The hiker wandered daily in the eastern woods. It was his way of unwinding his nerves after work. There was nothing western about about were he was. No dessert anywhere near. Those woods were mostly made up of deciduous trees, and undergrowth. His aunt’s friend was a bird bander. She’d put up some netting, which would catch some birds, and then put a marking on their leg.
It all amounted to walking around in plenty of woods and plenty of leaves. There was a run not far from where he was. His loins were giving him the time of it, even though he wanted to be decent. What the hiker was interested in doing one day, was making his mother proud. In spite of everything, he’d managed to treat the young ladies with kindness and respect.
The hiker knew his way through those dense woods. He went there many an afternoon. Understanding little about finance, the hiker kept wishing he could do the fancy manipulations he saw others in his household doing. He knew he was just a young buck, and was in the habit of going to his own empty coffer frequently. He was not far from home in those woods.
Though deep in the trees, he was not far away from civilization. When he was at home, the young man kept asking questions about such things as the stock market. The young man was living in the lap of a luxury he wasn’t paying for. For the longest time, his folks refused to discuss business with him. Like something out of a James Bond movie, he arrived at his own car, magically, and got in.
They lived out in the country. He could leave his car unlocked all he wanted.
The hiker settled in for the brief drive to an old fashioned diner in town, to have some food. That diner used to make the best steak sandwich in town. Unfortunately, the young man could scarcely afford to pay for the darned steak, and couldn’t see a day when he could. What he didn’t know was that he was already rich beyond his wildest dreams.
His family didn’t want to tell him so young.
The hiker was just about five miles away from the Chesapeake Bay. His home was one of the finest in the neighborhood at the time. He wasn’t far away at all. It took him a drop of gasoline, and he was there. Fortunately, the young man was just hanging out, when he was off duty, finding his way through with his headlights. He scarcely noticed the dense darkness that was all around him.
Later, after the man was somewhat older, his folks moved into a retirement community. The town condemned the houses all the way up and down the main road, including their own. Somebody got rich on baseball, and they put in a minor league baseball stadium at the old farm, where the young man used to camp with the Boy Scouts.
As a youth, he was certain his headlights always looked like that.
It’s the time of year the sky closes in with a dense darkness. The hiker left the diner satisfied and broke. He decided to drive back to the woods, even though the darkness was full. There wasn’t a moon or a streetlight anywhere. He did not have far to go. The young man went down by the mill pond, and made a discovery. The other young people were throwing a party by the mill pond.
The hiker parked his car, turned off his lights and sat, trying to adjust his eyes to the darkness.
The hiker lived a life of finding places. It’s the central part of his job. He was accustomed to driving delivery day and night, but he’d customarily have at least some light to go by. Having his bearings is natural for the delivery driver, but the thing that did not come natural to the young man, was being lonely. He was only 22 years old, and felt his isolation like a scythe, mowing him down.
He’d unsuccessfully tried his hand at going to college, but going to classes didn’t suit him. He didn’t think the problem was directly related to going to class in the first place. There he was, trying his best to drive delivery, trying to convince himself that his life was as normal and natural to him as blue berry pie. Somehow, the driver got lost among those college buildings, and he dropped out.
That’s the reason the delivery driver sought out those nocturnal shindigs in the park. He could have gone to the strip down on the main drag, if he’d only heard the call of the wild. There’d be plenty of streetlights there. That place was taylor made for the lonely, young soldier boy. It just seemed too seedy to our delivery driver to even consider. Those girls weren’t respectable.
Besides, he wasn’t looking for ladies of the evening.
The darkness was overwhelming that night, with a significant gathering of old cars and young minds in the early evening. The delivery driver sits in his car, in the utter darkness, for several minutes to adjust his eyes, before giving up, turning the engine over, and driving away from the party. The driver figures he’s wasting his time looking for someone in the total darkness.
His 66 Rambler American was scarcely noticed driving away on the stone and dirt road. The thing about the 66 Ramblers was they were always in danger of popping a freeze plug. That wouldn’t have been so bad, except that, when the engine’s hot like that, one could crack the block. Putting in new freeze plugs was a little expensive, because they were working with the block.
It wasn’t so much that the driver was in possession of a priceless relic, it was only the mid 70’s, and this was a good used car. He enjoyed driving it, and the automatic shift was easy.