Chapter Two


The Journey That Shouldn’t Have Been…


          He pulled into the local Shell station and, with the engine running, filled the tank to the very brink – pausing to allow the neck of the tank to drink in every last drop.  When it was clear that he could get no more in he removed the door key from the key ring and locked both doors on the El Camino and made his way inside to pay the cashier.  He picked up a few snacks and a soda and made his way back outside and off he went.  Concerned about the weather in general and having a strong desire to use the CB Radio his Granddad had given him he picked up the microphone and sad, “How about a weather report, folks – anything bad up ahead?”


          No one answered.  He said again, “Breaker, breaker, folks, are the roads clear ahead?”


          Still nothing.  “How about it – anyone from up north; can I expect to make good speed or are the highways covered with snow?”


          About that time he rounded a corner and there before him was a police roadblock.  They were checking for licenses and registration and all the other things they say they are looking for when they really want to find drugs or drunk drivers.  He slowed and finally came to a stop as about fifteen vehicles made their way through the check-point.  He was frustrated and concerned about his time and the roads ahead and decided to use the time to check the CB again.


          “Breaker, breaker, one-nine, I need a road report.  Anybody copy?”




          He did this a number of times using similar language until finally his time to be checked arrived.  A raincoat clad officer knocked on his window. He rolled it down and the officer said, “License and registration please.”


          “Yes sir, officer.”  He handed the requested documents to the State Trooper and said, “Hey, by the way, can you give me a report on traffic conditions ahead?”


          “I thought that was you.  Don’t you know any better than that?”


          “What do you mean, officer?  I just wanted to know…”


          “I know what you wanted to know and you are mighty lucky that it is almost Christmas.  Use your brain, kid.  You don’t ask a cop if there are any cops ahead!”


          “No, officer, you don’t understand.  I am traveling to Arkansas for the holidays and I just wanted to know…”


          “Move along.”


          With that he moved along.  So much for “service”, he thought. Oh well, it wasn’t as if a bad weather report would actually change his plans.  He was bound and determined to be home for the holidays and that was that.  Come hail or high waters or snow or whatever else he would be there or… well, or die trying.  Of course that last part was just an old saying.  He had used it often enough, but he had never really thought about it.  No one ever really “died trying” – no one he knew anyway.

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