Monday, August 31, 2009

Repost - The Hitchhiker

Pin It Originally posted on July 20, 2008

I have had quite a difficult time in picking re-posts; I vacillate between those which make me laugh, and those which make me think. I think that today is a 'laugh' day. However, in order to get the full effect with this particular post, you must imagine the voice which goes along with this elderly man...a kind of slurry, everything-drenched-in-maple-syrup geriatric kind of voice. If you can put that kind of voice to John, I think you can get a better idea of just what this conversation was really like - yeah, one of those two-headed chicken magazine conversations...


I drove past the man sitting on the guard railing; it was along a sparingly-traveled road some thirty miles south of St. George. As I passed, the words to Steven Curtis Chapman’s song, Heartbeat of Heaven, flashed through my mind.

I pulled up to the stop sign and I saw him standing there
The cardboard sign he held said he was hungry
I looked the other way and waited for the light to change
As if to say, “I'd help, but I'm in such a hurry.”

These are the moments of truth
What would love have me do?

I promptly turned my car and drove back.

As I neared the man, visions of axe murders flitted through my mind. However, as I pulled over to the side of the road and the aged man shuffled up to my car, cane in hand, I smiled.

An elderly axe murderer?

Please.

Enter the vehicle, John. Age: 72.

As John climbed into my car, he smiled warmly. “Thanks for stopping.” He folded up the sign on which he’d written:

St. George
Please.

As I pulled back on the road, and aimed the car in the direction of the freeway and St. George, I asked John about himself. This little old man promptly began to do so. Telling me of the life he’d lived, and his tales of woebegone adventures. I listened as he told me all about his first and second marriages, all the jobs he’s had since 1950, and about his health, which has steadily been on the decline since 1979. He had plenty to say, and there wasn’t but a moment or two that we were in want of conversation.

“So, where you from?” he finally asked, after telling me about all the different places he’d lived.

“Originally I’m from Washington State.”

John nodded knowingly, “Ah, lots of rain up thars.”

“Actually, I’m from the dry side of the state, luckily, the Cascade Mountains divide the state in two and the coastal area gets most of the rain.”

He paused, considering what I’d said. After a moment or two of silence he asked, “You ever seen a Sasquatch?”

“Uh…actually no.”

He leaned in conspiratorially, “I have.” He whispered with a nod.

Really?”

At this point, John launched into a tale which quickly spread into two separate accounts of Bigfoot sightings. One of which was when he and a few of his kids were driving someplace up in Washington one night back in the late seventies, and he saw two Bigfoot on the side of the road.

“They were HUGE. They stood there, staring at us with their red eyes,” John recalled. “They just stood there like they were hitchhiking or sompin’. At first we passed by ‘em, when I got the car turned around so I could shine the headlights on them for another look, they were gone.”

John waited a moment then launched into his second sighting which occurred when John was out on a deer hunt in 1978. He’d been out pretty deep in the mountains near a large clearing. He said he’d been there for a little while when, at the other end of the clearing, he noticed commotion. He quickly turned and was surprised when he saw a fight ensuing between two large animals. “One of those animals was a deer…or maybe it was a deer, I don’t know really, it COULD have been a deer. I just know that it had these big ‘ole antlers…could’da been a elk though.” He held out his hands to show that the antlers were big. “And that deer was fighting this huge Sasquatch. It wan’t black or brown like a bear, but it was whitish. It also had these huge eyes and I knew it wan’t a bear ‘cause of that face…one that was almost humanish.”

John leaned back in his seat and fixed me with his intently-staring eyes, hand gripping his cane a little tighter.

“Well, that Bigfoot grabbed the deer by hit antlers and threw him up against a tree!” John said with a flourish. “I watched that deer…maybe it was a elk. Anyhow, it fell to the ground and didn’t move after that.”

I was trying hard not to smile, and instead endeavored to maintain a look of mesmerized awe, “Wow, what happened next?”

“Well, that there Sasquatch dragged that deer into the trees, leaving a bloody trail the whole way…I think he musta been hungry.”

“What did you do?”

“Me? I just sit there, watching. Some other hunters started shooting at it. I don’t know why they’d want to do that, it was just gettin’ its dinner. They probably didn’t have tags for a Sasquatch anyway.” He blew out a breath, and looked again at the freeway stretched out before us. “I never did find out what happened to that Bigfoot…or that deer neither.”

He looked longingly out at the horizon, as if watching something only he could see.

Before long, we arrived at John’s destination, and he climbed out of the car. “Thanks for the ride here, sonny.”

I waved a hasty goodbye as he ambled toward his home.

I am still speechless.


8 comments:

SO said...

Do they sell Sasquatch tags??

What a great story!

Corine said...

LOL - That was SO funny! :D I absolutely love the way you tell stories! I can totally see you playing along... trying not to smile (unsuccessfully :). Thanks for the laugh! :D

Corine said...

PS I'm glad to hear you are so selective about which hitch hikers you pick up! (seriously!) After all, I do enjoy reading your blogs! :D LOL

Mamma has spoken said...

HEHEHE, he reminds me of an uncle I have. He can tell a story and leave you wondering which parts of the story are true and which parts are made up. This guy's story makes me wonder if the smell of whiskey seemed to hung on his clothes?

K.J. said...

What a story! Good one!

Hopeful_Mom said...

Reaffirmed my reasons for NOT picking up hitch hikers.

LOL

Teachinfourth said...

S - Apparently so; however, this came as a great surprise to me.

C - I had to turn my head a few times so as not to break out laughing during his story.

As for hitchhikers, I am selective...if they have bloody hatchets, I always think twice.

M - I think he may have just had a few crossed wires.

KJ - Glad that the trip wasn't longer than it was; I'm sure he could have gone on and on.

H - Probably a wise decision overall...

Gerb said...

I loved this post again. This guy reminds me a little bit of my brother... in a good way.

Still laughing.

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