Leaving home was the start of it; just driving off to college. All my worldly possessions had been loaded into the trunk and backseat of my car. I waved goodbye to my old life. The open road ahead was a black tarmac to an infinite horizon. This was a simple road trip; one week of no schedules or demands just eating when I was hungry and stopping when I was tired. The first couple of days I drove with intent, contemplating my future and marveling at my boldness. I actually thought I knew where I was going, but the music of the road, a potent Calypso song, was quietly wooing me towards another path. My radio companion echoed harmonies of, “we shall be free..., and take to the highway....,” to linger in my ears. For hours, the wind rushed by my open window bringing the scent of wildness to my nose. I was confidently oblivious to my destiny.
A rest stop, decked out in white cinder block was my turning point, besides; I was thirsty. I swung the car into a spot next to a rusted blue pickup truck loaded with firewood. Minutes later, soda in hand, I sat on a bench and watching the dog in the pickup, its paws on the dash, excitedly lick the windshield. The pickup guy walked past me letting “happy dog” out of the cab. Dumping a half bottle of water into a metal bowl he sat with the dog at a nearby picnic table. I pitched my soda and started a quick walk around the picnic grounds to get a little exercise before another few hours behind the wheel. On my last turn to the car, the guy’s dog comes running up with a tennis ball, shoving his wet nose into my hand.
Pickup guy is laughing and calls, “Rusty, come over here! She don’t want to play.”
I’m a good sport and give the ball a toss. Rusty takes off to retrieve. Pickup guy is apologizing handing me a paper towel to wipe the dog spit off my hand.
“Thanks, you sure have a happy dog...” I said smiling at Rusty’s owner.
“Yeah, he’s a happy one, always excited about something. I see you’re traveling but if you have time, you should come into town for the county fair. There’s good food, good folk and an evening bonfire.” Sam said.
I had the time and a little side trip would be nice. I followed his truck into a rustic town strewn with banners, fresh produce stands, pie and craft booths. Sam dumped the firewood on the town green and offered to show me around. He was by far the most popular man I have ever accompanied and folks just included me. I bought a beaded skirt and some silver earrings, changing at the town hall ladies’ room. I felt like I was putting on a new perspective; I just sort of fell into a bohemian lifestyle...