On The Road

What’s the old saying? If wishes were horses, beggars would ride? Well if you were hitching around in the 1960’s you wished a lot and sometimes rode. We know that magical thinking can be dangerous. But sometimes it’s irresistible; for example, when you are stuck on a rural road at midnight, the local cop has already given you the fish eye twice. Wish, wish, wish harder! The next ride arrives, and it’s a drunk who wants someone to keep him awake on his way home. Let’s talk loud, and watch for an all-night diner. Wish, wish, wish harder.
No sooner than you pull into the diner, the drunk falls asleep. It’s four in the morning, and I have just enough for coffee and pie. I’m tired of wishing and spend the two hours until dawn talking to a lonely cook who misses his days on the road. He tells me that it was lots different in his day. Truckers regularly picked you up for long haul rides, and there wasn’t a town on America where you couldn’t get two eggs, hash browns, toast, and bacon for ninety-nine cents!
As it lightens up, I get back on the road. Cookie hooks me up with a local heading towards the interstate and tells me that he wishes he was going with me. I smile. I’m eager to get off the road but wonder if I’ll be glorifying the old days in ten years too. Sleeping with ticks and skeeters, mud, and rain. But oh the songs about being on the road. Maybe I’ll write one someday.

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