Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Journey Home, Part 3

Welcome Home

(You may travel along on the previous leg of this journey by clicking here.)

I was about half-way back to the highway when I heard the crunching of tires on the gravel behind me.  I turned to look.  A large black sedan, '49 Buick four-holer, was slowly bearing down on me.  I stepped off the lane and the car pulled up beside me.  My hostess of a few minutes past rolled down her window and said, "We are going into Craig.  Cecil and I have talked it over. We've decided you are okay.  So get in."  She did not have to ask me twice.

It was probably 130 or so miles to Craig and I slept most of the way.  Soon enough, too soon,  Cecil said, "Here we are, Laddie.  We are dropping you here at the bus station.  You need to decide how best to get home from here, and good luck to ya!"  I roused myself and got out of the car.  I thanked these kind people profusely.  As the car pulled away, I was processing what Cecil had said.  The car had  barely turned the corner at the end of the block before I had made the decision that hitchhiking was going to end right here, right now.

I walked into the bus depot and requested time of departure for the next eastbound bus and bought a ticket to the Springs.  I looked at the clock on the wall.  It was not yet one-thirty.  The bus did not leave until 7:10.  I strolled down the street, found a small cafe. I had a burger and a cup of coffee.  Afterward, I started to walk around the block, but had only turned the corner when I came to a movie house which was open.  I bought a ticket and went inside to enjoy the show airconditioning.  I wish I could tell you what picture was playing-- wouldn't that impress you? --but I don't remember and I'm not going to lie about it.  Mostly I slept anyway.

A bit after five o'clock I left the theater and went to the station where I sat and watched the people, both of them, until the bus from SLC arrived.  I boarded the bus along with one other passenger and we were on our way home!  The bus was an "express" bus to St. Louis, which basically meant that the only stop between Craig and Denver would be Steamboat Springs.  Soon I was drowsing the miles away.  Trailways dropped me at the Denver Terminal just before three in the morning.  It would be 6:10 before the bus left for the Springs.  I will not ask you to endure the excruciating agony of waiting in a bus depot for three hours, and only eighty miles from home.

The ride from Denver is a blur in my memory, but the arrival in the Springs is not.  I hadn't seen Mama and Dad, I hadn't seen the sislings, in six months, and now I was home!  Well, except for the walk to the house, which was less than a mile.  It was probably quarter past nine when I stepped up onto the porch and rang the doorbell.  Presently Mother opened the door, let out a Yelp! and slammed the door.  And I was left standing on the outside.  About a moment and a half passed, then the door swung open again and a very sheepish looking Mother welcomed me home.

Okay, so I weighed 165 when I left home; I now weighed 194.  I had a four-day growth of stubble adorning my face.  I probably had the hollow-eyed hangdog look of a bloodhound that had lost the scent.  So Mother is excused.  It was great to be home!

Northeast corner of Nevada Ave. at Pikes Peak Ave.


Jim said...

What? You didn't lose thirty pounds out of suffering from this trip?

Shelly said...

The sweetness of the homegoing made all the more intense by the rigor of the journey to get there. I cheered here when your mom opened the door the second time~

vanilla said...

Jim, maybe that is why I weighed only 194?

Shelly, a life experience never to be repeated, and I suspect the memory is sweeter than was the experience. Except for the getting-home part.

Vee said...

Nice to be treated to the details of your journey. I knew how you got home, but did not know the details. Hope your kids and grands are keeping up with this journey. What a great family story.

vanilla said...

Vee, thank you. Carl is probably the only one who reads my blog. I'm sure none of the grandkids look at it; I mean, they are the iPhone generation.