Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ruthie On The Road, Update--Part Nine

While the temperature hovers around 65 degrees or less, right now, in Bozeman, Montana, the heat rose to over 80 degrees that day. And the sun shone straight down.

I sat on a guard rail near the on ramp and tried very hard to get a ride. I struck out.

No, I never got a ride that day. I did, however, get a significant sunburn on a portion of my nose and forehead. I also got some bad mosquito bites. My body is now trying to heal.

Eventually, the sun went down and the moon came up. I gave up and walked back down to the gas station on the corner of a rural road junction point.

I dreaded putting in the call that I knew I was going to have to make. I sat down on a curb by the gas station, under a set of vapor lights and pulled out my cell phone.

But before I made my call, a woman with some kids, parked her big SUV beside me.

She and I talked for a few minutes and then she said, "I'm going to take my kids home, call my husband at work and see if you can stay at my house, tonight."

Then she drove away.

I figured that there was a fifty-fifty chance that she was actually serious about her offer. So, I sighed and then called back to the sheriff's department.

I thought for sure that the cops were going to verbally kick my ass, but they didn't. In fact, they were actually nice to me!

"I didn't get a ride out" I explained, and braced for the worst.

"We'll send an officer out to get you and he will drive you up to a truck stop that is a bit farther up north. You can stay there for the night" the dispatcher said.

I accepted the offer, gratefully.

A few minutes later, the woman in the SUV returned, without her kids. I told her that an officer was already on his way out to get me. She decided to wait with me for the cop to show up

When the officer arrived, he didn't check me (that had, of course, already been done, hours before) but he did take down her information and ran her rig's tag.

When we got into her rig, she said that she couldn't understand why the police checked her and not me.

"Because" I said, with a little grin, "every branch of the po-po from here to Wilmington, North Carolina already knows who I am."

And then I laughed.

I went with her back to her home. She gave me a delicious fried chicken dinner with all of the Southern trimmings and then drew me a bath. I gave her my dirty clothes and she dumped them all in the washing machine while I got cleaned up.

After she led me to the bedroom that I was going to sleep in, she got me a tall glass of ice water and...I climbed into the big bed and...she said "goodnight" and...then she closed the door and...I heard the key turn and chains and latches sliding and...I yelled, "OPEN THE DOOR!"

She opened it back up, holding onto a key in her hand, and I asked, "What are you doing?!!"

She looked surprised and said, "Well, I don't know you and I have my family here. So I'm going to lock you in tonight and then I will let you out tomorrow morning."

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