Im going to break this little tale into two parts, not because it is so very long, but it is a story within a story. In this episode I will introduce you to Mac the itinerant painter, and his german shepard Sweet Loraine (lovingly refered to as sweet n lo).
This happened during the time I was earning my living as an actor, yep I have a SAG card, and I was in four movies, a couple of pilots that didnt fly, and one porn pic (not as a star, but as a player part). I had just finished with the movie "SPEECHLESS" which starred Gena Davis, Michael Keeton, Ernie Hudson, and it was the last movie Christoper Reeve did befor his accident. Gena had just married Renee' Harland, and this movie was her wedding present. where she got top billing, an assistant producers credit, fifteen mill for salary and 10 points,after overhead. Nice deal. It also had just about everyone on the middle down "A" list and all the prime "B's"... way to many to credit. Anyway, I had some extra cash and it was first of November, so I decided to go visit my folks for the holidays.
I left around 11 pm on a Friday night, so I would hit Pheonix at breakfast, and miss thier morning drive that was as bad as the hollywood freeway going thru Cahuenga pass on any given weekday (if you know anything about HELL-A you know what I mean). It was a beautifull night, I wasnt in any kind of hurry, and I didnt care if it took me 10 days to get to Daytona. I was a little over 100 miles out, smoking a doobie, big full moon and a pile of new toons when all of a sudden,WHAT, the stereo quit. All the lights on the thing went out and not a sound. Oh well not to worry I sez to me, the Pilot truck stops about 50 miles and its probably just a fuse. Got there, got one , but none of em looked bad. WTF I just replaced em all. got in and everything fired up except that gollll darned stereo. OK im not a handy guy and at 2:30 in the morning there was no one there that could fix it, (and I smiled as the cashier said) or install a new one. So I being a southern dude proceeded to go into the percussion maintanence mode. Ended up splitting the dash with a couple of well placed over hands, and cracked the faceing with a spectacular straight from the hip crusher, it proved to take no heed and just sit there all tight lipped. OK one more possible solution, since they sell every and anythig at a truck stop, maybe they have a walkman. No, were out said the cashier (and I smiled as she said) but we have them at our next fascility just over the Texas State line. John Haslam Jr., who just happens to be a friend of mine (we went to highschool together) and C.E.O of Haslam oil and owns all the Pilot truck stops, and stations was sure gonna get a call from me so he could here from the horses mouth that he should give a hugh raise and promotion to this cashier. And when I told her this she was happy to say she had seen him once when they opened this fascility but he looked to damn young to run a company this size. Oh well, Texas was just two states away
So I cruise on down to Pheonix and stop at the I-HOP. Saturday morning it was kinda crowded and I had to park up next to the street. the reason this is relevent is that when I got out I noticed a guy and his dog standing at the top of the freeway entrance hitchhiking. He looked a lil rough, not really in a bad way, just road weary. But I sure did like the looks of that dog, she looked twice as healthy and ten times smarter than her master. Kinda said to my self if they are still there when I come back from breakfast im gonna give em a ride, after all Im going all the way to the end of the road. Help the guy out. AND I AINT GOT NO MUSIC...
Well, as all guessed, he was still there when I got back and I called him over...and asked how far he was going. Told me he was just going a hundred miles on up the express way and was thinking about visiting a friend in a little town called Sonora. Then he told me he and Loraine had been standing right there where I found them since about 4:00 the previous day, and would I mind if he went in and got Lorraine something to eat. Yea, that was fine with me and so we go back in and he orders the dog a breakfast sandwich. I asked him when was the last time he ate and he told me yesterday morning. hell ,I'll buy you some breakfast and he looked a lil miffed and told he had money. How much I asked, and he said about a hundred bucks. How long does that have to last you I queried. He told me he was goin to Baton Rouge and there was a paint contractor that would hire him. So I bought him some breakfast and paid for sweet n lo's and we headed out.
I checked my map and sure enuff there was a small town of Sonora around 100 miles out, which made me feel better about Mac since he had his bearings and knew where he was going. Still felt he was a watt or two below 60, but he was a nice enuff guy, but I sure did like that dog. It took about an hour and a half to get to the Sonora exit, but there was absolutly nothing there. Mac thanked me for the ride and breakfast but he and Lorraine could manage from there. This place was farther out than the edge of nowhere, the exit was on a little rise and you could see 30 miles in every direction except for the way to Sonora which was over a little hill. WTF, Im in no hurry so I tell Mac that I would take him on in, thinking that the town was just over the hill. What was over the hill was a road sign saying Sonora was 28 miles. Like I said Im on vacation and was in no hurry so we headed to Sonora. After a few miles we came across a sign that said "PLEASE DO NOT PICK UP HITCHHIKERS, ESPECIALY WEARING ORANGE JUMPSUITES, YOU ARE APPROACHING STATE PRISON". Seems that the only thing in this burg was the prison, two bars, one restaraunt, the sherrifs office and two motels. It was six blocks long and there wasnt even a cross street. So I asked Mac where his friend lived and he said he didnt know. Seems like he had met this guy agt some kinda cult retreat five years ago, and when he left he gave Mac his name and that he lived in Sonora and iffn yous ever in tha area, stop on by and say hi. So Mac, whens the last time you talked to this guy, Mac sez never, but were in the neighbor hood. Yup, we were. So what do ya wanta do Mac. You can just drop me off here and we,ll ask around and see if we can find him. But, Mac, this dont look like a town that tolorates strangers, ya know with the prison and all. Thas O.K. Dave you can just drop us off. Well I was starting to worry about Mac and Lo ( did I tell ya, I really liked that dog ) and I said well lets see if I can help. Hell, by this time I was gettin a lil gamey and Lo was getting farther back in the car as she could, so I figgured that the two best places to ask were the bars and the sherriffs office. No body in ither bar had ever heard of this guy,i'll call him bob , so I drove down to the Sherriffs and told Mac I thought it best that I go in and check. Earlier I asked Mac if he had I.D., yea he said, he has an Illinois, Carter county, library card, and a L.A. county dog liscense for Lo.
So with just a small amount of trepidation I go in and a very nice, plumb, this being the only job she ever had, and was just a year or two from retirement, lady told me that yes she knew Bob but was not in the habit of giving out someones personal information. I thanked her but before I walked out the door she called me back. Lady sez, you know, I dont see how it can hurt really, but ol Bob had moved to Ohio three years previous. I thanked her and left. Well Mac allowed that he was sad that he missed his friend , but we tried.
So Mac want a ride to Baton Rouge? He actually turned around and asked LO if she wanted to ride with me to Baton Rouge and she wagged her tail and barked. We both took that as a yes and off we went.
I took a look at the map and since we were in no hurry decided to head down this road that Sonora was on that paralelled the express way and met up with it about 50 or 60 miles down the pike. This turned out to be one of my favorite legs of the trip. The last car this road had seen had to be a model-t, we stopped at every building from there to the freeway. All of em was falling apart and looking through the ruins found some old soda bottles and blue mason jars, some rusted junk meatal that had to come off some covered waggon and an old soda bottle that was broken and a cactus was growing inside. Gave this little gem to my Mom who is the grim reaper of all things green. she just put the bottle outside the back door here in Florida and it lived another four or five years. then one day she decided it would be better if she planted it. It was dead and shrivelled within two weeks. If it aint broken Mom, dont fix it.
This is a good place to stop because nothing out of the ordinary happened the rest of that day. We drove, we ate , we got to know each other. I did ask Mac what his last name was and he said he didnt remember, his parents called him Mac because when he was little all he would eat was Krafts Macaroni and Cheese. And one time he took a test to show some State what kind of Job he was best suited for. Turns out the only thing Mac should do was run large companies. When he told me this I looked into the back seat at Lo and she just gave a big sigh, laid down and closed her eyes. Looked over and Mac had fallen off to. So I drove on into Texas, trying to make Ozona, Knew some folks there that my Dad and some of his friends leased thier ranch from to deer hunt for a few years. There was a great Restaraunt there that served a hell of a breakfast. Didnt make it that night . been drivin about thirty hours by then so I needed to sleep. Found a rest area, popped back the seat . then realized how cold it was, and I guess ol LO was cold too so she crawled up next to me. Did I mention how much I liked that dog...
Tomarrow Ozona, and me doing unsolicited comedy for about fourty Texans with guns...