Dear Hitchhikers, I am Not Heartless

I-5 112116CToday I am sharing with you a poem I wrote on my recent trip to California. I see hitchhikers often. I never pick them up, but I wish they could hear what I’m saying and thinking as I whiz by. Do you stop for hitchhikers? Why or why not? Please share in the comments.

DEAR HITCHHIKER

Sitting, standing, squatting
with your backpack, guitar, dog,
I see you. I want to stop.
I’m not a heartless woman.
You can’t hear what I say
as you breathe in my exhaust:

I’m on the freeway, fool,
going 70 miles per hour!
Are you nuts? I can’t stop here
with cars on every side. I’m just
trying to stay alive.
Go stand somewhere else.

Are you too lazy to stand up?
Or too worn out to even try?
I’m only going down the road.
That’s not much help to you.
Besides, my car is full of stuff,
Groceries and clothes and such.

Oh gosh, you look so tired.
And what a darling dog.
You might be fine, you play guitar.
But what if you have a knife?
Or a gun? Or drugs?
I don’t want to die today.

I know you see my big old car,
and then you see old gray-haired me.
You look on down the road.
Old ladies never stop, and yet
you’re someone’s little boy.
Perhaps someday I will.

Copyright Sue Fagalde Lick 2017
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From Jesus to Weed: signs point the way

img_20161121_1608453881I’ve been driving back and forth from the Oregon Coast to San Jose, California for 20 years. My late husband and I left “Silicon Valley” in 1996 for a better life in a small town by the beach. It is a better life. But the family is still back in California, so several times a year I hit the road. Unless it’s snowing in the mountains, I take I-5.

When you drive the same route so many times, you notice the little changes. Also, your mind wanders, especially when you’re sick of the CDs you brought and the radio offers nothing but talk shows and evangelical preachers.

Today I’d like to share some of the signs I saw along the road during my September and November trips:

Politics: There used to be a lot of anti-Obama signs. They’re all gone, no point now that his term is about to end. As I traveled through San Joaquin Valley farm country for Thanksgiving, the signs said, “Make America Great Again” or simply “Trump.” Post-election, one sign had an addendum: “Thank you.”

Also in farm country: “Pray for water.” California has gotten some rain lately but not nearly enough.

“Guided goose hunt. Call now.”

Near Delevan: “The gift of God is Jesus Christ our Lord”

Mt. Shasta: More than a peak experience.”

For Rolling Hills Casino, located in Corning, The Olive City: “Eat! 3 restaurants.” “Tip Top Pit Stop”

Approaching the town of Weed: “Weed like to welcome you.” Not a typo.

Five miles south of Yreka, there’s a metal-sculpture cow, now with a calf. For Christmas, someone usually drapes a garland around the cow’s neck.

The State of Jefferson sign. At one time, folks in southern Oregon and northern California were planning to create their own state. Considering how things have been going lately, they’re considering it again.

In a pasture just south of the Oregon-California border, black-faced sheep gather around a big white cross and a hand-painted sign that says, “Forgive them.” I wonder who and for what?

The road goes up and up, signs marking the altitude in 500-foot increments to the peak of 4,310 at Siskyou Pass. Other signs tell drivers where to chain up or take off snow chains. Hope I never have to. I have chains, but I have no clue how to put them on.

Northbound just before the Oregon border: “Puzzled? God has answers.” And just past it, a giant liquor store sign.

Also approaching the border, a green and yellow billboard: Need Weed? Take Canyonville exit. Ah, we’re back in Oregon.

Honk the horn at the Welcome to Oregon sign and watch the milepost numbers start fresh with Number 1.

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