Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Road Babe Dispatch From East Texas
I was driving to an AutoZone in Decateur, after the car had already once sputtered and died. Not being one for directions, maps are this traveler’s best friend. Even so, a few wrong turns took me up the only hill in East Texas. I guess you could say I’m lucky. When the car stalled out, my friend and I tried to push the smoking heap up the lone curve to no avail. Just then, a telephone salesman named Mike stopped to help us in 103 degree heat.
"What's yer problem?" he called out from the truck. While moseying over, he eyed my friend up and down. "Y'all better be glad I stopped and not somebody else," he said, resting his hand on his belt buckle under a half-keg belly. Before we had a chance to ask why, he said, "Some people `round here don't take kindly to a black travelin` with a white." I thought about telling him that my friend was actually half Georgian, as in The Republic of Georgia not the nearby state, but I figured it wasn't worth the breath. We'd traveled back in time to the pre-civil-rights South, and as Mike probably would've told us, even a percentage meant we couldn't share the same water bottle.
Mittie Babette Roger is from Louisiana but lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University and authored the book It's Better to Visit the Shaman Without Questions to Ask. She travels the world volunteering to help disadvantaged children and promoting Blue Iguana Tequila to empower serious drinkers.