Friday, June 17, 2016
Some of you may have noticed, that FH went quiet for awhile at the end of May. Several readers (thank you!) wrote with questions and concerns about whether I was ending the site, I'm not. I had planned a weekend away, but that weekend ended up being extended for positive reasons. By the time I was set to return home, I had became sick, and when finally arrived home, it took a few days before I could get my brain to focus and concentrate on writing again. I had an interesting drive home. I briefly questioned whether to write about it, but in end knew my desire to share was about light, not shade
I have shared before that I now live in the country. I am 2 hours from the nearest large city and between the that city and my home are back roads, small towns, farm land and many many cows. Although I have travelled that highway hundreds of times over the last 10 years, on my way home, for the first time ever, I miscalculated my gas situation. About 45 minutes from home, my car let me know I was about to run out of fuel. I was between two towns that I knew had gas stations, but I didn't feel my car would make it to ether.
I pulled off at the very next exit at a tiny tiny town I had been at once before. I knew there was a drugstore that I had stopped at for water a few years ago. &I also thought I remembered a main street which I was sure would have a gas station. It didn't. There was that drug store, a bank, a hardware store and a small diner. &It was about 8:30pm at night and it wa starting to get dark. The only building still open was the diner. There wasn't anyone eating or sitting around when I entered. The only person in sight was an old man sitting on a stool behind the counter. I think he may have been smoking just before I walked in. I couldn't smell it, but he seemed 'caught' and was shoving something down to his side. He didn't look up when I asked about a gas station, and although not unfriendly, was quiet and aloof.
He informed me there wasn't a gas station in town and that I had better head to the town 30 minutes back on the highway. When I told him that I didn't think I would make it back, he shrugged and said that he never goes there, but guessed I could try the Reserve. He gave me sketchy directions, but he thought I could get there in 5 minutes. It seemed my best bet. I started out again, gas gauge on empty to find the Reserve. His directions (or my ability to follow them) sucked. After a series of rights and lefts, I found myself at a dead end. I could see nothing in the distance except pastures. Any cows that may have been there earlier, had long since returned to the barn for the night.
I back tracked, this time getting so lost, I could not even find my way back to the diner. Reluctantly I stopped at a house when I saw a man out front putting away his lawn mower. Like the man in the diner, he was not friendly. I think I startled him, pulling up and desperately asking for his assistance.. He gave me just one sentence. 'Go back towards town and look for exit 9, it is near there.' His directions got me to exit 9, but it was an exit back onto the highway. There were no other signs, no other streets. I headed back to where I had been, I didn't want to see the lawn mower man again, but my only hope was that he might have a bit of gas left over from mowing that he might sell me.
Thank goodness, just before I made it back to his house, I passed a woman walking her husky's. She too, did not seem happy to see me, but once I asked my question, she seemed to relax a little. Again, no smile, but that was ok, as her clear, concise directions to the reserve were better than any smile I could have hoped for.
Following her lead, I pulled into the reserve about 10 minutes later. I don't think I could have made it another 10 minutes without gas. It was pitch black, with no one in sight, The street's one store, with one gas pump was thankfully very easy to find. I almost lost it when I saw the closed sign, but pulled in and parked by the pump anyway. As I got out of the car, I heard the door to the store shut and looked up to see one of the most beautiful men I had ever laid eyes on walking towards me. He was about 5'8", lean and fit. With only a white t-shirt and ripped jeans, I could tell he took care of his body. He looked like he could be the twin of model Michael Hudson (shown in these images) He had incredibly beautiful dark eyes and the most beautiful long hair that cascaded down his back. Best of all, he was smiling.
Hudson by Jeff Slater
I could tell he knew my dilemma without my having to say a word. I guess I looked that desperate, or was that out of my element. He told me the store was closed, but that he could still get me gas if I had cash. I gave him a big thank you and told him gas was all I needed. The pump was an old one, not self serve so I stood there watching as he began to fill my tank. He kept his gaze on me the entire time, with his beautiful smile still on his face. After a minute or so, I felt awkward just standing there smiling back and got in the car. When he was done, he leaned inside the car, maintaining his big smile, and gave me the total. I paid, smiled back and pulled away. I could see him still standing there, watching as I drove back to find the highway.
As I got back on the highway and drove back home, I began to think how seldom I see indigenous people in town. I thought of how beautiful he was, and how the only bit of kindness I received that night was from someone's whose space I had invaded. I know that I will be back to that Reserve and I will make sure to return to that gas station...often . If I am ever able to fulfil my dream of again picking up a camera, it will be that guy at the pumps, that I ask to shoot first.