Other Worldly Encounters.....
A True Story....?
I had see him many times before driving along the old dirt roads around here. I used to think , what kind of man drives an old ,old truck around . It would be nothing to pass him any time of day just putting along , often at his own speed , he may even pull over to let you pass if he saw you were in some great need to get somewhere fast.
He wore an old grey fedora with a dark wide band pulled down low over his eyes. Often , you may see a couple of paper grocery bags in the back on his way home from the market. Or you might see him sitting at the pullover by the big lake , his window down and his sleeved arm resting outside of the window. But the one thing you could almost always count on, you never saw his face . He wouldn't ever make eye contact nor speak to anyone when in town. The image that everyone most had of him was just in passing.
No one seemed to know who he was although each time someone asked you heard the same reply ", Oh him ? , Yea... no one seems to know him , he just comes into town once in a while , and then disappears back into the surrounding roads of the rural county back woods. I know that every time I ever met him and raised my hand in a wave of greeting he just passed on by perhaps with a couple of fingers raised back in a small wave . But , never once could you see his face , just that old grey hat brim pulled down low over his eyes and a raw ruddy cheekbone beneath it , actually hard to distinguish if it was a smile or a grimace..
I often thought , I love old trucks , why don't I stop him one day and maybe talk about them for awhile , get to know him and maybe end this mystery . Little did I know that , had I done that before now , this may have turned out differently than it did. To tell you the truth , it was the simalarities in our lives that kind of intrigued me ,although my truck was new , I liked to ride the old roads as well , and there was just something about him that seemed familiar in an odd sort of way .
That is probably the reason that I followed him today , I saw him pass the boat launch and turn onto the old road leading down to the old hay fields , most of them now grown over with underbrush and low bushes from disuse. The farmers around here no longer wanted the hay that had to be trucked to far to the horse farms near abouts. Before I had time to turn around though , I lost sight of the truck and exactly which road he took but I followed along the low road for a few minutes and then approaching the bridge at Long creek noticed the dust hanging in the air and was pretty sure I was on the right path. Maybe he even lived down here I thought as I rounded the tree lined edge of the first hay fields.
And there ,ahead of me , tipped slightly at an odd angle I found the truck leaning over the edge of the road , the door open and steam coming from beneath the hood , alarmed and worried I pulled in front of his truck and shut off the engine , jumping out and circling cautiously I noticed the bent bumper and wrecked fender of the old pickup thinking , what a shame. It looked as though he had just driven directly into the oak tree , worried that he was hurt and somehow laying across the seat of the truck I went to the door and noticed immediately that he wasn't there! What the ! .........it was then that I noticed the drag markes freshly carved into the gravel road and leading over the edge of the bank at the bridge ......Now I'm thinking , he must have hit his head and become delirious or something .
As I looked over the edge I realized that the swift current wouldn't be good for someone to get trapped into and wondered , should I just go call 911 or not.......deciding to follow down over the bank , it looked as though there was evidence of someone walking through the high grass in and beneath the old stone bridge , and as I entered into the darker culvert stepping onto the stoney gravel riverbank I came face to face with him, and shocked ...... I stopped abruptly in my tracks , there he stood the ussual hat brim pulled low , dressed in tan work pants and a flannel shirt , he stood facing me ..........for a few seconds there was nothing , no sound , no words , no greeting of anykind ....as if time had stopped completely .....and life itself had stopped dead in it's own tracks!
It was then that he looked slowly up at me , raising the hat brim enough to show his mysterious features , beneath which a face of chiseled stone , ashen grey and featureless except for the one striking and total shock for me ...........I was in shock .......his face was ...........mine! His eyes , his features , all of them .......Me !
To Be Continued.........