June 16, 2010



The past couple of weeks I’ve introduced you to some of the people I’ve met while driving across Texas. Did you know that if you drive from here to the Texas panhandle, that it is farther across Texas than it is to Texas? Makes me tired thinking about it.
Anyway, I have to tell you about this young lady that worked at a motel in Duncansville, Texas.
I had driven more hours than I probably should have. But I wanted to get beyond Dallas-Ft. Worth in the evening. So I wouldn’t have to face the traffic in the morning and ruin my entire day. I’d been across there when it took hours.
But I’m rolling along, hauling a load that was beyond the capacity of my pickup. Hoping to make it before dark, because my headlights were pretty much shining straight in the air. I knew that if the dusk turned to dark, I may be mistaken for someone out shining raccoons, or possum, or whatever the heck you spotlight in Texas at night.
Don’t tell any law enforcement people this, but I had driven a couple of hours beyond the legal limit of drivers. Just a little bit, mind you. But I thought it was more important to get beyond the traffic.
Alas, in Texas, dusk doesn’t last long. It gets dusk, then BAM! The dark hits you as if the sun had suddenly ceased to exist. Here I am, half a dozen lanes of traffic going each direction. And in a hurry.
My headlights are shining up into the sky. I can see the people in the cars on the overpasses, but can only see the taillights of the cars in front of me. And trust me, there were a heck of a lot of cars ahead of me.
My palms were sweating and it seemed as if the weight on the back of my pickup was lifting my front tires off the ground. The steering seemed to be getting looser. My mirrors (vehicles in the mirror are closer than they appear) seemed to keep losing focus. I kept gripping the wheel tighter and trying to switch lanes.
Trying to switch lanes in Texas, when you are blinded by tens of thousands of headlights can be challenging. I started to silently weep and thought of how my family would miss me, and wondering if some of the local establishments would have to lay off any help at happy hour. It seemed like it had been dark for hours and that I would never get past the traffic.
All of a sudden, like a sign from the heavens, I saw a Motel 6 sign a half-mile ahead. I looked in my mirror. By now a light rain was falling, and I couldn’t see. Or maybe it was just the tears blocking my vision.
With a scream that would have reminded the Texans of the Comanches that once ruled Texas, I put my blinker on and swung towards the right lane. Brakes were screeching as the weak-hearted gave way to a crazed Dakotan in traffic. But I made it!
I pulled off into one of the darkest, loneliest spots you could find in the metro area. But, I thought, at least I will die with my boots on the ground.
As I walked up to the motel office, I could see a couple of young ladies laughing and talking animatedly in the hotel lobby. Now, I’m not a racist person. But I could darn sure see that these young ladies were not of German or Norwegian descent. And they were having lively conversation.
As I opened the door and the bell chimed, they broke off their party and greeted me with big smiles. I apologized for breaking up their party and asked if they had a room for an old, fat man?
“Of course,” replied one of the young women. “Will he be far behind you?”
And that was the nicest thing anyone could have said to me at the time.