the man said.

And he did.

The man dropped me off by a ramp and near a convenience store.

Thunder began to rumble like the bad end of a dog's growl.

I slipped on my headphones and switched my Walkman to the NOAA weather band.

"Bee bonk" "Bee bonk" "Beep-beep-beep"

I caught the entire series of familiar warning sounds that are always issued by the National Weather Service in the event of severe weather.

And my memory flashed on the night, years ago, when I was caught in the path of a tornado, in the middle of the night, just outside of Hudson, Wisconsin.

I decided to go inside the convenience store.

The employee in there didn't like me and I didn't care.

I told him that I was going to go into the ladies room and wait to see what the weather did.

"You can't spend all night in there, you know," he declared with a glare.

"You better hope that this store remains intact all night, buddy," I replied and sauntered off to the bathroom.

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