The Long Weekend (Part Two)

I'm exhausted after another weekend spent in Canada with my Maple leaf loving friends. My buddy Steve and his bride Stephanie were married last night at one of the more appropriate places I’ve chanced to end up. A small farm about a mile from the U.S. border with a gorgeous glade of cedars and orchards and a truly old barn exuding so much authenticity that with the right kind of ears one could almost hear all the stories it held within it’s wood planked walls.

Oh, it was heaven.

After the realization of my close proximity to the U.S. border I thought it absolutely ridiculous to ride with my friends all the way back to Vancouver only to pay eighteen dollars to ride the Greyhound back to Bellingham. So, after much personal deliberation I decided to have said friends drop me at the border so that I could walk across and try my hand at hitching.

The crossing went smoothly (as good as any crossing can be when dealing with government agencies which force you to recognize the imaginary lines they’ve drawn up). I walked into Blaine and immediately began searching for a spot that looked good and felt right (in hitching I’ve learned that a good spot makes all the difference). After some wandering around I chanced to meet a woman walking her dogs beneath a bridge. I asked her if she was indeed from Blaine (lots of tourists around town this time of year). Yes, she was. She told me the where the bus stop was and then I asked if she knew of a good spot to hitch out from.

She pointed to the only highway ramp in town and said that she had often seen people standing there trying to hitch out. I thanked her and before I could move on she told me of how she had ran away from home when she was fourteen and hitched her way across America to Blaine. She told me of how she’d been here for thirty years and how back in the early 70’s she had helped smuggle draft dodgers across the border into Canada.

A person of conviction with the actions to back it up, now that’s my kind of woman.

I thanked her and took up a very short lived residence on the highway on ramp. A few cars went by and no takers. No worries, the sun was out with not a cloud in the sky, I had all the time in the world.

Then I saw him. He sat at the stoplight just before the onramp. His big white box truck said “Fountain Rental” on the side and I knew that the gods were smiling upon me. Today was my day. Fountain Rental is not a chain rental company. They only have one location that I know of and that location just happens to be located no more than a five minute walk from where I live.

John pulled up, opened the door and I climbed in, a broad smile spread clear across my sparsely bearded face. He asked where I was going. To exactly where you are going, John. Exactly.

So we rode down the highway exchanging stories about jobs in America and how much it had changed over the last forty years (John was in his late fifties, maybe early sixties). I asked him where exactly from back East he was from before he told me he was from back East. New York. The accent is unmistakable. I told him my family was from Long Island (and when you’re talking to a New Yorker it’s best to pronounce Long Island as one word, not two, dragging the ass end of the g right up against the I’s lonely left side. Longisland. One word, not two).

John spoke in that very direct Northeastern American way I have come to love and cherish. The Pacific Northwest is full of its jellyfish people with their jellyfish speech, no spine, no substance, no direction for the conversation to flow. Some of the most socially inept humans I’ve chanced to come upon exist in this part of the world. There’s good possibility for it being one of the main factors that will eventually lead to my packing up and moving away from this physically beautiful yet socially retarded part of the world.

So John dropped me at my place and rode off down the street toward the rental place. As I strolled up the front steps I was reminded of the fact that some of the best folks I’ve met in life are when I'm hitching.

It was a very good day.


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