Thursday, February 12, 2009
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!”