Thursday, February 12, 2009

Contestant #8


This No Wake sign is right near the Seabreeze Restaurant. It would seem that some form of wake knocked it sideways, or perhaps some errant boater misjudged the dock. (Ask me how many stories I have of folks ramming their boat into the dock as they pulled in. Then ask me how I can pull a 20+ foot boat into a boathouse and never touch a thing. Except for that one time when I ripped the rubber stripping off the side of the boat, but that was because it was blowin' a gale and there may or may not have been beverages involved. I said may or may NOT have been beverages involved. Oh, and also remind me to tell y'all about being pulled over by the Marine Patrol. A little bit of wake jumping was involved, only we were in a tiny boat so loaded down it looked like we were smuggling in refugees from Cuba.)

No Wake is the second worst sign next to No Trespassing around here. When I say "worst" of course I mean "prevalent and annoying." Speaking of trespassing, we turn now to our 8th entry in my little story contest.

----------------------------------------------------------

Folks, we have two more entries after today to read before we begin voting. I will divulge the "identities" (internet identities, or pseudonyms, that is) of the writers after the contest is over and the winner is announced. Thanks again to everyone for doing such a grand job. And now, the 8th entry. -cbw
----------------------------------------------------------

Hitch Hiking - A Lost Art
By Contestant #8

My Daddy and his brothers were much like many other working men of a certain age in Mathews County: tall, strong, sun-burned (farmer’s tan), honest, trusting and old-fashioned. Daddy picked up hitch-hikers on a regular basis and never gave a thought to the potential danger of the out-dated practice.

In the pre-cell-phone era, when he had mechanical trouble with his farm equipment (or when he just plain ran out of gas) he would resort to hitch-hiking himself, with unmitigated success. He never walked all the way home.

For my part, I was totally amazed that anyone ever let him into their vehicle. He was so tall, he barely fit into most people’s cars. He had hands big as dinner plates, and shoulders as broad as your front door. After riding a tractor all day, he was a SWEATY, DIRTY GIANT. I cannot over-emphasize how SWEATY, how DIRTY or how GIGANTIC he was, so I’ll spare myself the effort, you can just let your imagination run wild. I loved him dearly, but if I didn’t know him -- I'd have left him on the side of the road! He always expected people to be kind, and for the most part they didn’t disappoint him. He always got a ride.

Which probably explains why my uncle (his brother) was so exasperated one hot summer afternoon when his truck broke down on the way home from the post office. He’d probably always gotten a ride, too. Except this afternoon, every car in sight just kept speedin’ on by. It was truly puzzling. He’d pause, stick out his thumb and they’d just keep on going.

They had their windows rolled up, and the AC cranked, and by George, he was getting HOT and TIRED. As he told my cousin later, he was actually starting to get angry, because after a while, he realized he knew most of those people flying by, and he was pretty sure that many of the cars were actually SPEEDING UP as they passed him.

He was not a young man at the time, and not really up to walking all those long miles in the heat. He actually walked backwards for a time, to rest his tired, forward-going muscles. And still nobody stopped, and he just kept getting madder with every step. After all, these were his friends and neighbors! What was the world coming to if you couldn’t count on them for a ride when you needed one?

He walked almost all the way home, stopping at his daughter’s house for a cool drink and some commiseration. She listened to his sad tale of woe. She almost managed to maintain a straight face as she pointed out to him that his choice of WORKING GARB for the day – the old, worn uniform that he’d recycled from work, might be the cause of his troubles.

As she told him, “You see, Daddy, prisoners in the road gangs also wear those BLAZE-ORANGE JUMP-SUITS. They probably thought you were an escaped convict!”

16 comments:

Ann Marie said...

First commenter?? wow.

Blaze orange.. I am thankful to have never doned that particular color.

Poor guy.. those outfits are HOT too.. oh wait I don't know that..

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Thank you, #8 - I think if I saw a large man wearing one of those suits I'd speed up as I went by myself, and I'm pretty lenient with local hitchhikers (assuming I know them). Actually I remember one time being flagged down on Hallieford road by an old man I did NOT know -wielding a cane - he was swinging it violently in the air, and I thought something was wrong with him. No, he just needed a ride. I gave him one, lest I got hit in the head with that cane. Plus I knew I could outrun him...

As recently as a couple of years ago, I had to drop my car off at Tom Hearns' to get some work done, and I decided to walk home. I wasn't even hitchhking and someone I knew pulled over to pick me up when I had walked no farther than a quarter mile.

There are some benefits to growing up in such a small community.

Chesapeake Bay Children: If you read this, don't EVER pick up a hitchhiker and do not hitchhike yourself. Do as your mother says, not as she does.

Great story, #8!

Mental P Mama said...

Too funny.

Grandma J said...

O.M.G! I love that story!

Hey, I have an idea...why don't we all wear orange jumpsuits at the blogfest. That should stir up some excitement in Mathews.

Anonymous said...

Hallieford guy is just Earnest. We give him rides to the courthouse often. For some reason he always gets to sit near middle dd. Now we affectionately refer to him as her boyfriend. She is NEVER amused. We pass him most everyday walking 2 dogs while on his cane; he never fails to wave. We never fail to mention what a sweet couple dd and him would make!

Anonymous said...

Orange jumpsuits!

this blogfest is sizing up to be some fun time!

I'm looking forward to it!

AMN

mmm said...

Judging by what I've learned about some the folks that post comments on this blog, it's quite possible that there will be many people wearing orange jumpsuits at the blogfest.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Earnest Goes to Hallieford - sounds like the name of a sitcom to me. Anonymous - tell Dear Middle Daughter that she can hold the wedding in my back yard if she wants. Be sure to tell her this when I'm out of state, OK? I've seen her when she's angry and I don't want any parts of it...

Orange jumpsuits at the blogfest? I may have to have Mathews Volunteer REscue Squad on standby for possible heatstroke victims, but otherwise I'm in. Toss in a few pairs of roller skates and a flat surface and you'd have a derby team...a roller skating bunch of blogging convicts. Surely there's a TV show there.

Oh, and AMN - I'm going to the Blogfest website *right now* and add your name to the list of guests who are coming, which means you have to come. No turning back.

big hair envy said...

Well, I'm off to order my orange jumpsuit for the Blog Fest! I'd hate to wait, and find out there weren't any left...

Do you think they go well with flip-flops?

foolery said...

Ha ha ha ha -- I really enjoyed that! Poor Uncle guy. And I would have been one of those who speeded up, for sure.

No one hitchhikes in California, or not much, anyway. We all know how crazy Californians are and we want no part of it.

In Hawaii you don't stick out your thumb, for some reason. So many times I'd walk to work in the morning for exercise (about 3 1/2 miles) and car after car would pull over for me. I finally had to stop walking to work because no one seemed to get that I was walking for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Those crazy CA. getting their exercise and passing up perfectly good ride offers....no wonder the state is going to fall off into the ocean.

Still rolling with the mental image of Mommy Bloggers (Iknow, bad name) dressed in orange jumpsuits, skating around in circles with disco music/lights ala Austin Powers/Goldmember. Shag-a-delic man!!

rc

Big Hair Envy said...

That's a great idea, rc!! Is the Gloucester skating rink still open??

Perhaps MHS has some of those one-piece gym suits stuffed in a closet somewhere. They would be PERFECT for roller-derby:/

Karen Deborah said...

cool contest you have been running. One time Pigelt ran away from home and was walking down the highway; her step dad told her to wear bright orange if she ever wanted to do that again.

Karen Deborah said...

um just thought of somethin about hitchhiking. One time my friend and I and my baby and her SAINT BERNARD DOG were hitch hiking together! We got picked up by a VW BUG and all squeezed into the back seat, really it was amazing.

Annie said...

well, talking about hitch hiking...(were we talking about hitch hiking)?..my daughter told me (after the event naturally), that when they were driving themselves to the Grand Canyon..from the north (Salt Lake city), it was getting late, dark, and raining (and of course they didn't know the road)...and there was a fellow stepped onto the road and hailed them down...wanting a lift to the canyon lodges where they were going. She said he looked all ragged and unkempt...turned out that he happened to be a ranger who had run out of time on a hike he had been doing to the other side of the gorge and back...whew...she said she was sweating it out in the front seat there for a while...hope they never do that again!! Much easier in your own community!

Annie

Anonymous said...

BHE
As I get older, I'm finding that I'm not quite as flexible as I was in my youth. And even though I could never do the splits like Goldmember does in the movie, I was pretty good at the limbo...on wheels.

Now CBW on the other hand, could probably put us all to shame with the stunts she's learning as she prepares for roller derby!

rc