Opinion Column

The Les Green Report

The Les Green Report

The Les Green Report

They were travelling light, it seemed to me. The two young men came out of the supermarket just as I drove up, each with a bag of a mixed variety of edibles. “Right here will do” one of them said, as they dropped down on the pavement. They must have been quite hungry as they started to rip open the packages with eager fingers.  As I went into the store, I muttered to myself ...“hitch hikers”.
Now, I have not been involved with hitch hikers for a long time it seems. At one time, was  in the 60s or 70s, they were just everywhere, with one’s thumb being a ticket to anywhere. It was not my habit to offer a ride to someone beside the road, as my car was small and my growing family did not leave much room for a rough-looking stranger with a pack sack. And besides, one heard so many stories - well, you know the stories.
Some motorists had not concern for hitch hikers, and took enjoyment in seeing how close they could come to running over their packs No, I never did, but I scared a few.
One Sunday morning, however, we were on our way to visit Grandma-on-the-Farm when we saw a well-dressed young man beside the road. “Oh, I think we should help him, for he looks so clean and  neat and besides he is likely some mother’s son”. When I opened the window, I explained that we would be turning south soon. He said so was he, and as he hopped in. When we got to Carman and said we would be turning east, he notified us that he was going that way too. As we turned off of #3 and let him out, he said he was only a couple of miles from his destination, and thank you very much kind folks! Can you beat that?
That was more of an adventure than the time I was driving alone back from Winnipeg. It was starting to get dark, and he looked so hopeless. When we got to Portage and I asked where to let him out, he suggested the RCMP office. What? It was then that I realized I had picked him up right by Headingly Jail .... what had I done? I never did find out ....
Getting a bit closer to home, my son decided he wanted to see Canada by way of his thumb. With his mother’s prayers to guide him, I drove him out to the Trans Canada. In short order, a car stopped and he was gone. 
In due time, we got a letter from Prince Edward Island telling of his safety and some of his adventures. He had been existing on a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter. He had steady rides all the way, though one was a bit scary causing him to bail out. However, one kind driver went out of his way to get son to the other side of Montreal and out the other side where rides would be more likely. Some of his fellow hitch hikers were giving up and taking the bus home, but not him. Was he broke? 
After all these years, maybe I have some of the details mixed up, for he also went west one summer and worked in construction at Banff or maybe Jasper. I’m sure that he will correct me on this, and maybe add a few more lurid details.

By Les Green



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