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181022 October 22, 2018


Hitcin A Ride

Hitchin' a Ride
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

    I was talking to a friend at Sunday School last week and the subject of hitchhiking came up. He is about 10 years older than me and he was telling me about how he hitchhiked several times from Arkansas to San Diego back when he was in the Navy. He said he always wore his uniform and never really had any trouble in getting folks to stop and pick him up. Of course he also said he would never do it today, but back then things were different.

    I got to thinking about my own, limited, hitchhiking experiences and though they were few, I still remember them. I think my earliest experience was the year after I graduated from Lee. I had moved to Memphis and had driven my 1953 Chevy back to Huntsville for a weekend visit. On the way back I had just pulled out of Decatur when the timing belt broke and I had to pull the car into a gas station with a garage to get it fixed. It was a Sunday and none of the mechanics were working so I was stuck like a tar baby without a way home. I had never hitchhiked but I saw no other option so I walked out to the highway and put up my thumb. It did not take long before a nice fellow stopped and picked me up and drove me back to Memphis. My next occasion was when I was working at the YMCA camp at Pickwick Lake. I needed to get back to Memphis for a dental appointment and so I went to Iuka, Mississippi, to try to catch a bus. It was going to be a while before the bus was scheduled to arrive so I decided to try my luck again at hitchhiking. It did not take long for someone to stop and I got a ride all the way back to the office in Memphis where my mother worked and so I waited until she got off work and rode home with her.

    Later that year I was working at a YMCA camp in Mammoth Springs, Arkansas, and a fellow counselor and I hitchhiked one Saturday night to Hardy for a dance. It must have been unmemorable and I know we returned the same way, but I remember very little about the process.

    Move forward several years and west several thousand miles and there I had my last encounter with the concept. I was in Guam and had gone downtown on a Saturday to get away from the base. There was a place which had the old bingo pinball machines where you could win or loose a lot of money. That night I was going up and down with my winnings and was down and trying to come back when the last bus back to the base left town. I stayed longer and ended up loosing all my money anyway. Cabs were expensive and I had no money anyway, so I decided to try to hitch hike back to the base. I was in civilian clothes and it was close to midnight when a car finally stopped and offered me a ride. This was 1972 and the guy who picked me up had about the hottest car on Guam and drove like a bat out of Hell on those dark jungle roads. 

    Once we were quite a ways out of town he started talking to me and asking lots of personal questions. I was already getting a little uncomfortable with him when he started making sexual remarks and then propositioned me. He reminded me how far away from civilization we were and how late it was and threatened to put me out in the boonies if I didn’t accept his advances. I told him to pull over and I would happily get out of the car – and he did. And there I stood, in total darkness (no street lights or stores for miles) beside a jungle road at midnight. I had hoped to either continue walking the several miles left to the base or maybe get a ride with some other Air Force person who might be a safer mode of transportation. As I walked along I came upon the intersection to the road leading to an off base enlisted barracks and as luck would have it I got there just about a minute before the base shuttle bus showed up. I flagged the driver down and even though he was not supposed to pick up anyone except at the official bus stop, he was kind enough to break the rule and let me climb aboard and ride safely back to the base.

    That was my last hitchhike experience, but I got to thinking that I am sure some of you must have some great stories to share about your own experience back in your “I’m invincible” days and would greatly appreciate hearing your own tales. How about it? Do you have any interesting stories about either hitchhiking or picking up a hitchhiker?

        Memphis, TN - I know some of you must have hitchhiked sometime in your lives. So I am looking for a story or two.

    If not, then how about sending in a Halloween story for next week's Issue? Pictures are welcome.

The Next Lee Lunch Bunch
Date Set

Thursday, October, 25, 2018
11:00 A.M.
Galen’s Restaurant
Andrew Jackson Way   Huntsville, AL

    Hello fellow LHS classmates from the classes of ’64, ’65, ’66.

    Remember to save the date for our next Lee Lunch Bunch gathering. I have had many positive comments to come my way about us meeting at Galen’s, so until someone comes up with a better place for us, I guess we will meet there for now. It does not cost for us to meet there, the food is good, and they are so very nice to us. Jaime, the owner’s daughter, already had us on the calendar from when we were there in April. She remembered that we meet twice a year on the last Thursday of April and October, so she went ahead and put us down for this October. How great is that? 

    I know that September and October are both great months to travel, so if you are out on the road, please make Huntsville one of your stops long enough to join your fellow classmates for lunch on the last Thursday of October at Galen’s. Hope to see you there.

    Please, please let me know if you plan to come. I need to let them know by the day before how many we expect to come for lunch.

    Thanks and see you soon,
    Patsy Hughes Oldroyd ‘65              Or message me or Judy
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