Hitchhiking

[A repeat from September 4, 2016] Does anyone hitchhike anymore?  I can’t remember the last time I saw someone standing on the side of the road.  Arm extended.  Thumb pointed up.  

When I was at Augustana College in Rock Island, when I wanted to go home, my options were to take the train (to the tune of twenty bucks) or hitchhike.  I nearly always chose the latter option.  My modus operandi was to Magic Marker a sign “Augie Student to Chicago.”  And on the back “Augie student to Mt. Prospect.”  And I’d stand on the street outside my dorm.  Hold up the sign.  And stick out my thumb.  And always got a ride.  And I lived to tell the tale. 

The first rides would usually cart me off to Interstate 80 and drop me off.  There, I’d stand at the entrance ramp looking forlorn and holding my sign.  And I was always picked up.

Once (Scout’s Honor) a big tractor trailer stopped.  I hustled up and climbed in.  The driver said “I’m sick and need to sleep.  If you wanna drive, I’m going to Route 47.”  Soooooo I traded places with the driver.  He shifted a few of the floor gears and off I went piloting this 48 foot rig.  The driver conked out instantly leaning against the door.  At Rte. 47, I slowed to a stop.  My “passenger” woke up, took over and I hopped out, walked to the down ramp and held up my sign. 

Hitchhiking was so popular back in the day that Marvin Gaye wrote a song with the title “Hitch Hike.”  The song was released in 1962 in Gaye’s “That Stubborn Kinda Fellow” album.  In 1965 the Rolling Stones released their own version.  Listening to this music does bring back memories. . . . .    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUai4j0QrKE  

Grilled Peanut Butter

(A favorite from December 20, 2012)

Did you ever have a special dish of your own creation added to a restaurant menu? I did.  Twice.  Here’s number one. . . . 

When I was at Augustana College, I was the quintessential night owl.  I would study (or play cards) until the wee hours. And often, as the second hand approached midnight, I and a few other guys would hitchhike (see 9/4/16) to the Round the Clock Restaurant in downtown Rock Island. And I would order a grilled peanut butter sandwich. With a dill pickle on the side. And a tall glass of milk. The interesting thing was that grilled peanut butter was not on the menu.

One evening at the Round the Clock, I had noticed a “peanut butter & jelly sandwich” on the menu. I was not about to order a PB & J sandwich, but it occurred to me that a grilled peanut butter sandwich might be just the ticket.  We slid into the booth and I ordered a “grilled peanut butter sandwich.” The waitress looked at me like I was a moon rock. I said “same as a grilled cheese but use peanut butter instead of cheese.” I felt like Jack Nicholson in the “Five Easy Pieces” diner scene. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wtfNE4z6a8   The waitress walked away shaking her head. She used gestures to explain the order at the window to the kitchen.  And she pointed at the goofy-looking kid in the booth. 

After a few weeks of this, when I walked in the door, the waitress would give me that knowing look “grilled peanut butter“? she would ask. I’d nod and smile “yes ma’am.” A few months later, “Grilled Peanut Butter Sandwich” made its debut on the Round the Clock’s menu. And I became a legend.  At least in my own mind.

Hitchhiking

Does anyone hitchhike anymore?  I can’t remember the last time I saw someone standing on the side of the road.  Arm extended.  Thumb pointed up.   When I was at Augustana College in Rock Island, when I wanted to go home, my options were to take the train (to the tune of twenty bucks) or hitchhike.  I nearly always chose the latter option. 

My modus operandi was to Magic Marker a sign “Augie Student to Chicago.”  And on the back “Augie student to Mt. Prospect.”  And I’d stand on the street outside my dorm.  Hold up the sign.  And stick out my thumb.  And always got a ride.  And I lived to tell the tale. 

The first rides would usually cart me off to Interstate 80 and drop me off.  There, I’d stand at the entrance ramp looking forlorn and holding my sign.  And I was always picked up.

Once (Scout’s Honor) a big tractor trailer stopped.  I hustled up and climbed in.  The driver said “I’m sick and need to sleep.  If you wanna drive, I’m going to Route 47.”  Soooooo I traded places with the driver.  He shifted a few of the floor gears and off I went piloting this big rig.  The driver conked out instantly leaning against the door.  At Rte. 47, I slowed to a stop.  The driver took over and I hopped out, walked to the down ramp and held up my sign. 

Hitchhiking was so popular back in the day that Marvin Gaye wrote a song with the title “Hitch Hike.”  The song was released in 1962 in Gaye’s “That Stubborn Kinda Fellow” album.  In 1965 the Rolling Stones released their own version.  Listening to this music does bring back memories. . . . .   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNMIkqS688o