Waving good-bye to George and Ellen who were off on a week-end adventure of their own, I climbed into Wendy’s nice new vehicle and we sped off. She showed me her BlueTooth telephone gadget where incoming phone calls to her cell phone are directly transferred to her car, and she can have a both-hands-on-the-wheel telephone conversation just as though someone was sitting beside her talking with her. The sound comes right into her vehicle just as though they were there sitting between us! Awesome! She dropped me at a corner in the town of Elbridge, and after questioning a couple guys at the auto store nearby, I crossed the street and started hitching north, in an attempt to skirt around Syracuse, a large city I didn’t want to get stuck in.
A lovely young woman with a gorgeous black lab stopped and offered me a ride, but she was only going to the top of the hill, and I turned her down saying I’d wait for a longer ride. Half an hour later I was wishing I had taken her offer, but still talking to my inner self and assuring myself that other good folks would come along. And sure enough, driving in the other direction and then turning around came Mike, a handsome young man in a brand new car. He hopped out of his vehicle and stood talking with me on the sidewalk, asking me what a person like me was doing on the side of the road hitchhiking. I told him my story. We talked about 10 minutes, as he was sizing me up another woman drove by going the opposite direction also, and pulled over to offer me a ride! I was becoming a popular item, it seemed! Her car was quite full of stuff and by this time Mike was feeling more comfortable about offering me a ride, so I thanked her for stopping and wished her well, then climbed into Mike’s car.
Mike was an interesting young man in his mid 40’s, I think, and was now in a career of medical equipment sales, though he had been in real estate before the economic crash, if memory serves. He had a little time off before he needed to attend another meeting later in the day, so he drove me all the way to Cato, which was well out of his way and got me north of the Interstate and on my second-to-last route to Watertown. The skies had been gray, overcast and drizzling off and on all day, and his kindness spared me probably 4 shorter rides, at least! Thank you again so very much, Mile!
Cato is a curious town. It seems plenty busy with traffic on two main cross-routes of travel, and small enough to have people be personable, but it seemed forever that I stood on the side of the road. With precipitation gently falling, I covered both the giant backpack and the duffel bag with my large black poncho. I wondered if passersby were worried that I might have a load of ammo or something equally dangerous under it, and maybe that was why they weren’t stopping. Finally a couple cars pulled over, but I turned both of them down – not the best vibes.
Then a young man named Tom swung his car to the curb. He was dressed in a suit, clean cut and handsome – in his early 20s. I was rather surprised he picked me up, an older white haired woman with a mound beneath a black poncho. But I was extraordinarily grateful he did, and he was most fascinating to talk with. He was learning how to manage portfolios for an investment firm, and gave me his card. We shared good conversation til we reached the Highway 690 where he was turning south to Syracuse. We wished each other well and waved good-bye, and I hauled my heavy load to the eastern side of the underpass to more conveniently catch traffic heading my way.
Within a couple minutes, Sue Gibson, an older woman in a nice vehicle, pulled over and asked me if I needed help. What a total sweetie she was! She was out looking for a friend’s rest home but was unable to find it, so she stopped to pick me up instead. We talked and talked and she ended up taking me WAAAY out of her way, via a road into Syracuse and then back up Interstate 81 and finally dropping me off in Beaverton, on the last route I would need to hitch on to get into Watertown. Great hugs and appreciation to you, Sue, and many many thank yous!
And within a few minutes of waving good-bye to Sue, Kerstin pulled over in her new vehicle and gave me yet ANOTHER lift way beyond where she was originally headed – all the way to Pulaski! Thank you again so very much to you, Kerstin! It was a great pleasure to meet you!
And at that point I was only about 20 miles from Watertown. One more ride, I prayed. Just one more ride …no short lifts. I was getting a little weary. While I absolutely thrilled at meeting each new wonderful person I was getting lifts with, it was also a little tiring, especially because of the drizzly gray weather which always zaps my energy level. I’m a sun worshiper, and gloomy overcast cloud cover drains me after a bit.
Within about 15 minutes, Roslyn pulled over in her nice new vehicle. While making initial conversation as we rode along, she suddenly called someone and said she would be there a little later, she was taking me all the way to Watertown! I couldn’t believe it! I think I may have gushed my Thank-You’s a bit 🙂 But first, she swung me by her house, an older farmhouse that she and her husband, Tim, are remodeling. I met Tim and Paige, her daughter, and before I knew what was happening, Roslyn was heating up a meal of roast beef, carrots and potatoes, and setting a serving at her dining room table for me!
While I sat there devouring the savory dish she had prepared, they told me of their ghostly experiences in this old farmhouse which served as a stop on the Underground Railroad during the slavery days. Even their friends have seen ghosts, heard voices and doors closing and footsteps. Reporters have been there to take stories for newspapers, and though the remodeling process is more than half done, the ghosts are still present – they haven’t left. A psychic had come once and said she saw a black man wringing his hands in front of him. Paige said she’s gotten used to it and it doesn’t scare her. Roslyn felt the same. It was fascinating to be in a place with so much history.
After Paige showed me some of her colorful artwork, she, Roslyn and I hopped back into their car and they drove me all the way to Watertown. The town has a large military base, Fort Drum, and due to that has become quite built up. We stopped at a Quality Inn but their prices were astronomical. We tried next door at the Inn at 81, and it was significantly more reasonable while still having an excellent room with 5 bars of Wi-Fi. I took it, and thanked Roslyn profusely. Roslyn, Paige and Tim – you guys are THE BEST! Thank you so very much for your incredible hospitality and generosity. Hopefully our paths will cross again and I can return the kindnesses!
Once in my room with the sky growing dark and grizzly outside, drear rain consuming all the view, I turned up the heat and set up the computer and began to catch up with email and blogging and answering phone calls through MagicJack. Carol, my girlfriend in Gananoque, Ontario, and I exchanged emails back and forth in live chat, and arranged the next morning’s pick-up time. She was going to drive down from Gananoque to meet me at the hotel and take me up across the border into Canada, to her new 120 year old brick home. After several hours of screen staring, I shut it down and took a hot bath in a very short tub, and remembered the incredible huge claw-footed tub and George and Ellen in Waterloo. What a total experience the distance between Attica and Watertown had been!
Sending Thank You’s and prayers to the Universe and the goodness of heart in so many people, I crashed into my bed anticipating the next morning’s reunion with Carol, whom I’d met in Barra de Navidad, Mexico, almost 2 years ago, and slept like a log.