Thursday, October 22, 2015

There Goes Jack, Ass And My Coffee

                                PHOTO/EDITS BY RUTH RADER
                                ALL PHOTOS TAKEN AT THE "ANTFARM" COFFEE SHOP
                                SANDY, OREGON

There are a series of highways that roll east of Interstate 5, around Mt. Hood and up north
to Hood River, Oregon. I hitchhiked on those roads recently...from Lebanon, Oregon to
The Dalles and back.

Along the way, I ran into prejudice and inexcusable ignorance. Pinch-nosed, scowling
and evasive locals in dirty t-shirts rode up and down the highway in beat-up old pickup
trucks. They roared through the hick town silence with full-sized Confederate flags
fluttering in the breeze.

I looked at the two men hunched inside one of the truck cabs and thought to myself, "There
goes Jack and Ass."

On the way back down from The Dalles, I met three very nice ladies who didn't have any
interest in whether the South would rise again.They just wanted to get me back to Lebanon...
which is where I am now.

When I was "halfway down the hill" in Sandy, Oregon...I spent two nights sitting outside
at the local bus transit center (deja vu?) Early on Sunday morning, the weather was chilly
and damp. A young man dressed in the latest "I'm-a-young-tough-from-Portland" street
garb sauntered past me. I called to him.

"Hey kid, come here for a minute."

"Yeah?" asked the boy who looked too young to face me with such a serious stance.

"I've been out here all night and my old bones are beginning to ache in the cold" I explained.

"Would you do me a favor and bring this money to Joe's Doughnut Shop and get me a hot
cup of coffee?"

"Yeah, okay" said the boy and then he smiled and promised to bring me back a hot cup of
coffee and the change.

I  handed him my trust and the last $3.50 that I owned in the world. I knew that the coffee
would cost $1.25 and I planned to let him keep the change after he brought it back. But he
never brought it back.


So I hitchhiked out of Sandy, Oregon with only a memory of the hot drink that I enjoyed
at the "Antfarm" coffee shop...the day before. That particular coffee shop is a business
that is tied to a non-profit organization aimed at...(wait for it) risk street youth.


Yes, I know.

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