I picked him up on the highway because he really looked like he needed a ride
he had never really even put out his thumb
But as he climbed up into the cab of my pickup I could tell he was like a man dead inside
No light shining through his eyes as if there was no light down deep inside
I asked him where he was going to he said he didn't care one places the same as another..... all the same to him anymore
so I put the truck in gear and then just after a mile or two
I looked over to see he was asleep and slumped against the door
I lit the same cigarette that I'd been smoking the last three days
Turn the radio on low and set it to the blues to fit my mood
About three hundred miles of highway and suddenly I thought about my luck with strays
And a voice inside my head said " now you're getting a clue "
I tapped him on the shoulder but really just to verify
He never stirred an inch and no waking ruckus did he raise
I wondered as I took the next exit how long after getting in did he die
I found a deputy sheriff sitting a radar trap
And I told him what I had and how it came about
He stepped over to see for himself and I thought now here comes the crap
' But as he turned back and stepped away from the trucks passenger door
He gave me a soulfull look and asked where it was exactly that I had picked him up
Doesn't much matter really every body around knew the score.
" He was down at the bottom, long before any even had a chance to catch his fall!"
"BUT THERE WAS A TIME " the deputy said; as tears began flowing from his eyes," THAT MAN WAS A Tower and walked 10 feet tall"
Then stepping away the deputy saying he needed to call the sheriff and coroner
I imagined a bit of that- probably -would be to wipe eyes and compose himself.
He returned with a cup of coffee for me from a thermos named Big Marlene
He caught the smile I tried to suppress and knew,.
That's my wife's cooler and my daughter ...little Marlene.
She was 7 when she put that on there and said so NOONE would get us mixed up
You won't have no trouble here mister ( I said Dave) Okay Dave" We've all been expecting this for over 4 years now.
At one time he was our doctor and was a great doctor ,but he was one that could not be saved
it was the night the big parade pep rally and football playoffs ..one more game we would clinched division ..everyone was so excited we could taste it
It was them on the way back from our victory over Hayes 10 cars were following honking their horns and making a grand return when that bus flipped..... rolling over and into the river
It was Crazy. I was on duty so when I arrived on scene there was over 20 cars on the bridge parked every which way, lights on lighting the bridge, dozen of people in the river- every where in the the river ....we won the game and division that nite ,but lost everything else to the river
I found Doc Wilson sitting on the bank talking to himself
Didn't know it then but he was not only wet cold and talking to himself ....he was dead .
We didn't know it for some time yet to come but he was already dead ..just as dead as if someone had ...no as if he had put a bullet in his own head.
I don't think that the doc could even imagine what he could ever say to any of us.
And no way to know if he ever heard us as we tried over the years to get thru
We know it wasn't alcohol or drugs or excessive speed
But doc was driving so that was all the things he would need
Simply put it was an act of God and the sudden snap of tie rod ?
That's why I still carry the thermos all this time.
As I sat there listening ,I said all I could by nodding and shaking my head listening to the horrors of that night
When some triggering pain and came over me and I knew I didn't want to hear
What he was getting ready to say
Now days every time I pass that exit ramp on the highway I hear those words
Yeah I lost both my wife and daughter that night ..I was on duty so they rode over on the team bus
A few hours later I was back on the hiway , only headed in the opposite direction
Yeah I was headed home and to my wife
No longer was business all that important to let it be the excuse
So it's possible to put off and avoid participation
I was a total shit to get mad and leave for a week while she gets to worry over it.
The deputy said all people that seem to be content to wallow within their own crap.....
......That just becomes weight
Should remember what doc would say those times when he would and did .
" I am getting so tired of always carrying yesterday with me ...as I go on into tomorrow !". doc Wilson James Hall. Jr.