Gypsy and sometimes Pharmacy Technician
The plan was as simple as it was idiotic; make it through Texas on fifty dollars. Sure one could certainly write volumes on what flighty condition of mind, or what lapses in mental programming would move a person to do such a thing. But that wouldn't be very interesting, now would it? So let's go right to the action.
Brownsville, Texas, A Hot Day.
For a guy who planned to make it through Texas on fifty dollars, I was accessorized quite nicely. My white rough canvass backpack was quite fashionable and newly off the rack. Inside the backpack was equally new and fashionable clothing, specifically picked for their durability and weather resistant quality. The gear had cost me a pretty penny but, I had traveled across the country by bicycle a few years earlier and knew the significance of proper attire.
During the bicycle trip, I had a bank debit card which allowed me to provide for myself quite nicely. Whenever a shopping challenge was placed in my path, I was able to charge the situation with confidence. I had no such card for these hitchhiking chronicles. Still I could not resist a sale and Brownsville , Texas offered one: 3 Hanes white cotton pocketed T-shirts for just ten dollars...
I was just two hours into my adventure, already I was ten bucks lighter and making a Bee-line for the nearest McDonalds. It was obvious that this boy was going to have some trouble.
So how does this work?
It always looks so easy in the movies, doesn't it? Just stick your thumb out, smile and wait for a ride. If you, like me, are naive enough to believe this will work; I guarantee that after an hour or so you will be as frustrated as hell - so much so that you might find yourself sticking out a different finger altogether. Reality came forth like a San Bernardino flash flood. Phillip, it is the nineties, people do not stop their vehicles to pick up strangers. Ok now seemed like a good time to modify my plan. Hey! Perhaps I could work my way through Texas doing odd jobs, that's the ticket.
Brownsville , Texas is a small border (everybody knows everybody) town, with not much of an economic base. If my new plan was to take effect I would have to make it to the nearest city - quickly. I started walking, continued walking and followed that with some more walking. Two days later I arrived in Harlingen , Texas . The banner at the entrance of the city boldly proclaimed it was 'The All American City'.
I met up with a group of young drifters. They gave me the scoop on what mission I could stay in and where I might be able to pick up some day work. I got to sleep in a bed that night after a refreshing shower and looked forward to the next day. I was able to borrow some old clothes and was afforded the opportunity to leave my clothes at the mission to be washed. When I arrived at the mission the next evening my clothes were gone. I had not been clearly informed that it was my responsibility to come back to the mission at a designated time to pick up the clothing. Since I was not available to claim my fashionable and new clothing at the appointed time, it was probably given to the first come, first served. I suspect that it was some of the staff who first served themselves. This incident left such a bad taste in my mouth that I decided, with those old and borrowed clothes on my back, to exit Harlingen , Texas , The All American city.
I would sporadically make attempts to hitch a ride, alas to no avail. Upon exiting the town, I traded in my expensive brogans for a pair of used hiking shoes. I had a feeling this trip was going to consist of more walking than originally anticipated. Unfortunately the shoes were two sizes too large and since my socks were probably gracing the feet of a mission employee discomfort quickly turned to trauma. I continued walking for another two days. During the night I would set up camp under under bridges and in abandoned farm shacks. After a few more days of walking my feet were blistered and bloody raw due to the constant scraping of my bare skin against the ill fitting shoes.
I abandoned the road and took to trekking the railroad tracks. It was there I encountered my first miracle. I was limping along the tracks when I looked down and low and behold, a pair of white socks laundry clean and rolled up as if they had just came out of a dryer.
I continued my trek, my feet now comforted by a pair of snug fitting socks. After walking many miles, following the seemingly never ending procession of railroad tracks and tiers, one is apt to fall into a trancelike state, much in the same manner as a spiraling hypno disc can lure the observer into a state of semi-consciousness. It was during one of these trancelike states that I found myself stepping over a presumed bundle of printed cloth. I had advanced a few more steps when the nagging insistence of my subdued consciousness beckoned me to turn around.
Much to my horror, I discovered that I had just stepped over one of the biggest diamondback rattlesnakes I have ever seen; not that I had seen many diamondback rattlesnakes but, at this juncture I consider the point moot. I took a few seconds to review my situation, my standing in life. I was in way over my head. Crocodile Dundee , I was not. I decided to part company with the railroad tracks.
On the road again....
Walking down a rather desolate stretch of road, a motorcyclist traveling in the opposite direction made a U-turn and pulled up in front of me. He was friendly enough without seeming weird or anything (like I should be judging!).
We chatted. I at least had sense enough to offer pretense of a destination. I was trying to make it to Dallas I informed him. Texas is a big state and even to a South Texan, Dallas was still million miles away. He admired my quest to make it there but cautioned me that presently I was traveling in the direction of a desolate no mans land. The motorcyclist offered to give me a ride to a location where I could catch the local bus service to the next town. I thought this was extremely nice of him especially since I did not then, nor at any time during my entire adventure, put out vibes indicating I was needy or in a desperate situation.
"Phillip plays well with others but often won't follow instructions..." - Mrs. Hart, 3rd. Grade Teacher.
The trip on the back of the motorcycle was cool, I felt like a character from Easy Rider. The cyclist dropped me off at a bus stand in the middle of what could pass as a ghost town. He cautioned me again about the perils of the barren stretch of land which lay ahead. Peace man! Varrroommm!
I was several weeks into my adventure and I was beginning to feel my hobo inner-self come into being. I pondered this while waiting for the bus. Let's see, a bus ticket to the next town would cost me eleven bucks. I was down to about twenty bucks and some change and not so eager to sacrifice half of my bank roll. I believed I could hobo it through the fifty miles or so just fine.
The southern region of Texas is geographically a desert/tundra. It was very hot and sparse in terms of civilization.
I don't know how far I had gone before dehydration got the better of me. I continued walking, marveling at the majestic birds which flew overhead. Maybe they were eagles or hawks, or some other regal birds of prey. I continued to walk, the birds slowly descended, their magic dissipating along with their descent. Eventually they drew so near that they congregated above my head the way pesky sea gulls do when they think food might be forthcoming from a beach patron. Even a city fella like me could now identify these birds as a bunch of buzzards, miserable looking and gross. I always thought the portrayal of buzzards following a dying man through the desert was just a myth, a cartoon vignette. But in reality these birds must have some sort of sixth sense that allows them detect a person's hydration level. They knew my hydration was critically low even if I didn't. The birds became so bold that I had to throw stones at them to keep them at a respectable distance.
I continued walking occasionally firing rounds of stones at my feathered entourage. I was more than just thirsty. I had begun to fantasize about liquid refreshment. I thought about how nice it would be to suddenly come across a waterfall. I vowed that once I became a useful member of society again, I would maintain a freezer full of little, shimmering cool, ice chips. I fantasized what it would be like to bathe in ginger ale. Like the Coneheads, I wanted to consume mass quantities of beer. If only I could drink and pee, at the same time, never becoming full, delighting in the sensation of drinking for all eternity.
Absurdly, it was in this state of looniness (medically speaking, dehydration does cause confusion) that the next miracle occurred. Walking the desolate stretch of highway, I came across a four pack of beer. Now the beer could not have been there long or it would have been boiling hot. When I. un-tabbed the first can to inhale its contents in a single swig, I was able to detect that the beer was not so much as slightly above room temp. As I was in the process of consuming the second can, a most alarming apparition came forth from the heat waved horizon of the highway. A state trooper's vehicle was cruising straight in my direction. I braced myself for an altercation. I was still fuzzy from dehydration induced logic. Law or no law, I was planning to finish off those last two cans of beer. I held them close to my heart as the officer approached.
Not only was there not an altercation. The officer, whilst checking my I.D., treated me with all the graciousness of a flight attendant checking in a first class boarding pass. He read me the rules related to hitchhiking and being a vagabond (yes there are rules to follow). He offered the rules mechanically, as if required by law, pun intended. Nonchalantly he commented something or the other about my beer drinking. I informed him as to the miraculous circumstances surrounding my find. He gave me the okie dok, left me to my beer and drove off. What type of cop was that? He was definitely not LAPD material. Being that this scene was so surrealistic, I can only conclude that the trooper must have served as the muse, setting the stage for the great adventure to come.
It was as if I had made it through the compulsory exercises and had been selected to participate in some mystical road trip game. Now that I had been read the rules and regulations of the game I would now be allowed to participate fully. This game however had a catch, I could hitchhike as long as I did not hitchhike. To put it simply, I could not solicit a ride, the rides had to come to me.
POLITICALLY CORRECTNESS DISCLAIMER:
As much as I lament about what I consider in most cases to be the unnecessary, inappropriate and often incorrect categorizing of people and people groups; I opt to do so in these writings so that I might paint a picture of the social diversity and kaleidoscope of individuals who helped me along the way.
On a very serious and personal note it was the constant, never ending and needless negative categorization of myself, and I suppose others who share the same attributes of race I was blessed with, that initiated this quest in the first place. Unlike the cross country bicycle trip of a few years earlier, the quest for adventure was not the major factor fueling this trip.
I embarked on this journey shortly after the Los Angeles riots which I believed was a crisis made to order. A city which was already facing a declining tolerance in ethnic relations was made ten times worse by a media bent on sensationalism.
Were we inherently hostile to each other solely because of race or were we being socially engineered to hate and distrust by a manipulative media? These were questions that I needed answered in my own personal quest of life. But let's get back to the adventure.
"I always depend on the kindness of strangers..." - Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire.
I tell these stories not to draw attention to myself. I want the reader to consider the not so impersonal workings of the universe. Some readers may not be at a point where they are willing to accept the existence of a God but perhaps these stories will encourage them to entertain the possibility of higher forces working with, around and through our lives.
I don't want you folks to go on reading my soliloquies forever so below please find a short description of every single individual who assisted me, not necessarily in chronological or locational order - well my trip did take me up into Arkansas. Have fun and note the diversity of the drivers. My thanks and blessings go out to each of those individuals.
The young at heart...
A group of hip-hopping Hispanic youths had room in the back of their race readied, dropped down pick-up truck and we big bass-d on down the road.
A veterinarian - seemingly affluent, young, white and female - picked me up in her SUV on a very foggy morning outside a rural country town. Now as a veterinarian I am sure she probably had experience in picking up wild things but this act of hers threw a brick through all the whispered rules of social interaction. And to answer the whispered question, no she did not endorse herself as a fancier of chocolate sweets. She made no passes at me and vice-versa. It was the simple act of one human being coming to the aid of another.
One of the longest and funnest rides I had was with a couple of Dead Heads. For all of you unfamiliar with sub cultures, the Dead Heads are a movement lead by aged hippies who still swim to the same music and have never reverted back to mainstream. The movement also have a large teen and slacker following. Do I have to explain slacker too? Oh! go ask someone else, get involved with the world, I am trying to tell a story here.
Anyway, this movement is mainly centered around the music and live performances of the Grateful Dead and Grateful Dead-ish inspired bands. Many of the followers actually follow. They scheduled their lives based of the band's performances and as the tour goes from city to city, so do the followers living a communal type life.
I met a couple of young Dead Heads while walking through a small park in San Marcos , Texas . They were sharing beer and cigarettes and swapping stories with a couple of professional hobos. Yes, there are people are out there who steal rides on freight trains as a way of life. This is what they love to do and they base their life around this activity. So now you can see that I am not quite the weirdest person out there. Well I learned a lot about being a hobo and a lot about being a Dead Head.
The Dead Heads and I parted company with the hobos and agreed to meet at a set place the next day. These guys were heading up to Austin , Texas because they heard ( it wasn't confirmed) that some people were going to show up and do some drumming. Drumming is when people just show up with their drums and percussion, form a big group and start drumming. Talk about free and easy. Examples of people exhibiting this behavior can be seen at the drum circle in Venice beach for anyone visiting the Los Angeles area.
Old but not fogies...
A retired black farmer gave me a lift and treated me to breakfast. This was at a time when that original fifty dollars was rapidly moving towards ground zero. Fittingly, he shared with me stories about the great depression as we ate.
An affluent history nerd, a white male who happened to be a descendant of one of the former governors of the state of Georgia , treated me to a ride. He speculated as to why the next great war will be fought over water rights as opposed to oil rights, a belief commonly held by most futurists. I betcha he is going to write a book about it.
A grandmotherly type, black female summoned me to a ride when I was trekking through one the urban depressed areas of Texas . She had spotted me earlier while I was talking to a group of street toughs. The conversation seemed friendly enough to me but apparently she saw the potential for hidden danger surrounding a partnership with my new acquaintances. She drove me to a less impoverished part of town and improved my social economic status by revitalizing me with a few bucks.
A retired white farmer gave me a ride from point A to point B, one of those Texas big spreads. During the entire ride we probably never ventured outside the property lines. He thought my watch was interesting. I had purchased it for a few bucks during a Central American adventure. I offered it to him. He refused. I insisted. Heck what did I need to know time for? He accepted.
Men in black, blue (and sometimes in collars)...
The men of the law, in most cases, had a more logical reason for offering me a ride. Usually it was to transport me out of their town or patrol area. At no time did I encounter any hostility or disrespect from these upholders of the law.
A retired ex chief of police still had enough command to manouver me through the streets of his town. I got to view the finer aspects of the town from the vantage point of a rearview mirror.
Two officers made sure I would not be mentioned in one of their reports as they conveniently dunked me off into another department's jurisdiction.
A young (probably naive) border patrol agent actually drove me into town - now there's a first.
A fatherly type, a black Baptist minister, gave me the requisite religious pick-up line along with his pick up. However, he threw in a few bucks which I had no problem picking up.
A silent type who for some reason I liken to Richard Roundtrees portrayal of Shaft picked me up. This guy had coolness down to a science. Dark glasses, black leather coat and a handlebar moustache. I have no evidence that he was an officer of the law other than the radio CB system that he had in his Crown Victoria, a car favored by detectives and retired cops fermented in the old school.
He did not engage in much conversation nor did he seem to desire much conversation. He had displaced his rotweiller so that I might be able to sit in the front seat. The dog held its peace and only eyed me with suspicion. I was a little unnerved by the beast breathing right behind my head. Shaft dropped me off at a mission house where I could stay for a few days. I guess the dog accepted me in the end. It gave me a totally gross, slobbering lick on the ear before I departed. Who is the man who would bump his dog for a brother man? Shaft, can you dig it?
OK, the town that Shaft dropped me off in was Hope , Arkansas . My trip actually progressed through Texas and up into Arkansas . Hope , Arkansas happens to be the birthplace of our 42nd. President, William Jefferson Clinton. This is a very small town, all of downtown Hope could fit into one of Los Angeles ' shopping malls. The mission house there was made up of a group of cottage type structures. I had the unexpected opportunity of sharing a cottage with a guy who had just gotten out of prison. My fear were baseless.
This guy turned out to be just a regular Joe, give or take five or ten. He informed me that he had put on quite a bit of weight while in prison and asked me if I wanted a suit. Now what do I need I suit for? If he would have offered me a two thousand dollar Armani suit I would have said no thanks. It would only have been extra weight to tote around in my backpack. I had braced myself for decline. But as fate would have it, the guy pulls out the only suit I could have use for, a denim jeans suit (although bell bottomed and quite 70's) in mint condition, vest included.
The next day was Sunday, I put on the suit and took a walk around town. For no particular reason other than to showboat my new threads I popped into a church. I attended service just to see who was checking me out. That night a church van from a different church pulled up to the mission and off I was again to show off my duds. Notedly, during my entire trip this was the only time that I attended church. Since this occurred in Hope , Arkansas . the birthplace of William Jefferson Clinton, our 42nd. President, I feel that a special bond and message can be derived. After my adventure I learned something about Mr.Clinton that was previously unknown to me.
Mr. Clinton, although born in Hope , Arkansas was actually raised in Hot Springs , Arkansas . Hot Springs was an illegal town an early version of Las Vegas , Arkansas was such a poor state that public officials and police authorities looked the other way while openly held gambling casinos as well as profits from prostitution and bootlegging helped boost the state's economy.
I now identify with Bill Clinton as a metaphor for every man, Born into Hope but raised in Hell and hot water. The Christian bible records Jesus as saying, when asked, how many time should we forgive our brother, seven? He responds by saying seventy times seven. This was a statement meant to indicate that it was not in so much in number of times we should be concern with but in the act itself. So hang in there Bill, the odds are still in yours and my favor.
My hardhat off to those working folks who found a place in their hearts and vehicles for me.
A couple of straight laced white guys, obviously reliable and competent workmen rearranged their tools and made room for me in the back of their truck.
A trio of scuzzy white guys, who did not really give the appearance of being the most reliable and dependable workmen in the world, had some space for me in the back of their truck. We loaded up on beer and cigarettes - their treat - and zigged-zagged our way through the backwoods of Arkansas .
An American Indian, I believe he was a surveyor, gave me a lift when I was going through one of those places where civilization was sparse and nature abounded.
A beer drinking, tobacco chewing, cowboy hat wearing, good old boy took me for a spin -- I do mean a spin. Next to this guy's conversation, John Rocker would seem like a diplomat extraordinaire. Despite the rapid fire racial epithets that flew out of this guy's mouth, here he was, not only he giving me a ride, he was also keeping me in beer and cigarettes. He offered his services to assist me in finding a job. He was willing to get me set up in town. Rewind the tape, did I miss something here?
A nurse, 30-something, white female who partied a bit too much, was late for her shift just on the outskirts of San Antonio . She reported that she had observed me walking along side the highway from an adjacent freeway. Although late to work, she felt compelled to get off that particular freeway and veer onto the highway where I was walking to offer me a ride. A short time earlier I had found a plaque on the side of the road which had written across it the Lord's Prayer. In gratitude I offered her the plaque. She informed me that the plaque and the words written across it had a profound effect upon her. I hope she didn't get written up for being late. Somehow I got the feeling the words written on the plaque were the words that mattered most that day.
A black female, aged well beyond her years, picked me up in the outskirts of backwoods Arkansas . She had to make a U turn in order to pick me up since she was going in the opposite direction. She was obviously poor and put me to mind of what migrant farm worker life might be like. I am embarrassed to say that at the time I was almost too embarrassed to get into her old rusted out vehicle. She informed me that she had taken her son out of school because of a dental emergency yet here she was offering me a ride and going in the opposite direction. The boy sat patiently throughout the entire ride. She was certainly rich in kindness.
While relaxing in a park, bordering the upscale, planned, suburban community of Mt. Pleasant, Texas, I engaged in pleasant conversation with a middle-class, mini van driving family. They invited me to share in a picnic lunch. After spending the day in the park they offered me a ride. All that was missing from this pleasant time in Mt. Pleasant was a Normal Rockwell rendition of the event.
I DID IT MY WAY
Remember, I said the rides had to come to me without solicitation.
I was in the vicinity of New Boston, Texas. I had become very frustrated with the pace of my advancement. I had been walking for a prolonged period, perhaps a few days and no one had offered me a ride. I was determined to hitch a ride. I had elevated stubbornness to a new art form and vowed to God that I was not going to take another step unless someone picked me up. I assumed the position. Thumb out, I got my wish.
A white male in his early forties stopped and gestured to me to get in. He said that he was some type of aircraft salesman. I had no reason to doubt his claim. We drove in silence for a bit. He offered me a cigarette, I accepted. We returned to the silence. He asked me if I liked his car. Now there was nothing exceptional about the car. I didn't know where this was headed. I hesitated then answered, yes. We drove in silence. "You want this car?" Oohs! Ohs! Getting weird, condition red, fazers on stun. "Excuse me", I answered back in disbelief. The salesman produced a wad of money, big bills on top. He repeats the offer. I don't really answer. He then goes into his explanation.
A Wacko, outside of Waco , when Waco was burning.
During his explanation, we happen to pass an area, the dissipating traces of black smoke clouds still billowing in the air. Living like a Nomad, making my shelter under bridges and abandoned buildings, I did not have to luxury of keeping up with current events. This was during the time of the Branch Davidians siege in Waco , Texas . This smoke was the aftermath of the tragic fire which occurred there. At the time we passed by, the authorities had not yet moved in to access the situation.
In his explanation, the salesman claims he was on the outs with his significant other. He wanted her to feel sorry for him and take him back in. He would give me the car and the money. The story would go that he had been drinking trying to drown out the sorrow caused by the breakup. He succeeded in becoming drunk and was rolled by a couple of guys who stole his money and car. They then abandoned him in some wooded area. He would wait their until nightfall before seeking out assistance. By that time, he believed I could be out of Texas . This story he was going to tell her as well as the police authorities.
I kept this guy hanging on to the possibility that I might accept. I have a seen a lot of horror movies in my lifetime and one thing I have learned is this: Don't let the Maniac know that you suspect him of being the Maniac, especially while you're still in the damn woods. As soon as we drove onto a reasonably inhabited area. I abruptly opened the door, bid the aircraft salesman a hasty see ya and I jetted.
Once my life had resettled, I caught up on the whole Branch-Davidian affair. I was somewhat astonished by the facial similarity between this guy and pictures of David Koresh. Although this guy seemed about forty pounds heavier than the news photos (which were of a younger) David Koresh, the super thick black curly hair and the aviator glasses that both Koresh and the salesman had in common, makes one wonder. Drizzle, Drazzel, Druzzel, Drome. Time for this one to come home.
Thus would end one of my favorite cartoon shows I used to watch as a child. Whenever the cartoon time traveler would find himself in a jam, he would call on the watchful Mr. Wizard. The wizard would cast a spell and summon the hero home.
Tonight you will sleep in a bed...
The Voice was sharper than a Gillette triple blade razor with the aloe soothing gel incorporated into the razor head, it was clearer than a Jennifer Lopez dress, it was pristine. I was sure it wasn't part of a dream. It was more like someone had spray painted audible graffiti across my dream. My eyes were open, I had not, or so I thought, awakened from sleep yet, the faint traces the Voice still rang in my ears.
I was perplexed. I rolled up my sleeping pack and considered what the Voice had said. Tonight you will sleep in a bed.
What was so special about sleeping in a bed? I had just captured a good night's rest sleeping on the artificial turf blanketing the inner patio of some small town First Church of the so and so. I was way into my second month of roughing on the road. I had grown accustomed to sleeping any place I could lay my head.
In fact I should stress that at this point of my journey, I was so dismayed at most shelters and centers which offered a bed for the night that I stayed clear of them. I would check into a mission or a homeless shelter about once or twice a week in order to get a good scrub down; the sink in a McDonalds can only keep one in check for so long. However, once bed assignments were issued, I was out the door and off in search of a nice hospitable bridge.
I found that the staff at many of the missions I stayed, treated its patrons so badly that it's a wonder that anyone can regain their dignity as a human being while staying in one. I was not looking to sleep in a bed so I dismissed the whole Voice incident as the aftermath of an unusually vivid dream.
I was walking down a rural Arkansas road when a vehicle approached on the opposite side of the road. The window was rolled down and a most maternal voice rang out: "Where you walking to honey?". The car was occupied by two middle aged Black women, church women, grand matriarchs, the type of nurturing women that ooze hospitality so naturally that they instantly make you feel like you are related to them, even if you're Chinese.
I informed them that I was just going down to the park to chow down. I had just made a major purchase of food thanks to the no delay, no wait, food stamps that I received in San Marcos, Texas, a great town to be in if you find yourself down and out. They asked me if I needed a ride. I declined, pointing out that according to the sign the park was only a mile away. "Come on, let us give you a ride". Why would they ask me a second time? My subconscious took over, this ride would be important, I need to take this ride. My body pulled me inside the car before my mind could come up with more reasons why I did not need a ride.
Traveling the distance of a mile in a car is a short affair. The proper prompting needed to take place quickly. Immediately, these women began to pump me for information. I was trying to make it to Baltimore , Maryland , I informed them. They instantly countered that their brother may be going to Richmond , Virginia and practically insisted that they take me to meet him. Hey! Virginia is a lot closer to Maryland than Arkansas .
In his treaties on the Hero's Journey, renowned authored Joseph Campbell speaks about the hero's return to from mythic adventure back to his normal world.
Society is jealous of those who stay absent from her for too long. Sometimes the hero must be returned against his will or without his knowledge to the common world of day.
The women proceeded to take me to meet their brother. Now I don't know where they were going originally but I do know we went the distance of an entire county in the opposite direction. Their brother was shooting the breeze at a local truck wash. The women made a quick introduction, left me in Billy's care and made ready to return to their previous odyssey. Billy did not seem that thrilled to meet me, he gave me a nod or two and continued on in his conversation with his friends. I sat there feeling quite uncomfortable as the women drove off.
After he finished socializing, he drove me up to his property. His family had done quite well in the janitorial business and its prosperity was reflected in their surroundings. Billy dropped me off at his place, told me to make myself at home and drove off. WOW! That's what I called hospitality. This guy didn't know me from Adam. He did not return for several hours. I turned on the TV. I was learned about another tragedy which had taken place in a part of the country I had spent a couple of days trying to make it to. I keep getting lost, if I had made it I may very well have been a victim.
Billy returned and later on I met his roommate. We had a good time sharing stories. Billy had two couches in the front room both of which were sleepers. He brought out bedding and once again told me to make myself at home. I was all prepared to bed down for the night when his roommate informed me that he worked at night and that he would be spending a few days over at his girlfriend's house. He suggested that I sleep in his bed. Now this idea, I did not like. I felt he was a bit too insistent that I sleep in his bed. Had I gotten myself into one of those bizarre situations like you read about in the tabloids? I did not want to sleep in his bed yet I did not want to seem like a prude. I sized the guy up. He was older man and I figured if anything freaky goes down that I was going to go out in blaze of fists of fury.
Shame on me, his offer was nothing more than a measure of good manners; an example of good old' Southern hospitality, or was it?
Years later, when I was in my Christian Bible studying phase, I came across a principle in the biblical studies. In the bible it says that God's word will not return void, it accomplishes what it sets forth to do. Remember how my day had started? The clear and pristine voice said that "tonight you will sleep in a bed". It didn't say tonight you will sleep indoors, or tonight you will sleep on a cot or on a rollaway. It accomplished what it said.
Billy did indeed take me to Richmond . We left a couple of days later but in the meantime he allowed me to work with him mowing lawns and doing odd jobs. This got me a little extra change in my pocket. He had a ton of spare clothing, I got a new wardrobe. We arrived in Richmond and much to my surprise, Billy drove me straight to the Greyhound Bus station and purchased a ticket for me to Baltimore . Like a parent sending off a child, he told me go straight there, no more detours, go and see my mother. Thus my adventure came to an end.
My faith that God pays personal attention to those who believe and that He will love, shelter and assist even a screw up like myself, was renewed. I was comforted by realizing that there are many people out there who are not pre-programmed and are capable of rising above the barrage of negative images an adversarial media showers us with in its efforts to keep us apart.
Love God, and your neighbor as yourself, That's what Jesus said was the greatest command. You don't need to know the whole Bible because, this, according to Jesus is what Bible is based upon.
So simple even an idiot can follow it...