Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: TRAVELER (01/28/16)
- TITLE: The Hitchhiker
By Ingrid Forsberg
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“Where are you headed sailor?” the driver asked.
“We’re going that direction. Hop in the back,” the wife said pulling her seat forward.
Roger had the backseat all to himself. He made himself comfortable in his pea coat, pulled his sailor cap over his eyes and went to sleep.
Six hundred miles south in Santa Barbara Lena pulled her dark green, nearly black, 1938 Chevy into the duplex’s driveway. She was exhausted, so thankful it was Friday. Her unfaithful husband left her six years before. She was the sole support of four children. The only steady work she could find in that small town was cleaning houses. Every week she cleaned two houses a day, five days a week. Her eldest daughter was away at college in Los Angeles. Her son, Roger, was stationed in San Francisco on Treasure Island. Just her eight and her sixteen-year-old daughters were at home. By nine o’clock Lena and her two youngest were in bed. Lena was so tired she was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.
“Here’s a bar that looks open. I’m thirsty,” the man said. He parked the Chrysler and asked if the sailor wanted a drink too.
The wife peeked over her shoulder, “Na, he’s still sleeping. Let’s just let him be.”
The two stayed till the bar closed. When they returned to the car, Roger was still sleeping in the backseat.
Lena woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep even though she was dog-tired. She didn’t know what time it was, but it was dark and quiet. Lena could not get comfortable. After rearranging herself in the bed several times, she decided to pray for everyone she could think of. Pouring her heart out to God, she prayed for her four children first. She then prayed for her relatives, neighbors, friends, and employers. She even prayed for President Eisenhower before finally falling back to sleep.
Saturday morning Roger was at the duplex door. He had a story to tell. It seems the people he was riding with stopped at a bar and got drunk. He was sleeping when the car went off the road, missing a telephone by inches.
“Guess I was lucky this time,” he said.
My mother knew luck had nothing to do with it. She also knew why she woke when she was so tired and why she felt the need to pray.
I was the eight-year-old. I am now sixty-nine. To this day, whenever I can’t sleep I remember that true story and pray myself back to sleep.
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