Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Alone, at the Bottom of the World (part 19)

Go Greyhound

Have you ever traveled through the Panama Canal? It seems to be a rare person who has, or at least who had, back in the 70's. From our vantage point, it seemed impossible that the SS Australis would make it through without scraping the sides! They built it (or so it seemed) inches away from both sides of that ship, and for those 8 hours we wondered.

As exciting as all this may seem, we were becoming anxious to exit the ship. The final three days consisted of rounding up bits and pieces, getting them packed up, and turning our thoughts, at last, toward Home. For me this meant Mother, and kitchen tables, and singing together in the car. How luxurious it would all be! But I had to get there first.

On departure day, everything was so terribly busy that I worried I wouldn't be able to find the Harveaux! Where were they? It was all confusion on deck, crowds milling about while trying to locate an exit. And what if I debarked never to see them again?

At last, I heard a voice calling from an upper deck. "Hellooooo! Goodbyyyyyye!" it shouted. Up I looked, and there stood the family Harveaux, all in a row, all waving madly.

Grasping my bag, the guitar, and various other bits, I stood still, grinning, taking it in - my last view of those 7 dears.  Perhaps, maybe, hopefully, I would see them again one day. But the crowds were crowding in now, steadily pushing me toward the gangplank and off to life's next scene. Larry and Rose, and their splendid children, were soon lost to sight. I have never seen them again.

The bus ticket said I had 21 days to travel from Miami to Carson City, Nevada. Stuart Eyre (part 16 of the 'Alone' series) had a sister living in the state of Virginia and had suggested I visit her. So my plan was to begin by heading North.

Big city Greyhound bus stations do not exactly appeal to one's sense of safety. I took a city bus from the harbor to the Greyhound Terminal, only to find I was too late to begin travel that day. I must find a motel nearby. Great.

I did find one ($8.29 per night!) and upon entering the room, discovered a broken lock on the door. I do not like to say exactly what that neighborhood was like, but imagine downtown Miami; area of bus station; samples of humankind laying about on the hot pavement, from time to time approaching small-scale blond carrying a backpack and guitar. I felt scared.

Why, might you ask, did I not report the lack of door lock to the main desk? I did not wish to call to attention my vulnerability, the man at the front desk seeming a bit too interested. So I propped a chair up against the doorknob, and sat waiting for the morning. The only working television channel was set to - are you ready for it? - The Boston Strangler. Yikes!

There was a lot of praying going on in the Motel 6 that August of 1973. There were occasional shouts, and fights, and even a gun shot somewhere. Gone were my kindly friends from New Zealand; the newer group of shipboard chums, also gone in whatever direction. I was, it seemed, truly Alone. 

Alone in Miami - no longer at the Bottom of the World, but seeming no nearer to my home and Mother and all things innocent. I sat and stared at the doorknob, listening to the oddly reasonable voice of the Strangler on TV.

Would I ever make it out of there alive? I simply did not know; but there was an awful lot of praying going on..

'The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want..."
Psalm 23

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">joseph a</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">Jasperdo</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">Glyn Lowe Photoworks, 2 Million Views, Thanks</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

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