Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ruthie On The Road, Update

Photo Of James The Trucker By Ruth Rader

I was sitting on a blanket on West Burnside Street in downtown Portland, Oregon last Saturday night. Several other homies were seated on blankets nearby.

Yeah, there we were...positioned like beggars in New Delhi...waiting for alms from the urban merciful. I had, what I thought, was a "choice" spot...right in front of the Downtown Chapel's red doors.

I decided to call my friend Marissa and chat for awhile. I wanted to give her the news of my return to the City and get an update from her.

We had only chatted for about five minutes when a woman seated near me staggered to her feet.

She weaved over to me, leaned down and assaulted my olfactory with fumes from very bad booze.

"Lady...please...go drink some Scope" I gasped.

"Lissen, Bitsh" she slurred, waving a fist in my face, "Ya cut that phone call cuz I don't wanna hear that shit right now."

Marissa immediately asked what was going on...since she heard everything that was happening over the phone.

The discussion with the liqueured-up loser ended up in a draw when I asked Marissa to stay on the line. I then got up, slung the pack over my shoulders, grabbed my laptop and cane and left my bedroll behind.

I walked up the street and was accosted by a guy who decided that he was next in line to acquire the laptop.

I immediately disagreed.

He stepped forward and countered.

Marissa yelled, "I'm calling the police!" from the speaker on my cell phone.

"Don't be a fool" I said to the man.

He began to catch the attention of people passing by and backed off.

I quickly walked up to the Rescue Mission and Marissa told me that she was coming to get me. And she did.

Marissa drove me to Mickey D's, bought me a meal, a room at a motel, handed me $20.00, hugged me and then took off.

I took a bus to Troutdale, Oregon the next day and then hitchhiked to The Dalles, Oregon. I couldn't get any help with shelter and so I unrolled my sleeping bag by the ramp. Frost covered everything including me the next morning.

I hitchhiked to a rest area where I spent the next night. It wasn't so bad...even if I was in the women's bathroom. I listened to piped-in music and enjoyed free Wi-Fi while I stayed warm inside my sleeping bag.

The next morning, I trudged two miles up a hill to a Pilot truck stop and took a much-needed shower.

Then I walked down the on ramp to Interstate 84 East and stuck out my thumb.

A dusty red truck, pulling a long trailer, stopped and a guy called to me with a smile.

"Hey, you wanna ride?" he asked.

The driver is Trucker James (pictured above).

He is from Montana and has been my companion ever since.

We are now in Missouri.

Tomorrow he will deliver a load of onions to a business in Kentucky. Then he will turn around and head for home again.

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