Friday, June 20, 2008

Ruthie On The Road, Update

The woman eventually dropped me off near the airport outside of Montgomery, Alabama.

She said, "This is highway 80...you can hitchhike on it all the way to Selma."

I walked up the long ramp as the sun began to set.

And I had no idea what a risk that was...until an old SUV pulled over right beside me and stopped.

A grizzled older man, with no shirt on, smiled at me from the front passenger seat. His wife (the driver) peeked over her husband's shoulder and smiled at me.

"Yer a lady!" exclaimed the man.

"Excellent observation," I replied.

"Well, what are you doing out here right now?" he asked, a tone of genuine concern in his voice.

"I'm trying to find shelter for the night," I explained and the man reached back and unlocked the back door.

"Get in, lady," the man directed, recognizing my Northern accent, "You don't know what you're headin' into goin' down this road at this time of day."

"No, you sure don't," agreed his wife.

"Why, what have I got to worry about?" I asked, totally amused by their Gulf State persona.

"Well, fer starters...SNAKES!" declared the man, spreading his big arms wide.

"Ah, go on," I said and snickered at him.

"He ain't kiddin'," said the woman, finding my eyes in her rear view mirror.

"You never been down here before, have ya?" asked the man.

"I've been to Alabama before," I replied.

"And I never got bit by any old serpent, gator, snake or crocodile," I explained and laughed.

"Well, then you never walked at night down any roads 'round Selma!" replied the man.

"That's true," I agreed and the couple described the snake problem and the curse of the full moon as we rode to Selma.

They also told me about the infamous "Bloody Sunday" march that took place over twenty-five years ago between Selma and Montgomery.

Their tale of that terrible day made me sad. I decided that it was more terrible than any snake will ever be on that stretch of highway.

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