Originally Posted on Saturday, December 16th, 2017 @ 10:30 AM. Problem with Blogger app on phone caused this post to show "Published" when it in fact did not. As if you care.
This is Joe. Met him yesterday at the beginning of a six-hour drive from Dallas; I just flew in from Mexico City. He's originally from Maine, dad's passed; mom, brother, and three teenage nephews live in Milwaukee. He's walking from Mississippi to Phoenix to be with some friends for the holidays. Not actively thumbing for rides, wears a felt peacoat and carries no pack.
Most of Joe's rides came from cops, all amiable except the one asshole who scolded him for hitch-hiking and drove him 30 minutes in the opposite direction. Joe's been a paranoid schizophrenic with epilepsy since he was a kid. Seizures once every year or two. Skittish, a little jumpy, very respectful and appreciative for help. Hears voices. "Demons?" I asked him flatly. "Yeah I think so," he says.
Not many conversations with his other drivers in the past four days since Mississippi. "No one's talked as much as you," he admitted. I just laughed. "Guilty," I said.
Last night, I didn't have a pot to piss in. Maxed my overdraft for that last tank of gas, didn't have a red cent left toward even a bottle of water. Halfway along the drive, Joe bought himself a Dr. Pepper and also bought an Arizona sweet tea for me. We listened to Christmas music on the radio, and a 45-minute segment on the love of God, and what it means to be the children of God (I John 3:1).
Took Joe to the apartment, where our electrician, Trevor, had some l'il smokies in the Crock Pot and sugar cookies in the oven (Hershey Kisses smashed in the top as each batch came out of the oven). Fed the chameleon some worms. Hooked Joe up with a room and bathroom of his own, fresh linens, towels, & clothes.
This morning I got a credit card payment from Grumpy at Performance Drilling. Pulled $120 for Joe and bought him a few packs of smokes and a Coke. Dropped him at the last gas station on the edge of town. Helped him plan out the rest of his trip, with regard to wildlife (coyotes, wolves, wild pigs and the occasional cougar), law enforcement including Border Patrol, and populated areas. Offered him a pack with some survival gear, freeze-dried fruit, med supplies, etc. "I'm good, thanks," he said.
Next stop for him is Pecos, followed by El Paso. Desolate 5 hours, then a more desolate passage through southern New Mexico on his way to Tucson. He'll be good from Tucson to Phoenix.
Joe hobbled off from the gas station with his bad ankle, which I'd offered to wrap but he also declined. "Merry Christmas" was the last thing he said to me. "HEY JOE!" I yelled out to him as he was leaving. "Yeah!" He turned around and hobbled back. "Let me get a picture to remember you by." "Okay."
Pray for Joe. Just dropped him off before I wrote this.