July 30, 2010- Hitchhiking 101: Wait for Butch

Kate Murr
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This day was a scorcher. It was 100 degrees yesterday when we sought shade and a lift through the barren east Washington hills. It was too hot, and we didn’t want to push things. We agreed that it would be safer to try to hitch a ride than continue climbing the 2700 feet to the Alpowa summit.

Stuart waved at the first pickup that passed, and the driver waved back and continued driving. The kids and I sat in the shade of the Burleys and read books. Fifteen minutes later, another truck approached and Stuart waved then awkwardly stuck out his thumb. Something about the way he signaled to the driver made me think of how he might have looked in high school, at 6’1” and 120 pounds, asking the pretty girl to dance. The truck passed. Then we watched the brakes light up once…twice. The truck turned around and out popped Butch.

Butch said he decided to stop because he saw the kids. He curiously listened to our story and helped us load bikes and gear. With the air of an experienced grandpa, he answered the kids’ questions about whether or not he had a dog and if his truck had air conditioning. He said his wife probably wouldn’t shoot him for bringing us home, and when we arrived at their lovely home in Pomeroy, Cindy was actually bursting with pride over his uncharacteristic attentiveness. She was curious about our story and she shook her head for two days, saying, “ohhhh, bless your heart”.

Cindy and Butch doted upon the children, who blissfully explored the toy room in the basement, the pink kids’ room with two beds, the buckets of trucks, dolls, and dress-up clothes. Butch perched Brady beside him on a stool and taught him how to drive electric trains. He showed Jane how to unload cows from the stock car and how to attach the caboose.

We enjoyed showers and a fantastic meal, and after the kids went to bed we ate ice cream and homemade apricot cobbler and chatted. Time with the quintessential grandparents was an experience and an answer to prayer that will stick to our bones for years.

Thank you, Butch and Cindy.

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