I’d never hitched a ride before in my life. It was the summer of 1976, a different world but not so different really. I had a job selling books and my territory was upstate western New York. Now New York is my home state but the western part of the state has more in common with Indiana than with the East Coast.
We were a big crew divided into smaller crews and our little crew only had one car between us. Our territories were in various small towns and if we had to travel between them, well you held out your thumb. The first time we did it there were two of us and I was nervous. Soon though I was hitching all over the place. I hitched rides all over western New York, into Pennsylvania through Ohio and my longest trip from Indianapolis to Nashville Tennessee and back. When I got to Nashville I was broke except for a few dollars so I slept under a tree close to a Waffle House. In the morning I spent my last few dollars on breakfast. What I was doing in Nashville is a whole ‘nother story.
Most people that picked you up enjoyed the company, felt sorry for you or were just nice. There were a few druggie types, two guys that I thought were in trouble with the law, one guy that was sleepy and had me drive his brand new Trans Am while he slept, and even the occasional pretty woman.
There were many kindnesses but the one I remember most was the couple that picked me up late at night on State Road 9 in the middle of nowhere Indiana. It was after midnight and I just walked up the highway stopping occasionally when I came to a barn or an intersection with a light. I was walking in the pitch black when a Vette convertible pulled over and a guy told me to hop in. Both seats were occupied and I wondered where I’d sit until the woman hopped out told me to sit and then sat on my lap. I told them how much I appreciated it, but they just told me there was no way they’d pass me. People sometimes make fun of the type of people that drive Corvettes…you’ll never hear that from me.
© Glenn R Keller 2020, All Rights Reserved