Friday, February 6, 2009
This old shack stands right beside the road going down to Bethel Beach. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who may know if it was ever anything other than a shack, but I'm not one of them. Speaking of old shacks and interesting things on the side of the road, we turn now to a story about Watergate--not the hotel, not the scandal, but the infamous Mathews character who presided over Eastview Inn and/or Westview Inn depending on the direction of the wind. When I say "inn" of course what I really mean is "drinking establishment."
Today we continue with another entry in The Story Contest. I'll continue publishing these until we reach the end of the submissions, then we'll vote on a winner.
Contestant #1's Story is Here.
Below is Contestant #2's Story which is actually Part II of this contestant's original submission. I'm presenting it before Part I because my mind is a mysterious place and some things cannot be explained. The story reads just fine without the first chapter--which I will post in a few days. Now I will shut up so you can read it.
Our Most Memorable Hitch-Hiker
When I was a child, I worried about my daddy's habit of picking up hitch-hikers.I worried about it most when I was in the truck when he picked them up. No amount of protest on my part would over-ride his determination to stop.
Our most memorable and, arguably, our most famous hitch-hiker was the venerable denizen of a little shack up the road, known to me as "Watergate" (the denizen -- not the shack).
Any of my fellow Mathews readers know how he got that name?
Anyway, I was a little worried when we stopped to pick up Watergate. He was a raggedy little old man, who hung around at various street corners around the county. He was not too clean, and probably not too sober, and he didn’t smell too great -- I was really glad when he happily hopped into the BACK of the truck for his short ride up the road (instead of in the cab next to me!). I noted that he was pretty nimble for an old dude.
His requested destination on Route 14 was rumored to be a "shot-house." When we got there Daddy pulled off on the shoulder and waited for Watergate to exit the truck bed. The truck windows were rolled all the way down. (Daddy rarely went over 45 on the local roads), and I was leaning on the door, day-dreaming and waiting to get underway.
Suddenly, Watergate popped his head in the passenger window, inches from my face (he was nimble and he was STEALTHY!) and loudly inquired of Daddy, "You got a dollar, Mr. D****? You got a dollar?"
I jerked back. I had gotten a really up-close view of (what was left of) Watergate's teeth and a really up-close whiff of his breath. I scrambled across the truck seat and affixed myself to Daddy's side.
Daddy was looking straight ahead, as he cheerfully allowed that "No, Watergate, I don't have a dollar today" and he slowly put the truck in gear. He gave her some gas, since he was now sure that Watergate was clear of the wheels. Surprisingly, Watergate did not let go of truck door. He continued to harass Daddy for "A dollar, Mr. D****? You got a dollar?"
Daddy indicated, "Nawsuh, no dollars today, Watergate," and drove on.
The truck continued to accelerate -- and so did Watergate, reaching speeds I would have deemed beyond his capability, still shouting for his “dollar.” He was nimble, he was stealthy and WOW, he was FAST.
Eventually Watergate let go of the side of the truck (unharmed). I suppose he went back and paid for his own shot. Daddy and I continued on to Gloucester, or wherever we were bound that day.
I wonder if they had a track team when Watergate was in school? If so, he could have set some land-speed records I'm sure!