Tales of Open Road

The Northwest Passage

...I saw 13 policemen standing at attention ...

Tales of the Open Road, by Bill Jodrey

If one is not familiar with the area that lies east of the coastal range, there is a desert that stretches from Mexico to Canada.   If I had known about that, I never would have decided to ride on a flatcar on that particular day.  About an hour onto the desert a sudden shower drenched the seven of us on the car.  Just as suddenly, the rain stopped and the sand-laden wind did an awful job on our opinions of ourselves.  All this happened mid-morning and it was late afternoon when the train stopped.

Lucky for us the train stopped in the yard, which was a huge area for all kinds of railroad repairing, etc., at Walla Walla, Washington.

We found a huge tub of water used for cooling hot metal and once more we stripped off  and washed up.

Only two of us had money and for 75 cents each we slept in a bed that night and with no money left, the next morning we hit the highway separately still moving west.

I guess I must have looked okay because almost immediately a lady stopped her car and said, "I couldn't resist your smile."  She was a school teacher and we had a very pleasant ride over Snoqualmie Pass where she treated us to lunch and then we went on to Seattle and she let me off near a business area.

Before I started the journey, a friend gave me the address of someone she knew in West Seattle and asked me to stop by and say hello.  So I walked over to West Seattle and visited briefly, but when I was leaving she said, "I apologize for immediately wiping off everything you touched, but you have impetigo and I don't want the baby to catch it. Why don't  you go to the hospital and ask them for help?"

I did that as soon as I left and the doctor painted one side of my face purple and until it  disappeared I bet two dozen people asked if it was a birthmark and I said, "Yes."

When I left the hospital it was late evening and time to think of sleep.  I don't recall what prompted me, but I walked into an unlocked public building and to one side a door opened into a large room with many rows of seats.  The room was not lighted but by what light came through the windows, I went about halfway back and stretched out on several chairs and went to sleep immediately.

I was awakened at 3:00 a.m. by loud voices and when I peeked over the chairs, I saw 13 policemen standing at attention and one officer was giving them orders.  A little to one side I saw the clock on the wall and I was asleep before I put my head back down on my arm.

I awakened again near 7:00 a.m. and quietly eased my way out to the street and I met no one. The previous afternoon I had seen the sunset reflected from the snow-covered Mount Rainier.  It was a sight never to be forgotten.  However, this early morning, I was hungry. I wondered where I'd find food today.  I was sure the Lord would provide.  He had so far.

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