I was exhausted. My throat was parched and my feet burned.
Late day, rush hour traffic flowed past me like noisy, steaming debris down a strange, metallic river.
Finally, a man who manages his own security company, stopped and picked me up. He drove me to highway 301 and dropped me off at a 7-Eleven.
I walked in to the rest room there, splashed cold water on my face and then walked back outside and sat on a guard rail.
A skinny, "country bumpkin" guy who should have been named "Opie" stopped his ancient Toyota pickup and offered me a ride.
He stopped at Wal-Mart, bought me several bottles of Diet Dew, gassed-up his aging chariot and then drove us both off into the sunset.
He never stopped talking. I swear that he acted like he hadn't had a conversation with another human being in years.
That man knows EVERYTHING about that area!
Now, I do, too.
We ran his truck, like two fast horses, down rural roads and Interstate until we came upon the scene of a fatal accident.
The crash, that apparently involved two vehicles and a motorcycle, was gruesome and flanked by five flashing cop cars, two fire trucks and two ambulances.
Several cops, with grim faces, rolled chalk markers around the scene while people, safe in their own vehicles, slowly filed past the carnage.
It was the second fatality that I saw, while on the road, that week.
My driver, now running low on fuel and unable to locate an open gas station, finally left me at a rural road junction point. I stood under the mercury vapor lights and stuck out my thumb.
A man and his daughter drove past me, turned around and came back.
They drove me to a nearby small-town city and up a hill to a Catholic church compound. We went to the Father's house, who I now lovingly refer to as "Padre Ray"...and knocked on his door.
Padre Ray and I took a liking to each other immediately.
He brought me over to what was once a convent for nuns. I had some munchies with me and, of course, another bottle of Diet Dew. So my hunger was covered.
But the Father went a step further and offered me the use of a shower there and also gave me a pillow and comforter. He let me sleep in a conference room.
After I showered and re-dressed, I munched on some wheat thins and cheese, drank the Dew and then settled down on the floor...with the blanket and pillow...and fell right to sleep.
What a full day it had been!