You can't be homeless in Montana; you are home everywhere you go. -Homeless Guy
GOD'S LOVE HOMELESS SHELTER in Helena, Montana was my last stop after many years on the road, a place I finally got my life together. I had wanderlust all my life and Helena, Montana was the first place I ever been I didn't want to be somewhere else. I started hitchhiking when I was fifteen and it was to see my girlfriend Julie Lockwood and her family who had moved from Rochester, New York, to a small town thirty miles and a lifetime away. I had spent a few days with her and was on my way back to the city about eight o'clock at night, pouring rain and at a turn in the road out in the middle of nowhere, a little Ford Pinto with the stereo blasting Charlie Pride blew right by me and slammed on the brakes and skidded for thirty or forty feet and fishtailing all over the road. He finally comes to a stop about fifty yards away from me where I stood in shock wondering why someone would risk their life to stop for me…..
AS SOON AS I GOT IN THE CAR the guy took off like a Bat out of Hell again like it wasn't even raining sheets and Gail force winds. First thing he says to me, "You got a gun?"
HE WAS IN HIS THIRTIES, dark hair and scruffy facial hair, kind of skinny in black jeans and black leather jacket. One beer left in a six pack of Rochester's own Genesse Beer. My first impression was he was half drunk, half pissed off and looking for a party.
"I heard all you hitchhikers had guns...?"
RIGHT BEFORE I HAD I had got in that car and a million like it, as I approached the car time slows down, a light out, the license plate, the color of the car even a scratch in the door or writing on the tires suddenly become obvious. And then a feeling I get that starts way down at the tip of my toes and by the time it gets to my head I have formed some true impression about the outcome of this adventure, before it even begins. I always called it intuition. Like Women are thought to have great intuition. I think everyone has it and the trick is to heed it without fail. Never doubt it and if you ever find yourself in the middle of somewhere by yourself, surrounded by people and forces beyond your control and all your bells and whistles are screaming RUN!!! You damn well better take off running to you drop…..
I GOT HITCHHIKING STORIES until the cows come home. And by the way, they do come home. I had a foster father and mother named Uncle Buck and Aunt Pearl for a short while around Zephyrhills, Florida, when I was a kid and this old Uncle Buck, right out of Central Casting could walk out to the Barn right before Sunset and holler. "Heeree Cowwwssss!! Two or three times, and God as my witness you'd see these twenty something Cows get in line, single file, from all points of the twenty acre and "Come Home," ever fucking night!!! Straight into the barn where he'd milk them in the morning and let them back out to pasture.
"Dude, I don't have a gun. I didn't know I needed one."
"Are you sure? Because I got one!"
He pulls up his pant leg and starts diggin in his calf high black boot. I was sitting there soaking wet with this half drunk dude driving way to fast and he starts waiving this old revolver around.
Charlie Pride was singing about a Wooden Indian and I wasn't about to get back out in that rain.
"Man, put that damn gun away and keep that damn car on the road."
I grabbed his last beer and told him to slow the fuck down…
I HITCHHIKED FROM ONE END of this country to the other a half a dozen times and spent so much time on the side of the road when I was a kid, I didn't know what day it was or even care. Thirty years of wanderlust I spent two nights in a homeless shelter before God's Love. I spent so much time outside I couldn't stand to be inside at night, especially with a room full of drunks and bums. After a few years on the road I figured out what I really needed on the road and eventually became completely self sufficient. Totally righteous feeling to walk into a town and not only have no idea where you will sleep tonight, but don't even care. I probably went to half a dozen homeless shelters just to get the vibe of real life desperation and tragedy. The saddest one I seen was in downtown Los Angeles, oddly enough on, "Wall Street." If you're looking for the End of the Line of a Life wasted by your own circumstances, LA's your destination.
IF YOU HAD THE WHIFF of money or virtually anything of value, you would not walk a solid block without a passerby whispering in your ear in passing, "Nickel Bag?" Or, "Got that Butter!" Or "China White." My mother must have had some foresight in naming "Mark," because I can get picked out of a crowd to dupe. I probably had a nice pair of shoes on or sunglasses, whatever, I can't seem to hide. I had a young girl look like she stepped off the pages of Teen model magazine proposition me just walking down the street in Hollywood. People living right on the sidewalk like Bombay, India! Tonight, right now sleeping on a card board box on a public sidewalk….. Blew my mind…. not in America? I used to like to go to LA every five years or so to see how crazy this World really is….
To Be Continued....