Tales of Open Road

Police and Injun Town

by Bill Jodrey

Nightfall was settling in as I was strolling along the street, after eating my sandwich at the diner. I saw the reflection of a police car in a shop window, and it was keeping pace with me.

A quick look ahead showed the driveway opening between two stores, and I made a quick dash into the opening. I literally flew over the tailgate and into the back of a pickup truck.

The police car, with flashing lights, went through the parking lot and I didn't move a muscle. They shortly gave up the chase, and I went to sleep, and didn't awaken until daybreak.

The next day, after my experience with the police, I felt cold and uncomfortable, which might be expected as the result of sleeping in the back of an open truck.

It was very early, and no one was in sight as I jumped to the ground, and sauntered down a long curving road which, if nothing else, led out of town. But that is not a fair assessment of the beautiful fresh air and the glorious sight of the sunrise as it slowly crept up from its hiding place behind far distant mountains off to the east.

Prayer has always been an integral part of my personal life, and there is probably no better place to contact one's source of strength and peace than an open space where none but the birds and angels are paying attention to your presence.

My morning check-in with the powers to be completed, I was free to find, and watch the next episode of my journey unfold.

Another mile ahead, the road dipped down and ran through a swamp area, and as I approached, I was engulfed by a swarm of insects, which I thought were mosquitoes, and I admit to a short period of terror.

Although they didn't bite, they were in my nose, ears, eyes and under the collar of my shirt in a matter of seconds.

A mild sense of panic forced me to run about fifty yards and I was through the mess, but now I had to get rid of the bugs in my shirt and hair, and that took some little time, but there was no other choice.

When I was all straightened out, I walked on. When I came to another swarm of the same bugs, I decided to sit and wait for a driver to come along and offer me a ride.

Within a half an hour a car did show up and the driver stopped where I was standing. He got out of the car with a cloth and a brush in hand and, after nodding to me, he busied himself getting the bugs out of the radiator so that the engine wouldn't heat up.

When he was satisfied, we chatted for a couple of minutes and he invited me to ride.

We drove through the next swarm of bugs, got out and cleaned the radiator. When we were moving again, he explained that the bugs were an experiment by the government to introduce those bugs to wipe out the problem of mosquitoes. It did wipe out the mosquitoes, but there was a new problem now.

My driver was an Indian. He was real happy with the new Stetson hat that he just bought in the city.

We drove and chatted for nearly forty miles, and as we were nearing the turn off which led to his destination, he asked me if I had ever seen an Indian town. When I said no, he invited me to visit his homesite. I agreed, and we drove about a mile along a forest road. We came to a clearing in the forest which was about a hundred-plus yards around.

The town concisted of one small house, twelve leantos, and six tepees.

As we arrived and stepped out of the car, an elderly man came out of the house, which was elevated to about eight feet.

He had my attention, and as if my new friend knew what was expected of him, he left with no word, and the man on the steps said, "I saw you at your prayer on the highway this morning. You are welcome to visit with us. Feel free to look, my friend."

I thanked him and walked slowly about the village. I marveled at their level of experience compared with the lives of the people that dwell even in small towns.

I was soon ready to leave, but nobody was in sight to say goodby to, so I walked away, up the road back to the highway.

I had certainly had a learning experience, and even after all these years, I often remember that episode and I still ask myself why was I shown that episode?

December 7, 2001

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