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The Ride

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Hitchhiking to Nashville I get a ride from a stranger

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The Ride

I was thumbing my way up to Nashville with papa’s old guitar on my back when an antique Cadillac pulled up beside me. The driver leaned over the passenger seat to wind down the window. “It’s a long walk to Nashville son, do you want a ride?”

Foot sore I nodded and quickly slid into that front seat. The driver looked half drunk dressed in clothes that went out of style back in the 50s and a gambler style cowboy hat. He reached over and turned on a country station before pulling out.

As the miles rolled by the songs coming out of them old speakers were pure country gold and I found myself tapping my foot along with the beat. I pulled a smoke from my pack and asked him for a light. He turned to me with his pale skin and sunken eyes and smiled as he hands me a zippo.

“Do you play that guitar?”

“I sure do, my daddy taught me.”

“Can you make the people cry when you sing?”

“Aah,” I started to get a weird feeling about this stranger in a cowboy hat.

“Can you make them feel what you feel boy?”

“I think so.”

“You have a long hard road ahead of you boy if you plan to be a star.”

“I’m going to be a star.”

“They will try to break you, they will try to make you forget where your from boy don’t you let them”

I nodded as I slid closer to the door.

“You will have dues to pay, but I can tell you will be big someday. You will make the folk cry as you sing them sad songs. You will make everyone sit up and take notice if you just walk that line.”

I wondered what line he meant, but I didn’t want to ask. I turned my head and looked out the window as the countryside flies by. I was just starting to drift off when he pulled over to let me out. I climbed out and looked at the sign saying Nashville was only five miles away.

“Thank you, mister.”

“Don’t call me mister, the whole world calls me Hank,” he told me before he pulled a U-turn and headed back the way we came.

I stood there watching until I saw that old Cadillac just disappear. Now I don’t believe in ghosts, but something told me at that moment that I had just gotten a ride from one.

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