Saturday, 8 November 2008

08 November 2008

those bum crates, in October 1947 and I tried to tell him. But he was too excited. “This is where Hinkle and I spent a whole morning drinking beer trying to make a real gone little waitress from Watsonville, no it was Tracy, yes Tracy and her name was Esmeralda O man something like that.” Louanne was planning what to do the moment she arrived in Frisco. Alfred said his aunt would give him plenty of money up in Tulare. The Okie directed us to his brother in the flats outside town. We pulled up at noon in front of a little rose-covered shack and the Okie went in and talked with some women. We waited fifteen minutes. “I’m beginning to think this guy has no more money than I have” said Neal. “We get more hung up! There’s probably nobody in the family that’ll give him a cent.” The Okie came out sheepishly and directed us to town. “Hotdamn, I wisht I could find my brother.” He made inquiries. He probably felt he was our prisoner. Finally we went to a big bread bakery and the Okie came out with his brother who was wearing coveralls and was apparently the truck mechanic inside. He talked with his brother a few minutes. We waited in the car. Okie was telling all his relatives his adventures and the loss of his guitar. But he got the money, and he gave it to us, and we were all set for Frisco. We thanked him and took off. Next stop was Tulare. Up the valley we roared. I lay in the back seat, exhausted, giving up completely, and sometime in the afternoon while I dozed the muddy Hudson zoomed by the tents outside Selma where I had lived and loved and worked in the spectral past. Neal was bent rigidly over the wheel pounding the rods up to his hometown: only a month ago he had come down this same with Al and Helen Hinkle bound for North Carolina. There I was in the backseat, accomplished. I was sleeping when we finally arrived in Tulare; I woke up to hear the insane details. “Jack wake up! Alfred found his aunt’s grocery store but do you know what happened, his aunt shot her husband and went to jail. The store’s closed down. We didn’t get a cent. Think of it! The things that happen, the trou-bles on all sides, the wonderful events…wheee!” Alfred was biting his fingernails. We were turning off the Oregon-road at Madera and there we made our farewell with little

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