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In Search of America

Hitchhiking Tales

written by: Jake Cosmos Aller

 

When I was young and foolish
Broke and stubborn
I hitchhiked across the USA

Started in Salt Lake City
Where my greyhound bus pass
Was stolen

The station manager
Could have helped me
But refused to do so

Threaten to call the cops
When I grabbed my bags
Without the stolen tags

I said
Go ahead
But I am so out of here

Wondered about Salt Lake City
Went to a bar
Found I had to buy my booze
Next door
And they would mix it for me

Had to order food too
After a bloody Mary
And a burger

I walked about town
Saw the Mormon Temple

Finally about 3 pm
It was time to hit the road
Did not look back

Ended up in Cody Wyoming
Got a room shower
Steak beer
Using my rapidly depleted cash

Spent 25 dollars
Money really went far
Back in those days

A band of professional
Communist agitators
Gave me a ride
To Des Moines

Lots of weed, booze
And politics later
Got off the road
Slept outside

Next day
A beautiful woman
Drove me to near Chicago
In a red mustang

Might have been
The girl in the song
Took it easy
Digging her vibe

She invited home
But was not sure
If her estranged husband
Would welcome me

So I being foolish
And inexperienced with women
Did not go to her place

And always regretted
That I had lost
My chance that day

Then on to Chicago
Several rides later
Visited friends

Hit the road again
A series of uneventful rides
With truckers
And others

And a week later
I ended in New York City

Slept along the way
In cars
In truck stops
In highway rest stops

Always moving
Always going
None stop talking
And lots of free weed
And beer
And conversation

One more memorable ride
Occurred outside Albany
On my return to Chicago

A middle age creepy looking man
Picked me up
In a brand new Cadillac

He was he said a dynamite deliverer
For the Mafia
Went to various places
To blow up shit

He hated a lot of people
Particularly hippies from California
And Jewish people

Looking at me to confirm
That I was both

I told him that I lived in New York
And had never been to California
And although I might look Jewish
As I what was called back in the day
A “Jewfro”

I was not Jewish
Many years later I discovered
That I am indeed part Jewish
But then I did not know
And I felt a bit of strategic information
Might keep me alive

Then I realized that he was just jiving with me
And we relaxed
And he pulled out some weed
And beer
And we mellowed out

But I believe that he really was with the mob
Perhaps not a dynamite dealer
A real made Italian made mafia member

By Chicago
I had enough
I called my Dad
Told him what had happened

Wanted a ticket home
And he sent me a ticket
And 500 dollars
And I went home

I told him I would tell him
My tales someday
But never did

I learned so much
About my fellow Americans
And the strange vibe
That was 1975

And now it is too late
But I wanted to finally
Tell the world

Of my hitchhiking tales
In search of America 1975

Jake Cosmos Aller

Jake Cosmos Aller

John (“Jake”) Cosmos Aller is a novelist, poet, and former Foreign Service officer having served 27 years with the U.S. State Department serving in over ten countries including Korea, Thailand, India, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Spain. He has traveled to over 50 countries, and 49 out of 50 states. He speaks Korean, Thai, Spanish and studied Chinese, Hindi and Arabic.
Jake Cosmos Aller

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