Dream of: 03 March 1999 "New York Or Bust"

Birdie planned to travel around the country with me – on foot. I was thinking, however, that maybe we should have some transportation, and before we actually set out, we stopped into a gas station. From a man in the gas station I quickly purchased a machine (supposedly a tractor) which I thought we could ride. After I had bought the machine, however, I experienced serious doubts. The machine (which didn't look much like a tractor) consisted only of a round silver-colored upright cylinder, which sat on the ground, about waist high. The contraption was almost identical to a coffee machine I had recently seen in a bombed-out building in a scene in the movie Saving Private Ryan.

I asked the man in the station if he had an operator's manual. At first he was unable to find one, but finally he located and handed the manual to me. I pushed the machine outside, uncertain wheels were even attached. Clearly the machine had no seats on which to sit. This purchase was beginning to look like a major mistake. Now not only would we have to be on foot, but we would have to lug this machine around with us. If we were hitchhiking, people would undoubtedly hesitate to pick us up.

Another problem was our child. Birdie and I had a baby boy, about a year old, which was also traveling with us. What made matters worse, the baby had muscular dystrophy. As I pushed the cylindrical "tractor" out of the gas station, Birdie pushed out our little boy in its baby carriage.

Outside, I saw that the gas station was located on top of a hill, and that we would have to climb down a long stairway to reach the highway below. I told Birdie that I would go down first with the tractor, and that then she could follow with the baby. I clumsily headed down the stairs, and once I reached the bottom, I hollered back up to Birdie to now come down with the baby. As she descended, I worried I had made a mistake by letting her come down alone. The stairs were steep, and if she let go of the baby stroller, the result would be disastrous.

Somehow, Birdie reached the bottom. As she stepped onto the ground, she looked more and more like Carolina. The baby was close to falling out of the baby stroller. A black strap holding the baby had come undone. On top of everything, a policeman stepped up to the carriage and pointed out that the strap had come undone. I thought for a moment we were going to have problems with the policeman, but he left without further incident.

After Birdie and I joined back up, we pushed the tractor and the baby stroller over to the side of the highway, where we decided to start hitchhiking. However, I was having more and more doubts about this adventure. Why was I doing this? I had money for transportation. At any time, I could simply buy a plane ticket to take us to where we wanted to go.

I thought I would later write about this episode on my web site. When I did so, I would include a picture of Birdie. I didn't have many pictures of her, but I thought about a picture of her standing in front of the outside door of a house. I thought the picture had been taken in 1970 or 1971 ... or perhaps even later. I would write the date on the picture when I put the picture in the web site.

Birdie (who seemed more and more like Carolina) and I had found a place near a guardrail where we intended to stand and hitchhike. Apparently other people had hitchhiked from here before, because some things were lying on the ground on the other side of the guardrail. I picked up one item – a metal pinback button with writing on the front. The button was red with the words "New York or Bust" written in large black letters. I thought to myself that whoever had had the button must have busted and had never reached New York. Another button and a tee shirt were also lying on the ground, as if whoever had been here had just given up and left these things strewn on the ground.

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