Angels of the Road

Somewhere, probably from Kerouac, I acquired an image or fantasy of a voluptuous, tanned blonde in a flimsy summer dress, stoned, driving a red convertible that skids to a stop in the gravel, waiting for me trot on down and jump in.

Nothing even close to this ever happened but everyone that picked me up was beautiful in some way and a few of the many that stopped live on in my memories.

A man was camping out in the woods with his wife and daughter. He had driven  into town for some reason and on the way back picked me up. It was getting late and soon it would have been too dark for me to get a ride. He took me back to the campsite, fed me, and let me sleep in the back of his station wagon. In the morning the young daughter, not moe than seven or eight, greeted me and took me for a short walk in the nearby woods. Then they gave me breakfast and the man drove me back out to the highway so I could continue my journey.

A man of about thirty years of age or so, was a social worker in a city in the West. His client was in trouble, needed to get back home to Toronto, but had no money. The social worker drove him all the way there. But a couple of hundred miles West of their destination he picked me up. I was heading for New York. When he deposited his client, after having driven non-stop from where they started in the west, though he was exhausted and worn down, he thought he may as well get me across the border and drove me all the way to Buffalo, an additional 100 miles or so.

I had been waiting a particularly long time in this one spot. There was barely any traffic at all. The country was so vast and empty I could hear a single car engine from probably ten miles away. Minutes would pass and a lone car, or two at a time – which struck me as possessing some important meaning I could not quite fathom (magnetism?) – would hum into view, whip past me in a flash, and then hum out of view again. Behind me, a solitary house stood up a ways on a slight rise of land. After an hour or more a young girl, again no more than seven or eight, walked down towards me with a bag in her hand. “My mother thought you might be hungry. She made you a sandwich.” She handed over the paper bag, saying “She said to come right back,” turned, and was gone.

Just south of Powell River two boys, teenagers, picked me up. Within minutes they started acting like the little shitheads kids that age can be sometimes. They hinted they might rob me, cut my throat, and throw my cadaver to the wolves before turning into a couple of alright kids just goofing around. As it was turning dark and I still had a ways to go one of the boys said his parents were gone for a few days and there was a bedroom in their basement. A bed, clean sheets, etc. A most welcome luxury! In the morning I was fed and driven back out to the highway.

When you get up and go somewhere or anywhere with no clear idea how you’ll get there then life turns into one surprise after another in ways you could never dream of. The angels are everywhere.

A voluptuous, tanned blonde in a flimsy summer dress . . .


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