Essay: A Ride Home

Jul 10, 2020

When I was a little kid, I spent Saturday afternoons at the movies with my friends.  Somebody’s parents would drop us off at the theater and we would sit through two Westerns and a dozen cartoons, passing boxes of jujubes and milk duds up and down the row.

It was dark by the time we got out and we would stand on the curb to wait for somebody’s parents to pick us up.  One night Jim’s parents forgot to come and nobody had a dime for a phone call.  “We can walk home,” Jim said.  “It’s not that far.”

The theater was in an area of downtown that my mother disapproved of. “We won’t be walking around down there,” I had promised her.  Now we were walking around down there and I had no idea which way was home.  An old man in a dirty coat stood on the corner.  “Gotta quarter for a cup of coffee?” he asked.  

“We don’t have any money,” Jim said and I gave the man the rest of my milk duds.  

It seemed like we walked forever and my mother was crying when I came in the door.  My parents weren’t always there for me when I needed to talk or to cry, but they were always there when I needed a ride—and that’s something.  

Sometimes, that’s everything.