Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Times, They are a Changin'

I have a very vivid memory of a time when I was a kid that my Dad picked up some hitchhikers. I can't remember where we were, but I think it was cold out because I remember they were wearing unusual coats. There were two college age girls who looked like hippies. I remember them squeezing in to the back seat with me. They thanked us for picking them up, then one of them proceeded to take a kitten out of her coat. The kitten had a bell around it's neck, and they said it's name was Alfalfa. I remember feeling in awe that these two girls had their own cat. In my life experience, we only had animals that were jointly owned by the family. I don't remember how far they traveled with us, although it doesn't seem that it was very far. But I was surprised that my Dad would pick up hitchhikers.

My Dad told me about another time when he picked up someone on the road. I don't know if he could be considered a hitchhiker though because he wasn't really sticking out his thumb. But it was in the dead of winter, and a huge storm was raging. My Dad could barely see the road to drive. When he saw this man walking alongside the road, he felt that he had to offer him a ride so that he wouldn't freeze to death. I'm sure the man was very grateful to him because his car had broken down, or got stuck in a snow drift or something.

This has nothing to do with hitch hiking, but it does have to do with the point of this post, but my Great Grandmother used to always invite hobos in to her home to eat. At that time, it was during the depression, and there were many hobos traveling the country looking for work. Frankly, I don't know why they would go to that part of Southern Utah for work though since it is a 7000 foot elevation, and has harsh weather. But nonetheless, my Great Grandmother never turned one away that asked for food.

Below I have posted a song by Bob Dylan, "The Times, They are a Changin'". These really are different times. Elizabeth Smart's father invited homeless men to work for him so that they could earn money for food. But one of them abducted his daughter. Chances are very high that if you pick up a hitch hiker today, it will be someone who has a police record, and possibly drugs or a weapon on their person. To be a Good Samaritan these days can be a risk to your very life.

I long for a simpler time when there wasn't so much evil in the world. I wish it was safe to pick up hitch hikers. I wish it was safe to invite the homeless to your home for dinner. A scripture in our Doctrine and Covenants, in speaking of these last days says, " 27 And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound." Doctrine and Covenants 45:27 We can still serve our fellowman, and help the homeless, but we have to be careful. These definitely are trying times.


Nene said...

Have you ever seen that list of people that Grandma E. had stay at her house? I couldn't believe how many people were on it. One guy stayed over like 5 years - can't remember exactly. I found the list in a history Mom gave us. I sort of stumbled on it one day. I knew she had let people stay with her, but never knew it was that many.

Amber said...

I know exactly what you mean, honestly homeless people kind of scare me alot of times, because they are usually mentally unstable, but there are some that really pull at my heartstrings and I just wish that I could do something to help them. Kaleb always wants to pick up hitchhikers, I don't know if he's mostly teasing (i think so) or because he really wants to help (that too probably) but I never let him, just because I remember this movie based on a true story about this guy who picks up hitchhikers who later end up killing him and frankly it's just not worth the risk to me. But I always think about how you never know if one of those men could be Jesus in disguise kind of thing, you know "if you help the least of these my brothers"...

Inklings said...

Dad told me after they picked up that hitchhiker in Wy that they heard their was an escaped prisoner in that area, and always wondered if it was him they picked up. My rule of thumb in helping people is that I need to have a very strong feeling to help them before I do. Once I passed a man with a sign that said he needed gas money, and I passed him. About 1/2 mile up the road I had the strong feeling to go back and give him $10, so I did.
But I also remember the story in the newspaper about a police officer making a traffic stop in CA, only to find that the driver had a human finger bone in his pocket that he had been sucking on. The car he was driving belonged to the man who had picked him up hitchhiking, and he and his friend had killed him and eaten him. EWWW!

Looney said...

I picked up a hitchhiker a year back over towards Santa Cruz. His accent was from New Jersey which was instantly spotted, so we had a conversation about that area and church. In the end, I was glad I picked him up, although this is rare for me.

Then there was a country road we took in New Mexico with a sign warning people not to pick up hitch hikers. It was in front of a large prison.

Sounds like your family has been quite generous over the years.