I can’t blame this one on Ambien but Ms. Toni tells me the result is the same. Please don’t judge me… well, okay, you can judge me a little.
Having raised three daughters I am very protective. I have preached (unlicensed) for years to them and Toni not to trust strangers and for goodness sake, don’t be so dense as to pick up hitch hikers. It is just too dangerous.
A few weeks ago I was headed home from Jackson on a Friday afternoon. It was one of those unseasonably warm days and as I left town on I-55, I noticed a man walking north on the side of the road. He had on a long sleeved blue shirt, newer looking jeans and fairly new shoes. I noticed him because he was walking very fast but had nothing in his hands at all, no backpack, nothing. I was in the passing lane so I couldn’t stop. I went on up the road thinking, “I hope he wasn’t having problems.”
I pulled over in Canton, Miss. to get gas which took about ten minutes, got back on I-55 north and headed out. About five miles down the road I see the same guy, still “bookin” it. Again, I thought to at least stop and ask him if he was okay but I was in the passing lane again and was blocked by traffic and couldn’t have gotten over safely. I thought, “That is peculiar. He has made amazing time.” I said a short prayer for him and felt bad that I didn’t stop. I didn’t know why I felt bad, but something was nagging at me.
I travelled for a while and decided to stop near Kosciusko for a soft drink. When I got back out onto the highway, almost at the onramp, I saw the same guy again! “This is too weird,” I thought. I almost pulled over but for whatever reason, I chickened out. I prayed again, “God, I don’t know if you are trying to teach me something or not, but this is freaking me out a little. I am past the guy now and in a hurry but if I see him again, I will stop and ask if I can help.” With that, and a sizable dose of guilt, I jetted onward to Greenwood for my appointment.
Two hours later, I pass by the Grenada exit. Who do you think I see? Yes, you guessed it, the same guy. So I pulled over.
The gentleman approached my car and I asked, “Where you headed?” “Chicago” he says. “Do you have any weapons on you?” I ask. “No sir!” he states as he empties his pockets as if I were an officer of the law.
“I never do this, but come on in, I can get you as far as Batesville,” I said. He eagerly hopped into the car and I handed him a bottle of water. “Man it is too warm to be out here walking. Drink this water.” I said. He gladly took it. That was the last calm thought I had for thirty five miles.
“I have been living under a bridge for years down in Louisiana,” he volunteered. “Been hiding out from the CIA and the FBI!”. “Now I am headed up to Chicago to catch a submarine under my old high school. They are taking me to an underwater island in the Atlantic where all the past Miss America’s are. That’s where I am going to be working for them from now on. Did you know that when they take them to that island, they stay young forever? I can’t wait to see them all.”
Pause… Yep. That’s what I thought too. No joke. That is exactly what he said.
I was speechless. It was too late to pass him again because he is in my car now. I thought to myself, “Holy smokes what have I gotten myself into?” Then thought, “Maybe I can just jump out and run… I can replace the car!” But I decided the best thing to do was to make sure I don’t say anything to set him off and get him to Batesville as fast as possible.
I spent the next thirty minutes or so trying to get caught by the highway patrol. I was running around 85 intentionally, but wouldn’t you know it, none were sight. Other than that I just tried to agree with him and tell him how awesome he must be. I did slip in a little word or so about God protecting him but to be honest, it must have been pretty insignificant.
When I let him out at Batesville I pulled over and said “Man I hate it, but here is my turn.” “You be safe.”
He got out and thanked me for the ride. “I have to get to the bottom of the stairwell at my school. The principal is going to meet me there to take me down to the sub. Maybe I will make it there by the weekend.” With that he closed the door. I headed for home on highway 6, breathing a sigh of relief that I had not provoked a serious problem.
I called my wife to confess my mistake. As you can imagine, she was furious. “Of all the hair-brained, stupid, goofy, idiotic antics that you have graced this planet with, Ken, this one takes the cake!” I agreed and still do. In my defense, I had to do what I said I would do. I made a promise to God, but I am still unsure of the lesson I was to learn but I do know this…
I don’t care how fast you are walking, I am not picking anyone else up unless an angel is sitting on my hood telling me to do so. (Don’t you dare say it… If he shows up, I ain’t admitting it.) Besides, I would rather take a beating than have to see Ms. Toni that upset with me again.
I promise, this is exactly what happened. “You can’t make up this kind of stupid, Ken!” Direct quote from Toni. I hope you get a laugh and a lesson of some kind out of this story. Let me know when you figure out what the lesson is, please.
Thought: There is no way you can surprise God
P.S. If you think you can’t bring the silly things you have done in your life to Jesus and be forgiven, then consider how much goofy stuff He has heard from guys like me. He will forgive anything if you bring it to Him in honest repentance. He promises in His word. He loves you. No problem is too big for Him. Trust Him.